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!
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QCashMan

QCash is a young retiree and self made millionaire. He has built his net worth up to $1.5 million by the ripe age of 36. QCash writes the occasional article for Million Dollar Journey to share in his experience of obtaining a large net worth at a young age. You can read our interview with him here.
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Mark Telewiak
11 years ago

I’d be interested in this read

DBennett
11 years ago

Looking for a free copy!

Finance Matters
11 years ago

Sounds like an interesting read.

Michael
11 years ago

Sounds like an interesting read….sign me up!

prock
11 years ago

I’d love to have a read.

Rod
11 years ago

sign me up

Frank
11 years ago

Sign me up!

Izzoshady
11 years ago

Thanks for the review

lhowes
11 years ago

Throw my name in please.

Ryan
11 years ago

That sounds like a good read.

Chris
11 years ago

Love the site!

Sampson
11 years ago

One day I’ll win

….right? ;)

Money Minder
11 years ago

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

Derek
11 years ago

Please sign me up. Thanks

Sean
11 years ago

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

Paolo
11 years ago

Sounds like a good read.

Tomasz
11 years ago

I would like to win a free copy.

Brandon
11 years ago

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

KnowledgeSeeker
11 years ago

Please count me in!

Thanks!

Frog of Finance
11 years ago

Count me in! :o)

RI
11 years ago

Looks like an enjoyable book!

Neeraj
11 years ago

Im in.

Eric
11 years ago

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

jimmy
11 years ago

would love to read the book! thanks.

DK
11 years ago

I’m in

JB
11 years ago

Sounds like an interesting read, please sign me up!

Jeroen
11 years ago

Sounds great, please sign me up!

Susan
11 years ago

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.

Tish
11 years ago

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

Dwight Thompson
11 years ago

Would love to read

Digger
11 years ago

Anything about Warren Buffet is worth a read.

Brenda Collings
11 years ago

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

Bob Marchand
11 years ago

The book sounds very interesting, thanks for the review.

Anthony
11 years ago

I like reading. Thanks.

Ben
11 years ago

Pick me please!!!

Stephan
11 years ago

Thanks for the review QCash. I’m in.

Millionaireby45
11 years ago

Sounds like a great book.

karash
11 years ago

Pl. count me in…!!!

Swati Jain
11 years ago

I am in!

ryan
11 years ago

i would love to read it.

Tony
11 years ago

Sign me up for a chance!

ajm
11 years ago

Sign me up – sounds like a great read.

Sean Hyde
11 years ago

Count me in…

Teach1
11 years ago

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

Iqbal
11 years ago

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

Xenko
11 years ago

I’m in.

Brandon
11 years ago

Sign me up. Thanks.

Darren
11 years ago

Count me in, please.

Chelsea
11 years ago

Sign me up please – hope I win!

The Weakonomist
11 years ago

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.