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Bill Gates (CEO / Microsoft)
I already posted a full review of Tap Dancing to Work, a collection of writings about Warren Buffett put together by his friend Carol J. Loomis. I can’t resist an opportunity to recommend this book again. It's very, very good. The pieces go back more than 40 years some of them, and it’s very interesting to see how Warren framed things years ago and how he’s dealt with certain challenges since. You get to see how consistent Warren’s framework has been, how he has always looked at the world in terms of integrity and financial valuation. There are some speeches in here that offer great insights into how Warren evaluates stock markets over time and how to assess the margin of safety available in investments at any point in time. I thought the book was super good.
When Carol Loomis first mentioned a little-known Omaha hedge fund manager in a 1966 Fortune article, she didn’t dream that Warren Buffett would one day be considered the world’s greatest investor—nor that she and Buffett would quickly become close personal friends. As Buffett’s fortune and reputation grew over time, Loomis used her unique insight into Buffett’s thinking to chronicle his work for Fortune, writing and proposing scores of stories that tracked his many accomplishments—and also his occasional mistakes.
Now Loomis has collected and updated the best Buffett articles Fortune published between 1966 and 2012, including thirteen cover stories and a dozen pieces authored by Buffett himself. Loomis has provided commentary about each major article that supplies context and her own informed point of view. Readers will gain fresh insights into Buffett’s investment strategies and his thinking on management, philanthropy, public policy, and even parenting. Some of the highlights include:
- The 1966 A. W. Jones story in which Fortune first mentioned Buffett.
- The first piece Buffett wrote for the magazine, 1977’s “How Inf lation Swindles the Equity Investor.”
- Andrew Tobias’s 1983 article “Letters from Chairman Buffett,” the first review of his Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letters.
- Buffett’s stunningly prescient 2003 piece about derivatives, “Avoiding a Mega-Catastrophe.”
- His unconventional thoughts on inheritance and philanthropy, including his intention to leave his kids “enough money so they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”
- Bill Gates’s 1996 article describing his early impressions of Buffett as they struck up their close friendship.
Scores of Buffett books have been written, but none can claim this work’s combination of trust between two friends, the writer’s deep understanding of Buffett’s world, and a very long-term perspective.
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