Tengler takes the reader through the history of fundamental analysis in the stock market. While many value investors know the history as far back as Benjamin Graham and David Dodd's Security Analysis, Tengler goes further back to give credit to two New Yorkers who laid the groundwork that allowed Graham and Dodd to do their thing.
In the late 1800's, the stock market was akin to a casino, as fraudulent activities reigned throughout. Louis Guenther started a magazine in 1902 that reported on and exposed securities fraud, while Alfred Best published a service focused on reporting accurate information on insurance company financials, originally to allow customers to buy fire insurance from reputable companies that weren't going to go under. It was Best that first noted the concept of intrinsic value, whereby investors were encouraged to purchase stocks if they traded below the estimate of their intrinsic values.
In the 1930s came the groundbreaking work from Graham and Dodd, but even in subsequent editions of Graham's books did his methods evolve, though based on the same principles. This is because the market continued to evolve, as the methods that worked the best during the Great Depression were not the same as those that worked the best during WWII.
Over time, the dividend has also become less relevant. At one time, it was a mark of a great company that could continually reward its shareholders, but more recently it has become a sign that a corporation does not have profitable uses for its earnings. Dividend-focused value investors would be forced to change.