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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once Again, Take It With A Grain of Salt
I am not Warren Edward Buffett. Unlike Mr. Buffett, who has the delightful headache of trying to figure out where to put his steadily growing billions, I am a non-investor, sitting on the sidelines, wondering what all the fuss is about. Like most readers of this book, I have been told incessantly to invest for retirement, and not knowing exactly how I should do so, I...
Published on March 27 2004 by Gregory McMahan

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazed by good reviews of this book
I am continually amazed by the good reviews this book receives; so I finally felt compelled to write. There is nothing in this book that Warren Buffett hasn't already said in his annual letters. Robert Hagstrom revealed his true reason for writing this book when the first paperback edition came out and in it, in fine print, was a notice stating that Hagstrom had started...
Published on April 3 1998


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazed by good reviews of this book, April 3 1998
By A Customer
I am continually amazed by the good reviews this book receives; so I finally felt compelled to write. There is nothing in this book that Warren Buffett hasn't already said in his annual letters. Robert Hagstrom revealed his true reason for writing this book when the first paperback edition came out and in it, in fine print, was a notice stating that Hagstrom had started an investment fund designed to invest using Warren Buffett's principles (read: way). That is, he wrote the book so you would learn his name, become confident in his ability to analyze investments like Buffett does, and invest in his fund (which has a hefty expense ratio and has performed quite poorly I understand). So he writes this page book, in which he recommends that if you ever have the chance to read Buffett's annual letters, you should, since they "read like a book on his investment philosophy". I took his suggestion, ordered the back annual letters (sold by Berkshire Hathaway for $15) and found they repeated everything in this book - sometimes word for word (now how could Buffett have known what Hagstrom was going to write?). I get the feeling that Hagstrom has never met Buffett and never discussed investing with him (unlike Lowenstein, Lowe, Train, etc.) and his only research for this book was Buffett's annual letters. I learned more about Buffett's style from Roger Lowenstein's biography. Take Robert Hagstrom's advice and purchase the annual letters; they say the same thing - except Buffett's sense of humor is better.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once Again, Take It With A Grain of Salt, March 27 2004
By 
I am not Warren Edward Buffett. Unlike Mr. Buffett, who has the delightful headache of trying to figure out where to put his steadily growing billions, I am a non-investor, sitting on the sidelines, wondering what all the fuss is about. Like most readers of this book, I have been told incessantly to invest for retirement, and not knowing exactly how I should do so, I figured it might be a good idea to glean a few secrets from a proven successful investor. Hence, I read The Warren Buffett Way from cover to cover, hoping to learn a few things.
And what did I learn? I learned that I am not Warren Edward Buffett. Unlike Mr. Buffett, whose circle of associates includes all of the Beautiful People of Corporate America, I am surrounded by ordinary people, more than a few of whom are looking for a way to get rich quick. Whereas Mr. Buffett is patient and thoughtful with his investments, most of the people I encounter are thoughtless and reckless with their gambles. These two things, which I increasingly began to ponder as I read this book, distinguish me from the Oracle of Omaha, and quite possibly from most readers of this book.
The book consists of nine chapters, and is mostly historical in nature. It details many of Buffett's past exploits in the stock market, mostly the good moves but also some bad ones, and offers some of the principles guiding Mr. Buffett's stock investing strategy, grouped into three classes called Management, Financial and Market Tenets. The first four chapters of the book delve into the early history of Berkshire Hathaway, the key influences on Mr. Buffett which helped to shape his investment philosophy, Mr. Buffett's perspective on the financial markets, and the principles by which he goes about purchasing a business. The last five chapters of the book give example after example of some of Mr. Buffett's past stock moves, and tries to show his Tenets in action.
The style of the book is mostly active until the fifth chapter, whereupon it becomes plodding. The book is extremely repetitive at points, and as other reviewers have pointed out, key concepts are not fully explained up front, suggesting that the possible target audience for this book are those having a strong background in the general principles of economics and business.
