At most major corporations, management allocates a portion of corporate profit to charitable concerns. Unlike what happens at most an- nual shareholder meetings, a sustained and productive dialogue on business issues results.
Evaluating CEO performance is even harder than it may seem. It may give us the chance to buy more of a good thing at a bargain price. Linked to that theme are management principles that de- fine the proper role of corporate managers as the stewards of in- vested capital, and the proper role of shareholders as the suppliers and owners of capital.
How to ease those conflicts and to nurture manage- rial stewardship have been constant objectives of Buffett's forty- year career and a prominent theme of his essays. Buffett kept the ailing plant alive throughbut a financial re- versal could not be achieved and Buffett eventually closed it.
From his office in Omaha, Nebraska, without even the benefit of a computer, Warren Buffett has racked up an investment record that far surpasses his counterparts on Wall Street—or anyone else in the world, for that matter. Sometimes management interests conflict with shareholder in- terests in subtle or easily disguised ways.
An astute approach to market up and downs: Rather an investor will succeed by coupling good business judgment with an ability to insulate his thoughts and behavior from the super-contagious emotions that swirl about the marketplace. Returns should not be everything: As the book Buffett autographs most, its popularity and longevity attest to the widespread appetite for this unique compilation of Buffett's thoughts that is at once comprehensive, non-repetitive, and digestible.
The tenure sets a record for chief executive not only in duration but in value creation and philosophizing. It would be helpful if directors could sup- ply necessary discipline, but board congeniality usually prevents that. The potential that is found in these companies is what is used to save money for the future.
If only short-term results mattered, many managerial decisions would be much easier, particularly those relating to busi- nesses whose economic characteristics have eroded. Unlike what happens at most an- nual shareholder meetings, a sustained and productive dialogue on business issues results.
Media outlets, financial advisers, politicians, and Americans from Main Street to Wall Street hang on every word Buffett speaks, hoping to gain valuable insight into Buffett's investments and successes. Buffett modestly confesses that most of the ideas expressed in his essays were taught to him by Ben Graham.
Warren wants people to learn about his way because he believes that it is the most practical and the most ethical. He also tells how the company avoids dividends by utilizing the cash generated by the company to increase value for the owners. It is simple for people to use his calculator because it shows them how these companies could perform in the future.
That quality attracts an interested shareholder constituency to Berkshire, which flocks to its annual meetings in increasing numbers every year. Adam Smith would disagree with my first proposition, and Karl Marx would disagree with my second; the middle ground is the only position that leaves me comfortable.
As organ- ized, the essays constitute an elegant and instructive manual on management, investment, finance, and accounting. Even beyond his business savvy, Buffett is influential as a progressive thinker and active philanthropist, having pledged to give most of his money to charity through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as foundations run by his three children.
These owner-related business principles, as Buffett calls them, are the organizing themes of the accompanying essays. Berkshire does things differently. According to Buffett, one of the greatest problems among boards in corporate America is that members are selected for other rea- sons, such as adding diversity or prominence to a board.
It is true that investors should focus on fundamentals, be patient, and exercise good judgment based on common sense. The decision is much harder, however, if you recognize that superior long-term results can flow from earning the trust of social communities, as Buffett's consideration of the anxieties of plant closings suggests.
Yet until now the letters existed in a format that was neither easily accessible nor organized in any thematic way. They go far beyond mere abstract platitudes. The defenses run from an impassioned refutation of modern finance theory, to convincing demonstrations of the deleterious effects of using stock options to compensate managers, to persuasive arguments about the exagger- ated benefits of synergistic acquisitions and cash flow analysis.
To maximize board effectiveness in this situation, Buffett be- lieves the board should be small in size and composed mostly of outside directors.
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Robert said: Cunningham organizes the essays within seven sections between Buffett's Prol /5. Warren Buffett stands for something far greater than himself or the wealth he has generated. He is in what he does rather countercyclical, rather old fashioned, and fabulously good.
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