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Pilgrimage to Warren Buffett’s Omaha – Book Review and Giveaway

This is another book review from, our favorite millionaire, QCash.

warren buffets omahaPilgrimage to Warren Buffett’s Omaha: A Hedge Fund Manager’s Dispatches from Inside the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting” by Jeff Matthews is a history lesson of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.  Matthews uses the 2007 and 2008 annual general meeting, and more importantly, the question and answer period as a backdrop for an analysis of Berkshire Hathaway and Buffett.

About the Author

Jeff Matthews is, as the title indicates, a hedge fund manager and the author of “Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up”, his distinctive financial blog.

The Book

For those who don’t know, Buffett and Munger, for about five hours annually, answer unscripted and unvetted questions in the Qwest Arena in front of 27,000 or more shareholders and their guests. There are no lawyers, no PR people, and no subject off limits.

As Matthews makes clear, the majority of these questions resolve around the WWWD (What Would Warren Do?) type and very few discuss the actual day to day running or performance of the business.

Matthews was there as a guest in 2007 and as a shareholder in 2008.

He outlines the “Buffett cult-like” mentality among Berkshire Hathaway shareholders and discusses many of the 76 different businesses owned by BH (I did not know they owned Ginsu knives).

What I Enjoyed

I enjoyed the pacing and organization of the book.  It is not your typical financial advice book, but provides lots information regarding Buffett’s insights and thought-processes.

Matthews uses the questions asked as a guide through the history of Berkshire Hathaway.  He gives an account of the answers and then a brief outline of some examples from the past and present supporting or disputing the answers given.  As well, he includes an analysis from Warren Buffett’s infamous Chairman’s letter.

I liked that the book covers the two most recent meetings which then the author intertwines the answers and forecasts given in 2007 with the results of 2008.  These results are then brought in context of the current fiscal situation.

I also enjoyed the fact that Matthews poses legitimate questions about the ongoing operations and management of the Berkshire Hathaway holdings.  Specifically, he compares some of the businesses with similar businesses and asks why they are not enjoying the same sort of success.  Berkshire Hathaway has been a phenomenal success as a whole, but individual businesses have not fared as well.

What I Didn’t Like

Matthews seems to question the “progressive” views of Buffett and asks why there are so few minorities among the shareholders.  At one point he mentions he sees only 13 African Americans among the 31,000 people attending.  I am not sure exactly what point Matthews is trying to make except to suggest perhaps that African Americans are not buying Berkshire Hathaway stock, or that they don’t attend the meeting in Omaha.

I personally don’t believe this is a problem with just Berkshire Hathaway and would probably make a good social studies paper, but I don’t believe there are any restrictions on minorities purchasing Berkshire Hathaway stock.  Regardless, Matthews doesn’t suggest what might be done?  Hold a lottery for minorities and hand out shares? That would run counter to everything Buffett believes in.

Final Thoughts

The book is an excellent read, well researched and thoroughly enjoyable for those who want to take a peak inside the Berkshire Hathaway annual general meeting without getting bogged down with all the technical details.

As a side note, it turns out my father in law has been an A share holder since 1994 and has never attended a meeting. I think we may take a father-in-law/son-in-law bonding trip to Omaha this year based solely on this book.

Want a Free Copy?

  • Simply leave a comment and you’ll automatically be entered in the draw for a free copy.
  • Please only 1 comment entry / person (please enter a valid email address).
  • Only those with a North American mailing address may enter (publisher rules, sorry).
  • Contest will end Friday 5pm EST Feb 27, 2009 and the winner announced shortly afterward!
If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).

149 Comments

  1. Mark Telewiak on February 24, 2009 at 8:46 am

    I’d be interested in this read



  2. DBennett on February 24, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Looking for a free copy!



  3. Finance Matters on February 24, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Sounds like an interesting read.



  4. Michael on February 24, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Sounds like an interesting read….sign me up!



  5. prock on February 24, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I’d love to have a read.



