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the essays of warren buffett book review

NOTE: For reasons perhaps known only to Amazon, reviews of all three prior editions of Buffett’s essays/letters are also included with reviews of a “new (Fourth) edition”! Therefore, I have no choice but to add it to my reviews of earlier editions. Here we go again.

This edition has been designated as the EIGHTH, although the previous one was called the FIFTH (?), to correct for the fact that the two early editions were published without corresponding ordinal designations.

Since 1995, Lawrence Cunningham has updated each edition. The remarks that immediately follow comprise my review of the latest edition that has just been published.

These essays can be viewed in several different ways but I think they achieve several different but [begin italics] interdependent [end itaics} objectives:

o They are yearly “state of our company” updates provided by Warren Buffett at annual meetings of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders

o They affirm (or reaffirm business principles and human values to which Buffett remains steadfastly committed.

o They celebrate the company’s achievements since his last update.

o They review errors of judgment and miscalculations he duly acknowledges that he deems noteworthy.

o When appropriate, they provide reassurances (e.g. his health and commitment.

o Together, they provide business knowledge and wisdom of incalculable value to those now preparing for a career in business or are now engaged in one. The style and substance are incomparable. So is Cunningham in terms of his consummate skills as an editor. The essays are clustered in a traditional system of classification:

I. GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT (10 essays) II. INVESTING (8) III. COMMON STOCK (7) IV. ALTERNATIVES (8) V. ACQUISITIONS (6) VI. VALUATION (6) VII. ACCOUNTING (7) VIII. TAXATION (3) IX. AMERICAN HISTORY (3) X. CODA (4)

Of special interest to me is Buffett’s response — in the last essay — to a concern that many Berkshire shareholders have had in recent years: “What will happen if he begins to fade and, if so, how will the board handle it?” His reassurance is that the board will — as always — “do what’s right for the shareholders.”

Buffett has asserted that”If I were to pick one book to read, this would be the one.” That is high praise indeed, given the fact that — for decades — he has devoted at least 30% of his time and often more to reading.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There are several people I wish to thank for increasing substantially my understanding and appreciation of fundamental business principles. I am not – and never have been – an investor in stocks and bonds but have learned so much of value from the material Benjamin Graham provides in The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition). Warren Buffet is next, one of Graham’s students and later an associate. I have read all four editions of his essays (i.e. his letters to Berkshire-Hathaway shareholders), edited by Lawrence Cunningham whose introductions are exceptionally informative as well as eloquent. I am grateful to Carol Loomis for her entertaining as well as insightful book, Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2013. Tho there sources I now add Jeremy Miller’s Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules: Words of Wisdom from the Partnership Letters of the World’s Greatest Investor.

According to Cunningham in his Preface to the FOURTH Edition, “The year 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Berkshire Hathaway under Warren Buffet’s leadership, a milestone worth commemorating…As in previous editions of The Essays, this one retain the architecture and philosophy of the original edition but adds selections from Warren’s most recent shareholder letters, including his fiftieth anniversary retrospective [please see pages 287-299]. All the letters are woven together into a fabric that reads as a complete and coherent narrative of a sound business and investment philosophy.”

Ben Graham held that price is what you pay and value is what you get. These two issues are rarely identical, but most people who invest rarely notice any difference. With regard his influence, Cunningham observes, “One of Graham’s most profound contributions is a character who lives on Wall Street, Mr. Market. He is your hypothetical business partner who is daily willing to buy your interest in a business or sell you his at prevailing market prices…Another leading prudential legacy from Graham is his margin-of-safety principle. This principle holds that one should not make an investment in a security unless there is sufficient basis for believing that the price being paid is substantially lower than the value being delivered…The circle of competence is the third leg of Graham/Buffett stool of intelligent investing, along with Mr. Market and the margin of safety. This commonsense rule instructs investors to consider investments only concerning the businesses they are capable of understanding with a modicum of effort.”

Somehow Lawrence achieves both convergence and coherence with several dozen of Buffett’s essays, written within a 35-year timeframe (1979-2014). The material does indeed read as “a complete and coherent narrative of a sound business and investment philosophy.” The eleven sections range from Corporate Governance to Berkshire at Fifty and Beyond. Over the years, I have accumulated more than one hundred Warren Buffett quotations and have selected these as indicative of the thrust and flavor of his perspectives.

o The best thing I did was to choose the right heroes. o What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history o Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago. o Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1. o Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. o It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. o Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked. o It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price. o Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway. o Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.

With regard to other sources, I also highly recommend these: Alice Schroeder’s The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, Roger Lowenstein’s Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, and Tren Griffin’s Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor.

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.) The main reason: the book’s traditional covers could be seen well in physical form but pictures of them, shown on the internet, could not. Since most sales are done over the Internet these days, the cover needed a face-lift.

“The adage remains, however, that one should not judge a book by its cover. This book should continue to be judged on its content and organization, in which a distinctive investment and business philosophy is coherently articulated. Thanks to the many fans of the book, first published in 1997. I hope you enjoy the updated edition. And I hope to see many of you in Omaha for the Berkshire shareholders’ meeting in May.”

