Berkshire Hathaway 2008 Annual Report = educational
Well, I spent some very pleasant evenings reading this thing, and it is a task I recommend highly. It was quite informative, and this tome (OK, only about 95 pages) has earned a place on my bookshelf next to books by Malkiel, The Intelligent Investor, Schwab, and Bogle; I learned quite a bit from this rather modest, perfunctory booklet, and I now have a rather clearer, more basic attitude towards investing.
It is worth it to buy just one share of BRK-B, just to get the annual report. No, downloading an electronic copy and kinda skimming it with your web browser is not the same thing. Look forward to the annual mailing, and devote a few evenings at your desk with your reading glasses, turn the computer off, pour yourself another cup ‘o joe, and let the learning begin. I am a better investor for it, and am willing to bet that you will be as well.
Some of the more interesting stuff I found:
**Buffett’s letter is at the beginning, and most of the notable quotables in the press come from here
**B expects inflation from the current gov’t actions
**his utilities already generate 20% from wind; take that, T Boone Pickins
**this AAA company has higher borrowing costs than basket cases being subsidized by Uncle Sam
**there is a bubble in U.S. Treasuries
**Black Scholes is used to evaluate derivatives
**if you own a company that meets the “acquisition criteria” and want to sell, the Oracle of Omaha encourages you to contact him personally.
**Note 17 of the Consolidated Financial Statements has one of the more cogent explanations of the FAS157/Fair Value/Mark-to-Market/tier-3 stuff.
**an in-depth explanation of the innards of the company are in the “Management’s Discussion”
**The “Owner’s Manual” (“Owner-Related Business Principles”) has B’s credo
**I learned that you can convert class A to B, but not vice versa (oh well; there goes my plan for long-range investing)