Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Berkshire Hathaway released its annual report.

So my hero Warren Buffett released Berkshire Hathaway's annual report this week, and I spent the free time I didn't have pouring over it. As usual it was completely brilliant in every possible way. The stock closed today at $107,300 per share, up $899 per share for the day. I swear to you I can actually feel my own brain thinking more clearly after reading his reports or listening to him speak. Here are a couple of highlights for people who don't actually care about the company:

In a related talk about acquisition efforts:
"Our exemplar is the older man who crashed his grocery cart into that of a much younger fellow while both were shopping. The elderly man explained apologetically that he had lost track of his wife and was preoccupied searching for her. His new acquaintance said that by coincidence his wife had also wandered off and suggested that it might be more efficient if they jointly looked for the two women. Agreeing, the older man asked his new companion what his wife looked like. "She's a gorgeous blonde," the fellow answered, "with a body that would cause a bishop to go through a stained glass window, and she's wearing tight white shorts. How about yours?" The senior citizen wasted no words: "Forget her, we'll look for yours."

On pooling insurance claims:
"Equitas embraced Ben Franklin's thinking: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall hang separately."

On NetJets:
"Once you've flown NetJets, returning to commercial flights is like going back to holding hands."

On Taxes:
"Had there been only 600 taxpayers like Berkshire, no one else in America would have needed to pay any federal income or payroll taxes. Our federal return last year, we should add, ran to 9,386 pages"

On the teaching of efficient market theory:
"Walter meanwhile went on over performing, his job made easier by the misguided instructions that had been given to those young minds. After all, if you are in the shipping business, it's helpful to have all of your potential competitors be taught that the earth is flat."

On Charlie Munger's book:
"One hapless soul last year asked Charlie what he should do if he didn't enjoy the book. Back came a Mungerism: 'No problem -- just give it to someone more intelligent.'"

By the way, my profile picture up top is from a picture of Charlie and me at last year's annual meeting:


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