With regard to the Third Edition’s subtitle, “Lessons for Corporate America,” my own opinion is that almost all of the lessons can be of substantial value to leaders in any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. Among Buffett’s most important and yet least appreciated talents is his ability to establish a direct and personal rapport with each person he meets or who reads any of his letters as well as any of his articles such as those included in Carol Loomis’ superb book, Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012.

I watched three segments of Buffett and Loomis’ appearances on The Charlie Rose Show and their informal but gracious manner made me feel as if I had been a personal friend of theirs for many years. (I wish I had purchased Berkshire stock 50 years ago!) Credit Cunningham with brilliant editing as well as his own contributions to what continues to be a “moveable feast” of information, insights, wisdom, and wit. Once again, his Introduction (all by itself) is worth much more than the cost of the book as he again discusses with rigor and eloquence what he considers to be key points about Buffett and his leadership of Berkshire Hathaway in recent years.

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Have you ever wondered how a simple book could unlock the secrets of wealth and success? Enter Warren Buffett , the legendary investor, and his insightful collection, “ The Essays of Warren Buffett ” This book, a treasure trove of wisdom, isn’t just a read; it’s a journey into the mind of a financial genius .

And that is exactly why I wanted to write a The Essays of Warren Buffet summary and book review for you

In a world where the stock market seems as unpredictable as the weather, Buffett’s essays offer a beacon of clarity. They’re not just words; they’re a blueprint for financial success. Whether you’re a budding investor or a seasoned pro, these essays are a goldmine of value investing strategies and timeless principles .

But here’s the catch: understanding Buffett’s wisdom isn’t always straightforward. That’s where this article comes in. We’ll look into the essence of Buffett’s teachings, breaking down complex ideas into simple, actionable insights. Think of it as your personal guide to navigating the intricate world of investments , guided by none other than the Oracle of Omaha himself.

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”  The Essays of Warren Buffett

Ready to unlock the secrets of Buffett’s success? Let’s embark on this financial adventure, where each paragraph brings you closer to mastering the art of investing. Say goodbye to confusion and hello to confidence in your financial decisions.

Key Takeaways: The Essays of Warren Buffett Summary & Review

  • At the heart of your quest lies the answer to how Warren Buffett’s timeless wisdom in “ The Essays of Warren Buffett ” can transform your financial journey. While this book provides a roadmap to value investing , it’s more than just investment strategies; it’s about cultivating a mindset for long-term financial success.
  • Understanding Value Investing : Delve into the essence of Buffett’s approach, where investing isn’t just about numbers but about understanding a company’s intrinsic value and potential for long-term growth.
  • Market Psychology Insights : Buffett’s unique perspective on market psychology, emphasizing emotional resilience and contrarian thinking, offers a fresh lens through which to view investment opportunities.
  • Practical Application : Learn how to apply Buffett’s principles in your own investment portfolio, with real-life examples and a step-by-step guide tailored for both novice and seasoned investors.

After these insights, you’re on the brink of unlocking a treasure trove of knowledge. This article will guide you through the intricate world of investments, with Warren Buffett as your compass. Whether you’re looking to refine your investment strategy or seeking inspiration from one of the greatest minds in finance, the journey ahead promises to be enlightening.

The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America

Quick Links: Unveiling the Wisdom of Warren Buffett

Book Review The Essays of Warren Buffett Summary

Warren Buffett: The Oracle of Omaha

Warren Buffets Early Life and Career Milestones

Have you ever wondered how a young boy from Omaha transformed into one of the world’s most renowned investment gurus? Warren Buffett’s journey from a paperboy to the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway is not just inspiring but filled with valuable lessons for every investor.

This section first looks into Buffett’s early life, his influences, and his meteoric rise to fame, offering insights into the making of an investment legend.

Buffett’s Investment Journey

Buffett’s investment journey began in his youth, influenced by his father, Howard Buffett, a stockbroker, and later by Benjamin Graham , the father of value investing. His early ventures, from running a pinball machine business to his first stock purchase, laid the foundation for his unique investment philosophy.

Buffett’s approach, blending value investing principles with a deep understanding of market psychology , set him apart from his peers.

Buffett’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance, keen market insight, and the importance of mentorship in shaping a successful investment career. His strategies, emphasizing long-term growth and ethical business practices, resonate strongly in today’s economic trends .

  • Did you know Buffett bought his first stock at just 11 years old? Imagine what your financial portfolio could look like if you started investing at that age!

Visual Element Suggestions: A timeline infographic of Warren Buffett’s early life and career milestones.

In summary, Warren Buffett’s early life and influences paint a picture of a determined and savvy investor. His journey to becoming the Oracle of Omaha offers invaluable lessons for anyone looking to navigate the stock market . Next, we’ll explore how Buffett shaped Berkshire Hathaway , turning it into a powerhouse of value investing.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Evolution: How Buffett shaped the company.

