Gems from Warren Buffett – Wit and Wisdom from 34 Years of Letters to Shareholders [Kindle Edition] Mark Gavagan (Author), Warren Buffett (Author)
These gems lighten spirits with their humor, enlighten minds with their wisdom, and provide an interesting view into one of America’s most successful CEOs.
This book captures the essence of Warren Buffett’s iconic letters in an entertaining and digestible format
20% of sales (not just profits) are donated to the GLIDE charity, as part of the agreement to use Warren Buffett’s copyrighted content.
While notoriously frugal with shareholder funds, particularly regarding executive perks, Mr. Buffett finds the lure of a private corporate jet – thought by some to be a wasteful extravagance – irresistible. That it is so out of character makes Mr. Buffett’s humorous disclosures all the more entertaining.
In 1995, Mr. Buffett became a personal customer of what is today called NetJets, the world’s largest fractional jet ownership company, which gives individuals and businesses the benefits of whole aircraft ownership at a fraction of the cost. A few years later, Berkshire Hathaway acquired the company and thereabout, sold it’s own jet and began relying entirely on NetJets for corporate jet travel.
“Our goal is to do what makes sense for Berkshire’s customers and employees at all times, and never to add the unneeded. (‘But what about the corporate jet?’ you rudely ask. Well, occasionally a man must rise above principle.)”
Readers should understand that Mr. Buffett runs Berkshire in partnership with his longtime friend, Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, who is brilliant, shareholder-minded and perhaps even more frugal than Mr. Buffett (he wasn’t a fan of the corporate jet).
This snippet from the 2010 letter conveys the tone of their relationship: “If you decide to leave (during the annual shareholder meeting’s Q & A), please do so while Charlie is talking.”
“Naming the plane has not been easy. I initially suggested ‘The Charles T. Munger.’ Charlie countered with ‘The Aberration.’ We finally settled on ‘The Indefensible.’ ”
“My own attitude toward the (new corporate) jet can be summarized by the prayer attributed, apocryphally I’m sure, to St. Augustine as he contemplated leaving a life of secular pleasures to become a priest. Battling the conflict between intellect and glands, he pled: ‘Help me, Oh Lord, to become chaste – but not yet.’ ”
* * *
“Our entire corporate overhead is less than half the size of our charitable contributions. (Charlie, however, insists that I tell you that $1.4 million of our $4.9 million overhead is attributable to our corporate jet, The Indefensible.)”
* * *
“Were I to die tomorrow, … Berkshire’s earnings would increase by $1 million annually, since Charlie would immediately sell our corporate jet, The Indefensible (ignoring my wish that it be buried with me).”
(Note: immediately above is Mark Gavagan’s favorite Warren Buffett gem.)
Gems from Warren Buffett – Wit and Wisdom from 34 Years of Letters to Shareholders Managing the Managers
Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company, owning part or all of a diverse array of businesses, including insurance companies, railroads, utilities/energy, manufacturing, services, retailing, finance and financial services.
Berkshire’s approach is to invest in companies with great businesses AND great management, then mostly leave them alone.