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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Buffett’s followers perusing The Letter

TWO OF THE most-anticipated corporate letters of the year, at least in the value investing community, were released this past week.

For decades, Warren Buffett has been communicating with shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway primarily through a long letter at the beginning of the company’s annual report.

Buffett now speaks publicly far more often than in the past, and his every move is reported in the press, so the letter lacks the unique impact it once had. But still, many tens of thousands of people, whether shareholders of Berkshire or not, likely went to berkshirehathaway .com yesterday to read the letter right after it was posted at 8 a.m.

Buffett’s annual letter is hugely popular for many reasons. Most obviously, he is thought of as the world’s greatest investor, and people want to know his opinions about the state of the U.S. economy and stock markets (though he usually reveals few specifics about the latter). Berkshire shareholders want to know how the company is doing and any new details on CEO succession plans.

Buffett’s annual piece is also as popular as it is because, unlike most CEO letters, his is extremely well-written and free of corporate jargon such as "synergy," "win-win" and "value-added." He sprinkles in self-deprecating humor and dry wit. The letter is also aided by the careful editing of Carol Loomis, a Fortune magazine editor and close friend of Buffett’s.

It’s worth reading Buffett’s past letters, which are posted on Berkshire’s Web site. A compilation of the letters is available in Lawrence Cunningham’s excellent "The Essays of Warren Buffett."

Click here for the rest of this week’s Business Browser column.

Click here for Buffett’s letter, and here for Eddie Lampert’s letter.


  • gramps

    that Mr. Buffet seems to be yielding to popular demand and veering from his time honored approach. I think he may be making some of his first mistakes in his financial empire.