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Warren Buffett and the Interpretation of Financial Statements: The Search for the Company with a Durable Competitive Advantage Hardcover – Oct 14 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (Oct. 14 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416573186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416573180
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Just as top musicians memorize scales, and the best golfers perfect swings at the driving range, investors who want sustainable, good returns must master the critical basics that Mary Buffett and David Clark lay out for us in this clear explanation of Warren Buffett's methods. I don't think there has been a better time for investors to relearn the fundamentals. Follow these methods and you will see results!" - Timothy P. Vick, senior portfolio manager, The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, and author of How to Pick Stocks Like Warren Buffett

About the Author

Mary Buffett is a bestselling author, international speaker, entrepreneur, political and environmental activist. Ms. Buffett appears regularly on television as one of the top finance experts in America.  She has been the principal speaker for prestigious organization around the world.  Ms. Buffett has worked successfully in a wide range of businesses including extensive work as a consultant to several Fortune 500 companies.  She lives in California.

David Clark holds degrees in both finance and law, and in the late seventies was the founding member of the original Buffettologists - a small group of early Berkshire shareholders who studied the investment methods of Warren Buffett. He is now recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the subject and has written extensively on it. He lives in Warren Buffett's hometown, Omaha, Nebraska, and is the Managing Director of a private investment partnership.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Perry Siu on Jan. 8 2009
Format: Hardcover
Not only was the book brief and concise, it's also written in such a simple language that even an amateur can understand at the first glance. For the more advanced reader, or even the seasoned value investor, this book gives insight into Warren Buffett's "secret holy grail" to successful investing.

The basics of financial statements are briefly introduced, where the analysis of each of the three parts are structured neatly into small sections and chapters for the reader to understand more easily. Although it's not rocket science, these nuts and bolts of financial analysis can prove to be quite challenging for a beginner in accounting. Where appropriate, the book also clearly distinguishes Buffett's different views and arguments with traditional Graham-based value investors, which make this book an overall great book for both beginners and experts alike.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James W. Carson on Feb. 25 2010
Format: Hardcover
While the book provides a few useful rules-of-thumb (which could be gleaned in the time it takes to have a cup of coffee), it's written in such a dumbed-down way as to prove annoying beyond belief.
The book's "chapters" are drawn from the line items on the income statement and balance sheet -- sample revelation: "Chapter 40: Long Term Debt: Something that great companies don't have a lot of". If you need to know that, you might want to avoid picking your own stocks and buy an ETF.
The average length of each chapter is 2-3 pages. Some merely say that the line item is not important for measuring the long-term competitive advantage of a company.
More annoying is the authors' use of glib, familiar phrases like "what makes Warren superrich", and the glib, cutesy wrap sentences that end each chapter. Check a few chapter endings out on-line or in store.
This book might be good for a Grade 9 intro to investing or accounting class, but anyone else would be better off with something more substantive. I like Graham's Intelligent Investor which is an enjoyable read but goes into great depth.
J Carson
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a good primer on financial statements for a beginner. I found it far more accessible than trawling through Investopedia or a book that actually sets out to teach accounting basics. You can easily read this in a day or two and ignore the gimmicky language about "what makes Warren superrich". If you want to learn your way around a company's financials, this is a great window into that world. In that sense, I suggest focusing on the second half of the title in deciding whether or not to buy this book. At the same time, the Buffett focus brings the kind of "slant" that makes learning easier--it is easier to care about what the "treasury-adjusted debt-to-shareholder's-equity ratio" is when you are trying to figure out why Warren Buffett might think it is a valuable metric.

This book is best for novice investors intrigued by this Warren Buffett character and looking to learn about financial statements and what metrics might be important to look at when buying stocks. I found this an accessible and useful starting point in learning about very basic security analysis but would not suggest that it is the best or only source someone should look at. Don't buy this book if you are "trying to get superrich like Warren"--you should probably read his more nuanced annual letters (available for free online) (or get an MBA?) instead. But if you have an interest in the stock markets and want to learn more (without falling asleep) about how to read a company's financials, this is a good place to start.
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Format: Hardcover
If you want to handle your own investments, you gotta pick this us. It's not just a primer on finances, or how to cut the credit cards, but a primer on how the big money guys look at stocks. This is exactly what I wanted. The Inside dish.

Every day former Fund Manager Jim Cramer comes on TV and tells the world how to trade and invest. His credo isn't ' buy and hold' but 'buy and homework'. That is, you don't buy stocks then forget about them; you check in on them on a weekly basis. This book is the answer to the question: ' What does it mean to 'check on' them?'

If that's what you're looking for, this book is terrific. It's a quick read, and they break down the Financial dry-as-cardboard stuff into simple language anyone can understand. What I was really looking for from this was a set of rules, a set of 'if/then' guidelines to consider when reading financial reports. Again, Cardboard. What a lot of guys do is make a 'Shopping List' of great stocks you want to own, as soon as the price comes down.

The first part: identifying great companies, that's what Buffett can help you with. He explains what exactly he's looking at when he sees Microsoft's or Hershey's financial statements. Buffett is looking for not just 'good' companies, he's looking for companies that have pseudo-monopolies. He calls them 'moats' (like a castle) when a company has protection from competition, something like a patent, or a powerful brandname, that means it keeps raking in the dough year after year after year, even without much in the way of 'new products'!

The second part: buying at the right price. He touches on that as well. For that you just need to know the historical prices and have patience that, in time, you'll get your opening.
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