The Rational Walk has published several hundred articles regarding Berkshire Hathaway. This archive displays all articles related to Berkshire except for In Search of the Buffett Premium, a research report published in 2011. In addition to browsing the list of articles, you may also search for a specific topic within the archive by using the search box below. A separate archive exists for coverage of other companies. Berkshire is sometimes mentioned in the Rational Reflections weekly newsletter which has a separate archive.

It is no accident that the rapid rise in living standards over the past century has coincided with tremendous technological progress throughout the economy. At a fundamental level, rising living standards require the economy to generate an ever-increasing supply of goods and services through intelligent utilization of the fundamental factors of production: land, labor, and capital. Improvements in technology are reflected in the quality of capital goods, the ability of individuals to be more productive ...
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"Today, I would rather prep for a colonoscopy than issue Berkshire shares." -- Warren Buffett, 2016 letter to shareholders The last Saturday in February has become something of a ritual for Berkshire Hathaway shareholders as well as many other interested observers. Some have likened it to "Christmas morning" for capitalists. While this has "cult-like" overtones, the release of Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders is rightly regarded as a major event for anyone ...
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In general, investors are best served by ignoring most headlines, tuning out the daily market chatter, and focusing on in-depth fundamental research into the factors that influence the long-term intrinsic value of a business. If that actually comes anywhere close to describing your activities this week, it is safe to say that you have superhuman discipline!  Those of us who are less disciplined have been focusing on the United States presidential election and the wild ...
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In the spring of 1954, Bill Child was a new graduate of the University of Utah preparing to start a career as a school teacher in a rural town thirty miles north of Salt Lake City.  Within weeks, he was running a small appliance business founded by his father in law, R.C. Willey, who had fallen gravely ill and died a few months later.  Starting with a small family business that had revenues of $250,000, ...
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During the financial crisis of 2008, Warren Buffett played a major role in restoring the confidence of market participants during periods of market stress.  Berkshire Hathaway's investment in Wrigley, initiated in October 2008, is often thought of as an opportunistic crisis-era investment, but the terms of the deal were actually set much earlier when Mars announced its intent to acquire Wrigley in April 2008.  Despite the tumultuous events of September 2008, the deal proceeded as ...
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"I would say that more dumb acquisitions are made in the name of strategic plans than any other.  I would be very wary if a board went through some elaborate process where a strategic plan was reviewed in great detail and then they endorse it and then the management went on to make acquisitions and then they came and said, "but we made it in accord with a strategic plan."  -- Warren Buffett in a ...
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“We get these questions a lot from the enterprising young. It’s a very intelligent question: You look at some old guy who’s rich and you ask, 'How can I become like you, except faster?'” -- Charlie Munger in response to a question from a young Berkshire Hathaway shareholder One of the observations that many people make when they first hear Warren Buffett or Charlie Munger discuss investing is that the process seems far too simple ...
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"So the really big money tends to be made by investors who are right on qualitative decisions but, at least in my opinion, the more sure money tends to be made on the obvious quantitative decisions."  -- Warren Buffett, letter to partners, October 9, 1967 As Warren Buffett wrote these words to his partners in late 1967, he was writing from the perspective of a 37 year old man who was about to wrap up ...
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"Follow your heart and invest your time and resources in a product that you love.  If you are excited about what you are making, it will hold your interest and you will be well equipped to interest your customers in it."  -- Stef Wertheimer Contemporary business success stories often focus on entrepreneurs who come up with an idea, obtain funding, and score quickly by selling the business at an attractive valuation either via acquisition or ...
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Introduction Berkshire Hathaway’s long history dates back to the nineteenth century but the company was effectively “founded” by Warren Buffett when he assumed control in 1965.  The story of Berkshire’s evolution from a struggling textile manufacturer to the sprawling conglomerate we know today has been well documented and will be scrutinized by students of business for decades to come.  Berkshire is also still a work in progress.  Mr. Buffett remains firmly in charge of the ...
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Berkshire Hathaway's annual report attracts a great deal of attention primarily because it includes Warren Buffett's letter to shareholders.  Diligent reporters and investors often read the annual report itself but it is not common for Berkshire's 10-K filing to attract much attention.  Even less attention is devoted to the 10-Ks filed by certain Berkshire subsidiaries including Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE).  Usually reading the subsidiary reports isn't necessary but occasionally insights can be gleaned from relatively ...
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"Without a doubt, Berkshire's largest unrecorded wealth lies in its insurance business.  We've spent 48 years building this multi-faceted operation, and it can't be replicated." -- Warren Buffett, 2015 letter to shareholders The release of Berkshire Hathaway's annual report is always accompanied by a great deal of coverage in the media.  Although shareholders may prefer to focus on Berkshire's business results, media coverage tends to look more closely at Warren Buffett's commentary on a range ...
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Berkshire Hathaway is expected to report 2015 results on February 27 along with Warren Buffett's annual letter to shareholders.  Mr. Buffett's practice of releasing the report on a Saturday morning is intended to promote greater thought and reflection on the part of shareholders compared to a more typical release during the business week.  Our basic recommendation regarding how to read the report remains unchanged.  However, this year, shareholders should devote special attention to how Berkshire ...
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"You should know, however, that we have no interest in supporting the stock and that our bids will fade in particularly weak markets." --Warren Buffett on repurchases, 2011 annual report After posting a 12.5 percent decline in 2015, Berkshire Hathaway's common stock entered the new year only modestly above the company's repurchase threshold of 120 percent of book value.  As a result, many commentators have been speculating on the possibility of repurchases in the near ...
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