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Hi, I'm new here, and to investing; first post; i like Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett's style of investing.

I don't want explanations for the problems below! I'm just stating my fears, ignorance level and why I'm here. If you can help me out with reading material that would be super!

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Problem 1: I've been trying to understand WB's investment in Burlington North SF vs some other rail-road. I don't know anything about rail-roads besides trains go choo!

I've been looking at some books on Amazon that are on the railways in America.

Problem 2: I took a look at the batteries sector and promptly developed a headache. So many companies with PhD's mostly going bust - it seems cyclical - first cycle was the Li+ cycle now it looks to be carbon-nano-tubes (note: i know just 2 cycles, sure there were more).

Problem 3: Then there is WB's IBM buy which i don't understand - looks like a lousy investment to me - the business looks hopeless to me - i know, i know, Watson Research, Deep Blue, new nano chip, healthcare - trouble is I don't understand the business and neither should Warren.
If it was solely a IT buy, why not some other firm?
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I've been googling news-reports! Fiddling with Google Finance and messing with EDGAR! I'm a total newbie and right now I want to understand businesses - not with intent to make money or to invest money (I have none and I don't intend to risk what I have).

Seems to me it's a good way to understand what companies are, why they fail, how they are created - it's all purely academic. Corporates always look very mysterious to me.

1. I want to study sectors one by one, and to do this.. well.. how!???
Google takes too much time. Clicking, tabbing, waiting..

2. I've heard about Mergent's (Moody's) Manual BUT it's pay-ware. Is there a way for me to get/access/download 20-30 years of annual reports?
Commodity prices, currency prices.. When George Soros says he broke the Bank of England, I'd like to look at the actual data.. I don't want to read about it on the Wiki :(

3. Battery companies - is there a list/book - can I look at that one list and confidentally say that I have studied every battery company in North America (Private and Public)?

Someone on seattle.wa.us.financialchat.com (IRC) suggested I look at Li-ETFs. Those guys seemed like a very shady lot - kept suggesting "candle sticks" and day trading stuff.. still not a bad idea but slow since Lithium ETFs will contain only stuff for lithium batteries.. which is mostly everybody.. but it didn't look like a very elegant way and time wasting.. a book, manual would be better (from Amazon perhaps but names since I'm not a millionaire it would have to be updated for 2013 and then what about historical data)

4. How do i go about researching other sectors - gyroscope manufacturers? Spectroscope manufacturers?

Those guys on IRC sarcastically suggested a BloomBox which happens to be a Bloomber Terminal all off 2KUSD/mo which would be extremely expensive!

5. Googling threw up libraries but I have no access to them where i live; Just the blasted net..

I could continue googling but I've decided it's incredibly stupid to do so for research purposes.. stuff on google is based on popularity and links to a site.. by definition it's fated to toss up junk first. Added to which it's distracting - you get dragged in to cars and then carbon-nanotubes and then IBM chips.. the companies going bust are nearly endless.. and the gazillion names tell me nothing about the business.

I'd like something like a list of companies to go through one by one arranged sector wise for easy comparison - where do i find such a directory.

6. Commodities - how does one start looking at the various types of coal and oil. Are there books that describe what it takes to run an oil company, car company, battery company, shipping fleet, etc??
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