The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Fifth Edition

The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Fifth Edition

With 372 ratings

By: Lawrence A. Cunningham and Warren E. Buffett

Purchased At: $35.00

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.

“Larry Cunningham has done a great job at collating our philosophy.”—Warren Buffett

"Larry Cunningham takes Buffett's brilliant letters to a still-higher level by organizing them into single-subject chapters. The book begins, moreover, with an excellent introduction by Larry.”—Carol Loomis

“The book on Buffett—a superb job.”—Forbes

“Extraordinary—full of wisdom, humor, and common sense.”—Money

“A classic on value investing and the definitive source on Buffett.”—Financial Times

The letters of Mr. Buffett (plus a cameo from Mr. Munger) that are edited and streamlined to make for easier reading. This collection is packed with so many fundamentally sound business and ethical principles laid out with humor, simplicity, AND complexity - I loved it and am on my way to re-reading this wonderful book.

- rylan_gray

This is an excellent collection of wisdom from THE rockstar of investing. Is his strategy for you? Probably not. But if you want to learn about Buffett's philosophy, this is the best way to go. If you run a business, this book offers great ethical advice. If you are considering a long-term stock purchase (investment), this book will give valuable advice for how to think about your decision.

- emilee_hill

I have read the book three or more times (previous editions) over the past two decades. The essays by Buffett are well written, easily understood and sound business advice. It is essentially his diary spanning over 50 decades that details his rights and wrongs as both a business operator and investor - in brief.

The book arranges Buffett’s essays by topic thus making it easier to relate when reading. The complete text is available from Berkshire’s web site for anyone to download, which is arranged by the year it was written - annual reports.

- charli_peterson

Lawrence A. Cunningham opens this book with an appropriate excerpt from the essays of Michel de Montaigne: "The speech I love is simple, natural speech, the same on paper as in mouth; a speech succulent and sinewy, brief and compressed, not so much dainty and well-combed as vehement and brusque."

There is no shortage of books on Warren Buffet. It is an interesting state of affairs: numerous writers, pundits, and other Warren Buffet "experts" opining on the life and investing decisions of perhaps the greatest investing and capitalist "expert" of all time.

Others opining on the life of a genius is often necessary, when it comes to understanding the broader impact that genius has had on society. A masterful investor, scientist, engineer, or whatever is not also necessarily always an effective writer and communicator. Mr. Buffet, however, is a rare breed.

Not only has Mr. Buffet, across his lifetime, compiled the most impressive track record capitalism has ever produced- one of growth, achievement, societal awareness and improvement, but he can also write. He writes in a language that is, in the words of Montaigne, "simple...succulent and sinewy, brief and compressed...brusque."

Lawrence A. Cunningham through this book expresses an important truth- when a man such as Mr. Buffet writes with the clarity and power that he does, not much benefit is given to the reader by adding words on top of what is already clear and powerful prose. If one is trying to make sense of Mr. Buffet and his philosophies, the best place to start is with Mr. Buffet's own "sinewy" words, which are presented, unadorned except with a short preface, in this book.

"Essays" is a bit of a misnomer for the content of this book. In fact, this book is actually a compilation of excerpts from the Annual Letters Mr. Buffet has written to the shareholders of his company, Berkshire Hathaway, over the last thirty plus years. Worth noting, these very letters are available, in their entirety, on the World Wide Web for free. Something, however, is definitely gained through reading Mr. Buffet's words as Mr. Cunningham has arranged them.

Mr. Cunningham has arranged this book by subject, rather than time- and the effect is pleasing and effective. The way that Mr. Cunningham chose to arrange Mr. Buffet's letters is into the following categories: Corporate Governance, Corporate Finance and Investing, Alternatives to Common Stock, Common Stock, Mergers and Acquisitions, Accounting and Valuation, and Accounting Policy and Tax Matters.

The effect of Cunningham's carefully-chosen delineations is a book that has more the feel of an educational guide, than a story of Mr. Buffet's investing career and his company, Berkshire Hathaway.

What emerges out of this educational guide is the philosophy and teachings of a gifted Professor and practitioner. No matter whether Mr. Buffet is waxing poetic on business or outlining his scruples over how corporations account for equity stock options, out of his writing emerges a consistent and eloquent philosophy on the "right" and effective approach to business, investing, capitalism, and life.

The "Buffet Way", perhaps impossible to summarize fully in a few short sentences, is stoic and original. The practitioner of this philosophy is one who stands apart from society, ignores any "institutional imperative" that may impede rational decision-making. The "Buffet Way" is a mode of analysis that knows the bounds of its own limitations, and is free of emotion. The Buffet Way demands that every decision require a "margin of safety" or room for error.

