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The Little Book: That Still Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt

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Chapter 1. Chapter One

JASON'S IN THE SIXTH GRADE, and he's making a fortune. My son and I see him almost every day on the way to school. There's Jason in the back of his chauffeur-driven limousine, all decked out in cool clothes and dark sunglasses. Ahhh, to be 11 years old, rich, and cool. Now that's the life. Okay, maybe I'm getting a little carried away. I mean, it's not really a limousine; it's kind of a scooter. And the cool clothes and sunglasses part, well, that's not really true, either. It's more like his belly hanging over a pair of jeans, no sunglasses, and what he had for breakfast still stuck to his face. But that's not my point. Jason's in business.

It's a simple business, but it works. Jason buys gum, four or five packs a day. It's 25 cents for a pack and five sticks of gum to a package. According to my son, once in school, Jason transforms himself into a superhero of sorts. Neither rain nor sleet nor evil hall monitors can keep Jason from selling his gum. I guess his customers like buying from a superhero (or maybe they're just stuck in school), but however he does it, Jason sells each stick of gum for 25 cents. (Supposedly—I've never actually seen it myself—Jason kind of shoves an open pack of gum into a potential customer's face and repeats "You want some, you know you want some!" until his fellow student either collapses or forks over a quarter.)

The way my son has it figured, that's five sticks at 25 cents each, so Jason rakes in $1.25 for each pack he sells. ...

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