In all honesty, I have previously encountered most of the content of this book in coursework or self-study. I previously read Mr. Hagstrom's The Warren Buffett Portfolio, and found the two books to be similar in some respects. That said, I still found this book to be very interesting and useful, primarily because it exposed me to an investment approach which utilizes these concepts in ways I had not previously considered. I also found it highly interesting on an anecdotal level, given that Mr. Buffett's investment career spans The Go-Go Years, The Nifty Fifty Stocks and the 80s and 90s Tech Stock Boom, and yet he never once participated in these tech-stock manias but handily outperformed tech stock investors nonetheless.
Like I said, I am not Warren Edward Buffett and I can not expect or even hope to do what he does, but that does not mean that I can not think like him. Even Mr. Buffett cautions the small investor in this regard, as there are things that he can do that none of little guys can do. Yet, he also has said that there are things the little guy can do that he can not do. That said, the book deserves to be read by any one lacking the ability to reason through the process of investing. However, readers at all levels should not stop with this book. Others have pointed out that one could get even more information straight from the horse's mouth- the Berkshire Hathaway website.
On the other hand, as this information details past moves for which the conditions surrounding them are most unlikely to come around again, I believe that the more astute reader looking to learn more should consult The Money Game by Adam Smith for a brief historical look at financial foolishness (albeit the late sixties but the resemblance to Right Now is striking), The Theory of Investment Value by John Burr Williams for Buffett's original basis for valuation, and The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham for a more detailed explanation of the concepts of margin of safety, intrinsic value, and the benefits associated with ignoring the market noise. These three books will help one learn how to reason through the investment problem, as this is the most important step, aside from finding smart people (as Mr. Smith admonishes forcefully in The Money Game and Buffett has consistently done) and thinking more but acting less (as Buffett has said- do a few things right and screw everything else).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is crap!, Sept. 3 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Warren Buffett Way: Investment Strategies of the World's Greatest Investor (Paperback)
The author of this book, Robert Hagstrom, has never spoken to Mr. Buffett about investing. Yet for some strange reason Hagstrom feels qualified to write about Buffett's investment methods. After the book came out Hagstrom started a mutual fund to exploit his readers' trust, Hagstom claimed that he was going to use Buffett's methods as outlined in this book. But Hagstrom's mutual fund turned in such poor results he had to close it down. If you use the investment methodology found in this book you too will get the same poor results that Hagstrom did. If you want to know how Buffett did it, you should look elsewhere.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What if Mr. Market goes really crazy?, April 21 2004
By 
andris virsnieks (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Warren Buffett Way: Investment Strategies of the World's Greatest Investor (Paperback)
If you are reading this book just to be better informed, I think you will get your money's worth. I feel I got a five-star education. But if you are going to read it to make a decision to buy or not to buy Berkshire Hathaway, you should keep these two points in mind: First, almost everyone considers Warren Buffet to be the world's greatest investor. This special attribute of Mr. Buffet might be reflected in the price of Berkshire Hathaway stock. If Warren Buffet were no longer around, what would that do to Berkshire Hathaway? Hasn't Mr. Buffet's greatness built in a premium in Berkshire Hathaway stock?
Second, this book proves that Mr. Buffet beat Mr. Market most of the time under normal circumstances. In abnormal circumstances, Mr. Market could beat Mr. Buffet. Abnormal circumstances would exist if Mr. Market went into a long, deep depression (like he did in the 1930's and dropped in value by 90%). And could a second terrorist attack similar to 9/11 cause Mr. Market to panic and create abnormal circumstances in the economy?
No matter how good the company, Mr. Market can and will hurt the value of its stock. If there is another terrorist attack like 9/11, Mr. Market will panic and Coca Cola, Washington Post, GEICO, etc., would all suffer terribly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good book on fundamental investing..., July 4 2003
By 
Britt Gillette (Virginia - United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
With "The Warren Buffett Way", Robert Hagstrom attempts to bring the financial genius of the world's greatest investor within reach of the average man on the street. The book is a good overview of Buffett's career, outlining the types of companies he looks for, the calculations he uses to determine a company's value, and the type of earnings history he looks for in an investment. These are basic principles that need to be hammered home to even the most seasoned of investors, and the book serves as a good primer for that reason. I have bought it as a gift on more than one occasion. (Although the "Buffettology" workbook is better.)
