University of Berkshire Hathaway by Daniel Pecaut and Corey Wrenn

Spend a little time reading non-fiction on just about any subject and you can’t help but come across quotes from super investor Warren Buffett and his side-kick Charlie Munger. I wondered where all these quotes originated from, and it turns out they give ’em away for free at the annual shareholders meeting. This book is a collection of the newsletters Daniel Pecaut and Corey Wrenn sent to investors about the meetings which they have dutifully attended and taken notes on since 1986.

And what they have collected is a record of the changing business landscape of America and the rising fortunes of Berkshire Hathaway from a dying textile company to the wealthiest conglomerate in America, second only to Wal-Mart in 2017.

The secret to Buffett’s success? Well, I’d say it’s a focus on value investing, doing well in insurance, and longevity. Along the way, Warren and Charlie have given consistently quotable business and life advice which has all been recorded here. The book lacks any criticism or deep analysis of Buffett’s business and investment record, instead it’s happy to take the meetings and his comments at face value. But the book works as an accessible summary of what was said over 30 years of meetings. And, I filled my zettelkasten with 40 notes, so I got value for my investment of reading, that’s for sure.

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No. 9 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2021.

Patrick Sherriff is an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at his conversation school in Abiko, Japan, with his wife, he writes and illustrates textbooks for non-native speakers of English, releases Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, essays and a monthly newsletter  highlighting good fiction published in English about Japan. Saku’s Random Book Club is his latest project to spend more time with books.