No. of Recommendations: 23
And consider signing up for Motley Fool Stock Advisor, where David and I select a stock each month. Over the past six months, my five recommended companies have been beating the market by an average of 17%. Why? Simply putting a price tag on great businesses based on free cash flow. I've learned my lesson.

Sorry to be the same ol' wet rag, Tom, but my conscience compels me to mount my soapbox again and stress that performance over the short term is rarely the proof of anything. You seem to be saying that the mere fact that five stocks you picked are up 17% over six months proves that you now understand the importance of value and are therefore a stock picker worthy of attention.

Here me out. I'm not saying that these things are not true. I'm sure you do understand value better than most folks and, personally, I value your insight into stock picking -- both before and after you got the "fair price" religion. But to suggest that six months' performance proves that these things are true is -- pardon me -- it borders on absurd.

Remember, just two years ago you penned this blistering rebuttal to a Bill Mann column on "over-priced tech stocks":

http://www.fool.com/portfolios/rulemaker/2000/rulemaker000602.htm

At that time, you blasted "fair prices" from a position of strength, as the Maker portfolio had an even more stellar record than your recent parlay of 17% return over 6 months. There were full years of history to "support" its effectiveness as a stock picking tool.

Today, however, I'm guessing you'd write this column a little differently. You've grown, and unlike most stock-pickers, you've done it out in the open, subject to full public scrutiny, and you've shared it with us all. That's commendable. That's valuable. In my mind, it's enough. And, candidly and without malice, I hate to see you spoil it by adding loose, unsupportable claims like the one I've highlighted here.

Fool on,
Paul
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