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Warren Buffett Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World's Greatest Investor Hardcover – August 31, 2007
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Most people come to know of Warren Buffett through his ability to generate wealth. However, as Janet Lowe reveals in her book, Warren Buffett Speaks, Buffett is more than a money-making machine. Warren Buffett Speaks is a library of notes and quotes that have been collected over the years, aimed at revealing the many aspects of the World's Greatest Investor--his wit, personality, and wisdom. The first half of the book deals with Buffett's view of life, family, and friends, while the latter half focuses on Buffett's investment philosophy and observations about the market. This book is a must for every Buffettologist. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Some nice touches include a General Electric chronology and a short glossary of company lingo." -- USA Today, September 17, 1998 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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He started by emulating Graham and finding companies to invest in that were in particularly bad financial shape. He has called them cigar butts with one puff left. He at all times considered himself as an owner of the businesses he owned stock in and always looked at the company as a business not just a stock. Business competitors were studied and ways to make the business more effective and efficient were found. Combining an almost photographic memory for financial data with high-level mathematical reasoning ability he became a very successful investor. Interestingly Buffett has never taken higher level mathematics courses such as calculus. His mathematics is closer to using an advanced spreadsheet, but he seems able to do it in his head. He uses an in-depth, thorough analysis of the important aspects of the business to develop a complete understanding of the business. He also has a thorough understanding the of accounting rules and their tax implication.
Buffet soon found himself entranced with the insurance industry and developed a masterful understanding of the area. This was and still is one of his areas of competence. He considers it important to invest in areas that you thoroughly understand. Then you need to understand the particular position of the company in that area. He found that insurance companies got to hold a substantial part of the insurance payments they earned for long periods of time before having to pay out money in claims. This is called the float and it is basically free money that can be invested over long periods. This is just about ideal for a long-term investor such as Buffet.
Warren also enjoys finding companies that need his capital and have a well-established, highly motivated, competent management in place. He will buy shares in a company like this or buy the entire company. Following these methods he has achieved an outstanding record as an investor.
If interested in Buffett as an investor, one good book is The Essays of Warren Buffett. If you want to save money even on this one, without missing out on the content, just download the letters to shareholders Buffett has written over the years and posted on Berkshire Hathaway's website, for free of course.
Anyway, the Berkshire homepage (WWW.BERKSHIREHATHAWAY.COM) has a full set of Berkshire letters to shareholders. Read these instead.
The reason I like this book is that Warren and I have something in common: our views on risk, debt, and uncertainty in economics. By way of recommending this book I can better communicate to those with an interest in SelfReliant my own thoughts about the composition of "risk" in financial markets. As Buffett so appropriately notes, "Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing" (106). (My own) corollary to this is simply that any "risk" one encounters can be rendered a "non-risk" through education. In this way, the entire enterprise of rendering risky behavior non-risky overlaps in a very profound way with learning, experience, and diminishing uncertainty on the part of the individual. Great education needs to make a student more certain about taking right and decent action. This is the desired outcome of every research program and educational institution.
The author also notes that Buffett "absorbed the attitude of a self-reliant pioneer", an idea reinforced by his partner, Charlie Munger, when he states that Buffett, "...believes successful investment is intrinsically independent in nature." (111) An important thing to remember for those seeking to be empowered by the ease of online stock purchasing. Think for yourself, do your reading, decrease your own uncertainty, and then hold for the long term - it's the Warren Buffett way.
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After you have read your copy, you may consider buying more. They make a nice gift!Read more