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Pilgrimage to Warren Buffett's Omaha: A Hedge Fund Manager's Dispatches from Inside the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Hardcover – October 7, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Welcome to the “WOODSTOCK OF CAPITALISM”

Omaha Nebraska, Saturday May 3, 2008 The nation’s largest mortgage lender, Countrywide Credit, has collapsed after 38 years of making home loans—-a victim of its own aggressive lending practices, soaring loan losses, and a credit squeeze that forced it to sell out at a fire-sale price.

Bear Stearns, which survived the Crash of 1929 without a single layoff and ranked among the top investment banks in the United States, virtually disappeared overnight after 85 years on Wall Street. Only an 11th hour rescue by JP Morgan and the U.S. Treasury prevented a world-wide financial meltdown.

And 31,000 people have converged on Omaha to hear what Warren Buffett thinks will happen now.

The “Oracle of Omaha” is in the building.

“After reading Pilgrimage to Warren Buffett’s Omaha, my view of Buffett has been radically changed. Jeff Matthews reveals some of Warren Buffett’s most interesting professional foibles and personal blemishes.”—Douglas A. Kass, Seabreeze Partners Management Inc.

About the Author

Jeff Matthews founded Ram Partners, LP, a hedge fund based in Greenwich, CT, in 1994. His distinctive financial blog, Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up, is regularly featured in the Wall Street Journal’s blog roll and has a loyal following among Wall Street analysts, traders, and portfolio managers, as well as investors around the world.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007160197X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071601979
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,760,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Koral on October 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a long time reader of Mr. Matthews' blog, JeffMatthewsIsNotMakingThisUp, I looked forward with anticipation to his book on his take-aways from the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meetings. Upon reading, I was not disappointed. The book is based on a series of blog posts from the first year Mr. Matthews attended the "Woodstock of Capitalism", as the Berkshire shareholder meetings are affectionately referred to.

The book, I should note, is not another biography of Warren Buffett like Roger Lowenstein's excellent "Buffett: The Making of An American Capitalist". Nor is the book a distillation of Berkshire Hathaway's investment tenets such as Robert Hagstrom's "The Warren Buffett Way". The book focuses mainly on the type of questions Berkshire shareholders ask Mr. Buffett and his partner, Charlie Munger, as well as the answers they provide. The author then proceeds to offer his own take on the views shared by Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger, as well as the questioners/shareholders themselves.

Mr. Matthews throughout his work offers some great contrasts between the public pronouncements by Mr. Buffett and the actions Berkshire Hathaway takes with its float and shareholder capital. An example would be Berkshire's use of derivatives on currency trades, while Mr. Buffett publicly pronounces the use of derivatives as "financial weapons of mass destruction".

Readers will also get the sense of the admiration the author holds for Mr. Buffett and the way he runs Berkshire shareholder meetings, which are unlike any other shareholder meeting for American publicly traded companies.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bulls & Bears on October 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be an enjoyable read that, unlike Snowball, kept my attention straight through. I enjoyed Jeff Matthews' insight into the mind and personality of the "Oracle of Omaha". I would recommend this book to anyone - from wall street hotshots to young professionals just starting out.
Jeff also provides an in-depth look into the incredible following that hangs on Warren's every word... a comprehensive account that I had yet to see in previous Buffett books.
I would also suggest checking out his blog - I've been an avid reader of it since early 2006 and have enjoyed the majority of his posts. Like the book, Jeff's posts are full of his wit and astute perspective.
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By investingbythebooks on January 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The author Jeff Matthews, hedge fund manager at Ram Partners and blogger, is also one of the characters in the text as it almost has the form of a diary. The main character is not Matthews however, it's not even Warren Buffett. The spotlight instead falls on the Woodstock of capitalism, the AGM of Birkshire Hathaway. Matthews travelled to the 2006 and 2007 AGMs and wrote about the experience on his blog and gave all the rest of us, who probably never will, a seat on the front row. The blogs then turned into this book and the experience turned Matthews into a devotee to what even Charlie Munger has called "somewhat of a cult".

On the surface this is almost a sociological study of the yearly 30.000 person event. The AGM is part of Buffett's attempt to gain a high quality ownership base through constant communication of his values and philosophy. The highlight is the Q&A-session that goes on almost a full Saturday and anyone can ask anything apart from what Buffett is investing in next. Beside the Q&A-session there are furthermore exhibition halls for the Berkshire companies' products, private dinners and lunches with Buffett and other Berkshire dignitaries, cocktail parties etc. Matthews takes the reader to what is a combination of a sports event, a country fair and a revival meeting to meet with countless of white couples nearing retirement age and groups of men in their middle ages who are there to see the Buffett and Munger show.

The good thing is that the author apart from an amateur sociologist also is a fund manager. This enables him to pick up and comment on all the nuggets in Buffett's investment philosophy.
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Format: Hardcover
Have you ever wondered what really goes on at the annual meetings of Berkshire Hathaway where with Warren Buffet and Charles Munger sit down and answer questions for the better part of the day from from 40 or 50 of the over a hundred thousand people attending? Jeff Matthews gives you a ring side seat, not only for the meetings and question and answer period, but the trip to Omaha and the Quest Center where the meetings take place and to the company's huge furniture mart in Omaha. His book makes you feel like you are there with him, navigating the crowded flights into Omaha, touring the show with all the Berkshire Hathaway company booths (no freebies at this trade show!) and some of the best people watching anywhere.

Jeff Matthews, a hedge fun manager and authors the [...] has a light, but engrossing writing style that makes this book so much fun to read. The way he describes the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting as well as other accounts I've read have convinced me it's almost like a cult gathering, or as he says, "The Woodstock of Capitalism". The first half of his book covers the 2007 meeting which was attended by about 27,000 people. The second half covers the 2008 meeting attended by 31,000. Lots happened between those two meetings! I didn't realize that each stockholder received 4 tickets to the meeting (the first year Weber attended with a friend and the second he bought a few shares of stock on his own) for themselves and family or friends. Did you know at the time of the writing Berkshire Hathaway stock was worth $133,000 per share for one of the "A" shares? But there is another way to get tickets to the meeting. "B" shares were going for $4,448 per share at the time of writing.

The nice thing is that it isn't all idol worship on Jeff Matthews part.
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