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The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Investors and Managers, Revised Edition [Paperback]

L. A. Cunningham
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 April 2002 Wiley Finance
"First class. A great job at collating our philosophy." – Warren Buffett

"Very practical." – Charlie Munger

"One of the top investment books of all time." – The Motley Fool

"A must–read business book." – JP Morgan Private Banking

"As much a business management book as a personal finance book." – Publisher′s Weekly

"One of the best books of the year. Two thumbs up!" – CNN (Financial News)

"A serious investment course with entertainment thrown in." – Investor′s Chronicle

"The book on Buffett – a superb job!" – Forbes

"Extraordinary – full of wisdom, humour and common sense." – Money

"A classic on value investing and the definitive source on Buffett." – The Financial Times

Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; Revised and Updates Edition edition (9 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470820780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470820780
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 15.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 192,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

Buffett, the Bard of Omaha, is a genuine American folk hero, if folk heroes are allowed to build fortunes worth upward of $15 billion. He's great at homespun metaphor, but behind those catchy phrases is a reservoir of financial acumen that's generally considered the best of his generation. For example, in an essay on CEO stock options, he writes, "Negotiating with one's self seldom produces a barroom brawl." This is his way of saying that an executive who can give himself compensation totally disproportionate to his performance surely will. There are uncountable gems of financial wisdom to be harvested from these essays, taken from the annual reports he writes for Berkshire Hathaway, his holding company. Just to pick one more, here's a now-famous line about those he competes with when making stock-market investments: "What could be more advantageous in an intellectual contest--whether it be chess, bridge, or stock selection--than to have opponents who have been taught that thinking is a waste of energy?"

While Buffett has a policy of seldom commenting on stocks he owns--he feels public pronouncements will only lead to the public's expectation of more public pronouncements, and he likes to keep his cards close to his vest--he loves to discuss the principles behind his investments. These come primarily from Ben Graham, under whom Buffett studied at Columbia University and for whom he worked in the 1950s. First among them is the idea that price is what you pay and value is what you get--and if you're a smart investor, the first will always be less than the second. In that sense, the value of the lessons learned from Buffett's Essays could be far greater than the book's price. --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"...a fascinating compilation of the philosophies and at time humorous observations of one of the world′s most successful investors. A business classic." (Lloyd′s List, 10 May 2002)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Many annual meetings are a waste of time, both for shareholders and for management. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essence of sage 16 Mar 2007
By Petrolhead VINE VOICE
Cunningham has done us a great favour. Buffett doesn't talk to the press and most books claiming to be Buffett bibles are re-hashes and interpretations, so this book of essays is the closest you will get to hearing it straight from the horse's mouth. This is Buffett's wisdom distilled from annual letters to shareholders in his company, which Cunningham has strung together seamlessly. Although that means alot of passages refer to Buffett's own firm and its shareholdings, the lessons for investors are universal, and the "value investing" philosophy shines through. If that was all there was to recommend the book it would still be a must-have for anyone interested in making money. But it is also a great read.

Buffett comes across as the most genial, honest and no-nonsense guy in the financial world. He also has a wonderfully impish sense of humour and had me chuckling out loud (and then trying in vain to explain the joke to my girlfriend...) The only bits where he slightly lost me was when comparing investing with baseball, but I think I got the gist of it. Anyway, Buffett writes as clearly as he thinks and is as modest and self-deprecating as he is authoritative. He treats his readers like the investors they are, so this is not an "entry level" book and it might be a struggle if you don't know the difference between a fixed asset and a preference share, but otherwise it is a book that you won't regret buying.

I can't recommend it highly enough.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
I think studying Buffett's investment philosophy is one of the best ways to understand investing (succesfully). And in that case, what gives you a better opportunity to do this than reading explanations written by Buffett himself? Cunningham did a very good job in reflecting Buffett's investment philosophy by summarizing the annual letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway and some other essays from Buffett's hand. Therefore, you don't have to read the hundreds of pages that these letters make up, to get a good view of Buffett's insights and thinking. The summary is done in a very good way; it doesn't read like one and looks complete.
The undertitle of this book says that Buffett's observations also contain lessons to managers of corporations. I think this is correct; the book is a must read for both investors and managers.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 10 Book Ever 19 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Buffett's shareholder letters were cited in the list of The FInancial Times' 10 best books ever written on investment, as selected by Richard Lambert, editor. In turn, The Wall Street Journal notes this collection of those letters is rated among the 5 books one must read on investment, as selected by J.P. Morgan. Common sense says it all, doesn't it, when you realize these writings are the wisdom of the richest man in the world and the only who made his wealth via investment. On top of it, the writings here are in plain English, witty, wry, an absolute delight (the word essays to describe these is a bit misleading, as these are a treat and joy to read not a chore at all).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom from the great investor 8 Dec 2007
By mohan
I admire Warren Buffett and love reading what he writes. Not only is he probably the wisest investor ever but he is also very articulate and witty.

Some of the chapters, e.g. "An Owner-Based Approach to Corporate Charity", "Berkshire's Recapitalization", "Distribution of the Corporate Tax Burden", etc were not of any interest to me. Excluding such chapters, this slim volume would be even slimmer. However, the book is worth it just for the remainder.

His basic investment goal is simple: He tries to buy businesses that he can understand that have favourable, long-term prospects and are operated by honest and competent people at an attractive price. This is easier said than done, but there is some guidance in his essays as to how he does this.

Some examples of his way with words, taken at random from the first few pages:
"At too many companies, the boss shoots the arrow of managerial performance and then hastily paints the bullseye around the spot where it lands."
"A horse that can count to ten is a remarkable horse - not a remarkable mathematician."
"Should you find yourself in a chronically-leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks."
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61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
By taking a rest HALL OF FAME
It is certainly true that Mr. Warren Buffet is nothing if not consistent. On June 29, Forbes Magazine will release their latest compilation of the wealthiest people in the world. There are 538 on the list, 269 from America, 56 that disappeared from last year, and many that while still present, have seen their billions cut in half or even a third of what they once enjoyed. Even the wealthiest individual, Mr. Gates, while maintaining his position at number one saw his assets decline. Guess who has billions more than last year? Warren Buffet!

I always enjoy watching those that enjoy being critical of Mr. Buffet. Their charges are absurd, ranging from he never changes his methods, or he did not buy into the technology sector. The year 2000 will be remembered for many things but the amount of money lost in the tech sector will always remain the stuff of which legend is made.

Mr. Buffet did in fact embrace technology as he saw fit, and last year the stock of his company went up by 14.4%. That is a number shared by other companies; however it is closer to what they are worth today as compared to one year ago if they are still alive and limping. We have embraced the 21st century by entering such cutting-edge industries as brick, carpet, insulation and paint, Buffett told his Berkshire Hathaway shareholders this year. "Try to control your excitement." More exciting is the holding's company's stock price in the last year, up 14.4%. Stings a bit to the nay sayers I would think.

The real treat for investors is that Mr. Lawrence A. Cunningham has earned the respect of Mr. Buffet and Mr. Munger unlike others who report from afar. In this his, "First Revised Edition", Mr.
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