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!

149 Comments

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

    Sign me up please!



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

    Neat-o



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

    Always interested in hearing more about Warren.
    Thanks



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

    Sign me up!



  5. 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!



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

    The odds of winning should be posted. ;-)



  7. 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!



  8. 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.



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

    i’m in!



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

    Looks interesting. I’d like to win it.



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

    Braiden Harvey

    Pick me Pick Me….

    Braiden Harvey



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

    Sounds like a good read.



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

    love to learn more.



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

    Sign me up!



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

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



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

    Sounds great! Count me in please.



  20. 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



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

    In for the book! =)



  22. 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! ;)



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

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



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

    Sounds interesting. I’m in



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

    Please sign me up!



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

    Dibs.



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

    Count me in please!



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

    sign me up!



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

    warren buffet’s the man!



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

    Let’s try for that book :)



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

    Yes, please!



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

    Count me in!



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

    sign me up.



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

    Thanks for running this contest :)



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

    Would totally like a free copy.



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

    Warren is the man!!!



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

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



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

    me too!



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

    would love to get any good book about buffett



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

    Sound interesting. Count me in!!



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

    I would love to read this one..



  42. 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….

    :)



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

    Sound interesting. Count me in



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

    I am interested in this read.



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

    Loved it..



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

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



  47. 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.



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

    sign me up!



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

    Count me in!