77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Just buy the Compendium of Letters to Shareholders
, April 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America (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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