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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ex-Buffett on Buffett
Probably the best of the Buffett books. Mary isn't part of the Buffett gang anymore, so she doesn't have anything to protect, just plenty to tell.
Mary Buffett and David Clark spell out Buffett's methodology as well as anybody. But once you get into the meat of the book, you realize that Buffett had (and has) a lot of advantages over most other investors. That, in...
Published on January 15, 2004 by Thomas Mongle

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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Both an enjoyable read and a disappointment.
This book is a mixed blessing. I have read a stack of investing texts over the last 10 years, and this is the first to introduce the concept of purchasing a stock on the basis of a calculable return, as one would any other investment such as a bond or T-bill. For this alone the book is worth reading.

It's also a very enjoyable read. I couldn 't put it down...
Published on January 24, 2006 by Real Name - Real Name


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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Both an enjoyable read and a disappointment., January 24, 2006
This book is a mixed blessing. I have read a stack of investing texts over the last 10 years, and this is the first to introduce the concept of purchasing a stock on the basis of a calculable return, as one would any other investment such as a bond or T-bill. For this alone the book is worth reading.

It's also a very enjoyable read. I couldn 't put it down. However, part of what made it so rivetting was the promise that the author(s) will (1) teach me exactly how Warren determines which companies to buy, and (2) the later chapters would teach me in detail how to value a stock and determine what price to pay for it just as Warren does. Unfortunately, the first promise falls a little short, and the second promise proves to be a flat-out lie.

Problem 1: She tells us the math is so complex that she had to enlist the aid of a second author to help with that part of the book. But the math turns out to be junior high school level stuff. She shows us a couple of way theat one CAN attempt to calculate a reasonable price for a stock, but does NOT show us how Warren does it, nor does she show any current examples of how we can go about to a stock today.

Problem 2: The truth is, she doesn't know how to apply Warren Buffet's techniques, because if she did, she would have included at least one CURRENT example (at the time of printing). She would have chosen a stock and explained why it is a great investment and would have told us what price to pay for it, and would have shown how she made these determinations. After all, that is why we are interested in learning Warren's methods, so we can buy excellent investments TODAY. Merely showing us how much money he made on some stock he bought 20 years ago doesn't prove that she knows HOW he did it. There are a number of companies which she describes as great, but beyond that she drops the ball. Of course, if she had presented a concrete, current application of the method she describes, then she would be forever accountable. We would be able to quantify her success or lack thereof. But she conveniently prevented this.

Problem 3: The book is full of fluff. No doubt she was coached by the publisher to thicken the book. She repeats things over and over. There is even one chapter that literally repeats one paragraph of information a dozen times, which will make your head spin and your jaw drop in dismay. And the further one gets into the book, the more prevalent is the fluff.

Problem 4: She completely overlooks free cash flow, which everyone knows is a key criteria that Mr. Buffet looks at.

Problem 5: She tends to talk down to the reader.

My advice: The book is worth a read, but buy it used, or get the cheapest version available. But don't expect to be able to do what Warren does after reading it.

