Lawrence A. Cunningham, author of the best-seller, The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, and an upcoming book, Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values
Lawrence Cunningham Lecture Draws Crowd
Sunny Rosen of the UD Press Office wrote a great story about the event:
Lawrence Cunningham, University of Delaware alumnus and leading authority on corporate governance and culture, spoke with UD students and faculty earlier this week as part of the Chaplin Tyler Executive Leadership Series.
UD is the first stop on a 15-campus book tour for his new book, Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values. Purnell Hall was a fitting location for the tour’s beginnings, as Lawrence Cunningham took classes in the very room in which his speech was being held.
“It’s a great honor to return to my alma mater. I studied across the street at Morris Library, enjoyed the great dorm life at UD and, of course, engaged in many erudite debates over beers at the Deer Park Tavern,” he joked.
Lawrence Cunningham also pointed out that Delaware is an ideal location because of the state’s status as the corporate capital of the United States, with half of America’s largest corporations being incorporated here.
“From an early age, that corporate life got into my blood,” said Cunningham of Delaware’s environment. “This led to many fascinating studies, including that of Berkshire-Hathaway, which I have been following closely for 20 years.”
Cunningham has become a leading authority on Berkshire, the fifth largest corporation in the nation, as well as its CEO, Warren Buffett. Cunningham calls the company a microcosm of corporate America, providing an opportunity to examine virtually every topic in business, from accounting and investing to management and leadership.
Since 1997 Lawrence Cunningham has been the editor of a recurring volume, The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America. His new book, however, asks a new and different question.
“People wonder, now that Buffett is 84, what will happen to Berkshire when he’s gone?” asked Cunningham. “The consensus is that there’s something so special about Buffett that his demise will spell the company’s demise.”
But Cunningham argues that, despite Buffett’s seemingly “irreplaceable magic touch” in leading the company for almost 50 years, expecting Berkshire to fail without him is “paradoxical.”
“Buffett’s main goal is to build a lasting corporation,” said Cunningham. “And yet even fans think it will go when he goes. So I decided to research this question, asking it in the opposite way: Is there something so special about Berkshire that it will continue even after Warren is gone?”
During Lawrence Cunningham ’s research, Buffett gave him permission to interview Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B)’s subsidiary CEOs, directors, officers and other insiders.
“Through this research, I found reasons to believe in Berkshire post-Buffett,” said Cunningham. “Buffett’s most important achievement, beyond vast fortune and generous philanthropy, is building an organization that is larger than himself. It’s true that Buffett epitomizes Berkshire, but it’s far from a one-man show.”
Cunningham said that this new book fills gaps in current knowledge of Berkshire.
“This is the first book about Buffett as a manager rather than as an investor,” said Lawrence Cunningham. “It’s the first book about Berkshire as a corporate entity rather than merely a collection of investments.” . . .
Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values by Lawrence Cunningham
The tour begins in earnest October 17 with a talk at Google in the Authors at Google in Palo Alto, which will be released on You Tube a week later.
The book launch date is October 21.
For all details about the book tour, visit www.berkshirebeyyondbuffett.com.
Lawrence A. Cunningham, Henry St. George Tucker III Research Professor
George Washington University
Follow Me on Twitter: @CunninghamProf