Book review: The Warren Buffett Way

Buffett's understanding of psychology and human nature, his ability to run his own race and avoid herd behaviour comes through as the real secret of his success.

The Warren Buffett Way by Robert G. Hagstrom
Wiley, $39.99

book review - the warren buffett way by robert hagstrom​Being a natural contrarian I felt sceptical about reviewing this book. The ‘How to Succeed’ genre tends to be dominated by preachers rather than practitioners whose secret of success is to create a set of protocols they then teach to those who are prepared to pay. Usually it’s the preacher rather than the student who gets to succeed.

At least this book was written about Warren Buffett, not by him. Once you get through the three forewords and introduction, all written by his colleagues, you get to some cogent common sense.

I was surprised how much I then enjoyed the book for its wide ranging insights, case histories and the wisdom of its fundamental tenets of good investment. Buffett lists 12, categorised under four headings; Business, Management, Financial, and Market. I won’t regurgitate them, you can (and should) buy the book just for that reason, but underpinning it all is the down-home common sense Buffett applies to his strategic choices.

I’m sure he has a brain the size of the planet, but it’s his understanding of psychology and human nature, his ability to run his own race and avoid herd behaviour that comes through as the real secret of his success. He’s a practitioner, not a preacher and he only invests in things he knows and understands. From being a doubter I’ve become a convert.