Francis Chou is of a different background than the other value investors we've profiled here. He didn't have a lot of money to invest, and didn't have the chance to get a university education. As an immigrant to Canada from India, he had a Grade 12 education and was working as a telephone repair man when he discovered Security Analysis by Graham and Dodd. He started an investment club with 6 others and turned $50K into $1.5 million in the next five years. He has since gone on to turn that fund into a mutual fund and achieve %14 annual returns over the following 20 years.
What's most amazing about this record is that at most times, Chou isn't afraid to keep a great deal of his portfolio in cash. Like other value investors, Chou focuses on capital preservation, and at the same time wants to be able to take advantage of opportunities when they become available.
Again like other value investors, Chou won't invest in commodities, likely because the future prices of these companies' products are too difficult to determine.
Unlike standard mutual fund companies, which seem to be more like marketing companies than investment companies, Chou relies on word of mouth to find clients. That probably suits him just fine, as growing too large would probably hurt his returns.
For those interested in learning more about value investing, read The Intelligent Investor (Graham) and/or Security Analysis (Graham and Dodd).