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The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America [Paperback]

Warren E. Buffett , Lawrence A. Cunningham
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Paperback, April 14 2008 --  
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The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America 5.0 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

April 14 2008 0966446127 978-0966446128 2
The definitive source for Warren Buffett's ideas, this is a thematically arranged collection his famous chairman's letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, prepared by Professor Lawrence Cunningham.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Buffett, the Bard of Omaha, is a genuine American folk hero, if folk heroes are allowed to build fortunes worth upward of $15 billion. He's great at homespun metaphor, but behind those catchy phrases is a reservoir of financial acumen that's generally considered the best of his generation. For example, in an essay on CEO stock options, he writes, "Negotiating with one's self seldom produces a barroom brawl." This is his way of saying that an executive who can give himself compensation totally disproportionate to his performance surely will. There are uncountable gems of financial wisdom to be harvested from these essays, taken from the annual reports he writes for Berkshire Hathaway, his holding company. Just to pick one more, here's a now-famous line about those he competes with when making stock-market investments: "What could be more advantageous in an intellectual contest--whether it be chess, bridge, or stock selection--than to have opponents who have been taught that thinking is a waste of energy?"

While Buffett has a policy of seldom commenting on stocks he owns--he feels public pronouncements will only lead to the public's expectation of more public pronouncements, and he likes to keep his cards close to his vest--he loves to discuss the principles behind his investments. These come primarily from Ben Graham, under whom Buffett studied at Columbia University and for whom he worked in the 1950s. First among them is the idea that price is what you pay and value is what you get--and if you're a smart investor, the first will always be less than the second. In that sense, the value of the lessons learned from Buffett's Essays could be far greater than the book's price. --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

"I originally prepared this collection as the centerpiece of a symposium featuring Warren Buffett's letters. Warren, Charlie Munger, Bob Denham, and hundreds of others participated in dissecting all the ideas. This arrangement, organized by subject matter, contains a more valuable set of lessons than can be found at just about any school, library, business, or other place of learning. Anyone even remotely interested in business or finance or corporate life should read and study this collection and have a copy available for handy reference." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This is my review of the THIRD EDITION, dated March 18, 2013. If you wish to read my review of the SECOND EDITION, it follows.

This is the Third Edition of an ongoing process by which Warren Buffett presents a "chairman's letter" (i.e. progress report with his unique reflections) to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders at their annual meeting. Lawrence A. Cunningham edited each of the three editions, with the latest including Buffett's annual letters to Berkshire shareholders since 2008, the date of the prior edition. Other new material includes:

o The financial crisis and its continuing implications for investors, managers and society;
o The housing bubble at the bottom of that crisis
o The debt and derivatives excesses that fueled the crisis and how to deal with them
o Controlling risk and protecting reputation in corporate governance
o Berkshire's acquisition and operation of Burlington Northern Santa Fe
o The role of oversight in heavily regulated industries
o Investment possibilities today
o Weaknesses of popular option valuation models

Some other material has been rearranged to deepen the themes and lessons that the collection has always produced:

o Buffett's "owner-related business principles" are in the prologue as a separate subject
o Valuation and accounting topics are spread over four instead of two sections and reordered to sharpen their payoff.

According to Cunningham, "Those who are familiar with The Essays will notice that we have made the cover snappier than has been our custom. (Thanks for the cover design to Tim Colton, of Carolina Academic Press, which will continue to partner with me in the distribution of the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Warren Buffett's writing is sophisticated, yet eloquent that anyone that puts the effort and time to study his essays are sure to learn a lot about corporate america. Buffett's wisdom is so valuable yet many people in finance have neither read nor learned his principles that he applies. He puts his money where his mouth is. It will not guarantee that you will make billions reading his essays, but you sure will make a lot less investing mistakes. If you have a passion for finance/investing then read it, study it, and enjoy its witty, colloquial essays. Cheers, and happy investing.

(Read other books like, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip A. Fisher, The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing by Pat Dorsey and you sure will be ahead of the crowd)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read Nov. 25 2012
By Gary
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
Warren Buffett never disapoints, and neither have his letters to shareholders. Only Warren Buffett can explain the most difficult things in the world of high finance and make them so simple to understand. This is probably one of the top 5 books on investing I've read. If you are considering this book you should also see books by David Dreman and James Montier.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Full of Buffett Wisdom March 30 2008
The Essays of Warren Buffett is a collection of letters written by Warren Buffett to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders and selected and edited by Lawrence Cunningham. It touches upon many topics, including corporate governance, investing and accounting.

In his letters, Warren Buffett often criticizes the practices of his fellow businessmen. Even though he references many events that are today long passed, his teachings and examples are still very applicable. For example, he notes the issues related to leveraged buyouts or zero-coupon junk bonds. By doing this, he continuously wishes to define himself as an investor and distinguish himself from the many Wall Street finance professionals he considers to be mere speculators. If you retain one lesson from this book, let it be this: Real investors believe in the long term future of a business and thus, are willing to maintain their positions (almost) indefinitely.

Lawrence Cunningham has arranged Buffett's letters in several chapters (by topic) and cleverly references the related annual report as to put them into context. Buffett's own style is concise and clear, making the essays easy to follow. The knowledge is mainly basic (except it is viewed with a slightly different perspective then most financial bestsellers) and even laymen should have no trouble understanding the issues discussed.

Overall, this is one of the best books I have gotten my hands onto. It is my duty to recommend everyone to read it because it is truly ``great''.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delayed in print and not "OUT OF PRINT" July 13 2004
I have been talking to Professor Cunningham and apparently, this book is not "out of print" as amazon states (Third party private sellers are selling the book for as much as $99) but rather, just delayed in printing. He will have the next shipment of books to amazon soon, and it will be retailing for US$25. This should appear on amazon very soon, so just keep checking back!
For bulk orders, please contact Professor Cunningham directly at cunninlb@mail.bc.edu.
Hope this help!
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