Berkshire Hathaway's Growth and Diversification

Berkshire Hathaway’s transformation under Warren Buffett is a classic example of how visionary leadership can redefine a company’s destiny. From a struggling textile mill to a conglomerate, this section explores how Buffett’s investment acumen and corporate governance reshaped Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett’s acquisition of Berkshire Hathaway in the 1960s marked the beginning of its metamorphosis. His focus on acquiring companies with strong fundamentals and ethical management practices became the cornerstone of Berkshire’s growth. Under his leadership, the company diversified into insurance, energy, transportation, and more, all while adhering to the principles of value investing .

The evolution of Berkshire Hathaway under Buffett’s stewardship is a prime example of effective corporate governance and strategic diversification. It highlights how economic trends and market dynamics can be navigated successfully with a solid investment philosophy.

  • Think about your own investment portfolio. What lessons can you draw from Buffett’s strategy in shaping Berkshire Hathaway?

To conclude, Berkshire Hathaway’s evolution is a testament to Buffett’s investment genius and his commitment to value investing and sound corporate governance . As we turn the page to “The Essays of Warren Buffett,” we’ll uncover the key themes and wisdom that have made Buffett a legend in the investment world.

Book Summary: The Essays of Warren Buffett

“The Essays of Warren Buffett” is more than just a book; it’s a compendium of timeless investment wisdom. In this section, we’ll explore the key themes of value investing , corporate governance , and Buffett’s unique perspective on the stock market and economic trends .

Overview of Key Themes

Key Themes of The Essays of Warren Buffett

The book encapsulates Buffett’s philosophy, emphasizing long-term investment strategies, ethical business practices, and understanding market psychology. It advocates for a shareholder-oriented approach in corporate governance and stresses the importance of financial literacy for investors.

These themes are not just theoretical concepts but practical tools for navigating the complexities of the stock market. They align with modern economic trends and offer a roadmap for sustainable investing.

  • How do you think applying Buffett’s principles of value investing and corporate governance could change your approach to investing?

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In essence, the key themes of Buffett’s book provide a foundation for sound investing and ethical business conduct. Next, we’ll break down these themes chapter by chapter, offering a comprehensive summary of Buffett’s invaluable insights.

“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”  The Essays of Warren Buffett 

Deep Dive into Buffett’s Investment Philosophy

Detailed analysis of Buffett’s approach to investing.

Warren Buffett , known for his shrewd investment strategies, has always been a staunch advocate of value investing . This section offers a detailed analysis of Buffett’s approach, revealing the core principles that have guided his successful investment decisions.

Core Principles of Value Investing

At the heart of Buffett’s philosophy lies a focus on long-term investments in undervalued companies with strong fundamentals. He emphasizes the importance of understanding a company’s intrinsic value, rather than getting swayed by market fluctuations. This approach, deeply influenced by Benjamin Graham , advocates for thorough research and patience in investing.

Buffett’s principles of value investing are not just strategies but a mindset shift in how one views the stock market and investment opportunities. These principles are crucial in today’s dynamic economic trends .

  • Consider how adopting a long-term perspective in your investments could reshape your financial future. What changes would you make?

In summary, understanding the core principles of Buffett’s value investing approach offers a blueprint for making informed and strategic investment decisions. Next, we explore how Buffett’s views on market psychology contrast with conventional market trends.

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Buffett’s Views on Market Psychology: How Buffett’s strategies defy conventional market trends.

Warren Buffett’s investment strategies often go against the grain of conventional market trends. This section delves into how his understanding of market psychology has played a pivotal role in his investment decisions.

Buffett’s approach to investing is grounded in a deep understanding of human behavior and market sentiment. He often capitalizes on market overreactions, finding value where others see risk. This contrarian approach, focusing on investor psychology rather than just market metrics, sets him apart from other investors.

Buffett’s insights into market psychology are especially relevant in today’s volatile investment climate, where emotional reactions often drive market movements.

  • How might your investment choices change if you considered market psychology as much as financial metrics?

Buffett’s unique perspective on market psychology offers valuable lessons in navigating the stock market’s ups and downs. Moving forward, we’ll look at real-life applications of Buffett’s wisdom through case studies and success stories.

“It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.” 

Case Studies and Success Stories: Practical Application of Buffett’s Wisdom

Real-life examples of applying Buffett’s principles.

The true test of Warren Buffett’s investment principles lies in their application in the real world. This section showcases various case studies and success stories where Buffett’s strategies have been effectively implemented.

From individual investors to large corporations, many have found success by applying Buffett’s value investing principles. These case studies highlight the importance of long-term planning, understanding intrinsic value, and the courage to invest counter to market trends.

These real-life examples demonstrate how Buffett’s investment strategies remain relevant and effective in diverse economic trends and market conditions.

  • Imagine applying these principles to your own financial situation. What could your investment portfolio look like in the future?

These case studies not only inspire but also provide practical insights into applying Buffett’s investment wisdom. Next, we offer a step-by-step guide for investors on how to implement these strategies in their own portfolios.

Step-by-Step Guide for Investors: How readers can implement these strategies in their portfolios.

Adopting Warren Buffett’s investment strategies may seem daunting, but it’s achievable with the right guidance. This section provides a practical, step-by-step guide for investors looking to incorporate Buffett’s principles into their investment portfolios.

