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Pilgrimage to Warren Buffett’s Omaha – Book Review and Giveaway

This is another book review from, our favorite millionaire, QCash.

warren buffets omahaPilgrimage to Warren Buffett’s Omaha: A Hedge Fund Manager’s Dispatches from Inside the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting” by Jeff Matthews is a history lesson of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.  Matthews uses the 2007 and 2008 annual general meeting, and more importantly, the question and answer period as a backdrop for an analysis of Berkshire Hathaway and Buffett.

About the Author

Jeff Matthews is, as the title indicates, a hedge fund manager and the author of “Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up”, his distinctive financial blog.

The Book

For those who don’t know, Buffett and Munger, for about five hours annually, answer unscripted and unvetted questions in the Qwest Arena in front of 27,000 or more shareholders and their guests. There are no lawyers, no PR people, and no subject off limits.

As Matthews makes clear, the majority of these questions resolve around the WWWD (What Would Warren Do?) type and very few discuss the actual day to day running or performance of the business.

Matthews was there as a guest in 2007 and as a shareholder in 2008.

He outlines the “Buffett cult-like” mentality among Berkshire Hathaway shareholders and discusses many of the 76 different businesses owned by BH (I did not know they owned Ginsu knives).

What I Enjoyed

I enjoyed the pacing and organization of the book.  It is not your typical financial advice book, but provides lots information regarding Buffett’s insights and thought-processes.

Matthews uses the questions asked as a guide through the history of Berkshire Hathaway.  He gives an account of the answers and then a brief outline of some examples from the past and present supporting or disputing the answers given.  As well, he includes an analysis from Warren Buffett’s infamous Chairman’s letter.

I liked that the book covers the two most recent meetings which then the author intertwines the answers and forecasts given in 2007 with the results of 2008.  These results are then brought in context of the current fiscal situation.

I also enjoyed the fact that Matthews poses legitimate questions about the ongoing operations and management of the Berkshire Hathaway holdings.  Specifically, he compares some of the businesses with similar businesses and asks why they are not enjoying the same sort of success.  Berkshire Hathaway has been a phenomenal success as a whole, but individual businesses have not fared as well.

What I Didn’t Like

Matthews seems to question the “progressive” views of Buffett and asks why there are so few minorities among the shareholders.  At one point he mentions he sees only 13 African Americans among the 31,000 people attending.  I am not sure exactly what point Matthews is trying to make except to suggest perhaps that African Americans are not buying Berkshire Hathaway stock, or that they don’t attend the meeting in Omaha.

I personally don’t believe this is a problem with just Berkshire Hathaway and would probably make a good social studies paper, but I don’t believe there are any restrictions on minorities purchasing Berkshire Hathaway stock.  Regardless, Matthews doesn’t suggest what might be done?  Hold a lottery for minorities and hand out shares? That would run counter to everything Buffett believes in.

Final Thoughts

The book is an excellent read, well researched and thoroughly enjoyable for those who want to take a peak inside the Berkshire Hathaway annual general meeting without getting bogged down with all the technical details.

As a side note, it turns out my father in law has been an A share holder since 1994 and has never attended a meeting. I think we may take a father-in-law/son-in-law bonding trip to Omaha this year based solely on this book.

Want a Free Copy?

  • Simply leave a comment and you’ll automatically be entered in the draw for a free copy.
  • Please only 1 comment entry / person (please enter a valid email address).
  • Only those with a North American mailing address may enter (publisher rules, sorry).
  • Contest will end Friday 5pm EST Feb 27, 2009 and the winner announced shortly afterward!
If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free newsletter service below (we will not spam you).

About the author: QCash is a young retiree and self made millionaire. He has built his net worth up to $1.5 million by the ripe age of 36. QCash writes the occasional article for Million Dollar Journey to share in his experience of obtaining a large net worth at a young age. You can read our interview with him here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mark Telewiak February 24, 2009, 8:46 am

    I’d be interested in this read

  • DBennett February 24, 2009, 9:40 am

    Looking for a free copy!

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    Sounds like an interesting read.

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    sign me up

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    Thanks for the review

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    That sounds like a good read.

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    One day I’ll win

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    I’ll take this chance to get some insight from the guru! Thanks for the giveaway.

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    Sounds like a good read.

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    I would like to win a free copy.

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    Currently reading “Essays of Warren Buffet”. This would also be an interesting read!

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    Please count me in!

    Thanks!

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    Count me in! :o)

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    Looks like an enjoyable book!

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    Im in.

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    I would love a copy! I am a big Buffet fan. (Both Jimmy and Warren)

  • jimmy February 24, 2009, 11:42 am

    would love to read the book! thanks.

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    I’m in

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  • Susan February 24, 2009, 11:49 am

    I think the father-in-law/son-in-law bonding trip to Omaha is an excellet idea, especially if you write about the experience! Sounds an interesting book, the review has inspired me to take a look.

  • Tish February 24, 2009, 11:51 am

    Today’s my day….Count me in on this one too !!!

