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Warren Buffett on Business: Principles from the Sage of Omaha
Richard J. Connors

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Format: Hardcover, 259pp.
ISBN: 9780470502303
Publisher: Wiley
Pub. Date: December 9, 2009

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

The proven business principles of Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is one of the most admired and prolific investors and managers in corporate America. Warren Buffett on Business is a timeless guide to strategies that can help you run a successful business. This book is a one-of-a-kind collection of Buffett's letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway written over the past few decades, and in a clear, simple style distills the basic principles of sound business practices.

Through Buffett's own remarkable words, this practical management handbook shares valuable insights on communicating with, and treating employees and shareholders fairly; responsible corporate governance; ethical behavior; patience and perseverance; admitting mistakes; and having a passion for work.
  • ontains priceless pearls of business and management wisdom, woven into a delightful narrative
  • Designed in an accessible manner and organized by business and management topics with strong lessons from Buffett
  • Provides direct, hands-on information on major topics concerning managers, entrepreneurs, business students, and anyone interested in business
Informative and inspiring, this unique book puts Warren Buffett's business beliefs in perspective.

The name Warren Buffett is synonymous with success and prosperity in the business world. There are many books written about how Buffett invests and how you can invest just like him—but this is not one of them. This book is not about how Buffett invests, but rather, it is about his highly successful business management principles and practices. It is about his way of communicating with and treating employees and shareholders fairly and honestly; responsible corporate governance; ethical behavior; patience and perseverance; admitting mistakes; having a passion for work; and having fun and a sense of humor. Warren Buffett on Business is a practical management handbook on the Buffett/Berkshire Hathaway model of effectively managing a business, large or small.

Drawing from carefully selected Berkshire Hathaway shareholders' letters written over four decades (1977-2008), Connors presents Buffett's own words on corporate culture, communication, risk management, time management, crisis management, executive compensation, capital allocation and management, and much, much more. Taken as a whole, they show that, when you strip it all away, effective business management the Warren Buffett way is remarkably obvious and simple. As Buffett himself describes his business principles, they are "simple, old, and few."

An informative and inspiring book on Berkshire Hathaway's business management practices, all in Warren Buffett's own words, Warren Buffett on Business provides direct, hands-on information on how to effectively manage a company that will connect with senior executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and business students.

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About the Author

Richard J. Connors is a Registered Investment Advisor and owner of Connors Investment Management Company in St. Louis, Missouri. Beginning in 2006, he has presented a class on Warren Buffett at the Washington University in St. Louis Lifelong Learning Institute. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Business School and the St. Louis University School of Law.

Table of Contents



1 Shareholders as Partners.

“Although our form is corporate, our attitude is partnership.”1

2 Corporate Culture.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.  If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”2

3 Corporate Governance.

“At Berkshire, board members travel the same road as shareholders.”3

4 Berkshire Managers.

“They unfailingly think like owners (the highest compliment we can pay a manager).”4

5 Communication.

“As managers, Charlie and I want to give to our owners the financial information and commentary we would wish to receive if our positions were reversed.” 5

6 Acquisition of Nebraska Furniture Mart.

“We gave Mrs. B a check for $55 million and she gave us her word. That made for an even exchange.” 6

7 The Acquisition of Geico.

“The security I like best” 7

8 The Acquisition of General Reinsurance.

“Long ago, Mark Twain said: A man who tries to carry a cat home by its tail will learn a lesson that can be learned in no other way. If Twain were around now, he might try winding up a derivatives business. After a few days, he would opt for cats.” 8

9 The Assessment and Management of Risk.

“Don't think, however, that we have lost our appetitefor risk.  We remain prepared to lose $6 billion in a single event, if we have been paid appropriately for assuming that risk. 9

10 Executive Compensation.

“At Berkshire...I am a one man compensation committee who determines the salaries for the CEOs of around 40 significant operating businesses. How much time does this aspect of my job take? Virtually none. How many CEOs have voluntarily left us for other jobs in our 42-year history? Precisely none.” 10

11 Time Management.

“When my mother got to be eighty the most important thing in how long you live is how long your parents live. I got her an exercise bike, put her on a strict diet, and she's just piling up the years for me.” 11

12 How to Manage a Crisis.

“....I will attempt to do it in the manner of a fellow that has never met a lawyer.” 12

13 Management Principles and Practices.

“Simple, old and few” 13

14 Executive Behavior.

“Many CEOs attain their positions because they possess an abundance of animal spirits and egos....When such a CEO is encouraged by his advisors to make deals, he responds such as would a teenage boy who is encouraged by his father to have a normal sex life. It's not a push he needs.” 14

15 Mistakes I've Made.

“I can look back on every year in terms of mistakes I've made. The dumbest mistake I ever made was, will probably be in the future.” 15

16 Personal Investing.

Your goal as an investor should simply be to purchase, at a rational price, a part interest in an easily-understandable business whose earnings are virtually certain to be higher five, ten and fifteen years from now.” 16

17 Buffett the Teacher.

“If I talk to 50 or 60 years old, basically they want to be entertained by my predictions/and if I talk to 20 year olds or even 25 year olds, they ask me the questions on their minds.”…The idea is that they listen and you may change some lives.” 17

18 Humor and Stories.

“ In the words of the prophet May West: too much of a good thing is wonderful.” 18

Appendix A Warren E. Buffett-A Chronological History.

Appendix B Berkshire Hathaway Inc.,An Owner's Manual, Owner Related Business Principles, January 1999.

Appendix C   Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Code of Business Conduct and Ethics.

Appendix D July 23, 2008 Memo to Berkshire Hathaway Managers.

Appendix E Berkshire Hathaway Inc.- Corporate Governance Guidelines, As Amended on February 27, 2006.

Appendix F Intrinsic Value.

Appendix G The Superinvestors of Graham-And-Doddsville.

Appendix H Berkshire's Corporate performance vs. S&P 500.

Appendix I Berkshire's Common Stock Year-end Prices.


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