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Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders, 2012 Paperback – April 25, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

When I started learning about Warren Buffett, one of the first things I did was buy a printer that could print on both sides of the page. I got a ream of three hole paper, and filled a few binders with Buffett's letters to investors, all of which are freely available on his website. . . .

Well, now they have been helpfully compiled by my friend Max Olson. This edition includes charts I haven't seen anywhere else, showing Berkshire's cost of float (to the uninitiated: Buffett has borrowed money more cheaply than the U.S. government over the years, and used this fuel to invest at incredible rates of return), a chronological list of acquisitions, and even includes a topic index.

Kudos to Olson and Buffett for making this public. Now it's up to you, the reader, to make the best of it. --Marcelo P. Lima

Max Olson has done a great job for all Warren Buffett fans in putting this great collection of letters together in one easy read. --Guy Spier --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Warren Edward Buffett (born August 30, 1930) is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century. Buffett is the primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people. He was ranked as the world's wealthiest person in 2008 and as the third wealthiest person in 2011. In 2012, American magazine Time named Buffett one of the most influential people in the world. Buffett is called the "Wizard of Omaha", "Oracle of Omaha", or the "Sage of Omaha" and is noted for his adherence to the value investing philosophy and for his personal frugality despite his immense wealth. Buffett is also a notable philanthropist, having pledged to give away 99 percent of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Gates Foundation.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 730 pages
  • Publisher: Max Olson; 1 edition (April 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595910778
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595910776
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Marcelo P. Lima on May 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I started learning about Warren Buffett, one of the first things I did was buy a printer that could print on both sides of the page. I got a ream of three hole paper, and filled a few binders with Buffett's letters to investors, all of which are freely available on his website.

I spent several months going through the letters in chronological order, and how amazing they were! They taught everything from accounting to investing, critical thinking, economics, business, and served as a reminder that business and market cycles ebb and flow.

I got into the habit of telling -- to whomever cared to listen -- that these letters, properly read and understood, were likely the best MBA course one could possibly take (particularly considering the price!).

Well, now they have been helpfully compiled by my friend Max Olson. This edition includes charts I haven't seen anywhere else, showing Berkshire's cost of float (to the uninitiated: Buffett has borrowed money more cheaply than the U.S. government over the years, and used this fuel to invest at incredible rates of return), a chronological list of acquisitions, and even includes a topic index.

Kudos to Olson and Buffett for making this public. Now it's up to you, the reader, to make the best of it.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Cancan on June 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a Buffett disciple. His investing philosophy is grounded in common sense, is simple and elegant, and his track record proves it works over long periods of time.

You will not learn any magic formulas or short-cuts in his letters. What you will learn is how to think about businesses and investing. You will learn that investing is more of an art than a science. You will learn that temperament is critical to your investing success. You will get a history lesson, and see how a great investor thought about situations in the past. You will learn the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Reading Buffett's shareholder letters is the best practical investment education available. Buffett has mentioned in the past that he spends considerable amounts of time crafting his shareholder letters, and it shows. Hiis ideas and thoughts come across the page in a crystal clear manner.

I also like the Lawrence Cunningham book, The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America. Cunningham's book takes selected sections out of past letters and groups them by subject, which is very handy. This book includes the letters in their entirety from 1965 to present. It has a convenient topics index in the front of the book so you can quickly find where Buffett discussed moats, Mr. Market, risk, etc...

I have been an Amazon (talk about a moat!) customer for close to 15 years now. I pretty much do all my shopping here, I have purchased hundreds of items over the years. This is the first product I have felt compelled to write a review for. I think this book belongs on every thinking investor and business person's book shelf. I hope the creators of this book will likewise make one of the older Buffett Partnership letters. There are many great insights to be found there as well.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey J Graham on September 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hi,

This question is for Max Olson now that I've purchased. Will you use the Amazon Whispersync Automatic Book Update to append future Annual letter to this e-book? That is, when Warren Buffett releases the 2013 letter. Will this be auto-added?

Thanks.

Sincerely,
Geoff
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hansen Alexander on March 12, 2014
Format: Paperback
Okay, Warren Buffett's narrative in his annual reports from 1965-2012 may not be as personal as Churchill's letters to his wife Clementine during the Boer War or as satiric and biting as Ernest Hemingway's early letters to Ezra Pound, but they are revealing of his business philosophy, candid to a fault, and as funny as a late night comedian.

In 1996, as he did in many years, Buffett laid out his basic business strategy to his investors of Berkshire Hathaway, his holding company. "Your goal as an investor should simply be to purchase, at a rational price, a part interest in an easily-understandable business whose earnings are virtually certain to be materially higher five, ten and twenty years from now. Over time, you will find only a few companies that meet these standards--so when you see one that qualifies, you should buy a meaningful amount of stock. You must also resist the temptation to stray from your guidelines: If you aren't willing to own a stock for ten years, don't even think about owning it for ten minutes."

In 1987 Buffett reported to his shareholders that in the 23 years since Berkshire Hathaway was founded, the company's "per-share book value" had grown at a rate of 23.1 percent compounded annually, and despite its growing size, the company managed to keep approximately to that growth rate, an extraordinary accomplishment.

His business acquisition philosophy is simple, buy well managed companies.

Reporting in that year of 1987, he wrote, "the best business returns are usually achieved by companies that are doing something quite similar today to what they were doing five or ten years ago.
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