I read annual reports and related materials daily, and have found that Buffett was very right about how knowledge works like compound interest. What I've found in assessing companies is that the truly great ones downplay their position, while the pie in the sky market opportunities usually represent stagnant capital and/or intense competition (weak margins). The longer the horizon, the less competition you will face in regards to price paid versus value, but too much dependency on growth also leaves you vulnerable to permanent loss when growth fails to materialize. Lastly, never discount the value of a great capital allocator at the helm. A CEO of a company earning 20% ROE that keeps 75% of the company's earnings each year will have made capital allocation decisions representing half of the equity of the company within 5 years.