Inside the Investments of Warren Buffett: Twenty Cases (Columbia Business School Publishing)

Inside the Investments of Warren Buffett: Twenty Cases (Columbia Business School Publishing)

Posted by jack_miller | Published 7 months ago

With 37 ratings

By: Yefei Lu

Purchased At: $16.22 (35 used & new offers)

Since the 1950s, Warren Buffett and his partners have backed some of the twentieth century's most profitable, trendsetting companies. But how did they know they were making the right investments? What did Buffet and his partners look for in an up-and-coming company, and how can others replicate their approach?

A gift to Buffett followers who have long sought a pattern to the investor's success, Inside the Investments of Warren Buffett presents the most detailed analysis to date of Buffet's long-term investment portfolio. Yefei Lu, an experienced investor, starts with Buffett's interest in the Sanborn Map Company in 1958 and tracks nineteen more of his major investments in companies like See's Candies, the Washington Post, GEICO, Coca-Cola, US Air, Wells Fargo, and IBM. Accessing partnership letters, company documents, annual reports, third-party references, and other original sources, Lu pinpoints what is unique about Buffett's timing, instinct, use of outside knowledge, and postinvestment actions, and he identifies what could work well for all investors in companies big and small, domestic and global. His substantial chronology accounts for broader world events and fluctuations in the U.S. stock market, suggesting Buffett's most important trait may be the breadth of his expertise.

As an individual investor, I found this book to be a fantastic guide for assessing the quality and valuation of a business. I found the author's in-depth coverage of investment metrics especially useful. Like many investors, I was familiar with common metrics like P/E and how it relates to valuations. This book covers metrics and terms that I was less familiar with, including ROTCE, EV/EBIT and margin of safety.

For each of the 20 investments, the author provides the pieces of information that Buffet would have had at the time of his investment, including financial statements, market/industry context and management team background. The chapters covering Geico, Amex, General Re and Coke were especially interesting to read. The provided information, along with the author's analysis of the valuation metrics makes it clear to imagine how Buffet would have evaluated each of the investments.

Overall, this is a great investing guide to add to one's collection.

- melody_nelson

If you’re looking for a book that will tell you the story behind the man Warren Buffett and his personal life, then this is not the book for you. But if you are an investor or want a book that provides lots of great primary source material and focuses on business and financial rationale behind Buffett’s investments, then this is a great book for you.

This book takes twenty of Buffett’s most important and impactful investments and uses a wealth of quantitative data and historical information to really build and provide context for each case. From there, the book accurate analyzes each company/investment using current and established metrics (EV/EBITA, PER, etc) and illustrates what made each investment sound in a quantifiable way. You get to see the outcomes for each of these investments and, while each individual case was certainly interesting (my personal favorite was Coca-Cola), the twenty cases together provide great insight into Buffett’s investment strategies and priorities.

The books pulls from source material that isn’t really covered by the host of other Buffett books out there, so it provides some new information and insights you probably won’t find elsewhere. Also, if you read this book you’ll find that it also isn’t just a rehash of Buffett’s annual letters talking about his investing philosophy. Instead, it provides the type of quantitative analysis using techniques and metrics relevant to today’s investors to help define and illustrate those principles in action. On its own, it’s already a great resource, but the book really helps give me context and a deeper understanding of the knowledge I already have.

Finally, I really like that this book was honest when it comes to presenting its goals as well as its limitations. The book sets out to paint a realistic picture of the context for each case and analyze the most important factors for each case, while allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions, and it does exactly that. There are plenty of annual reports, balance sheets, market data, and other primary sources filled with information, and the analysis leaves just enough room for me interpret the findings and lessons in my own way. I found this much more satisfying to read than a few other books which try to establish themselves as the absolute authority.

Overall, while this book was filled with data and graphs, it was a surprisingly easy and pleasant read and provided a lot of great insight and perspective. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in Buffett’s investments.

- jaylah_moore

This is Must Read for anyone who wants to put Buffett's investment secret source, which is quiet a bit philosophical in some sense, into Real Investing. Following Buffett's real investment examples while tracing back his thoughts and decision making under his unique personal circumstance at each stage was extremely helpful and insightful to me. Lots of Buffet books I read just focus on (1) how to understand his investment philosophy, his values and beliefs and (2) investment results. There has always been a big disconnection between (1) and (2). And many investment examples in the book (with lots of dramatic moments - Buffett's contrarian thinking, very fun to read) basically beautifully filled the gap. Also I like the overall writing style - clear and easy to read and offering lots of fun while navigating through each example. Strongly recommended.

- ingrid_young

Thank you, Mr. Yefei Lu, for this wonderful, almost epic book. Many people think they understand Warren Buffett, but after reading the cases in the book you probably will have to agree that there is more to it than meets the eye. An instant classic indeed. - Peter Coenen. Founder @ TheValueFirm.Com.

- layne_myers

I'm not an expert on investing or anything like that, but i liked this book. I found it quite fascinating.

- millie_diaz

Very nice book

- barrett_king

The more I invest, the more I realize I *don't* know. This book pushes me further in that direction, and I'm better for it. S&P 500 folks. Stay safe.

- alena_king

You really need have a good and deep knowledge of financial ratios, financial jargon, and previous experience in value investing. The author unfortunately goes on long paragraphes of financial models, financial grammar, and formulas that will either leave you saying".....wait what?" Or will have you keeping google pulled up nearby for the whole book looking up what things mean. The book is not very friendly to those with no deep experience in value investing already.

- meilani_hernandez

This is a well-researched, thoughtful and practical book. Despite having read several books on Buffett, I learned a lot from this succinct and to-the-point book. Worth reading and re-reading.

- rogelio_chavez

A good guide

- alonso_hall

Very good

- ariella_patel

Very good book

- benjamin_garcia

good quality

- omar_lewis

Not that great

- hayden_walker

Nice book

- paxton_garcia


- ari_smith

Third grade ..

- zaid_cooper

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