March 01, 2019
Buffett At His Best: The Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Letters
â€œVigorous writing is concise,â€ E.B. White famously wrote in The Elements of Style. Thereâ€™s no better example of Whiteâ€™s principles in action than CEO Warren Buffettâ€™s annual letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
As my friend Jonathan Rick, a digital-marketing consultant who doubles as a business writing professor at the University of Marylandâ€™s Robert H. Smith School of Business, recently pointed out, reading Buffettâ€™s letters is a â€œdelight.â€ Buffett uses his letters to conduct a â€œmaster class in how to make complex financial matters clear and interesting,â€ Jonathan observes.
Itâ€™s not just concise writing, itâ€™s compelling writing that engages the reader and makes them want to savor every word. Buffett doesnâ€™t just describe how and why Berkshire invested its (read â€œtheirâ€) money, he employs avuncular wisdom and gentle humor, draws historic and business analogies, refers to visual aids, uses succinct paragraphs, anticipates criticism and counterarguments, and above all, frames everything in what Jonathan correctly calls an â€œeasy-to-followâ€ logic.
No wonder a share of Berkshire Hathaway is currently trading over $200! Heâ€™s not called the Oracle of Omaha for nothing.
Read more:Â To the Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.