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Berkshire Hathaway, the $300+ billion conglomerate that Warren Buffett built, is among the world's largest and most famous corporations. Yet for all its power and celebrity, few people understand Berkshire, and many assume it cannot survive without Buffett. This book challenges that assumption.
In a comprehensive portrait of the corporate culture that unites Berkshire's subsidiaries, Lawrence Cunningham unearths the traits that assure the conglomerate's perpetual prosperity. Riveting stories of each subsidiary's origins, triumphs, and journey to Berkshire reveal how managers generate economic value from intangibles like thrift, integrity, entrepreneurship, autonomy, and a sense of permanence.
Berkshire Beyond Buffett not only explores what will happen to Berkshire after Buffett but presents all of Berkshire behind Buffett: the inspiring managerial luminaries, innovative entrepreneurs, and devotees of deep values that define this esteemed organization.
Whether or not you are convinced that Berkshire can endure without Buffett, the book is full of management lessons for small and large businesses, entrepreneurs, family firms, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Enjoy entertaining tales from Berkshire's 50 main subsidiaries, including Dairy Queen, GEICO, Benjamin Moore, Fruit of the Loom, BNSF, Justin, Pampered Chef, Marmon, Clayton Homes, FlightSafety, and more.
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- William G. Stuart
For My Money, Best Book on Berkshire Hathaway
I've read a number of books about Berkshire Hathaway. This one's the best. The author goes into detail about the subsidiaries - their company and founder histories, how they evolved pre-BH, the terms of the deal, and how they've operated as BH subsidiaries. He groups them into logical categories and analyzes the commonalities and differences in the deals and performances within these categories.
He also posits about the future of the company after Buffett. As a stockholder with a long-time but small investment in the company, I too wonder about this aspect of the business. I share Cunningham's belief that the core business won't change much. Berkshire doesn't sell its subsidiaries, the businesses are teeming with leadership to promote, and the companies are well established leaders in their markets with effective moats. The portfolio of stocks of publicly traded companies may be volatile - but Buffett's made some timing and evaluation mistakes in recent years, including breaking his own rules on airline stocks.
The author also evaluates the future longevity of the values that Buffett has instilled in the company's culture - no hostile takeovers, integrity, consequences for tarnishing the Berkshire brand. And he speculates about how decentralization - what Buffett labels "near abdication" of central leadership - may be problematic in some areas of the business in the future. What does he say about these topics? Listen to the book. This is a review - not a summary!
The reader mispronounced several towns in Massachusetts. Not a big deal to those not familiar with the area. But like fingernails on the chalkboard to someone raised in the Bay State.
great reading and study material
I loved it, thank you for sharing such an experience and knowledge. it would be great to learn more about how the decisions were made in terms of valuation and comparison to peers.