This book is in a class by itself, almost without equal. There are several reasons. Most of the time you have to read a whole book to find that one gem that made the book worthwhile. Sometimes it's one page you are looking for, once in a while, it's a paragraph. I have read many books for that one sentence that provides inspiration. When you say to yourself, "Why didn't someone write this book before," then you know you have a winner.
But this book, WOW - every page was a work of art. I have been studying Warren Buffett since 1968, about four decades of observing the master, and I have met him on several occasions when he sojourned down to Wall Street. When you read this book, this is what you will find.
The Tao of Warren Buffet is a short book with 125 different major thoughts in it. Each thought is a direct Buffett quote. In the back of the book is a bibliography, which will give you the attribution for each thought. For most of the 125 thoughts listed, the bibliography will also furnish an Internet web address to find the original source for the quote, whether it's an annual report, magazine article, or public speech, you will find the source.
In addition to the 125 thoughts, you will find about a page of narrative furnished by the authors, Marry Buffett (Warren's former daughter in law) and David Clark who is himself a Buffett watcher. They will be giving you clarification, and illustrations of the Buffett quote in action.
I'll found both the original quotes, and the author's narrative to be ABSOLUTELY FASICINATING. If you are involved in the stock market it is more than fascinating, it is COMPELLING. Here's the deal, there's no nonsense here. There's no filler. Mary Buffett's book is short in length, small in your hand, easy to carry, and loaded down with WISDOM. Here are a few of the pearls of wisdom you will find in this book, and then you decide if you should read it. I have indicated the number of the rule from the book.
Rule # 4 "You Can't Make a GOOD DEAL with a BAD PERSON."
This is spot on brilliant. You can't put enough energy into watching a thief, because a thief is busy being a thief 24 hours a day, and you might only have an hour to watch him. In addition, you can't install enough internal controls to safeguard against a dishonorable person. Just don't deal with those kinds of people.
Rule # 9 "Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway."
Having spent 35 years involved with Wall Street, and currently being a Managing Partner of a national prominent investment-banking firm, I can't tell you how true this is. I have seen people barely competent, advising self-made billionaires on what to do with their money. The same is true for the firms themselves. Many of the billionaire clients are worth more than the firms arranging the financing. "Empty suits" is the expression we like to use.
Rule # 49 "It's only when the tide goes out, that you learn who's been swimming naked."
Enron is a perfect example of this witticism. The CPA's came in from Arthur Andersen, saw all this wealth. They saw helicopters landing on the top of the Enron building. They saw guys with $40 million paychecks, and they accepted whatever was handed to them as bona fide, as long as the $50 million check for the audit fee cleared the bank.
Rule # 57 "Never ask a barber if you need a haircut."
Is this brilliant or what? He's talking about Wall Street, brokers, investment advisors, financial planners, surgeons, and everybody with a private agenda. Brokers make their money by doing transactions, investment bankers by forcing the deal to happen, good, bad, or indifferent.
Rule # 68 You only have to do a very few things right in your life, so long as you don't do too many things wrong."
Buffett's net worth is in excess of $50 billion. My understanding is that 90% of that net worth has come from only 10 investment decisions, and you think you want to DAY TRADE.
Rule 74 "I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me."
Buffett did not buy an expensive suit until he was 60 years old. He figured out that $25,000 at 20% compounded growth for 20 years, was almost a million dollars. Who needs suits?
Rule# 112 "What we learn from history is that people don't learn from history."
Whether it's Viet Nam, Iraq, or investments, this is from the brain of a genius. If each of us could only understand the emotional truth of this statement and take it to heart, we would be so much better off, and so would our portfolios.
If you are an investor, I implore you to read "The Tao of Warren Buffett". It's short, easy to read, and will change your investing life. You will not have to go through the work of reading all of Buffett's public statements to find the gems. The sum total of his investment wisdom is in this book.
There is something to be said for going through the work yourself. I would rather see you read this book, if you will absorb the contents. I would pay my children to read it, and do give it to your investment advisors. If they say, "What's this," then it's time for NEW ADVISORS. Good luck to you