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The Amazon Book Review
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I was very much looking forward to this book - to be able to read a comprehensive and organized treatise on Buffett's many philosophies and strategies. What a disappointment! Unfortunately, I pre-ordered the book, before the "See Inside" feature was available, which would have given me the opportunity to see the Table of Contents and warn me that the book is nothing but tidbits and random bits and pieces of articles written about him (and a few by him) over the last 46 years. I started reading when the book arrived yesterday, but quickly found that the vast majority of the information is either completely outdated, completely irrelevant, or both. One of the articles contained in the book was there simply because Buffett's name happened to be mentioned once, in one sentence! What the heck! In another section, one paragraph of one article was printed, simply because his name happened to be mentioned in the paragraph! If you think you can learn something about the man simply by reading the words "Warren Buffett" a few thousand times, then you might get something out of this book. Or, if you are a Buffett "groupie" - someone who feels compelled to read and own every word every written about or by the man, then this book might have value. But don't expect to learn anything you probably already didn't know. Any normal person wanting to learn about what really makes this man tick, and what his investing philosophies and strategies are, would do better to read Alice Schroeder's comprehensive and impressive biography of Buffett - "The Snowball." I will be donating "Tap Dancing" to my local library in the morning, so they can sell it at their annual book sale.
Warren Buffet loves his job, and when asked, will tell you he 'tap dances to work' every morning. Lucky readers, armed with insights cleaned from this book, his intelligence, and plenty of hard work, will too. I particularly enjoy his quotations - finding them witty, insightful, and important.
The book is built around numerous Fortune magazine articles (including 13 cover stories) involving Buffett - most written about him, but also another 12 written by the 'Oracle of Omaha.' Author Carol Loomis' first mentioned (one sentence) the then little-known Buffett in a 1966 Fortune article, and has followed him since. The material also follows his transition from being 'just' an extraordinary investor to being an extraordinary manager as well - the latter resulting from numerous instances in which he's acquired entire companies (eg. BNSF).
In 1969 Buffett announced that he no longer understood the market, believed making money in stocks was going to become much harder to do, and closed his highly successful hedge fund at the end of the year. He'd been providing compounded annual returns of 29.4%, vs. 7.4% for the Dow since 1956 and accumulated a personal fortune of about $25 million running the fund. His partners had kept all gains up to 6%, with Buffett taking one-fourth of everything over that.
Buffett, upon the urging of a friend, became an active trustee of Grinnell College in 1968 - retaining that role until 1987, and staying as lifetime trustee until 2011. During that period its endowment went from $8 million to around $1.5 billion.
When Buffett took over Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 it was a New Bedford (Ma.) textile manufacturer.Read more ›
At last count, I have read more than a dozen books and several dozen articles about Warren Buffett and thus felt well-prepared for this volume, collected and expanded by Carol Loomis, in which she and more than 40 others (including Buffett) contribute their thoughts and feelings about a remarkably diverse range of subjects (including Buffett) from material that was originally published in Fortune magazine from April, 1966 until February 12, 2012 and "still happening." Included are thirteen cover stories and a dozen articles written by Buffett.
If there were a Rushmorean monument to honor the four greatest business executives, Buffett would certainly be among them. (Who would you select? In addition to Buffett, my choices would be Benjamin Franklin, John D. Rockefeller, and Alfred Sloan.)
These are among the articles or passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the range of subjects that are explored with rigor and eloquence:
o How Inflation Swindles the Equity Investor (Pages 9-22) o Berkshire's Shareholder Contributions (26) o You Only Swing on 3-0 (42) o Warren Buffett's Wild Ride at Salomon (78-90) o How I Goofed (103-106) o Gates on Buffett (121-125) o Interview Excerpt: What's a Company Really Worth? (143-146) o A House Built on Sand (152-161) o Warren Buffett: Revivalist (176-177) o The Oracle of Everything (204-214) o Avoiding a "Mega-Catastrophe" (216-220) o America's Growing Trade Deficit Is Selling the Nation Out from Under Us (227-234) o Interview Excerpt: Warren Buffett Gives It Away (256-264) o Interview Excerpt: What Warren Thinks (272-) o Buffett's Mr.Read more ›
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