The Thrill of Investing in Common Stocks in .NET

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The Thrill of Investing in Common Stocks
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have some of the skills to be successful One great thing about Buffett is that he has written generously about what he does and how he does it If you have patience and the willingness, let s start learning about businesses and investing from the master
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Conclusions
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Buffett has often described his investing philosophy as simple but not easy It is simple in the sense that all you need to do is to identify outstanding businesses that are run by competent and honest managers and whose common stock is selling at a reasonable price But how do you that This book makes the process of discovering those businesses as easy as possible
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1965 2009: Lessons from Signi cant Events in Berkshire History
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History is philosophy teaching by examples
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Thucydides, an ancient Greek historian
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hen Warren Buffett took control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1965, it was a small textile manufacturing company in New England The prospects of the textile industry at the time were rather bleak Buffett has transformed Berkshire into a large insurance, utility, manufacturing, and retailing conglomerate In 44 years, the company s book value has grown from $19 to $70,530 per class A share, and the stock price has correspondingly grown from about $8 to $96,600 The following list of signi cant events in Berkshire history serves two purposes First, it is important to learn from the examples others have set; and second, it presents a quick look at many of Buffett s principles In later chapters, we will explore these principles further
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introduction and background
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1965: Not Throwing Good Money after Bad
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Event Warren Buffett is listed as a Berkshire director for the rst time, although he is not yet the chief executive of the company Starting to accumulate Berkshire shares in 1962 at $760 per share, Buffett acquired a controlling interest in the company by 1965 with an overall average cost of $1486 per share Lesson Revenues at Berkshire have been declining, from $64 million to $49 million, in the prior 16 years However, the company did not invest much to prop up the declining textile business The decision not to invest in a declining business is a good example of the often-used maxim: Don t throw good money after bad Berkshire s cash ows are instead used for buying its own shares back in the open market and for investing in other securities The main lesson is that one should be careful in investing in a company that is using its cash ows to sustain a dying business
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1967: Invest in Your Circle of Competence
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Event Berkshire makes its debut in the insurance business by acquiring two insurance companies for $9 million: National Indemnity Company and National Fire and Marine Insurance Company Both companies are based in Omaha where Buffett lives Lesson Buffett probably had a long-term plan to slowly develop the insurance business This is a nearly perfect example of how a long journey starts with a small rst step He invests within his circle of competence: insurance
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1973: Cash Flow Is King
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Event Berkshire increases its investment in Blue Chip Stamps Lesson In the trading stamp business, the company receives cash in advance for stamps: an IOU The company does not have to pay interest on these IOUs, and it can use the cash thus received for investments
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1965 2009: Lessons from Signi cant Events in Berkshire History 11
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in other businesses This is a good example of Buffett s philosophy of generating cash ow with little risk The insurance business has similar characteristics
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1977: Successful Growth
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Event The insurance business continues to grow at a fast pace through expansion and acquisitions Buffett reports that in the prior 10 years, insurance premiums grew by about 600 percent, from $22 million to $151 million Lesson Buffett s excellent knowledge of the insurance industry helps him to identify top managers and then delegate them to run individual units Note that insurance was not a fast-growing industry Outstanding managers are the key to successful growth Invest with them when you nd such opportunities
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