  6. Rod on February 24, 2009 at 10:15 am

    sign me up



  7. Frank on February 24, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Sign me up!



  8. Izzoshady on February 24, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Thanks for the review



  9. lhowes on February 24, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Throw my name in please.



  10. Ryan on February 24, 2009 at 10:35 am

    That sounds like a good read.



  11. Chris on February 24, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Love the site!



  12. Sampson on February 24, 2009 at 10:42 am

    One day I’ll win

    ….right? ;)



  13. Money Minder on February 24, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I would love a free copy of this book – when Warren speaks, I listen!



  14. Derek on February 24, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Please sign me up. Thanks



  15. Sean on February 24, 2009 at 11:06 am

    I’ll take this chance to get some insight from the guru! Thanks for the giveaway.



  16. Paolo on February 24, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Sounds like a good read.



  17. Tomasz on February 24, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I would like to win a free copy.



  18. Brandon on February 24, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Currently reading “Essays of Warren Buffet”. This would also be an interesting read!



  19. KnowledgeSeeker on February 24, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Please count me in!

    Thanks!



  20. Frog of Finance on February 24, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Count me in! :o)



  21. RI on February 24, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Looks like an enjoyable book!



  22. Neeraj on February 24, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Im in.



  23. Eric on February 24, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I would love a copy! I am a big Buffet fan. (Both Jimmy and Warren)



  24. jimmy on February 24, 2009 at 11:42 am

    would love to read the book! thanks.



  25. DK on February 24, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I’m in



  26. JB on February 24, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Sounds like an interesting read, please sign me up!



  27. Jeroen on February 24, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Sounds great, please sign me up!



  28. Susan on February 24, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I think the father-in-law/son-in-law bonding trip to Omaha is an excellet idea, especially if you write about the experience! Sounds an interesting book, the review has inspired me to take a look.



  29. Tish on February 24, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Today’s my day….Count me in on this one too !!!



  30. Dwight Thompson on February 24, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Would love to read



  31. Digger on February 24, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Anything about Warren Buffet is worth a read.



  32. Brenda Collings on February 24, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks for the Review sounds interesting.
    Keep them coming, I’m a readaholic.



  33. Bob Marchand on February 24, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    The book sounds very interesting, thanks for the review.



  34. Anthony on February 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I like reading. Thanks.



  35. Ben on February 24, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Pick me please!!!



  36. Stephan on February 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks for the review QCash. I’m in.



  37. Millionaireby45 on February 24, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Sounds like a great book.



  38. karash on February 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Pl. count me in…!!!



  39. Swati Jain on February 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I am in!



  40. ryan on February 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    i would love to read it.



  41. Tony on February 24, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Sign me up for a chance!



  42. ajm on February 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Sign me up – sounds like a great read.



  43. Sean Hyde on February 24, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Count me in…



  44. Teach1 on February 24, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Buffett is bedrock…rule #1 don’t lose $$$, rule #2, see rule #1!



  45. Iqbal on February 24, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    It is difficult to emulate Buffet. He has an extremely long term view and lots of money!



  46. Xenko on February 24, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I’m in.



  47. Brandon on February 24, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Sign me up. Thanks.



  48. Darren on February 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Count me in, please.



  49. Chelsea on February 24, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Sign me up please – hope I win!



  50. The Weakonomist on February 24, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Instead of being a crazy worshipper of Buffet, I do have an admiration for the guy. I’ve always enjoyed books about him but I am not of fan of people who try to write anything critical about him.

    Like it’s really BH’s evil planning that keeps minorities from comming to their events.



  51. Adam on February 24, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Sounds good :)



  52. so on February 24, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    i dont think it is necessary to make the 13/31000 comments either, but i would love to read anything about buffet, put me for the draw.



  53. John on February 24, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Anything that provides information regarding Buffett’s insights and thought processes is worth a read.



