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Moats: The Competitive Advantages of Buffett and Munger Businesses Hardcover – November 20, 2012


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Moats: The Competitive Advantages of Buffett and Munger Businesses + Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders, 2013
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu.com (November 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1105418081
  • ISBN-13: 978-1105418082
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,935,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

The author extends a special thanks to Professor Phani Tej Adidam, Ph.D. Chair of the Department of Marketing and Management and Director of the CBA International Initiatives at University of Nebraska at Omaha. Thanks are extended to Richard Konrad, CFA, Dr. Maulik Suthar, and Scott Thompson, MBA for sharing their thoughts, analysis, and feedback. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Overall, I found it very informational!
Matt
The text is a valuable tool for students, professional investors, and personal investor's alike.
Tariq
A very good investing tool if combined with the financial analysis of the companies.
RAghu dasari

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By ThinkingAboutInvesting on March 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan and follower of Buffett and Munger and their concept of "economic moats." So, when I saw this book analyzing 70 Berkshire companies and detailing what exactly are their competitive advantages, I eagerly placed my order. Sadly, this book is very disappointing. Most of the chapters are just company profiles with very little analysis of their competitive advantage (or very superficial). In a lot of areas, its just a quick re-hash of segments from the Berkshire Hathaway letters (which you can read for free online from BRK's website).

What makes it all the worse to read is that it reads as if no one edited this book whatsoever. There are sentences that make no sense / are missing words. There is absolutely no structure for each chapter. I would have liked to see something like 1) company overview / history, 2) source of economic moat, and 3) Buffett / Munger comments, etc. This would have significantly improved readability and value of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By investingbythebooks on January 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
To write about moats in the real world is a great idea, and to focus on the moats surrounding Berkshire Hathaway's economic castles is brilliant. Most certainly, those financial moats are the key to the Buffett & Munger stardom and wealth.

A moat is one or more barriers to entry that protects a company's economic value added from getting eroded. Michael Porter introduced me to this topic with his excellent books. His five forces framework is still the foundation for all strategy issues. Another favorite is Bruce Greenwald with his extremely useful Competition Demystified. Greenwald focuses mainly on barriers to entry as the essential aspect for profitability above cost of capital. To summarize, one usually needs economies of scale with either some demand advantage of consumer captivity (search, switching or habit costs), or some supply advantage in form of competitive costs (e. g. patents, resources, licenses). Their ground-breaking works are briefly discussed in this book as a starting point.

Warren Buffett's critical factors for evaluating a franchise are there too. "An economic franchise arises from a product or service that: (1) is needed or desired; (2) is thought by its customers to have no close substitute and; (3) is not subject to price regulation. The existence of all three conditions will be demonstrated by a company's ability to regularly price its product or service aggressively and thereby to earn high rates of return on capital. Moreover, franchises can tolerate mismanagement. Inept managers may diminish a franchise's profitability, but they cannot inflict mortal damage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RAghu dasari on April 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a very good book listing the competitve advatages of the companies. A very good investing tool if combined with the financial analysis of the companies.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Griebe on June 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Bud Labitan's in-depth understanding of Warren Buffett's investing methodology is reflected in this collection of articles which present case studies 70 of Berkshire's equity and wholly-owned investments. The book is divided into "chapters" varying in length between 1 ½ to 2 ½ pages, outlining each company's history and business model to provide a basis for understanding why Berkshire invested. These case studies tell a more in depth story than what was recorded in news releases announcing acquisitions. MOATS presents background information essential to understanding each company's competitive advantage and why Warren and Charlie purchased the company or stock. For example, McLane's history going back to 1894 is presented along with the story of how under the management of several generations of McLanes for the next 96 years built a valuable franchise that met Buffett's strict investment filters.
Since Dr. Labitan enlisted the help of many people, each researching a specific investment and writing a chapter, case studies differ in format and contain varying amounts of historical and analytical information. Some case studies have extensive historical information and a description of their moat while others left me wondering exactly what competitive advantages Warren and Charlie saw in the company. For example, Costco's competitive advantages are clearly enumerated in an understandable 1,2,3 fashion while for others, like Garan, the apparel manufacturer, the reader is left to draw her own conclusions based on the business description and company's history. I surmise Garan's competitive advantages include the long-term relationship they have with Wal-mart and other major retailers, a strong management team and low cost production accomplished with retooled factories.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian on April 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a great book if you want to learn how to make smart investments and what makes a business a solid, protected entity. It discusses different businesses, going over what makes them dependable choices for investors and strong examples for business people. When reading the chapters, you will notice the different ways that these businesses protect themselves from the competition, and you will learn how to look at other businesses to see if they have similar advantages. Developing the knowledge of how to analyze businesses is important and this book will help you strengthen that analytical knowledge. There is no better way to learn than to learn from the best, and Buffet and Munger are the best.

I definitely recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn useful methods for evaluating businesses. Whether you are looking for better ways to invest, or just wanting to learn what makes a business solid and strong, this book has plenty to offer.
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More About the Author

Dr. Labitan is a physician and investor who has produced books related to value investing and smarter decision making. He is a graduate of Indiana University with a BS in the Biological Sciences and a medical degree from the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in 1987. He completed the Family Medicine Residency. Dr. Labitan is also a 2003 MBA graduate of the Purdue University Calumet School of Management in Hammond, Indiana. He researched the Behavioral Finance area of "successful practitioner decision framing" practiced by Warren Buffett and Charles Munger.

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Moats: The Competitive Advantages of Buffett and Munger Businesses
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