The guide begins with assessing one’s financial goals and risk tolerance, followed by researching and identifying undervalued stocks with strong fundamentals. It emphasizes the importance of diversification, patience, and staying informed about economic trends and market changes.

Here is a step-by-step guide for investors looking to incorporate Warren Buffett’s investment strategies into their portfolios:

These steps provide a practical guide for investors to implement Warren Buffett’s investment strategies, emphasizing the importance of aligning investments with financial goals, identifying undervalued stocks, diversifying the portfolio, and maintaining a long-term investment approach.

  • What’s the first step you’ll take to align your investment strategy with Buffett’s principles?

By following this guide, investors can take actionable steps towards applying Buffett’s investment wisdom to their own financial strategies. As we conclude, remember that mastering personal finance is a journey of informed decisions and continuous learning. Here’s to your financial success and the milestones you’ll achieve!

“If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” 

Comparative Analysis and Critique

Compare and contrast Buffett’s approach with contemporary strategies.

In the world of finance, Warren Buffett’s traditional approach to investing often stands in stark contrast to modern investment theories. This section explores how Buffett’s time-tested strategies compare with contemporary investment methods.

Buffett vs. Modern Investment Theories

Buffett’s value investing, rooted in principles taught by Benjamin Graham , focuses on long-term growth, intrinsic value, and company fundamentals. In contrast, modern investment theories often emphasize technical analysis, market timing, and short-term gains. This comparison highlights the differences in risk tolerance, investment horizon, and market perception between Buffett’s approach and modern methodologies.

Warren Buffett's Strategy

Understanding these contrasting investment philosophies is crucial for investors navigating today’s stock market and economic trends .

Which investment approach resonates more with your financial goals and risk appetite?

Modern Investment Theories

While Buffett’s approach offers a blueprint for steady, long-term growth, it’s important to also consider the criticisms and limitations of his methods. Next, we delve into a critique and counterpoints of Buffett’s investment philosophy.

Critique and Counterpoints

No investment strategy is without its critics, and Warren Buffett’s value investing is no exception. This section examines the criticisms and limitations of Buffett’s approach to investing.

Critics argue that Buffett’s strategies, while successful in the past, may not be as effective in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven markets. They point to the increasing importance of innovation, market disruptors, and the rapid evolution of industries as potential challenges to the value investing model. Additionally, some argue that Buffett’s success is partly due to his unique position and resources, which may not be replicable for the average investor.

These critiques offer a balanced perspective on Buffett’s investment approach, essential for understanding its applicability in different market conditions and economic trends .

  • How do you think Buffett’s strategies could be adapted to address these criticisms?

Understanding these critiques is vital for applying Buffett’s principles in a modern context. Next, we explore the relevance of Buffett’s essays in today’s market, particularly in adapting his principles to current economic trends.

The Relevance of Buffett’s Essays in Today’s Market

In an ever-evolving financial landscape, the applicability of Warren Buffett’s advice is frequently questioned. This section assesses how Buffett’s investment principles can be adapted to align with current economic trends and market conditions.

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.” The Essays of Warren Buffett

Adapting Principles to Current Economic Trends

How Buffett’s advice holds up in modern financial contexts.

Buffett’s emphasis on fundamentals, intrinsic value, and long-term growth remains relevant, but it requires adaptation to account for new market dynamics, such as technological advancements and global economic shifts. Investors can apply Buffett’s principles by focusing on companies that demonstrate adaptability, sustainability, and strong corporate governance in today’s economy.

  • This adaptation ensures that Buffett’s timeless wisdom continues to guide investors through the complexities of modern financial markets.

Consider how you might apply Buffett’s principles to industries that are shaping our future, like renewable energy or technology.

Buffett’s essays remain a valuable resource, but their application requires a nuanced understanding of today’s economic landscape. Finally, we’ll explore the future of value investing and its potential evolution in the coming years.

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As we conclude, remember that mastering personal finance is about taking small, consistent steps towards your goals. From budgeting to investing, each strategy we’ve discussed is a building block for financial stability. My own financial journey, combined with years of advising, highlights the real-life impact of these principles.

Take action today, whether it’s adjusting your budget or exploring new investments. For further guidance, sign up for our newsletter and share your topic suggestions in the comments below. Your engagement helps shape our future content.

As your financial guide, I’m dedicated to providing reliable and practical advice. Look out for our upcoming articles on advanced investment strategies and the latest in personal finance. Together, let’s turn financial challenges into opportunities for growth and success. Remember, every step you take is a step towards shaping a secure financial future.

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The Essays of Warren Buffett

The Essays of Warren Buffett

Lawrence cunningham & warren buffett, recommended by, book reviews.

Patrick O'Shaughnessy: "Buffet is one of the best writers in the history of investing; his mastery of the analogy as a means to explain complex concepts is without parallel.

I’ve read every one of his shareholder letters cover to cover, but this sequential compilation by Lawrence Cunningham is the best way to read Buffett’s endless points of wisdom."