  54. Kurt on February 24, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    looks like an interesting read…



  55. CanadianFinance on February 24, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Please include me in the draw!



  56. Ray on February 24, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Sign me up!



  57. Les on February 24, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    sounds very interesting. Buffet has an amazing track record and can now get deals that any investor would dream of.



  58. newbie on February 24, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Count me in!



  59. Neil on February 24, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Add me to the list. Should be a good read.



  60. Sam on February 24, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Being an Alumni, I watched Warren Buffet’s interview on one of IMD’s webcasts (Lausanne, Switzerland). I liked his approach / philosophy to investing. I would love to read this book.
    Thanks



  61. Melissa on February 24, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Sounds like an interesting read! :)



  62. Oil Baron on February 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Sounds interesting. I’d read this book.



  63. Naveen on February 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Comment



  64. Elman on February 24, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I would love a copy please



  65. Tax Blogger on February 24, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Count me in.



  66. Eric Kunz on February 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I’m feeling lucky



  67. Work no more on February 24, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Pick me!!!! :)



  68. Paula on February 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Hi, I’m definitely interested in a free copy! I find Warren Buffet very interesting. Statistically speaking his winning streak is impossible. How does he do it?



  69. Andrea on February 24, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    would like to read



  70. Joel on February 24, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    definitely interested in reading this



  71. Corey on February 24, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Sounds like an interesting read… especially if the biggest criticism of BH is a lack of minorities at the meeting…



  72. Vincent on February 24, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    sounds interesting



  73. KAF on February 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Count me in!



  74. Narajin on February 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Here we go! Free copy!



  75. Narajin on February 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Here we go! Free copy!

    Didnt notice it went in twice…



  76. tetsuo69 on February 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    You’ refather-in-law must be doing pretty darn well if he owns “A”!



  77. David Tam on February 24, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Sounds awesome! Sign me up! Thanks!



  78. Erick on February 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Sign me up!



  79. AM on February 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Sounds like a great book! Please sign me up.



  80. Brian on February 24, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Sounds interesting. Thanks!



  81. Finance_Addict on February 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Sounds like a interesting book. Thanks.



  82. deni on February 24, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    sign me up! Sounds like an interesting read.



  83. Fredrick Thoapston on February 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I read Pilgrimage to Omaha and thought it was horrible. More of a snarky travelogue than anything likely to help someone make money. Snowball is far better.

    If you really want to read it anyway, I’ve seen it on remainders tables at Barnes and Noble and other places for 75% off. It has been out for awhile. Guess it did not do so well.



  84. Chris on February 24, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    i want!



  85. Cash Canuck on February 24, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I liked Roger Lowenstein’s “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist”. I’d like to read something a little more current, too. Sign me up!



  86. Mike on February 24, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Would like to read the book



  87. Blitzkrieg on February 24, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Good review.



  88. tehsexehnes on February 24, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Common free copy…



  89. frank on February 24, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    A book is a book is a book!!!



  90. Mai on February 24, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I would love to read it!



  91. Michael on February 24, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Sounds like an interesting read.



  92. Maria V on February 24, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    I’ve always been fascinated by Buffet. I would love to read this book.

    Maria



  93. Kirk S. on February 24, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book. Gimme gimme! :)



  94. DAvid on February 24, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Jimmy or Warren, Jimmy or Warren, Jimmy or Warren? Which Buffet? Choices, choices choices……..

    DAvid



  95. AL on February 24, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Would be dream come true to add to my library!!



  96. Ludger on February 25, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Always worth considering Warren’s views.



  97. Mr. Shoveler on February 25, 2009 at 1:06 am

    I could use some insight into finances. I’d love to win.



  98. Matt S on February 25, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Should be a very interesting read. Thanks MDJ.



  99. Daniel Kozimor on February 25, 2009 at 3:15 am

    Kudos on the site – very informative.

    I just picked-up “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing”. Wouldn’t mind adding this one to the collection as well.

    Sign me up for the book giveaway.



