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The Essays of Warren Buffett


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Table of Contents

Foreword to the Third Edition xi Preface xiii Prologue: Owner-Related Business Principles 1 Introduction 13 Corporate Governance 15 Finance and Investing 20 Investment Alternatives 26 Common Stock 28 Mergers and Acquisitions 31 Valuation and Accounting 33 Accounting Shenanigans 37 Accounting Policy 37 Tax Matters 38 I. Corporate Governance 39 A. Full and Fair Disclosure 40 B. Boards and Managers 43 C. The Anxieties of Business Change 56 D. Social Compacts 63 E. An Owner-Based Approach to Corporate Charity 65 F. A Principled Approach to Executive Pay 72 G. Risk, Reputation and Oversight 82 II. Finance and Investing 87 A. Mr. Market 88 B. Arbitrage 92 C. Debunking Standard Dogma 98 D. "Value" Investing: A Redundancy 110 E. Intelligent Investing 117 F. Cigar Butts and the Institutional Imperative 124 G. Life and Debt 128 III. Investment Alternatives 133 A. Surveying the Field 134 B. Junk Bonds 138 C. Zero-Coupon Bonds 145 D. Preferred Stock 152 E. Derivatives 162 F. Foreign Currencies and Equities 172 G. Home Ownership: Practice and Policy 179 IV. Common Stock 183 A. The Bane of Trading: Transaction Costs 184 B. Attracting the Right Sort of Investor 189 C. Dividend Policy and Share Repurchases 191 D. Stock Splits and Trading Activity 202 E. Shareholder Strategies 204 F. Berkshire's Recapitalization 205 V. Mergers and Acquisitions 211 A. Bad Motives and High Prices 212 B. Sensible Share Repurchases Versus Greenmail 223 C. Leveraged Buyouts 223 D. Sound Acquisition Policies 226 E. On Selling One's Business 230 F. The Buyer of Choice 234 VI. Valuation and Accounting 239 A. Aesop and Inefficient Bush Theory 240 B. Intrinsic Value, Book Value, and Market Price 243 C. Look-Through Earnings 249 D. Economic versus Accounting Goodwill 255 E. Owner Earnings and the Cash Flow Fallacy 264 F. Option Valuation 271 VII. Accounting Shenanigans 275 A. A Satire on Accounting Shenanigans 276 B. Standard Setting 284 C. Stock Options 285 D. "Restructuring" Charges 290 E. Pension Estimates 294 F. Realization Events 296 VIII. Accounting Policy 297 A. Mergers 297 B. Segment Data and Consolidation 299 C. Deferred Taxes 300 D. Retiree Benefits 303 IX. Tax Matters 305 A. Distribution of the Corporate Tax Burden 305 B. Taxation and Investment Philosophy 311 Epilogue 315 Concept Glossary 323 Disposition Summary 325 Index 327

About the Author

Lawrence A. Cunningham is a Professor at George Washington University, Washington, DC, and a leading authority on value investing. He originally prepared this collection as the centrepiece of a symposium featuring Buffett's letters, held when he was Director of The Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Center on Corporate Governance at Cardozo Law School, New York City. His numerous books include What Is Value Investing?, Outsmarting the Smart Money, and How to Think Like Benjamin Graham and Invest Like Warren Buffett.


The one Warren Buffett book you need to read (What Investment, May 2014)

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