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PRO Strategy: Investing like David Einhorn

David Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Editor's note: This is PRO Strategy, a column on how to use the philosophies of the smartest minds on Wall Street to generate quality investment ideas.

David Einhorn is known for his successful short bets against stocks like Lehman Brothers, but his value buys on the long side have had just as much to do with his impressive multidecade track record. How can we learn from his success and apply his investment philosophy to a stock?

Einhorn started his Wall Street career as an investment banking analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. After DLJ he joined Siegler, Collery & Co., an investment firm, before starting Greenlight Capital.

From inception in May 1996 to the end of 2015 Greenlight Capital generated annual net returns of 16.5 percent compared to the at 8 percent. The fund doubled the market's return, even after a rough 2015 when it was down 20 percent, according to an investor letter. This year is starting off better as the fund was up 3 percent at the end of the first quarter. Greenlight Capital has $9 billion of assets under management.

CNBC PRO researched Einhorn's strategy using previous media interviews and Greenlight Capital client investor letters. Here are the key themes of his philosophy.