A rare view into the mind of Warren Buffett.

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The University of Berkshire Hathaway

A record of 30 years of holding company Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meetings, replete with insight into the minds of the company’s leaders.

Berkshire Hathaway chairman, president, and CEO Warren Buffett, known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” has become a near-mythical figure in the world of investing, an exemplar of success, and a role model emulated by many. In his debut, investment adviser Pecaut, with his longtime business partner Wrenn, details every annual Berkshire Hathaway investor meeting since 1984. The book begins with a concise history of the company’s rise to dominance as it eventually amassed more than $500 billion in assets. The bulk of the book, though, is comprised of brief accounts of Buffet’s lectures and responses to questions from the crowd, as well as the perspective of his vice chairman, Charlie Munger. (As the meetings become more popular and longer, the notes expand as well.) Both Buffett and Munger share their insights into a broad spectrum of topics, sometimes going beyond financial matters to address politics and life in general. Buffett shares the central tenets of his value-investing philosophy, his thoughts on derivatives, his belief that inflation is largely a political phenomenon, and the reasons why the trade deficit is a bigger deal than a federal budget deficit. Buffett often delights in contradicting the academic notion of efficient (and therefore predictable) markets. Sometimes, it’s interesting to see where Buffett seemed to have it wrong; for example, he overestimated the fundamental health of the newspaper industry as well as China’s auto-industry business model. The book doubles as a memoir of sorts, as Pecaut recounts his own career arc, starting as a philosophy major at Harvard and becoming a lifetime student of investment strategy. This is a long book, and as one might expect, there’s a fair amount of redundancy; not every annual meeting offers an entirely novel set of issues to discuss. Also, because this is meant as a “curated collection of the best advice and insights Buffett and Munger have shared over the last three decades,” and not an exacting work of history, it would have made more sense if it were arranged thematically rather than chronologically. However, seasoned investors, as well as Buffett fans, will find plenty of value in this storehouse of financial counsel.

A rare view into the mind of Warren Buffett. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2016

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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