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Even Buffett Isn't Perfect: What You Can--and Can't--Learn from the World's Greatest Investor Hardcover – May 1, 2008

3.4 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his introduction, Janjigian notes that to become a successful investor you must be an educated investor, and the best place to start is by examining Buffett's strategies. The author—vice president and executive director of the Forbes Investors Advisory Institute—doggedly follows Buffett's investment trail, scrutinizing the successes and failures of the world's pre-eminent investment celebrity. Janjigian's readable, engaging style carries the reader painlessly through the fundamentals and finer points of investing, assaying Buffett's buying strategies and research methods, while clarifying investment terms and summarizing key points. Although frankly admiring, Janjigian is never fawning and takes pains to make his material clear and compelling; his book is a rounded evaluation of the investment guru's strategies and a useful primer for business neophytes. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It’s refreshing to encounter a title about world-famous investment wizard Warren Buffett that doesn’t paint him as a superhero. Despite his many successes, Buffett has made mistakes and not always taken the right steps, as recounted in this measured, objective account that scrutinizes Buffett’s techniques and presents investment fundamentals and strategies. Unfortunately, Casella’s reading is somewhat lackluster. His careful, almost phonetic enunciation of some phrases and sentences makes it seem as if he is seeing the text for the first time. Although monotonous might be too strong a word, his performance could use a little more spark. Casual listeners may tune out, but those who stick with this “penetrating look at Buffett” will gain insight into the respected businessman and learn more about investment strategies. --David Pitt --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio; 1St Edition edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841968
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841968
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The title is kind of a misnomer. True that the author points out some of Buffett's investment mistakes. He also highlights what seem to be inconsistencies in the investment guru's approach. Yet the author never attacks the man directly. And he actually rains proper praise for all of the things Buffett's done right. To me it showed that everyone is human and prone to mistakes. As the author puts it, it's Buffett's ability to minimize mistakes while maximizing his successes that's truly made him a star.

Another aspect of the book I found to be more than a pleasant surprise was just how level-headed it was. Having read a number of investment-themed books, I can be sure that all good ones will present a heavy dose of what I like to call "financial science". Given that most investment strategies are based on some foundation of financial theory, this makes sense. But while many of these can get a bit too technical, the author does a good job of communicating relevant concepts without requiring the reader to have a degree in finance. Indeed, I initially cringed when he brought up the concept of correlation coefficient -- two words many of us probably haven't heard since high school. But his explanation of this and other important concepts were very easy to follow and rooted in common sense. He also doesn't inundate you with these concepts, only focusing on those that are required to help understand how Buffett invests and why it has worked so well for so long.

I enjoyed all of the chapters and felt the final ones -- which criticize Buffett's views on a few key issues such as taxes, corporate governance, and earnings guidance -- were especially well argued. However, my favorite, and perhaps most sobering, part of the book was when Dr.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a sophisticated and mature book looking at investing policies and strategies, shunning the emotional contagion of the street. It is presented in the "Warren Buffett" model and is a must read! I really loved this book.
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Format: Paperback
The book spends all but the introduction and the final chapter telling us why Buffett is the most brilliant investor of our time. There's not much debating this point. The numbers speak for themselves.

The final chapter takes on Buffett's view of taxes, where apparently the prophet of Omaha just can't comprehend the obvious advantages of supply side economics. The author suddenly switches gears and begins to lecture Buffett on his views of the "death tax," which he makes sound like the government taking every last penny of a man's lifelong savings. It's cheap journalism that clearly has an agenda.

The ideological bent is tipped off in the introduction, written by the author's boss, Steve Forbes. While having to pay homage to the man, Forbes can't wait to rail against his more progressive view on taxes, especially calling out the death or inheritance tax. This coming from a man who owes absolutely everything he has to an inheritance.

Buffett may not be perfect, but he deserves better than that.
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Format: Hardcover
Most of Warren Buffett mistakes just cause him to work harder than he anticipated in order to make the investment still pay off. And once in while he actually loses money. His method of investing is evolving. The author (and Steve Forbes in the Forward) makes a good point when he points out that even the worlds greatest investor can be wrong about tax policy. It would probably not be practical for most readers to apply most of the Warren Buffett investment methods described in this book. But just today on the news it was reported that Mr. Buffett is going to bet a large sum that he can get a better return on investment over the next ten years than hedge funds, by simply investing in a Vanguard Index Fund. Now that is an investment technique that can be easily copied (if you have not done it already).
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Format: Hardcover
"Even Buffett Isn't Perfect" provides no useful advice for investors and wastes the reader's time. Suggest instead something by Mary Buffett, or the new book "Snowball," by Alice Schroeder.

"Even Buffett Isn't Perfect's" first chapter goes through a bloviated and pointless discussion of diversification trying to somehow make something out of the fact that Buffett recommends diversification (actually - a low-cost index fund) for others who don't have the stock research time and mindset that he does, while focusing his investments when he started out to get maximum impact. Now, given the tens of billions in Buffett's portfolio, he can no longer focus like he once did. Pretty simple - right? Unfortunately, the book took some 20+ pages to do the same.

Then its off to another worthless discussion of Google vs. Washington Post. Buffett doesn't like investing in new "transforming" companies because they lack of track record and most fail in the initial stages of competition. In addition, he doesn't like technology stocks because he recognizes he doesn't know enough about the field to adequately assess. Saved you another 20+ pages of blarney.

Janjigian believes Buffett is wrong in opposing momentum investing ("follow the crowd," at least for awhile) and cites two supporting studies. Reality, however, is that academics rarely agree on anything, and I'd bet there are at least another two studies that contradict Janjigian's point.

Eventually, Janjigian gets to what really upsets him about Buffett - the fact that Buffett favors higher taxes for the wealthy and opposes ending the estate tax. That has nothing to do with investing strategy!
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