In my first life I worked as an electrical engineer, and I was fortunate to discover Digital Equipment Corporation as my first employer, quite by chance, when I lived in the US for about a decade. After 10 years in the IT space (it wasn't called IT then), I dabbled in goverment work for several years (my country's Ministry for Research and Technology). But I returend to the American work culture at Texas Instruments Germany, where I spent most of my two decades there working on international projects. By the time I left TI, I had been appointed Senior Member of the Technical Staff by its Engineering Council. TI's sale of their Memory Division to Micron finally donated the freedom to me, to begin my second life. I began studying subjects I enjoyed at two of Munich's universities (LMU + TUM), first business and finance-related, and later focusing on history and socio-economics mostly. Also I began writing a book (that I may never finish, so I fear) on how to invest more prudently. The simple reason why it may remain unfinished: with time I discovered that what I don't know about the subject is a lot more than what I do know, or believed that I knew. I had been investing (on a very small scale) since the 1960s, when I bought my first DEC shares, While I worked at TI, my investing was still rather hazardous, but I was relatively lucky until the fall of 2000. My own stupidity and stubbornnes then reversed a good part of my investing fortunes, despite my intention for becoming more professional at investing. Reading Markowitz' and Sharpe's work certainly had not been helpful to me. It had taken me until 2002 to finally discover the benefits of dividend-focused investing; probably because the tax laws in Germany changed then. By around 2005 I had more or less said good-bye to companies that do not pay dividends. And for my book, I developed a theoretical base for estimating returns and assessing the investment-worthiness of companies. Unfortunately my theories work over the long term only; when a financial crisis comes along, like the one that started in late 2007, I get thrown out of whack easily. But I am learning more and more about about prudent investing, quite a bit of it with the help of intelligent and sensible people, who write or post comments here on Seeking Alpha. Perhaps I will finish my book after all some day, and search for a publisher. I should because I feel that my own version of value investing rests on a far sounder (and much more realistic) basis than what Benjamin Graham conjured up. And I am convinced that my criteria for assessing the investment-worthiness of companies are more practicable than the concepts that I have seen published by academics like Michael Mauboussin, for instance.