1997: When is Buffett going to write a book?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Good morning. I’m Marshall Patton (PH) from Bandera, Texas.
And first I’d like to thank you very much for not only giving us a good investment vehicle, but giving us a good education along the way. And thanks a lot for the two-volume set of the letters to stockholders over the years. It’s required reading around our place.
And if you can contain your hostility, I’d like to thank Charlie Munger for — (Buffett laughs) — the copy of his speech to the University of Southern California Business School students back in 1994. It’s also required reading.
And I want to ask you, when are you going to write your book?
WARREN BUFFETT: (Laughs) Well, first of all I’d like to comment on Charlie’s talk here.
I think every investor in the world ought to read that talk before they invest. I think that’s a classic. And we have copies available for — we mailed it out a year or so ago to the shareholders at that time. But anybody’d like a copy of that talk I’d be glad to supply it.
There doesn’t seem to be any need for me to write a book. Everybody else is doing it. (Laughter)
We’ve got Janet Lowe here who just wrote the most recent one.
You know, at one time or another I said everything I know and a good bit more. So I’ve never felt compelled to do it. I really feel that the annual reports are sort of a book on the installment system.
Plus I think very few people write two books, and I have this kind of unwarranted optimism, I guess, that the best is always yet to come and there are a lot more interesting things that are going to happen, and I would hate to preclude commenting on those. So I think it’s going to be a few years. But I may get around to it at some point.
But I think maybe it’d be a bad sign if it happened, because it might be that I really thought that what I was writing about was more important than what was going to happen next.
Charlie, are you going to write a book?
CHARLIE MUNGER: No, but your comment about why you are unable to write a book reminds me of the Middle Western fellow who left an unfinished manuscript. And he apologized for not finishing his book, which was entitled Famous Middle Western Sons Of Bitches. (Laughter)
And he said he was always meeting a new one — (laughter) — and therefore he could never finish the book. (Laughter and applause)
WARREN BUFFETT: As a courtesy, Charlie and I are leaving each other out of the book that we write. (Laughter)
Charlie was — Charlie grew up in Nebraska, and he’s authentic. He has the credentials to prove it. We worked in the same grocery store at different times many years ago.