I just finished reading Warren Buffet’s 2015 annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. If you haven’t yet read one of his letters and you’re at all interested in business and investing, I would encourage you to check them out. (By going to their website you’ll also get a reminder of what the web looked like circa 1995.)
When I read them I feel as if I’m reading a giant blog post from Warren Buffet – albeit one that only gets published once a year. They’re well-written and easy to read. They’re personal. They’re light and humorous. (He drops Tinder, the mobile dating app, in this year’s letter.) And they’re packed full of invaluable information and insights.
To give you a sample, here are two snippets that I liked:
“Our flexibility in capital allocation – our willingness to invest large sums passively in non-controlled
businesses – gives us a significant edge over companies that limit themselves to acquisitions they will
operate. Woody Allen once explained that the advantage of being bi-sexual is that it doubles your chance
of finding a date on Saturday night. In like manner – well, not exactly like manner – our appetite for either
operating businesses or passive investments doubles our chances of finding sensible uses for Berkshire’s
endless gusher of cash.”
“America’s population is growing about .8% per year (.5% from births minus deaths and .3% from net
migration). Thus 2% of overall growth produces about 1.2% of per capita growth. That may not sound impressive.
But in a single generation of, say, 25 years, that rate of growth leads to a gain of 34.4% in real GDP per capita.
(Compounding’s effects produce the excess over the percentage that would result by simply multiplying 25 x 1.2%.)
In turn, that 34.4% gain will produce a staggering $19,000 increase in real GDP per capita for the next generation.”
Overall, he remains, and rightly so I’d say, very bullish on the United States: “For 240 years it’s been a terrible mistake to bet against America, and now is no time to start.”
What do you think?