One of the books Bill Ackman asked his newly-hired analyst to read before joining Pershing Square.

Book Summary

The fifth edition of The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America continues a 25-year tradition of collating Warren Buffett's philosophy in a historic collaboration between Mr. Buffett and Prof. Lawrence Cunningham.

As the book Buffett autographs most, its popularity and longevity attest to the widespread appetite for this unique compilation of Mr. Buffett s thoughts that is at once comprehensive, non-repetitive, and digestible.

New and experienced readers alike will gain an invaluable informal education by perusing this classic arrangement of Mr. Buffett's best writings.

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the essays of warren buffett book review

The Essays of Warren Buffett

Lessons for Investors and Managers

Warren Buffett | 4.46 | 1,067 ratings and reviews

Ranked #84 in Stocks , Ranked #87 in Investment — see more rankings .

Rankings by Category

The Essays of Warren Buffett is ranked in the following categories:

  • #96 in Financial Management

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The Essays of Warren Buffett: Summary & Review

the essays of warren buffett

The Essays of Warren Buffett (2023) is a collection of Warren Buffett’s insights on various topics related to investing, management, and corporate governance. Compiled by Lawrence A. Cunningham, this book features a curated selection of Buffett’s famous shareholder letters, organized by theme.

Exec Summary

Only associate with people you like and admire, stick to what you know and understand, as a high-value man, only stick with people you know are great, the best managers think like owners, only do 1-to-many communication 📣, only buy businesses from sellers who love their business, don’t listen to macro-predictions, more wisdom, over-optimism and over-extrapolation of positive trends (nonsense), america supposedly “starting from scratch” in 1776 betrays poor thinking, the “compound interest” story paraded once again….

  • Only associate with good characters you like and trust
  • Stick to what you understand well , or you’re gambling
  • Stop listening to “market predictions” … And predictions in general

FULL SUMMARY

About the Author : Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are a legendary duo in the world of finance and investing. Buffett, often hailed as the “Oracle of Omaha,” is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company. Charlie Munger is Buffett’s longtime business partner and vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. He is known for his straightforward approach to investing and his insightful commentary on business and life. Together, Buffett and Munger have forged one of the most successful partnerships in the history of finance.

This was probably my main takeaway from The Essays.

First off, says Buffett:

After some other mistakes, I learned to go into business only with people whom I like, trust, and admire

That, by itself, will not make you money, he adds. But it decreases the odds you lose money. And it makes life that much easier and better. It’s so important to Buffett, that he’s willing to make less money with that policy:

We intend to continue our practice of working only with people whom we like and admire. This policy not only maximizes our chances for good results, it also ensures us an extraordinarily good time. On the other hand, working with people who cause your stomach to churn seems much like marrying for money—probably a bad idea under any circumstances, but absolute madness if you are already rich.

LOL, not only great wisdom, but also delivered with great humor :).

This is one of the most famous of Buffett’s approaches:

If we have a strength, it is in recognizing when we are operating well within our circle of competence and when we are approaching the perimeter. Predicting the long-term economics of companies that operate in fast-changing industries is simply far beyond our perimeter. If others claim predictive skill in those industries—and seem to have their claims validated by the behavior of the stock market—we neither envy nor emulate them. Instead, we just stick with what we understand. If we stray, we will have done so inadvertently, not because we got restless and substituted hope for rationality.

Buffett says that he and Munger generally stick with people they know and like.

They know there are plenty more great people in the world. But the odds of meeting them are not high enough to make meeting strangers a good use of their time.

Unluckily I lost the bookmark for this passage or I’d love to quote it.

The best managers think like owners in making business decisions. They have shareholder interests at heart.
Because the annual meeting is the time and place for these, Charlie and I are happy to answer them all, no matter how long it takes. (We cannot, however, respond to written or phoned questions at other times of the year; one-person-at-a-time reporting is a poor use of management time in a company with [thousands of] shareholders.)

Buffett says that he wants people who love their business because that guarantees that interest align.

When people love their business, they’ll work hard for it, give it all, and always with a long-term horizon in mind.

That’s why they want businesses with people who are going to keep working on their business. And if they don’t love it, don’t buy.

Says Buffett:

Very simply, we would not want to buy unless we felt key members of present management would stay on as our partners. Contracts cannot guarantee your continued interest; we would simply rely on your word.

And the second part reminds us of how important it is to read characters.

Let them independent

Buffett then lets them free to operate with almost total freedom. They know what’s best for the business.

That allows Buffett to attract the best possible sellers: great businesses with great founders who love their business and will be great long-term managers.

We will continue to ignore political and economic forecasts, which are an expensive distraction for many investors and businessmen.

So… Quit listening to Ray Dalio ‘s predictions of doom and gloom :). He’s been doing that his whole career and his predictions were terrible anyway .

Be suspicious of those who “always make the numbers” (or who promise so)

Charlie and I not only don’t know today what our businesses will earn  next year —we don’t even know what they will earn  next quarter . We are suspicious of those CEOs who regularly claim they do know the future—and we become downright incredulous if they consistently reach their declared targets. Managers that always promise to “make the numbers” will at some point be tempted to  make up  the numbers.

