Warren Buffett on Business : Principles from the Sage of Omaha


The proven business principles ofWarren Buffett—in his own words

Warren Buffett is one of the most admired and prolificinvestors and managers in corporate America. In thisone-of-a-kind collection of Buffett's letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, the "Sage of Omaha" reveals, in a clear, simple style, his basic management principles of sound business practices. Through Buffett's own remarkable words, this practical management handbook shares valuable insights on communicating with and treating employees andshareholders fairly; responsible corporate governance; ethical behavior; patience and perseverance; admitting mistakes;having a passion for work; and more. Richard Connors weaves Buffett's priceless pearls of business and management wisdom into an engaging narrative presented in an accessible mannerand organized by business and management topics—with strong lessons from Buffett in every chapter.

Warren Buffett on Business provides direct, hands-oninformation on major topics important to senior executives, managers, entrepreneurs, business students, and anyone interested in business. Informative and inspiring, this unique book puts Warren Buffett's business beliefs in perspective and provides you with a timeless guide to the managementstrategies that will help you run a successful business.

Richard J. Connors is a Registered Investment Advisor and owner of Connors Investment Management Company in St. Louis, Missouri. Beginning in 2006, he has presented a class on Warren Buffett at the Washington University in St. Louis Lifelong Learning Institute. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Business School and the St. Louis University School of Law.


Chapter 1 Shareholders as Partners.

"Although our form is corporate, our attitude is partnership."

Chapter 2 Corporate Culture.

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and fi ve minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently."

Chapter 3 Corporate Governance.

"At Berkshire, board members travel the same road as shareholders."

Chapter 4 Berkshire Managers.

"They love their businesses, they think like owners, and they exude integrity and ability."

Chapter 5 Communication.

"As managers, Charlie and I want to give to our owners the fi nancial information and commentary we would wish to receive if our positions were reversed."

Chapter 6 Acquisition of Nebraska Furniture Mart.

"We gave Mrs. B a check for $55 million and she gave us her word. That made for an even exchange."

Chapter 7 Acquisition of GEICO.

"The security I like best."

Chapter 8 Acquisition of General Reinsurance.

"Long ago, Mark Twain said: ‘A man who tries to carry a cat home by its tail will learn a lesson that can be learned in no other way.’ If Twain were around now, he might try winding up a derivatives business. After a few days, he would opt for cats."

Chapter 9 The Assessment and Management of Risk.

"Don’t think, however, that we have lost our appetite for risk. We remain prepared to lose $6 billion in a single event, if we have been paid appropriately for assuming that risk."

Chapter 10 Executive Compensation.

"At Berkshire . . . I am a one man compensation committee who determines the salaries for the CEOs of around 40 signifi cant operating businesses. How much time does this aspect of my job take? Virtually none. How many CEOs have voluntarily left us for other jobs in our 42-year history? Precisely none."

Chapter 11 Time Management.

"When my mother got to be eighty the most important thing in how long you live is how long your parents live. I got her an exercise bike, put her on a strict diet, and she’s just piling up the years for me."

Chapter 12 How to Manage a Crisis.

". . . I will attempt to do it in the manner of a fellow that has never met a lawyer."

Chapter 13 Management Principles and Practices.

"Simple, old and few."

Chapter 14 Executive Behavior.

"Many CEOs attain their positions because they possess an abundance of animal spirits and egos. . . . When such a CEO is encouraged by his advisors to make deals, he responds such as would a teenage boy who is encouraged by his father to have a normal sex life. It’s not a push he needs."

Chapter 15 Mistakes I’ve Made.

"I can look back on every year in terms of mistakes I’ve made. The dumbest mistake I ever made was, will probably be in the future."

Chapter 16 Personal Investing.

"Your goal as an investor should simply be to purchase, at a rational price, a part interest in an easily understandable business whose earnings are virtually certain to be higher five, ten, and fi fteen years from now."

Chapter 17 Buffett, the Teacher.

"If I talk to 50–60 year olds, basically they want to be entertained by my predictions and if I talk to 20 year olds or even 25 year olds, they ask me the questions on their minds. . . . The idea is that they listen and you may change some lives."

Chapter 18 Humor and Stories.

"In the words of the prophet Mae West: too much of a good thing is wonderful."

Appendix A: Warren E. Buffett, A Chronological History.

Appendix B: Berkshire Hathaway Inc., An Owner's Manual, Owner-Related Business Principles, January 1999.

Appendix C: Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.

Appendix D: July 23, 2008, Memo to Berkshire Hathaway Managers.

Appendix E: Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Corporate Governance Guidelines, as Amended on February 27, 2006.

Appendix F: Intrinsic Value.

Appendix G: The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville.

Appendix H: Berkshire’s Corporate Performance versus the S&P 500.

Appendix I: Berkshire Hathaway Common Stock—Year-End Stock Prices.


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