Essays of Warren Buffett

June 12, 2008 by Joe Ponzio

Back in April, Lawrence Cunningham, editor of The Essays of Warren Buffett, emailed me to tell me about the (then) upcoming release of the second edition of the book. (We all know what a nightmare April and May were for me. Sorry, Larry, for the delay.) In this new edition, Cunningham preserves the same structure, but addresses new topics like derivatives, currencies, and huge investments like Equitas.

Here is the Amazon description:

The definitive work concerning Warren Buffett and intelligent investment philosophy, this is a collection of Buffett’s letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway written over the past few decades that together furnish an enormously valuable informal education. The letters distill in plain words all the basic principles of sound business practices. They are arranged and introduced by a leading apostle of the “value” school and noted scholar, Lawrence Cunningham.

What’s new in the second edition? This new edition has extensive additional content that highlights topics of vital national or international significance, including:

  • the proliferation of stock option compensation and excessive CEO pay;
  • Berkshire’s shareholder-designated contribution program and the controversy over the abortion issue that led to its termination;
  • the explosion of derivative financial instruments and related perils and how Berkshire dealt with managing a sizable portfolio of them after buying Gen Re;
  • the dramatic increase in foreign currency trading in the past five years along with the astonishing growth in the US trade deficit;
  • management succession at Berkshire Hathaway as Mr. Buffett ages;
  • commentary on his philanthropic thinking in giving his entire fortune to charities; and
  • the fairness and other matters concerning taxation of corporations.

Here in one place are the priceless pearls of business and investment wisdom, woven into a delightful narrative on the major topics concerning both managers and investors. These timeless lessons are useful to members of a wide range of professions, including law, accounting, finance and management, and provide rich teaching materials for courses in those fields.

Back in November of 2007, I said that Cunningham’s original book was a must read (in lieu of reading all of Buffett’s annual letters on your own). I just ordered my copy of the second edition, but I already know it’s good. After all, it’s Buffett and Cunningham. How can you go wrong?

You can get it at Amazon.com.

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