Let’s all take steps to reduce global warming

Buffett says that it makes sense to take climate change seriously, and take action.

Even if there is only a 1% chance of disaster, says Buffett, it does make sense to act anyway.

Beware of past-performance “proof”

Beware of past-performance “proofs” in finance: If history books were the key to riches, the Forbes 400 would consist of librarians.

On the blessing of having dumb competition:

what could be more advantageous in an intellectual contest—whether it be bridge, chess, or stock selection—than to have opponents who have been taught that thinking is a waste of energy?

For example:

In the future the U.S. population will move more goods, consume more food, and require more living space than it does now. People will forever exchange what they produce for what others produce. Our country’s businesses will continue to efficiently deliver goods and services wanted by our citizens.

How can you say for sure? During his lifetime, probably yes. But the longer you extrapolate that trend, the more sure you can be it’s gonna be wrong.

America Always Wins Long Terms…

There seems to a general over-confidence on “America”.

Sometimes, even feels a bit overly “patriotic”. For example:

Be clear on one point: In no way does our thinking about currencies rest on doubts about America. We live in an extraordinarily rich country, the product of a system that values market economics, the rule of law and equality of opportunity. Our economy is far and away the strongest in the world and will continue to be . We are lucky to live here.

“Will continue to be”? Same as before, how can he say that? Stretch that prediction on a long enough time horizon, and you can be almost 100% sure it will turn out to be wrong. I’m astonished such a smart person would say such a, how to say it… Non-smart thing.

American business, and consequently a basket of stocks, is virtually certain to be worth far more in the years ahead (…) This powerful trend is certain to continue (…) America golden goose of commerce and innovation will continue to lay more and larger eggs

These are the types of statements that not only leave me scratching my head, but also make me wonder how successful Buffett would have been less rosy historical periods. His over-optimism may have cost him, in those scenarios.

The “future estimates” are all based on trend extrapolation

For example, when he estimates future growth based on the current population growth.

That was so nonsensical to me, that I won’t even spend further time debunking.

From a standing start 240 years ago a span of time less than triple my days on earth Americans (…) starting from scratch America has a mask wealth totally 90 trillion dollars true of course that other

What an ignorant thing to say.

That’s what happens when you focus on investing and read financial reports only, and then talk about history, maybe.

  • All the inhabitants erased their brains from all their knowledge in 1776
  • All the knowledge accumulated in the millennia past was erased
  • All the capital and machinery was destroyed

Of course, the opposite is true. Which is why it was NOT a “standstill” or “start from scratch”.

I even find this take ignorantly insensitive.

The American story is an impressive story. Like all the great empires that have led humanity forward before it, it’s bound to be an impressive story. And we must all be grateful to leading civilizations/countries because leading civilizations pull the world forward. They are givers.

But we’re not going to provide appropriate credit by making shit up.

Or by erasing the contribution of the long history of great men and civilizations that have led us here.

Instead, to be great today, pay respect to past greats.

You know, the:

“if you had invested X dollars in the S&P in the year XXXX, you’d be a multimillionaire by… .”

I’ve never been a fan of those. And … I didn’t expect that from Buffett.

Sometimes tries too hard the “funny quips”

Sometimes it feels Buffett tries a bit too hard to sound smart.

Especially felt off to me when he sought to reference sex.

When such a CEO is encouraged by his advisors to make deals, he responds much as would a teenage boy who is encouraged by his father to have a normal sex life. It’s not a push he needs.
Woody Allen, in another context, pointed out the advantage of open-mindedness: “I can’t understand why more people aren’t bi-sexual because it doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.”

To me, it felt almost as if he wanted to remind us that he’s not always been a geekier financial analyst.

Bit of bragging

Covert bragging , mostly.

Some outdated stuff

Since the letters sometimes refer to then-contemporary events, it’s bound to have several outdated sections.

Such as against American’s poor balance of payments, Wall Street greed/mistakes, etc.

All about money (through investments). Is that even a good life?

This is just me, but… I was hoping for more life-wisdom.

And, if about money, I’m more interested in entrepreneurship.

All this returns talk even felt tacky to me and not a good way to live. There is more to life than returns and stocks.

The Essays of Warren Buffett is a good book if you’re interested in Berkshire and Buffett’s approach to investing. And it’s a poor use of your time if you’re looking for wisdom outside of investment .

I was looking for more wisdom on “how to live”, let’s say. There are some fantastic golden nuggets, like the ones listed in this review. But overall, The Essays of Warren Buffett is mostly about investments and Berkshire.

It just wasn’t the ideal book for me. But it may be great for you.

Check the best books to read or get this book on Amazon .

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A gold mine of investing advice from the most successful investor in history

THE ESSAYS OF Warren Buffett SIXTH EDITION

When Warren Buffett speaks, people worldwide listen. And with good reason: Buffett is the most successful investor-manager in history. He has set world records for achieving both high personal net worth, exceeding US$80 billion, and high corporate value for his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, approaching US$600 billion. Time magazine lists Buffett as among the most influential people in the world―and he is.