However, I give the book four stars for the following reason: hindsight is twenty-twenty. Hagstrom seems to believe that returns comparable to Buffett's are attainable to the average investor. But the average investor knows little about interpreting financial statements and little credit is given to Buffett's instincts and ability to see opportunity where others do not. Although it is well within the reach of the average investor to achieve above-average returns, this book should be viewed as a first step in that goal. There is still much to learn. I recommend this book solely for its emphasis on investment in companies with consumer-monopoly products, strong earnings histories, etc. The book helps reinforce the fundamentals of common stock investing, but I like Hagstrom's book "The Warren Buffett Portfolio" much better...
Britt Gillette
...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great Philosophy, Good Read, Average Practical Use, Dec 8 2002
By 
Bryan Vacek (Overland Park, KS) - See all my reviews
The "Warren Buffet Way" never ventures too far from common sense but whether that makes it ingeniously sound or blandly uninspired will be left for the reader to decide. The techniques Warren Buffet employed to attain success (and wealth) are well documented here with summaries of his investments from early life to recent times (1994). Each investment in analyzed through the lense of Warren Buffet's economic principles, a blend of widely recognized economic minds and Warren Buffets own basic philosophy, and the result is an appreciation for his business sense and stock selecting ability.
This hindsight review of his choices is partially intended to teach you, the reader, how to make equally good investments and turn a profit without extensive risk. The problem lies in the fact that Buffet's confident simplicity is hard to obtain. The crux of his theory is calculating the intrinsic value of a company through research that is probably second nature to long-time professional investors like Buffet but is vague or downplayed in the book. Technological methods and industry readings are turned down in favor of a physical appraisal of the company and its management and an unexplained calculation of its potential.
But who has the time or money to visit and interview every possible investment they are considering? And to do so when they are only just starting out with little idea of where to start or what is an important indicator of value and while being told to expect only long-term gains? The book tells you to look past the popular and fickle market at the company itself but it is unclear what to focus on. The idea is good, I'll try to put it to good use in my own investing, but its too general to nail down or check off on a list.
Overall though, it will provide an insightful look at one of the richest men in the world. You'll learn some basic investment strategies and a little history. It's not an economic Bible but it may help beat the crowd without going too far over your head.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great Philosophy, Good Read, Average Practical Use, Dec 8 2002
By 
Bryan Vacek (Overland Park, KS) - See all my reviews
The "Warren Buffet Way" never ventures too far from common sense but whether that makes it ingeniously sound or blandly uninspired will be left for the reader to decide. The techniques Warren Buffet employed to attain success (and wealth) are well documented here with summaries of his investments from early life to recent times (1994). Each investment in analyzed through the lense of Warren Buffets economic principles, a blend of widely recognized economic minds and Warren Buffets own basic philosophy, and the result is an appreciation for his business sense and stock selecting ability.
This hindsight review of his choices is partially intended to teach you, the reader, how to make equally good investments and turn a profit without extensive risk. The problem lies in the fact that Buffet's confident simplicity is hard to obtain. The crux of his theory is calculating the intrinsic value of a company through research that is probably second nature to long-time professional investors like Buffet but is vague or downplayed in the book. Technological methods and industry readings are turned down in favor of a physical appraisal of the company and its management and an unexplained calculation of its potential.
But who has the time or money to visit and interview every possible investment they are considering? And to do so when they are only just starting out with little idea of where to start or what is an important indicator of value and while being told to expect only long-term gains? The book tells you to look past the popular and fickle market at the company itself but it is unclear what to focus on. The idea is good, I'll try to put it to good use in my own investing, but its too general to nail down or check off on a list.
