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For those you like me, one of the "cultists" as Munger calls us, here is a question--  How do you rate the following Buffett/Munger books, (ones I have not read), some of which may only be using his name to sell books.

 

 

Life Lessons in Business, by Davidson Larson

First a Dream, by Clayton

Dear Mr. Buffett, by Tavakoli

The Real Warren Buffett

The New Buffetology, Mary Buffett

 

By the way, my favorites are in no particular order: Poor Charlie's Almanack, Snowball, Damn Right, The Essays of ...

 

Best,

 

Netnet

 

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The real Warren Buffett gets a B+ from me for its excellent first half.

 

The new Buffettology gets an A as a good tool for basic valuation techniques (even though Mary shamelessly used her prior access to Buffett, but that is besides the point).

 

The making of an american capitalist by Lowenstein (not on the list, I know) gets an A as far as biographies are concerned.

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Gave Dear. Mr. Buffett a try before putting it down halfway through to finish Snowball.  Its a bit technical but if you're interested in learning more about derivatives its a good read, will probably pick it back up sometime soon.

 

Snowball was the most disappointing book,  800 pages of Schroeder cheap pop psycho analysis, lengthy prose and overall unnecessary writing that demonstrated that she doesn't understand Warren's investments or his approach.

 

 

 

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I wasn't a big fan of the psychological profiling in the Snowball. However, it explained the business aspects quite well for a non-technical book. As far as I know, Schroeder gave the fullest description of the Blue Chip Stamps purchase, and of the complications arising from Berkshire Hathaway, Dexter Shoes, and Solomon Brothers.

 

It's difficult to write a book about Buffett because you have a readership that wants technical information about his investments and another audience that wants to know about Astrid Menks and Susan Buffett.

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wants to know about astrid? lol what a waste of time of access to buffett.

 

I'm still not done reading snowball. didn't like stuff about buffett's family and how he hated his mom, ignored his kids, etc (all of which became failures essentially). it's funny, kinda puts a sad side to buffett's 24/7 excited, giddy personality. it seems like Anne didn't really show much of the father in Buffett to his children but did show how Buffett's father (howard buffett) made him everything he was. Kinda sucks, ey?

 

 

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I thought so, JR. The Lowenstein book went into more detail, but I believe that the prosecutor introduced Buffett's own words as evidence. Buffett spoke about the tendency of regional papers towards monopoly.

 

On the other hand, the case was bogus, as the government could not prove that Buffett undertook anti-competitive actions such as producing below cost or paying advertisers to stick with the Buffalo News. He only tried to start a Sunday paper!

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I personally enjoyed Buffettology for it's clear and articulate examination of the way Buffett thinks about businesses he is evaluating.  Note that Buffettology and The New Buffettology are two completely different books.  The new Buffettology is not simply a revised version of the original - they cover different subject matter.  I'd recommend Buffettology for sure (especially as a CD to listen to).

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I actually liked reading Snowball. Almost everything we read regarding Buffett discusses his successes (usually in glowing terms). In Snowball I liked reading about Buffett the human and discovering that, yes, he has had his fair share of adversity (business and personal). The book did nothing to lessen my admiration for the man's accomplishments but it was nice to discover that he is indeed human afterall!

 

For beginner investors, I also liked 'The Warren Buffett Way' by Hagstrom (liked 1st edition better than second).

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I think you guys are missing the point of Snowball.  But I would expect as much from a group of hard core investors  ;D  (I say that affectionately by the way)  She wanted to write a book that was all encompassing, not just focused on his investing.  I found the personal aspects, choices, and sacrifices very interesting.  (I'm not totally finished, about another 150 pages to go)  The way he mixed the life of an Omaha hamburger eating guy, with Kay Graham's elephant bumping.  The dichotomy in his life.  Reading the part about Salomon Brothers was like having deja vu!  It was like reading all about the investment banking fiasco we've just been living through with Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers!  Except that it happened 15 years ago!  The more things change.. the more they stay the same.  Talk about leverage, commercial paper not being rolled over, loss of primary lender status, wall street pricks..  it was all there!  I think it was very revealing.  I don't think the intent was to go into each of his investments with a fine tooth financial comb.  She certainly could have done so, she met Buffet because she was an insurance analyst, and Buffet liked her writing.  But that wasn't the idea of the book.  I found the split with Susie-o to be heartbreaking, but maybe I'm just a sentimental fool!  :'(

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm yet to read anything that comes even close to getting Buffett's methods correct.  But why would anyone actually detail this publicly.  (And no Buffett doesn't openly discusses his methods.  He may give hints, but he's not spoon feeding.)

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My impression of Snowball was to get a deeper understanding of Berkshire and also the mysteries of how junk can turn into gold. In reading the book, I was asking myself, could you have foreseen the outcome ($140 billion market cap company in 2009) from the early years? And the answer for me was no, it looked like a hodge-podge of crappy unrelated businesses that wouldn't go anywhere. It looked like every deal was a tiny one and yet all those tiny deals added up. Like why all the fuss over a newspaper in some small town, it seemed an inordinate amount of time spent on stuff like this, yet this was the kind of events the capital went through to get really big via compound interest. To be honest, the book gave me less faith that I could spot the next big growth company just by looking at transactions and/or the nature of the business. Instead it seems you have to look more at the mind of the person making the decisions.

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I've read bits and pieces of Snowball. It's just lying there waiting for free time to be read.

I like the personal stuff actually, it gives insight into what makes Warren ... Warren.

I think it's a good book for people who are experienced in investing and know about his philosophy and methods already. It sort of adds the finishing touches, and helps you understand why he behaves in certain ways and why he makes the decisions he does at a higher, more fuller, and meaningful level, not just financial.

Some of his business decisions are not financial in nature at all, and are in fact of a personal sort (for example Washington Post and his commitment to integity and honesty).

 

If you guys have time, have a look at page 15 of the photos in the book; the one where Warren is "at home in his kitchen, wearing a favorite threadbared sweater".

Gosh he looks like a mass-murderer or someone psychopathic there. lol  :D ;D

 

 

P.S - Bertie Buffett was hot!  :)

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