  100. Chris on February 25, 2009 at 4:02 am

    sounds like a good read…



  101. Dividend Growth Investor on February 25, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Sign me up please!



  102. Mark on February 25, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Neat-o



  103. Patrick on February 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Always interested in hearing more about Warren.
    Thanks



  104. Kaushik Ravi on February 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Sign me up!



  105. Heather on February 25, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Sounds interesting, as does your father-son pilgrimage! I’m planning to invest my Roth IRA money in Berkshire Hathaway this year, so would enjoy more insight from Warren.

    Thanks for running the contest!



  106. Daniel Morel on February 25, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    The odds of winning should be posted. ;-)



  107. InstruMike on February 25, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I’m just finishing The Intelligent Investor and I’m looking for a new book. Sign me up!



  108. Julie on February 25, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I’d love to be entered into the draw. Great review of the book, by the way.



  109. telefantastik on February 25, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    i’m in!



  110. Greg on February 25, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Looks interesting. I’d like to win it.



  111. Braiden Harvey on February 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Braiden Harvey

    Pick me Pick Me….

    Braiden Harvey



  112. h saunders on February 25, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Sounds like a good read.



  113. David K on February 25, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Enjoy your blog. Please sign me up for the book giveaway. Thanks



  114. artsycat on February 26, 2009 at 1:42 am

    thanks for the review and i am enjoying just recently discovering your blog!



  115. slickster on February 26, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Warren Buffet???? sign me up!!!



  116. pleung on February 26, 2009 at 11:47 am

    love to learn more.



  117. Aaron on February 26, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Sign me up!



  118. Senk on February 26, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book. Please include me in the contest.



  119. Nick on February 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Sounds great! Count me in please.



  120. Mark on February 26, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Sounds like a great read.

    Have you read “The Snowball” by Alice Schroeder yet? It chronicles the “life and times” of the Oracle of Omaha and provides some excellent life lessons, even if you’re not into personal finance or wealth creation.

    I however, am into that :)

    I would enjoy this read after Alice’s 900+ page anthology of Buffett.

    Send me the book when you can!

    Warm Regards,
    Mark in Nepean



  121. Ronny on February 27, 2009 at 8:48 am

    In for the book! =)



  122. Novice on February 27, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Yes I’m commenting for the chance for the free book… but I like this blog anyway! ;)



  123. David S. on February 27, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Thanks for the opportunity – this looks like a great read.



  124. Kryton on February 27, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Sounds interesting. I’m in



  125. Carmine on February 27, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Please sign me up!



  126. Broke Wall Streeter on February 27, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Dibs.



  127. Tony on February 27, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Count me in please!



  128. TL on February 27, 2009 at 11:50 am

    sign me up!



  129. tom on February 27, 2009 at 11:53 am

    warren buffet’s the man!



  130. Tom on February 27, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Let’s try for that book :)



  131. cannon_fodder on February 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Yes, please!



  132. Darren on February 27, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Count me in!



  133. Greg on February 27, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    sign me up.



  134. chococrazy on February 27, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for running this contest :)



  135. Cam on February 27, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Would totally like a free copy.



  136. Michael on February 27, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Warren is the man!!!



  137. Josee on February 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I’m very interested in reading this book. Count me in.



  138. terri on February 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    me too!



  139. Simple Life on February 27, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    would love to get any good book about buffett



  140. Rahim on February 27, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Sound interesting. Count me in!!



  141. Jiga on February 27, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I would love to read this one..



  142. Deaf Wes on February 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I love reading about Warren…. such a brilliant man… Can’t wait to read this book….

    Love the site BTW….

    :)



  143. Ahmad on February 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Sound interesting. Count me in



  144. Isaac Chiu on February 27, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I am interested in this read.



  145. ed on February 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Loved it..



  146. ron on February 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Looking forward to the book,keep up the great articles…



  147. Abe on February 27, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Count me in. Thanks.
    P.S. I never win anything …but may be my luck will change.



  148. chris on February 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    sign me up!



  149. Jeff on February 27, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Count me in!



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