Monday, April 20, 2009

Review of Buffett's Letters

I often tell people who are just getting started investing to go through Buffett's letters one by one. They provide the careful reader a great education on investing, from the world's best, and they're available for free.

Recently, in Motley Fool, Ravi Nagarajan reviewed a compilation of these essays. And he did a great job. But I'll let you judge for yourself, starting with this excerpt:

One of the interesting aspects of reading Buffett’s letters in chronological order is that one can combine knowledge of the timeframe in which the letter was written and read the document with that context in mind. Not only that, but with benefit of hindsight, it is possible to appreciate Buffett’s statements regarding Berkshire and the business environment in general.

However, while the chronological review is useful for understanding the evolution of Berkshire Hathaway and Buffett’s thinking, it leaves something to be desired in terms of consolidating Buffett’s thoughts on specific subjects. This is where Cunningham’s arrangement comes in.

Cunningham includes an introductory section that provides a great deal of information regarding Buffett’s background and would be useful for those who are new to Berkshire Hathaway. He then arranges Buffett’s letters into seven major themes and then includes excerpts from Buffett’s letters over the years as they relate to each theme. Essentially, this takes shareholder letters intended to be read at a given point in time for a particular audience and transforms it into a well organized book.
By the way, if the name of the author strikes you as familiar, I've talked about his blog here at least once before. You can continue reading the above review at his site, Rational Walk.

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