According to Buffett, the best book collating his philosophy is The Essays of Warren Buffett by Lawrence A. Cunningham, the internationally renowned scholar and expert on Buffett and Berkshire. Through many updated editions dating to 1997, The Essays is the definitive account of Buffett’s approach to investing and management, consisting of a carefully curated and thematically organized compendium of Buffett’s original annual letters, along with Cunningham’s priceless commentaries.

" 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 smartest books we know." ― Fortune

  • Print length 400 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Wiley
  • Publication date 13 May 2021
  • Dimensions 15.2 x 2.33 x 22.9 cm
  • ISBN-10 1119803276
  • ISBN-13 978-1119803270
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“ 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 smartest books we know.” ― Fortune

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About the author.

Lawrence A. Cunningham is the Tucker Research Professor at George Washington University in Washington DC and New York City and Director of its Quality Shareholders Initiative. A leading authority on corporate culture and quality investing, Cunningham's dozen books include Quality Investing , Quality Shareholders , Dear Shareholders , and Margin of Trust .

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  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wiley; 6th edition (13 May 2021)
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  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1119803270
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The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Investors and Managers, 6th Edition Paperback – 13 May 2021

A gold mine of investing advice from the most successful investor in history

THE ESSAYS OF Warren Buffett SIXTH EDITION

When Warren Buffett speaks, people worldwide listen. And with good reason: Buffett is the most successful investor-manager in history. He has set world records for achieving both high personal net worth, exceeding US$80 billion, and high corporate value for his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, approaching US$600 billion. Time magazine lists Buffett as among the most influential people in the world―and he is.

According to Buffett, the best book collating his philosophy is The Essays of Warren Buffett by Lawrence A. Cunningham, the internationally renowned scholar and expert on Buffett and Berkshire. Through many updated editions dating to 1997, The Essays is the definitive account of Buffett’s approach to investing and management, consisting of a carefully curated and thematically organized compendium of Buffett’s original annual letters, along with Cunningham’s priceless commentaries.

" 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 smartest books we know." ― Fortune

  • Print length 400 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher Wiley
  • Publication date 13 May 2021
  • Dimensions 15.2 x 2.33 x 22.9 cm
  • ISBN-10 1119803276
  • ISBN-13 978-1119803270
  • See all details

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Product description

From the inside flap.

When Warren Buffett speaks, people worldwide listen. And with good reason: Buffett is the most successful investor-manager in history. He has set world records for achieving both high personal net worth, exceeding US$80 billion, and high corporate value for his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, approaching US$600 billion. Time magazine lists Buffett as among the most influential people in the world—and he is.

“ 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 smartest books we know.” — Fortune

From the Back Cover

About the author.

Lawrence A. Cunningham is the Tucker Research Professor at George Washington University in Washington DC and New York City and Director of its Quality Shareholders Initiative. A leading authority on corporate culture and quality investing, Cunningham's dozen books include Quality Investing , Quality Shareholders , Dear Shareholders , and Margin of Trust .

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wiley; 6th edition (13 May 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1119803276
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1119803270
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.2 x 2.33 x 22.9 cm
  • 230 in Corporate Finance

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Melinda French Gates to donate $1 billion over next 2 years in support of women’s rights

FILE - Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda French Gates speaks at the forum Empowering Women as Entrepreneurs and Leaders during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington, on April 13, 2023. French Gates says she will be donating $1 billion over the next two years to individuals and organizations working on behalf of women and families globally, including on reproductive rights in the United States. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

FILE - Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda French Gates speaks at the forum Empowering Women as Entrepreneurs and Leaders during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington, on April 13, 2023. French Gates says she will be donating $1 billion over the next two years to individuals and organizations working on behalf of women and families globally, including on reproductive rights in the United States. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

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Melinda French Gates says she will be donating $1 billion over the next two years to individuals and organizations working on behalf of women and families globally, including on reproductive rights in the United States.

It’s the second billion-dollar commitment French Gates has personally made in the past five years. In 2019, she pledged over ten years to expand women’s power and influence.

Earlier this month, French Gates announced she would step down from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation , and vowed to focus on women and families . As a part of leaving the Gates Foundation, French Gates received $12 billion from Bill Gates for her philanthropy going forward.

French Gates, one of the biggest philanthropic supporters of gender equity in the U.S., said Tuesday in a guest essay for The New York Times that she’s been frustrated over the years by people who say it’s not the right time to talk about gender equality.

“Decades of research on economics, well-being and governance make it clear that investing in women and girls benefits everyone,” she wrote.

French Gates said over the last few weeks she’s started directing what will total $200 million in new grants through her organization, Pivotal Ventures, to groups working in the U.S. to protect women’s rights and advance their power and influence. The grants are for general operating support, meaning they are not earmarked for specific projects. The groups include the National Women’s Law Center, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Teresa Younger, the president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, who also received a grant, has long called on donors to give unrestricted, multi-year funding to organizations. She praised French Gates’ new commitment as a part of a larger trend of major women donors giving generously to nonprofits.

