Tom Jacobs is the Lead Advisor for Motley Fool Special Ops, a premium investment service specializing in event-driven situations such as spinoffs. He is the author with the Motley Fool's John Del Vecchio of What's Behind the Numbers? A Guide to Exposing Financial Chicanery and Avoiding Huge Losses in Your Portfolio (McGraw-Hill), rated the best investment book of the year by Stock Trader's Almanac . Influenced by parents educated and working in the Great Depression, he demands a margin of safety from stocks and always has a small part of his portfolio hedged to survive the outlier events (aka, Big Ones). A Fool since 1999, Tom firmly believes that dogs are people with fur.

General Information

Fool Since:
January 31 1999
TomJacobs (1/21/2010), TMFTom9 (12/20/2003), Candow (8/7/2000)
Where I Live:
Marfa, TX (can see Permian Basin energy madness up close--$2000 studio apts in Odessa!) )

Investing Basics

Investing Experience:
Risk Tolerance:
Investing Style:
Value Investor
Types of Investments:
Special situations (aka corporate actions, value-with-catalysts); earnings quality shorts via options; occasional explicit hedging
Stocks I Own:
(re portfolio size, <20 and shoot for <15) CBB, CORR, CPWR, ENSG, ESCR, EXETF, FFNW, FXY options, GPT, HDGE, HDGE Options, IWM options, KFS, LMCA, NES, NQ (long puts, don't try this at home), SCPZF, SHOS, SIRI, TFSL, UPL

Investing Favorites

Just see Motley Fool Special Ops! And I love all my children equally: position sizing is for risk mgmt.
anywhere there's a special situation (company action) driving shareholder value
TMF Special Ops!
The Myth of the Rational Market (Justin Fox)
Anything TMF; also Capital & Crisis
The Economist; New York Review of Books; anything in the supermarket checkout line (kidding!)
Special Ops Team: Editor Nathan Willis and analysts Jim Royal, Michael Olsen and Paul Chi

Investing Expertise

My Area of Expertise:
Special situations, opportunistic/deep value, earnings quality shorts and risk management (long-short)
Greatest Investment:
HLF calls, ATP Oil & Gas (long before bankruptcy), BH, GROW, KTEC, Alderwoods
Worst Investment:
NetBank, Globalstar, NETeller, USInternetworking, General Maritime

Education And Work Information

School(s) Attended
BA, MAT, Cornell; JD, Univ. of Chicago Law School
Job Title
Portfolio Manager and Lead Advisor, Motley Fool Special Ops
Company / Organization
The Motley Fool!!!!
Former Jobs
High school teacher, lawyer


Personal Quote:
(0) People prefer confident statements of fact rather than the probabilities regarding an unknown future. Special Ops chooses the latter; (1) The two major problems for most investors are a) not that they take on great risk, but rather that they accept inadequate potential return for the risk they do accept, and b) that they measure their results by annual, rather than annualized, returns. (2) Only an investor who has lived and invested through a significant bear market appreciates that a) stocks can sell off with no warning for no fundamental reasons, b) margin of safety is not just three words and c) "long term" is not a year.
My Interests:
Investing, investing, investing, investing, finance, real estate and neuroscience, writing, gardening
Person(s) I'd Like To Meet:
All TMF Special Members! Then, any start up entrepreneurs (email me); you are special and I'm curious
Favorite Restaurants or Foods:
Cochineal (Marfa, TX)
Favorite Vacation Spots:
Southwest USA and anywhere on the water
Favorite Sports or Teams:
hiking, running, power napping; for teams, all underdogs when it gets near and in finals
Favorite Movies:
Lone Star, Trouble In Mind (anything Alan Rudolph), others I can't remember (ha)
Favorite Board Games:
Scrabble (on iPad!)
Favorite Video Games:
Plants v. Zombies
Favorite Music or Musicians:
Too many favorites! Arvo Part, Peteris Vasks, Tosca (not the opera), old Frank Zappa, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Rosemary Clooney, classic Jazz from way back through Miles and Coltrane and late 1960s; handful of classic disco (!!!)
Great Books Read Recently:
Totally self-serving: "What's Behind the Numbers? A Guide to Exposing Financial Chicanery and Avoiding Huge Losses in Your Portfolio," John Del Vecchio and Tom Jacobs (McGraw-Hill)
Book Currently Reading:
The Poker Mindset