  • Dwight Thompson February 24, 2009, 11:53 am

    Would love to read

  • Digger February 24, 2009, 11:57 am

    Anything about Warren Buffet is worth a read.

  • Brenda Collings February 24, 2009, 12:07 pm

    Thanks for the Review sounds interesting.
    Keep them coming, I’m a readaholic.

  • Bob Marchand February 24, 2009, 12:12 pm

    The book sounds very interesting, thanks for the review.

  • Anthony February 24, 2009, 12:16 pm

    I like reading. Thanks.

  • Ben February 24, 2009, 12:17 pm

    Pick me please!!!

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    Thanks for the review QCash. I’m in.

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    Sounds like a great book.

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    Sign me up for a chance!

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    Sign me up – sounds like a great read.

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    Count me in…

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    Buffett is bedrock…rule #1 don’t lose $$$, rule #2, see rule #1!

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    It is difficult to emulate Buffet. He has an extremely long term view and lots of money!

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    I’m in.

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    Sign me up. Thanks.

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    Count me in, please.

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  • The Weakonomist February 24, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Instead of being a crazy worshipper of Buffet, I do have an admiration for the guy. I’ve always enjoyed books about him but I am not of fan of people who try to write anything critical about him.

    Like it’s really BH’s evil planning that keeps minorities from comming to their events.

  • Adam February 24, 2009, 1:48 pm

    Sounds good :)

  • so February 24, 2009, 1:58 pm

    i dont think it is necessary to make the 13/31000 comments either, but i would love to read anything about buffet, put me for the draw.

  • John February 24, 2009, 2:01 pm

    Anything that provides information regarding Buffett’s insights and thought processes is worth a read.

  • Kurt February 24, 2009, 2:01 pm

    looks like an interesting read…

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    Please include me in the draw!

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    Sign me up!

  • Les February 24, 2009, 3:22 pm

    sounds very interesting. Buffet has an amazing track record and can now get deals that any investor would dream of.

  • newbie February 24, 2009, 3:28 pm

    Count me in!

  • Neil February 24, 2009, 3:30 pm

    Add me to the list. Should be a good read.

  • Sam February 24, 2009, 3:36 pm

    Being an Alumni, I watched Warren Buffet’s interview on one of IMD’s webcasts (Lausanne, Switzerland). I liked his approach / philosophy to investing. I would love to read this book.
    Thanks

  • Melissa February 24, 2009, 3:41 pm

    Sounds like an interesting read! :)

  • Oil Baron February 24, 2009, 3:46 pm

    Sounds interesting. I’d read this book.

  • Naveen February 24, 2009, 3:54 pm

    Comment

  • Elman February 24, 2009, 3:54 pm

    I would love a copy please

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    Count me in.

  • Eric Kunz February 24, 2009, 4:09 pm

    I’m feeling lucky

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    Pick me!!!! :)

  • Paula February 24, 2009, 4:28 pm

    Hi, I’m definitely interested in a free copy! I find Warren Buffet very interesting. Statistically speaking his winning streak is impossible. How does he do it?

  • Andrea February 24, 2009, 4:31 pm

    would like to read

  • Joel February 24, 2009, 4:32 pm

    definitely interested in reading this

  • Corey February 24, 2009, 4:36 pm

    Sounds like an interesting read… especially if the biggest criticism of BH is a lack of minorities at the meeting…

  • Vincent February 24, 2009, 4:38 pm

    sounds interesting

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    Count me in!

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    Here we go! Free copy!

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    Here we go! Free copy!

    Didnt notice it went in twice…

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    You’ refather-in-law must be doing pretty darn well if he owns “A”!

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    Sounds awesome! Sign me up! Thanks!

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    Sign me up!

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    Sounds like a great book! Please sign me up.

  • Brian February 24, 2009, 6:23 pm

    Sounds interesting. Thanks!

  • Finance_Addict February 24, 2009, 6:28 pm

    Sounds like a interesting book. Thanks.

  • deni February 24, 2009, 6:49 pm

    sign me up! Sounds like an interesting read.

  • Fredrick Thoapston February 24, 2009, 6:54 pm

    I read Pilgrimage to Omaha and thought it was horrible. More of a snarky travelogue than anything likely to help someone make money. Snowball is far better.

    If you really want to read it anyway, I’ve seen it on remainders tables at Barnes and Noble and other places for 75% off. It has been out for awhile. Guess it did not do so well.

  • Chris February 24, 2009, 7:11 pm

    i want!

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    I liked Roger Lowenstein’s “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist”. I’d like to read something a little more current, too. Sign me up!

  • Mike February 24, 2009, 7:45 pm

    Would like to read the book

  • Blitzkrieg February 24, 2009, 7:53 pm

    Good review.

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    Common free copy…

  • frank February 24, 2009, 9:34 pm

    A book is a book is a book!!!

  • Mai February 24, 2009, 9:37 pm

    I would love to read it!

  • Michael February 24, 2009, 10:14 pm

    Sounds like an interesting read.