Overall though, it will provide an insightful look at one of the richest men in the world. You'll learn some basic investment strategies and a little history. Its not an economic Bible but it may help beat the crowd without going too far over your head.
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3.0 out of 5 stars This book is not for beginners, Oct. 29 2002
By 
dasn0wman "dasn0wman" (Brooklyn, NY United States) - See all my reviews
I was reading some of the reviews here and I was surprised that some people say this book is great for beginners. Well, I'm a beginner in investing and I was just totally lost on some of the concepts preached in this book. Concepts like "Owner's Earnings" is alittle new to me. Although the book explained this is net income plus amortization/depreciation minus capital expenditures, I thought it could elaborate just what all these terms are. But it doesn't. It doesn't even clearly explain the reason for this formula. Definitely not beginner stuff. I think everyone should read this book because it does teach some solid investing principles. Advice that I believe really makes sense. But I was just going nuts at the vagueries in this book. Probably one of the most important points is "how to value a company". But it just runs through the calculations like it was some easy arithmetic problem. I must have read those portions ten times and still couldn't figure it out. I was relieved to find some examples in the appendix. Goodie! Wrong. That was just as hard to follow...no step by step explanation. But I managed to figure it out. For anyone who might be wondering what the heck is a discount factor (which nowhere in the book mentioned, but is required for the calculations), here is the formula 1/(1+r)^t where r is the discount rate and t is the Nth year. I found this on the internet! Lastly, someone made a comment about Hagstrom writing this book to promote his own mutual fund. I don't see anything wrong with that. I think that is great. Now there is proof for all to see if this book really works. As of now, it only gives you a 5-year annualized growth of 3.52%. S&P 500 is 3.16%, FYI! So the fund is not so hot. I only brought this up because Hagstrom never interviewed Buffet for this book (Says so in the preface). His take on the Buffet Way is anyone's good research in the Bershire Hathaway annual reports. Noone will probably know how to trade like Warren Buffet but Warren Buffet himself! That makes sense because after all, if I know how to make money in stocks to become the second richest man, would I want to tell you?
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's how Buffets invests, shouldn't you?, Oct. 27 2002
He's arguably the World's most successful investor. He's made billions for not only himself but also his business partners. It all leads one to believe that Warren Buffet knows something about which companies are good investments.
"The Warren Buffet Way" spells out just how and why he became such a success. It starts with short biography of Buffet's life and his background in business and investing in his earlier days.
The book then moves into what companies Buffet invested in and why. Throughout the briefs on companies he has invested in, it explains just why Buffet decided to buy into them. How Buffet valued the company compared to its going stock price and when that price was a bargain.
"Buffet Way" comes down to doing your homework. It's not a roadmap on how to glean the wealth that Buffet has and its not a "get rich quick" scam. It reinforces Buffet's principles of investing for the long term, not worrying about short term price changes and not bothering with those "hot tips" from your broker.
In the end it comes down to doing your research, your buying a business not a stock symbol as the man from Omaha puts it. This book will show you how he did it and how you can use his investment principles too.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A tedious read with very little practical application, July 1 2002
By 
A. Jonsson "Justin" (California) - See all my reviews
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First let me say that the low rating I'm giving does not reflect my opinion of Warren Buffett and his methods in general, but rather specifically this book by Hagstrom.
I was quite disappointed by this book. It seems confused about whether it is an investment guide or historical narrative, and so fails to do an adequate job of either. (For a much more interesting account of Buffett's life and investments, read Roger Lowenstein's biography).
I was hoping this book would explain in specific detail HOW Buffett determines whether a company's shares are undervalued by the market and by how much. However I found that the few explanations in this book are too vague to be of any real practical application in analyzing companies and making investment decisions. The book spends more time detailing WHAT Buffett has invested in, as opposed to WHY. And more time discussing what happened to these companies AFTER Buffett had invested in them, rather than what specifically made them attractive to Buffett beforehand.
Maybe this would be a good enough book for someone to read as an introduction to Buffett, if it wasn't just so boring!
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