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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Book Review: The Warren Buffett CEO

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If you are a Warren Buffett fan like I am, then you’ll enjoy The Warren Buffett CEO: Secrets From The Berkshire Hathaway Managers.  While Buffett’s Letters and Berkshire Hathaway’s annual reports give lots of hints about the various Berkshire companies and the CEO’s behind them, Robert Miles has in depth interviews with 19 of them.  In addition to a great history on the companies and the folks running them, you get a clear sense of how Buffett – and his CEO’s – manage the business.

Miles finishes the book with several chapters of his thoughts concerning comparisons between the CEOs, their evaluation and compensation, the opportunity for a Buffett CEO, and what Berkshire might look like post Buffett.  Among other conclusions, Miles characterizes all the Buffett CEOs as having four things in common:

  1. Being selected by the same person (Buffett) with the same criteria;
  2. Doing everything the same after being acquired that they did before;
  3. Having no synergy or requirement to work with another Berkshire business or industry;
  4. Not experiencing any effort to get the Buffett CEO’s together.

The book was published in 2002 so it’s missing several of the more recent acquisitions, but it still feels very current.  While it gets a little tedious at times as the detail can become overwhelming, it’s a must read for anyone that’s a student of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.

  • http://entengr.blogspot.com Jack Krupansky

    The “no synergy” requirement is quite fascinating. Although rather counter-intuitive, upon reflection it clearly does get solid results.

    I used to be a big Buffett fan, but with the acquisition of General Re he clearly “jumped the shark”, even long before all the recent accounting revelations. If he would simply spin off General Re, all will be forgiven.

    – Jack Krupansky

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