  • Maria V February 24, 2009, 10:23 pm

    I’ve always been fascinated by Buffet. I would love to read this book.

    Maria

  • Kirk S. February 24, 2009, 10:34 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book. Gimme gimme! :)

  • DAvid February 24, 2009, 11:09 pm

    Jimmy or Warren, Jimmy or Warren, Jimmy or Warren? Which Buffet? Choices, choices choices……..

    DAvid

  • AL February 24, 2009, 11:59 pm

    Would be dream come true to add to my library!!

  • Ludger February 25, 2009, 12:00 am

    Always worth considering Warren’s views.

  • Mr. Shoveler February 25, 2009, 1:06 am

    I could use some insight into finances. I’d love to win.

  • Matt S February 25, 2009, 1:15 am

    Should be a very interesting read. Thanks MDJ.

  • Daniel Kozimor February 25, 2009, 3:15 am

    Kudos on the site – very informative.

    I just picked-up “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing”. Wouldn’t mind adding this one to the collection as well.

    Sign me up for the book giveaway.

  • Chris February 25, 2009, 4:02 am

    sounds like a good read…

  • Dividend Growth Investor February 25, 2009, 4:43 am

    Sign me up please!

  • Mark February 25, 2009, 10:42 am

    Neat-o

  • Patrick February 25, 2009, 12:24 pm

    Always interested in hearing more about Warren.
    Thanks

  • Kaushik Ravi February 25, 2009, 12:56 pm

    Sign me up!

  • Heather February 25, 2009, 1:02 pm

    Sounds interesting, as does your father-son pilgrimage! I’m planning to invest my Roth IRA money in Berkshire Hathaway this year, so would enjoy more insight from Warren.

    Thanks for running the contest!

  • Daniel Morel February 25, 2009, 1:30 pm

    The odds of winning should be posted. ;-)

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    I’m just finishing The Intelligent Investor and I’m looking for a new book. Sign me up!

  • Julie February 25, 2009, 3:45 pm

    I’d love to be entered into the draw. Great review of the book, by the way.

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    i’m in!

  • Greg February 25, 2009, 4:58 pm

    Looks interesting. I’d like to win it.

  • Braiden Harvey February 25, 2009, 6:35 pm

    Braiden Harvey

    Pick me Pick Me….

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    Sounds like a good read.

  • David K February 25, 2009, 9:04 pm

    Enjoy your blog. Please sign me up for the book giveaway. Thanks

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    thanks for the review and i am enjoying just recently discovering your blog!

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    Warren Buffet???? sign me up!!!

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    love to learn more.

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    Sign me up!

  • Senk February 26, 2009, 1:42 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book. Please include me in the contest.

  • Nick February 26, 2009, 2:39 pm

    Sounds great! Count me in please.

  • Mark February 26, 2009, 10:25 pm

    Sounds like a great read.

    Have you read “The Snowball” by Alice Schroeder yet? It chronicles the “life and times” of the Oracle of Omaha and provides some excellent life lessons, even if you’re not into personal finance or wealth creation.

    I however, am into that :)

    I would enjoy this read after Alice’s 900+ page anthology of Buffett.

    Send me the book when you can!

    Warm Regards,
    Mark in Nepean

  • Ronny February 27, 2009, 8:48 am

    In for the book! =)

  • Novice February 27, 2009, 10:31 am

    Yes I’m commenting for the chance for the free book… but I like this blog anyway! ;)

  • David S. February 27, 2009, 10:56 am

    Thanks for the opportunity – this looks like a great read.

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    Sounds interesting. I’m in

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    Please sign me up!

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    Dibs.

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    Count me in please!

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    sign me up!

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    warren buffet’s the man!

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    Let’s try for that book :)

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    Yes, please!

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    Count me in!

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    sign me up.

  • chococrazy February 27, 2009, 12:29 pm

    Thanks for running this contest :)

  • Cam February 27, 2009, 12:44 pm

    Would totally like a free copy.

  • Michael February 27, 2009, 12:44 pm

    Warren is the man!!!

  • Josee February 27, 2009, 1:06 pm

    I’m very interested in reading this book. Count me in.

  • terri February 27, 2009, 1:35 pm

    me too!

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    would love to get any good book about buffett

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    Sound interesting. Count me in!!

  • Jiga February 27, 2009, 2:05 pm

    I would love to read this one..

  • Deaf Wes February 27, 2009, 2:40 pm

    I love reading about Warren…. such a brilliant man… Can’t wait to read this book….

    Love the site BTW….

    :)

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    Sound interesting. Count me in

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    I am interested in this read.

  • ed February 27, 2009, 3:49 pm

    Loved it..

  • ron February 27, 2009, 3:55 pm

    Looking forward to the book,keep up the great articles…

  • Abe February 27, 2009, 5:12 pm

    Count me in. Thanks.
    P.S. I never win anything …but may be my luck will change.

  • chris February 27, 2009, 6:28 pm

    sign me up!

  • Jeff February 27, 2009, 8:58 pm

    Count me in!