Most importantly, Mr. Buffet's view of investing, and particularly of investing in the stock market or in other marketable securities, grasps a simple but important concept that is lost on so many market pundits and practitioners: stocks are not abstractions. Stocks are certificates that represent a share of ownership in an underlying business. Too often people don't look through stocks to the underlying business they represent. This book aptly is subtitled, "Lessons for Corporate America", because Mr. Buffet is after all an evaluator of businesses.

Stocks and their prices are only relevant when they become disjointed, in a favorable way, from the underlying realities of the business they represent.

To think the "Buffet Way" takes more, though, than knowing the concept's basic precepts. It takes discipline, and a stoic fight against the animal spirits that so often lead investors astray. This book and its precepts are worth reading, and rereading, until hopefully its lessons are engrained in the psyche in a way that they become impossible to ignore.

- samira_alvarez

Warren Buffett's annual letters are a must-read for any investor. Buffett is arguably one of the best investors ever. His principles will help you not only run your own organization but allow you to build your own metrics to gauge how well companies are doing that you potentially want to invest in. These same principles can be applied to government finance to determine the sustainability of your government whether it be local, state, or federal.

- ricardo_johnson

This is the first investment book I have read for pleasure, and I wish it had been required reading in one of my college Finance or Accounting classes. It certainly helps if one gets (at a basic level) the technical terms and is familiar with most of the economic and political circumstances that Mr. Buffett references, but I am confident one would enjoy the book even if he or she didn't. Here is the key - you won't find a more humble, thoughtful and honest business manager than Mr. Buffett. He understands human behavior, the limits of an individual's abilities, the factors that motivate employees, managers, and owners, and the power of capital - both human and financial. These essays are pretty easy reads; the genius of Mr. Buffett is at least in part his ability to communicate complicated things in an understandable way. The subject matter is diverse - the ideal characteristics of a manager (particularly a CEO), investment tools, acquisitions, GAAP accounting treatments, and taxes - but all concepts are deftly woven together by Mr. Cunningham.

Inspiring and achievable philosophy for more than just investments - Mr. Buffett seems genuinely happy with his life, and I honestly believe it's because he enjoys what he does and who he is working with more than the billions in the bank he has.

- legend_diaz

If you believe in following best practice and then implementing your own improvements this is definitely a book worth reading . It covers most of Buffet's annual letters to Berkshire shareholders in a chronological manner easy to follow . What makes Buffet's writing so enjoyable is the way he helps the layman understand the world of investing . It also accounts for some of the mistakes that he and his partner Charlie Munger has made and we can learn from and hopefully avoid . My only regret is not getting the paperback version since then I could have shared this book with so many more people that could have benefited from reading the book themselves .

- langston_howard

Loved it.

- reese_peterson

Lovely to read with lots of knowledge passed down by the guru

- lucy_phillips

Great book, it should be compulsory to every director, a lot of wisdom in it.

- ainsley_phillips

Decent book

- miriam_james

Buffett’s brilliance comes through based on the lessons learned in his life and he tries to impart on Berkshire’s shareholders and readers of this book.

My favourite takeaway: “When investing in a company, evaluate the company’s managers and ask yourself whether this is the kind of man or woman you would want your daughter or son to marry.”

You’ll never hear that from a financial advisor.

Great book. Highly recommend.

- gage_ramirez

If youd like to know the exerpt of warrens thougt you are best served. Very good organized; very informative; as a starter I learned a lot about how to think as an investor.

- giovanna_perez

Great compilation of Buffet and Munger's ways of thinking. Lots of insights regarding accounting tricks and areas of management judgement. Also reaffirms much of the Berkshire investing philosophy ie. The long term committments in great businesses and mangers that are trustworthy it.

- luciana_ross

As described. All good.

- casey_thomas

As a teacher of finance and investment, W Buffet is as good as Benjamin Graham. An in depth look into the world of Berkshire and the thoughts of a truly inspiring and respected personality.

- ashlyn_peterson

Essays from the world's greatest investor. How can you NOT buy this?

- leonel_morales

Me gusto , es muy interesante.

- otto_cox

The cover page of the Kindle edition says it's the third edition but the title in the store says fourth edition, as does the details page of the Kindle book. Please fix

- yareli_ward

Warren's essays give you an excellent look into his perspectives as investor and can help share your own investment strategy. Light on specifics but does address his general investing mentality and philosophy

- marianna_carter

This is, in my opinion by far the most valuable book available, to correctly align ones thought processes for long term success in business and investing. Every chapter contains countless gems, delivered in Buffett's characteristically accessible manner. An absolute must read.

- hugh_scott

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