- Paperback: 730 pages
- Publisher: Max Olson; 1 edition (April 25, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1595910778
- ISBN-13: 978-1595910776
- Package Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 38 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #914,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders, 2012 Paperback – April 25, 2013
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About the Author
Warren Edward Buffett (born August 30, 1930) is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century. Buffett is the primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people. He was ranked as the world's wealthiest person in 2008 and as the third wealthiest person in 2011. In 2012, American magazine Time named Buffett one of the most influential people in the world. Buffett is called the "Wizard of Omaha", "Oracle of Omaha", or the "Sage of Omaha" and is noted for his adherence to the value investing philosophy and for his personal frugality despite his immense wealth. Buffett is also a notable philanthropist, having pledged to give away 99 percent of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Gates Foundation.
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I spent several months going through the letters in chronological order, and how amazing they were! They taught everything from accounting to investing, critical thinking, economics, business, and served as a reminder that business and market cycles ebb and flow.
I got into the habit of telling -- to whomever cared to listen -- that these letters, properly read and understood, were likely the best MBA course one could possibly take (particularly considering the price!).
Well, now they have been helpfully compiled by my friend Max Olson. This edition includes charts I haven't seen anywhere else, showing Berkshire's cost of float (to the uninitiated: Buffett has borrowed money more cheaply than the U.S. government over the years, and used this fuel to invest at incredible rates of return), a chronological list of acquisitions, and even includes a topic index.
Kudos to Olson and Buffett for making this public. Now it's up to you, the reader, to make the best of it.
You will not learn any magic formulas or short-cuts in his letters. What you will learn is how to think about businesses and investing. You will learn that investing is more of an art than a science. You will learn that temperament is critical to your investing success. You will get a history lesson, and see how a great investor thought about situations in the past. You will learn the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Reading Buffett's shareholder letters is the best practical investment education available. Buffett has mentioned in the past that he spends considerable amounts of time crafting his shareholder letters, and it shows. Hiis ideas and thoughts come across the page in a crystal clear manner.
I also like the Lawrence Cunningham book, The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America. Cunningham's book takes selected sections out of past letters and groups them by subject, which is very handy. This book includes the letters in their entirety from 1965 to present. It has a convenient topics index in the front of the book so you can quickly find where Buffett discussed moats, Mr. Market, risk, etc...
I have been an Amazon (talk about a moat!) customer for close to 15 years now. I pretty much do all my shopping here, I have purchased hundreds of items over the years. This is the first product I have felt compelled to write a review for. I think this book belongs on every thinking investor and business person's book shelf. I hope the creators of this book will likewise make one of the older Buffett Partnership letters. There are many great insights to be found there as well.