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The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Second Edition Paperback – April 14, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: The Cunningham Group; 2nd edition (April 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0966446127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0966446128
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Buffett, the Bard of Omaha, is a genuine American folk hero, if folk heroes are allowed to build fortunes worth upward of $15 billion. He's great at homespun metaphor, but behind those catchy phrases is a reservoir of financial acumen that's generally considered the best of his generation. For example, in an essay on CEO stock options, he writes, "Negotiating with one's self seldom produces a barroom brawl." This is his way of saying that an executive who can give himself compensation totally disproportionate to his performance surely will. There are uncountable gems of financial wisdom to be harvested from these essays, taken from the annual reports he writes for Berkshire Hathaway, his holding company. Just to pick one more, here's a now-famous line about those he competes with when making stock-market investments: "What could be more advantageous in an intellectual contest--whether it be chess, bridge, or stock selection--than to have opponents who have been taught that thinking is a waste of energy?"

While Buffett has a policy of seldom commenting on stocks he owns--he feels public pronouncements will only lead to the public's expectation of more public pronouncements, and he likes to keep his cards close to his vest--he loves to discuss the principles behind his investments. These come primarily from Ben Graham, under whom Buffett studied at Columbia University and for whom he worked in the 1950s. First among them is the idea that price is what you pay and value is what you get--and if you're a smart investor, the first will always be less than the second. In that sense, the value of the lessons learned from Buffett's Essays could be far greater than the book's price. --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"One of the top investment books of all time."
  --The Motley Fool

"Two thumbs up."
  --CNN

"The book on Buffett.  A superb job."
 --Forbes

"Extraordinary."
--Money

"A classic on value investing and the definitive source on Buffett."
--Financial Times

"One of the top investment books of all time."
  --The Motley Fool

"Two thumbs up."
  --CNN

"The book on Buffett.  A superb job."
 --Forbes

"Extraordinary."
--Money

"A classic on value investing and the definitive source on Buffett."
--Financial Times

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Customer Reviews

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If you wish to read my review of the SECOND EDITION, it follows.
Robert Morris
With his clear writing and delightful sense of humor, this book is superbly entertaining as well as educational.
GreatSantini II
Yet another great, topical addition. - addition of "derivatives" section.
M. Henderson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my review of the THIRD EDITION, dated March 18, 2013. If you wish to read my review of the SECOND EDITION, it follows.

This is the Third Edition of an ongoing process by which Warren Buffett presents a "chairman's letter" (i.e. progress report with his unique reflections) to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders at their annual meeting. Lawrence A. Cunningham edited each of the three editions, with the latest including Buffett's annual letters to Berkshire shareholders since 2008, the date of the prior edition. Other new material includes:

o The financial crisis and its continuing implications for investors, managers and society;
o The housing bubble at the bottom of that crisis
o The debt and derivatives excesses that fueled the crisis and how to deal with them
o Controlling risk and protecting reputation in corporate governance
o Berkshire's acquisition and operation of Burlington Northern Santa Fe
o The role of oversight in heavily regulated industries
o Investment possibilities today
o Weaknesses of popular option valuation models

Some other material has been rearranged to deepen the themes and lessons that the collection has always produced:

o Buffett's "owner-related business principles" are in the prologue as a separate subject
o Valuation and accounting topics are spread over four instead of two sections and reordered to sharpen their payoff.

According to Cunningham, "Those who are familiar with The Essays will notice that we have made the cover snappier than has been our custom. (Thanks for the cover design to Tim Colton, of Carolina Academic Press, which will continue to partner with me in the distribution of the book.
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113 of 121 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on August 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I cannot imagine that Mr. Warren Buffet is not on any investor's top 10 list of the greatest investors since there were markets in this Country. I would also suggest that a dispassionate appraisal of his performance argues quite eloquently that he is the best to have ever amassed his fortune, and that of his shareholders on Wall Street.
Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Lawrence A. Cunningham readers have access to essays that previously were available primarily to shareholders, and which are organized in this book thematically for the first time. Annual reports are generally easy to come by, however as I write, 1 Share Of Berkshire Hathaway "A" requires $59,900.00, and the "Baby Berkshires" $1,966.00 per share. Many are quick to respond the price is so high as Mr. Buffet has not split the stock, ever. But what is more important is why he has never done this. This book explains his theory on this matter, and dozens of others.
Mr. Buffet has his critics, they range from the idiotic, "he's lucky", "his success allows him to make attractive deals", and to those who feel he missed the money that was made in tech stocks. As for the luck theory, who else has earned 23.8% compounded annually for over 25 years? Winning the lottery is probably more likely an event. As to the attractive deals his wealth is said to facilitate, I guess the answer is, is the questioner serious? He made what he has, his reputation allowed him to have the Federal Government allow Solomon Brothers to continue participating in the bond market based on one thing, his word! This is a man who has rescinded very successful trades because news arrived within days of his buying that could have given the appearance of his having had information others were not privy to.
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
The book is well-organized, but it is just a reorganized version of Buffett's original words. I assume that readers purchased the book so that everything would be "laid out" for them. But as Charlie Munger, Berkshire's vice-chairman, said about common stock investments at a shareholders' meeting, "If it were that easy, everyone would be rich." One would be better off obtaining copies of the actual letters to shareholders. They are available on Berkshire Hathaway's website, and a compendium of letters to shareholders from 1977 to 1995 is available for purchase directly from the company for a reasonable price. I would recommend starting with the 1977 letter and proceeding in a chronological fashion. This would add context - a backdrop - for Buffett's investment philosophy. For instance, one would notice his evolution, as his emphasis shifted from mostly statistical undervaluation to favorable qualitative factors. Although he still seeks a "margin of safety" in his investment purchases, he is now more in tune with Philip Fisher than with Benjamin Graham. (His evolution was helped by Charlie Munger, who recognized, earlier in his investment career, the importance of subjective factors which are not readily quantifiable.) The book would be useful as a quick reference guide, but for the investment fanatic - and any truly successful investor is - the Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders are priceless.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
At the 1998 Berkshire annual meeting, Buffett himself credited this book by saying it is better than all the other biographies and the best business investment book to read. Who could ignore such a high recommendation?
Having read several other books claiming to have captured and outlined Buffett's investment wizardry, I am excited to report that finally some one has done so beautifully. Cunningham distills and presents the Berkshire philosophy in a coherent and organized manner that puts it in a whole new light. This book is an excellent investment guidance source for everyone, from the novice to the more seasoned investor. You will find yourself dog-earing pages and underlining like crazy. Absolutely brilliant!
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