Cheers!
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ex-Buffett on Buffett, January 15, 2004
This review is from: Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett The Worlds (Paperback)
Probably the best of the Buffett books. Mary isn't part of the Buffett gang anymore, so she doesn't have anything to protect, just plenty to tell.
Mary Buffett and David Clark spell out Buffett's methodology as well as anybody. But once you get into the meat of the book, you realize that Buffett had (and has) a lot of advantages over most other investors. That, in and of itself, doesn't take away from the genius behind the method, just that you aren't going to approximate his returns without a lot of luck.
Particularly interesting is that many of his "great" purchases were made either when the market had momentarily beaten down a good company, or when the market in general was on the ropes. Both situations recall the sage advice to "buy when blood is running in the streets." Sadly, most investors are usually loaded up with stocks (and paper losses) and without the wherewithal to buy more when these panics hit.
That's where Buffett's business strategy comes in. By investing heavily in insurance companies early and often, he's the beneficiary of a steady stream of cash, ready to be put to use whenever the opportunity presents itself.
The authors' advice to mimic Buffett in seeking out consumer "monopolies" with intangible assets is good; "an unregulated monopoly that the world hasn't recognized yet," as they say. However, thousands of Wall Street's brightest are hard at work all day and into the night looking for those same jewels. So you'll have plenty of competition.
Two problems arise from this type of book. The first is that the assumptions made about the expected growth of earnings/dividends over the course of the next 10 years can easily go astray. The business environment is changing rapidly. Long-range predictions haven't held up well recently (and frequently don't). The second problem is one of practicality. Do you actually have the resources and time to do the footwork that a Buffett or a Peter Lynch can do? If so, then maybe you'll be the next superstar. Otherwise, you'll have to find an easier way of going after that 20+% return year after year.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than it seems to some, February 9, 2003
By 
James H. McDuffie (Huntsville, Alabama United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett The Worlds (Paperback)
Although I agree with some reviewers about the origin of the book I believe it should be judged by its merits rather than by whether or not Mary Buffett is capitalizing on her relationship with Buffet's son. The book makes a great deal of sense actually and I have made a great deal of money in the stock market using methods almost identical to those espoused in the book.
However, the authors fail to explain why low debt, high return on equity companies are so attractive. They dance around but never hit the correct answer. This makes me wonder if they really understand it. For the reader's future reference, once this simple fact is truly understood the investor is on his or her way to understanding investment. Another difficulty is that there are mathematical errors in the book and simplistic mathematical calculations. But the errors induced thereby are not large and no one seems to realize that the calculations are just a poor man's replacement for calculus. As someone with a extensive mathematical background I find this perfectly acceptable. Quite frankly, I have never needed more than simple algebra to understand investments anyhow so restricting the reader to this is good. Also, some sections of the book wander about somewhat aimlessly trying to explain rather simple concepts. I just think the authors don't have a quantitative background. As I said above that is ok but these concepts can be explained better in words than they are in the book.
Finally, other reviewers are correct. Mary Buffett using Warren said this and Warren said that etc. throughout the book grates after a very few pages.
But in the final analysis the book is worth the time and effort. It is actually an attempt to make a basic valuation theory available to the masses so to speak and it does a very good job of this. The book is definitely worth reading for those just starting out and in particular for those who think they understand investment but really don't. I will leave it to the reader's discernment as to who those individuals are.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Investing Book I've Read, October 1, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett The Worlds (Paperback)
I've read Robert Hagstrom's "The Warren Buffett Portfolio", Ben Graham's "The Intelligent Investor", James O'Shaughnessy's "What Works on Wall Street", and Peter Lynch's "One Up On Wall Street". "Buffettology" is better than all of them combined. It tells you Warren's basic investment strategies AND the mathematics to calculate what is and isn't a good buy. It goes far beyond just P/E ratios and ROE.

Before I bought the book, I wondered if maybe Mary Buffett didn't really know Warren's investment strategies and was just using her name to sell books. I was wrong. She goes into great detail about how he picks stocks. Far more detail than is in Hagstrom's book or in BRK's Annual Reports (but those are good sources too).
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Want to learn from Warren Buffett? Read Warren Buffett, March 26, 2005
This review is from: Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett The Worlds (Paperback)
Some people writing reviews of this book have criticised Mary Buffett for cashing in on her former relationship to Warren Buffett. I don't have a problem with that. Everyone who has written a book about Buffett has done it to make money. What I found interesting about this book was that Mary Buffett has not included a single example of her using the information in this book to buy a company's shares in the stock market and make money. Mary Buffett doesn't provide the name of one company she made money on - or her reasoning behind buying it. We all know Warren Buffett can make money in the stock market. Mary Buffett doesn't show us that by using the information in her book she has ever made a dime.

The book is written for a reading level of about junior high school. The book might be helpful to someone that age just getting interested in investing. If a parent has a child that age getting interested in the stock market, this might be an OK present. There is some good information in chapter 16 on the characteristics of excellent businesses and in chapter 18 on where to find information on companies that have shares listed on stock exchanges. A key point made in the book is that there are two separate parts to successfully investing in the stock market: 1) identifying excellent businesses 2) after you have found several excellent businesses buying shares of any of these companies ONLY at times when their shares are trading at low bargain prices.