“If philanthropy took lessons from the way that women are moving money, we would see more money in the field having greater impact,” Younger said.

Her organization learned of the grant, which is the first they’ve received from Pivotal Ventures within the last week, and Younger said there was no application process. She declined to disclose the amount of the grant but said it would help expand their work with organizations in the South and Midwest.

The nonprofit MomsRising Education Fund also received a grant that will extend to the end of 2026, with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, its executive director and CEO, saying, “We’re deeply honored and enormously grateful that Melinda French Gates is stepping up for women and families in a time when the rights of our daughters may be significantly less than of ourselves or our own mothers.”

French Gates also pledged to give 12 individuals $20 million each to distribute to nonprofit organizations of their choice before the end of 2026. Those funds will be managed by the National Philanthropic Trust, one of the largest public charities that offers donor-advised funds, a spokesperson for Pivotal Ventures said.

In total, French Gates announced $690 million in commitments out of the promised $1 billion, which also include an “open call” for applications that the organization Lever for Change will administer this fall. French Gates said $250 million will be awarded to fund organizations working to improve women’s mental and physical health globally.

French Gates’ Pivotal Ventures is a limited liability company that also manages investments in for profit ventures, so there is little public information about its grantmaking or the assets it manages. Pivotal Ventures has focused on a number of avenues to increase women’s economic and political participation and power, like closing the wage gap, compensating care work often done by women, and encouraging women to run for political office.

Pivotal Ventures said it has committed $875 million of the $1 billion that French Gates pledged in 2019 to a mixture of venture and philanthropic funding. Additionally, the Gates Foundation has funded research and interventions to improve maternal mortality and women’s health more broadly for years. In 2020, it hired its first president for its gender quality division and in 2021, the foundation pledged $2.1 billion to gender equity efforts convened by UN Women.

In her essay Tuesday, French Gates touched upon the high maternal mortality rates in the U.S., noting that Black and Native American mothers are at the highest risk.

“Women in 14 states have lost the right to terminate a pregnancy under almost any circumstances. We remain the only advanced economy without any form of national paid family leave. And the number of teenage girls experiencing suicidal thoughts and persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness is at a decade high,” she said.

French Gates will be leaving the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation next week. She helped co-found the organization nearly 25 years ago.

The Associated Press receives financial support for news coverage in Africa from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and for news coverage of women in the workforce and state governments from Pivotal Ventures.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will change its name to the Gates Foundation. It is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world. As of December 2023, its endowment was $75.2 billion, thanks to donations from Gates and the billionaire investor Warren Buffett. While it works across many issues, global health remains its largest area of work, and most of its funding is meant to address issues internationally rather than in the U.S.

the essays of warren buffett book review

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When looking for successful stock market investors for inspiration, there is arguably no better figure to turn to than the legendary Warren Buffett.

Over his exceptionally long investing career, Buffett has achieved astonishing returns, turning his company Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE: BRK.A) ( NYSE: BRK.B ) from a failing textiles mill into the US$881 billion behemoth it is today.

Fortunately for every single investor on the planet, Buffett has always been generous with his wisdom and guidance. His annual letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, as well as his famous shareholder meetings, are typically jam-packed with advice, tips and cautionary tales.

So today, let's discuss how Warren Buffett's advice is guiding my own ASX share investing in 2024.

How Waren Buffett is helping my 2024 stock market investing

Buffett: keeping it simple.

The investing world is perpetually in the grips of the latest fad. Whether it be lithium stocks , uranium shares or cryptocurrency miners, there always seems to be a sector or corner of the market that is booming as investors flood in to try and grab a piece of the next big thing.

But Buffett has never been a trendjumper or setter for that matter. In fact, he typically warns investors to stay in their lane. Here are two quotes that best sum up Buffett's attitude:

Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns.
Never invest in a business you cannot understand.

As such, I'll be staying away from the hot stocks in 2024, sticking to businesses that I can easily understand. That's why I'll be far more likely to buy shares of say Coles Group Ltd ( ASX: COL ) than Arcadium Lithium plc ( ASX: LTM ).

Look for ASX shares with something special

Disciples of Warren Buffett would be well aware of the man's love of what he calls an economic moat . A moat is a durable competitive advantage that a company can possess, which helps it stave off competition:

The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage.

This could come in the form of a strong brand, a product that investors find difficult to stop using, or a cost advantage that ensures a company's products are the cheapest available.

We can see this reflected in Buffett's own portfolio at Berkshire. Most of Berkshire's holdings have an obvious moat – Coca-Cola 's universally known brand or Apple 's reputation for quality products are two such examples.

Using this principle, I'm hopeful that my next ASX share buy in 2024 will be a company with a strong moat. It might be Transurban Group ( ASX: TCL ) for its network of almost unavoidable toll roads across Australia or perhaps Lottery Corp Ltd ( ASX: TLC ) for its exclusive rights to run lotteries and Keno in most Australian states.

Foolish takeaway

In my view, there is no one better than Warren Buffett if you want investing advice and inspiration. As such, my next ASX buy will hopefully be one that Buffett would approve of.

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COMMENTS

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