Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values

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9780231170048: Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values

Berkshire Hathaway, the massive conglomerate that Warren Buffett built, is among the world's largest and most famous corporations. Yet, for all its power and celebrity, few people understand Berkshire, and many assume it cannot survive without Buffett. This book challenges that assumption.

In a comprehensive portrait of the corporate culture that unites Berkshire's subsidiaries, Lawrence Cunningham unearths the traits that assure the conglomerate's perpetual prosperity. Riveting stories of each subsidiary's origins, triumphs, and journey to Berkshire reveal how managers generate economic value from intangibles like thrift, integrity, entrepreneurship, autonomy, and a sense of permanence.

Berkshire Beyond Buffett explores not only what will happen to Berkshire after Buffett, but presents all of Berkshire behind Buffett, the inspiring managerial luminaries, innovative entrepreneurs, and devotees of deep values that define this esteemed organization.

Whether or not you are convinced that Berkshire can endure without Buffett, the book is full of management lessons for small and large businesses, entrepreneurs, family firms, and Fortune 500 CEOs.  Enjoy entertaining tales from Berkshire's 50 main subsidiaries, including Dairy Queen, GEICO, Benjamin Moore, Fruit of the Loom, BNSF, Justin, Pampered Chef, Marmon, Clayton Homes, FlightSafety, and more.

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From the Author:

While my interest in Berkshire Hathaway dates back two decades to when I first published The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, my work on this book gelled after Berkshire Hathaway's 2013 annual meeting with a note to Warren.

Despite Buffett's copious shareholder letters and extensive writings about him and Berkshire, I wrote, I found one topic widely misunderstood:  the nature and significance of Berkshire's corporate culture to its identity, durability, and succession plan.  I said I might want to write a book about that and asked what he thought.  Warren replied that it sounded good to him, so I got to work, and the book will be released in October.

In recent years, widespread praise for Buffett became paradoxical: his goal has been to build Berkshire Hathaway into a lasting corporation and yet even great admirers say the company cannot survive without him. What I found, instead, is that the companies that make up Berkshire--fifty-plus direct subsidiaries--each enjoy a strong and definite corporate culture formed and nurtured by great leadership which, when brought together, are a force with permanent strength.

To explain Berkshire's corporate culture, I started at the top--with Buffett and his writings, with which many people are familiar--but found that the real work and the most interesting discoveries lie deep inside the subsidiaries and their founders, leaders, businesses, histories, triumphs and tribulations.

So I gathered and studied information about each subsidiary--biographies, autobiographies, research reports, encyclopedic entries, press releases, public filings.   I surveyed all current Berkshire subsidiary chief executives and interviewed many along with former managers and large shareholders of subsidiaries.

The clues quickly added up and a pattern emerged: as I profiled each subsidiary, the same traits began to appear repeatedly, nine altogether, including budget-consciousness, earnestness, kinship, entrepreneurship, autonomy, and a sense of permanence. Not every subsidiary had all nine, but many did, and most manifested at least five of the nine. 

Moreover, the traits shared a common feature: all are intangible values that managers transform into economic value. A portrait of Berkshire culture crystalized, one that is distinctive, durable and, ultimately, will allow the company to thrive even after Buffett's departure.

From the Back Cover:

Inside view of Berkshire Hathaway based on interviews with dozens of top managers and board members.

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Book Description Columbia University Press, United States, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Berkshire Hathaway, the $300 billion conglomerate that Warren Buffett built, is among the world s largest and most famous corporations. Yet, for all its power and celebrity, few people understand Berkshire, and many assume it cannot survive without Buffett. This book proves them wrong. In a comprehensive portrait of the corporate culture that unites Berkshire s subsidiaries, Lawrence A. Cunningham unearths the traits that assure the conglomerate s continued prosperity. Riveting stories of each subsidiary s origins, triumphs, and journey to Berkshire reveal how managers generate economic value from intangibles like thrift, integrity, entrepreneurship, autonomy, and a sense of permanence. Rich with lessons for those wishing to profit from the Berkshire model, this engaging book is a valuable read for entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, family business members, and investors, and it is an important resource for scholars of corporate stewardship. General readers will enjoy learning how an iconoclastic businessman transformed a struggling textile company into a corporate legacy. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780231170048

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