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The Essays Of Warren Buffett: Lessons For Corporate America Paperback – Apr 30 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Cunningham Group (April 30 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966446119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966446111
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 17.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #414,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.

From the Inside Flap

Experienced readers of Warren Buffett's letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway have gained an enormously valuable informal education. The letters distill in plain words all the basic principles of sound business practices. Yet until now the letters existed in a format that was neither easily accessible nor organized in any thematic way. Here in one place are the priceless pearls of business and investment wisdom, woven into a delightful narrative on the major topics concerning both managers and investors. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback
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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"The Essays of Warren Buffett" is a textbook on proper business practice used at Cardozo Law. Yeah, I know you can go to the Berkshire Hathaway website and get all of Buffett's letters to the shareholders (in fact those who truly want to know more can do this). But this book cuts to the chase. It is edited in such a way that the essays are grouped in a logical manner. Thus, you don't have to plow through all the letters ( which at times can be boring and redundant).This makes reading rather convenient and efficient. The parts of the book that are most useful for an individual investor are the sections on "corporate governance" (in which Buffett describes what makes a good CEO and Board) and on "corporate finance and investing" ( in which Buffett argues against the Efficient Market Theory and argues for the Graham-Dodd approach). I found the essays on "accounting and valuation" and "accounting policy and tax matters" a bit tedious (though the section on stock options was rather interesting).
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If you are used to reading public company annual reports, including the (usually) short letters from company presidents, you know how shallow, self-congratulatory and sometimes even misleading these reports can be. On the (extreme) other hand, Warren Buffett's annual letters in his Berkshire Hathaway annual reports represent detailed, on-target, lively and highly readable masterpieces of valuable education, information, and wit. You can read Buffett's annual letters for free at Berkshire Hathaway's website, but it will take you a while, since there are many of them (back to 1977) and they run 20+ pages each. Further, Buffett's various letters weren't intended to serve as serial chapters of a book. Better, you can shell out the cost of Lawrence Cunningham's thematically organized collection (220 pages or so)of Buffett's essays and gain a better appreciation of the numerous important topics that Buffett addresses. These topics include, first and foremost, the critical impact of the quality of corporate governance--Buffett was years ahead of most investors in focusing on this area. Other topics include corporate finance (addressed with a clarity that is both unusual and revealing of Buffett's powers of insight), mergers and acquisitions, accounting (Buffett is the only person I know who can regularly make accounting seem positively interesting), taxes, junk bonds and much more.
Moreover, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is nearly unique in its intense commitment to shareholders. The opposite (a commitment to management entrenchment and exorbitant compensation) is the norm with so many companies today that it would be easy to forget how vital shareholder primacy should be.
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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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