Warren Buffett's company is Berkshire Hathaway. The best place to learn about Warren Buffett is the Berkshire website. It's free. The quality of the man's writing on business and the stock market (almost) matches his skill as an investor. If you are really interested in learning about investing you will appreciate and enjoy reading Warren Buffett's letters to shareholders posted for free on the Berkshire website far more than this book.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I should have known..., July 12, 2001
This review is from: Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett The Worlds (Paperback)
I bought Buffetology and "The Warren Buffet Way" (which was very good) at the same time, thinking that 2 different perspectives would be good. In retrospect, I should have known this book would be a stinker from the start. A brief list:
1) What type of self-respecting investor would call themself a "Buffetologist"? The title itself is demeaning to an incredibly successful stock picking technique. 2) Mary Buffet states in the first chapter that "But Peter [Buffet] and I divorced in 1993, which shattered my heart into a thousand tears." Please. This is not the appropriate subject matter for an investing book, and it should make one question her reasons for writing this book. 3) There is an overarching theme of bumbling Wall Street. Ms. Buffet repeatedly refers to how poorly the Wall Street Fat Cats understand these SIMPLE principles of investing. While I certainly recognize that professional investors have a history of poor performance, her analysis of the reasons is incredibly simplistic and ultimately misleads the reader.
The greatest danger of this book is that is actively encourages investor overconfidence. Ms. Buffet states that simply by reading this book, any investor ought to be able to make 15-25% annually. 15-25%!!!!! This upper number is a higher annual rate than Warren Buffet himself has averaged. Are we truly to believe that a book written by his ex-daughter-in-law will allow us to beat the master? Ms. Buffet gives a simplistic view of Warren Buffet's portfolio strategy while entirely missing the meat of what makes him successful. Investors would be a lot better off completely ignoring this book.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pop synthesis of Buffett investment strategy, November 27, 2000
By A Customer
I thought this was a pretty dreadful read, actually. First up, one has to be circumspect about the fact that the author was divorced out of the Buffett family circle. As if to counter any alienation claim, Ms. 'Buffett' (strange, that) repeatedly refers to the master as 'Warren'. 'Warren thinks this, Warren did that' and so on -- pretty tedious after the first ten pages. In terms of presenting the investment rationale behind Berkshire's astounding return (23.8% compound), the book does an okay job -- although some readers may find tutelage in the ways of operating a calculator a little superfluous. To be honest, it's almost as if Ms. Buffett discovered the joys of compounding and IRR for the first time herself, while writing this book. At no point does she really adequately address the real magic...arriving at the correct discount rate, on which all purchase price decisions should be based...at no point does she really give an insight into Buffett's mistakes. Finally, the commercial strategy runs deeper than picking consumer monopolies over commodity businesses...the value-added would have been in this grey area of Buffett's thinking. Bottom-line, I came away feeling pretty disappointed. Re-read Security Analysis or the Warren Buffet Way instead.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Buffetology: I was a Buffet and now I'm Cashing In!!!, August 29, 2000
By 
Brian (Louisville, KY) - See all my reviews
I'm a big fan of Warren Buffet and love to read anything by him or about him. Buffetology is the exception.
Upon reading some of the other reviews, I was terrified to discover that there are many who feel that a simple reading of this book will prepare someone to start investing!! I don't think there is any single book out there that can could accomplish this. If there is ... this isn't the one.
At best this book is a clumsy and at times flawed presentation of some very basic math and business concepts. Tired business/investing cliches were used out of context, giving away the fact that the authors weren't comfortable, familiar or capable with the material they were covering.
It gets worse. The book does present itself as "all you need to get going and be just like Warren!" Anyone who has read the "Warren Buffet Way" or anything by Benjamin Graham knows better. You can only simplify things so much, before some of the substance gets lost. But, the crowning act of brazen irresponsibility came at the end in the extreme oversimplification of how to set up an investing partnership.
Money spent on Buffetology as an "investing primer" will be the first in a long line of investment mistakes!
I wish someone would write a book that covers the ground that this one pretends to.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pure Hype, April 24, 2000
Mary Buffett seems to be trading on her past marriage to Peter Buffett. She promises ``untold secrets'' about Warren Buffett's investment strategies, but dishes up well known facts, worn out platitudes, and errors.
I found her chapters on valuing companies very intriguing at first. Then I determined exactly what formula she was using (I have a Ph.D. in mathematics).
That chapter is a great example of her errors. She based her calculations on exactly two things. 1) She assumed that the value of the company will grow at a rate equal to the Return on Equity (after deducting dividend payouts). 2) She projected an increase in the Price/Earnings ratio for the stock.
That isn't value investing! If it weren't for #2, she would have worked very hard to conclude that your investment will probably grow exactly as fast as the company has been growing. Wow! Adding in #2, she takes into account the _possibility_ that the stock price will be a larger multiple of earnings in the future. But value investment is about _ignoring_ stock market motion, and looking instead at the _value_ of the company.
Not a good book. Get Ben Graham's ``The Intelligent Investor'' instead.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Basic Business Knowledge and Investing Skills, October 15, 2006
This review is from: Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett The Worlds (Paperback)
I read this book several years ago and suddenly feel compelled to write a short review after reading the opinions of several reviewers who have slammed the work.

More than any other business book (and I've read many), this one gave me the fundamental understanding to clearly see the difference between a business selling commodity-type products and services versus those that sell on something less competitive than price. To me, this is a nearly priceless (no pun) bit of understanding for any aspiring investor (or even entrepreneur)to mentally digest and intellectually internalize.

The concepts covered in this book, both the qualitative and quantitative, are clearly explained and easy to understand. I guess this causes some people to scoff at it with the opinion that it's too simplistic. However, if you really study Mr. Buffett's investing history - his philosophy has been pretty simple.

So how come most people won't become a billionaire by reading and applying the concepts taught in this book? Well... duuhhh! I guess we'll have to learn how to buy insurance companies and use the floats created by the payed-in premiums as our investment funds. Mr. Buffett has obviously got the intestinal fortitude and know-how for utilizing the ultimate in OPM. However, I've not seen the evidence that he doesn't use the basic formulas that Mary Buffett so clearly and entertainingly lays out in this book.

This is a great book that can teach you a lot - unless your ego closes off the receptivity of your mind.
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Buffettology: The Previously Unexplained Techniques That Have Made Warren Buffett The Worlds
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