The original edition of The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America was the
centerpiece of a symposium held two decades ago at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law under the
auspices of its Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Center on Corporate Governance. This gathering brought
hundreds of Cardozo students together for a two-day dissection of all the ideas in the collection, featuring a
series of vibrant debates among some 30 distinguished professors, investors, managers, and other students,
with Warren E. Buffett and Charles T. Munger participating throughout from their seats in the front row.
The Essays was the standard textbook for a specialized course I taught at Cardozo in proper business
practices and is adopted by scores of professors at other law and business schools for classes such as
investment, finance and accounting. Some investment firms have distributed copies to their professional
employees and clients as part of training programs. I am grateful for the positive feedback from these
students, teachers, and other users and delighted to know that the lessons are being taught and learned.
Special thanks to Professor Tom Johansen (Ft. Hays State University, Kansas) and Professor Leo Chan
(Delaware State College).
Continuing thanks also to Mr. Buffett's good friend and advisor, Robert Denham, whom I have had the
pleasure of getting to know in the years following the symposium. Mr. Denham, a partner in the law firm
Munger, Tolles & Olsen, introduced Mr. Buffett to Cardozo and me through another mutual friend, former
Munger, Tolles colleague and now Cardozo professor Monroe Price, and I thank both of them for opening
that door. Thanks also to Carol Loomis, a close friend of Mr. Buffett's and the person who annually edits
each shareholder letter. For institutional support in countless ways, thanks as always to Sam and Ronnie
As in previous editions of The Essays, this one retains the architecture and philosophy of the original
edition but adds selections from Mr. Buffett's most recent annual shareholder letters. All the letters are
woven together into a fabric that reads as a complete and coherent narrative of a sound business and
investment philosophy. As an aid to all readers, and to enable readers of the previous editions to see what
is new in this one, a disposition table at the end of the book shows the various places in this collection
where selections from each year's letter appear. Footnotes throughout indicate the year of the annual
report from which essays are taken. To avoid interrupting the narrative flow in this collection, omissions of
text within excerpts are not indicated by ellipses or other punctuation.
The new edition is called for not because anything has changed about the fundamentals of sound
business and investment philosophy but because Mr. Buffett's articulation of that philosophy is always
done in the context of contemporary events and business conditions. So periodic updating is warranted to
maintain its currency.
In preparing the previous editions, I was aided by numerous people, to whom I expressed gratitude in
those editions, and I want to thank them again. Among those, I especially thank Mr. Buffett. His generosity
not only made the symposium possible but his participation enriched it manifold; his willingness to entrust
the rearrangement and republication of his letters to me is a great honor. His partner, Charlie Munger,
deserves repeated thanks too, for not only did he participate in the symposium from the front row he also
graciously chaired, on a moment's notice, one of the panels.