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Book Review: Warren Buffett's Management Secrets


Being the first book of the year 2013, I wanted to pick a serious book by which I mean I wanted to read something not lovey dovey or just a waste of time. So when I saw this book at one of my colleague's desk, I couldn't resist grabbing it home. The name Warren Buffet was enough to grasp my attention as one of my goals for the year is to be financially literate, you know in practical terms. Though I hold a professional degree in finance, I still depend on my dad for handling my finances, much to the irk of my dad. But of course that is all about to change. Ok enough of my soap story, on to the book.

Book: Warren Buffett's Management Secrets: Proven Tools for Personal and Business Success
Author: Mary BuffettDavid Clark
Genre: Non Fiction


Though the back cover makes tall claims and carries more than one top seller name, I didn't find it any more alluring than a book of proverbs. Oh wait, there was a book of proverbs that I actually loved.. What I mean is this book doesn't tell me anything new that I didn't know. Before you go telling, self help books would help only for those who are willing to help themselves and other blah blah, you need to see some of those topics discussed IN here.

Oh, well, actually if you read the index page you are done with the book and trust me, you won't miss anything. Not even the so called anecdotes. So why not, I can give you the gist too, and let you decide.

  • Pick the Right Business to work or invest in
    • Industry that have competitive advantage  
                    Ex: H & R - Tax services is never going out of business, 
                           Coco cola, - have very low costs - high profit margin
                           Walmart - low cost buyer / seller proposition
  • Tests for identifying the right business
    • Earnings per share - Need to stable but increasing trends
    • debt test - Debt equity ratio
    • Gross margin 
    Basically it is very simple. Find a company that has long term stability ! (My mind was screaming all the time "Have to check all these, to work in such a company?")
  • Delegate Authority
    • In all those matters, where you don't actually possess the highly specialzed skill sets
    • Let the managers think for their businesses
    • Trust in people with high integrity 
               (That really sounded like a page of a management book, seriously)
  • Find a Manager with the Right Qualities, by which he means someone
    • who takes responsibility - be a Victor than a victor
    • who is obsessed his job and a part of winning the sales
    • who values honesty
    • who manages costs - always 
Quote I liked: "The really good manager does not wake up in the morning and say, "This is the day I'm going to cut costs," any more than he wakes up and decides to practice breathing".
  • Motivate Your Workforce
    • Give your employees a fine reputation to live up to.
    • To critcize someone - praise them first
    • To win an arguement you have to lose some first
    • If you want someone do something for you, speak in terms of what they want and not what you need. 
    • Encourage the other person to come up with the right idea rather than giving them an idea - qns
    • Admit your mistakes outright
    • Praise by name, Criticize by category
  • Managerial pitfalls, challenges and learning
    • Lesser the borrowed money - safer you are
    • you get into way more trouble with good idea than a bad one - 
The example given was quite interesting, the idea to to insure the CDs is really good but to have extended the same idea to mortgaged bonds proved to be disastrous. Though the idea is still good, but the outcome was not.
    • Bank on tried and true
Quote I liked: If I have seen further than others, it is by standing On The Shoulders Of Giants - Newton
Quote I liked: Some old dogs know all the tricks!
    • Hang out with people who are better than you, get drifted in their direction
    • Manage personal borrowings - avoid debt
Bottom-line:

Overall a very short book - in size and content. Read it when you have few hours to pass and there is no other book lying around. Dont expect it to turn around your life. And if you seriously want to know about this man, do as I am going to. READ SNOWBALL (I am trying to get hold of it). 

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