One word sprung to mind repeatedly as I read Investing the Templeton Way: courage. Simply put, courage defined the life and times of the renowned global value investor Sir John Templeton, and reading about how he approached investing left me both impressed and inspired.
Born in 1912 in the small town of Winchester, Tennessee, Templeton would go on to pioneer the idea of global investing. He was exceptional from the word go, managing to attend (and largely pay for on his own) college at Yale. He also became a Rhodes scholar, and traveled extensively in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
This insatiable curiosity and drive would lead him to work hard throughout his long career to uncover the best investment bargains worldwide. Well before U.S. investors were willing to look overseas for undervalued companies and markets poised to prosper, Templeton was actively researching and buying shares in foreign countries.
Templeton was focused first and foremost on uncovering bargains. By allowing himself to look outside the U.S., he was able to profit handsomely when U.S. stocks were overvalued. He didn’t place needless geographical limits on himself. He simply followed his research into the best places, and as a result, built a fortune by being brave enough to do things most investors would find unthinkable.
For instance, he recognized after World War II that Japan was transforming itself into a global powerhouse. This was not the view held by the majority at the time, given the country’s WWII defeat. But he presciently saw the future for Japan and began investing in the 1950s in the country – and, just as importantly, he got out after everyone else caught on to the Japanese story in the 1980s, moving his money to bargains elsewhere.
One of the greatest lessons from Templeton can be found in this quote from him: “If you want to have a better performance than the crowd, you must do things differently from the crowd.” That sounds a lot easier than it is, though. It takes courage to build a career by doing what others are too scared to do.
Written by his great-niece, Lauren Templeton, and her husband, Scott Phillips, who are exceptional investors in their own right, Investing the Templeton Way provides actionable advice for ways to unlock your own bargain-hunting tendencies as an investor. As counterintuitive as this sounds, learning about Sir John Templeton’s ability to think independently as an investor can improve your own ability to do so.