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 Great Lakes Geek Book Review

Tap Dancing to Work
Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012
A Fortune Magazine Book.
Collected and Expanded by Carol J. Loomis


First things first. No, he is not related to Jimmy Buffett. Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2013 tells how after genealogical research and eventual DNA tests, the relationship between the Money Mogul and Margaritaville singer remains just a friendship.

I picked up this book because I saw a list of books that Bill Gates recommended in Wired Magazine. My philosophy is when the world's richest man recommends that you read a few books, it is in your best interest to take the time to do so. I am still working through some of his other recommendations such as Feynman's Tips on Physics but I already finished the Buffett book.

This book is a collection of almost every reference ever made about or by Warren Buffett from the pages of Fortune Magazine over the years. It starts with a one-line mention in a 1966 article about another investor and they misspelled the name "Buffett."

The book is in chronological order and each article/mention has a useful and interesting note from the editor that explains the context of the article.

The articles give a good sense of both the "commonness" of Warren Buffet - he still lives in his same unpretentious house in Omaha and eats hamburgers and drinks Coke - and his uniqueness - #1 or #2 richest person in the US, legendary hedge fund manager at Berkshire Hathaway and (in later years) super- philanthropist.

You won't get specific advice on what stocks to buy or sell but you will get a feel for Buffett's investment philosophy. He didn't invest in Microsoft or other technology stocks, for example, because he didn't understand the technology. But razors, ice cream bars, Cokes and candies he understood and invested in - and made a fortune.

Speaking of Microsoft, most people are aware of the unlikely relationship between Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, who have a 25 year age difference. The book explains how Gates' mother brought the pair together in 1991. Bill did not want to go but after meeting Buffett they hit it off and became great friends.

My favorite parts of the book are those where Gates and Buffett appeared together in interviews or their legendary appearance at the University of Washington in 1998 that became a PBS special. There is also a rare Q&A with the two before a similar event at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2005.

I didn't read every word of some of the earlier financial-only articles but soaked up the rest of it. Now on to the next book on Gates' list.



Great Lakes Geek Rating: 3.5 out of 5 pocket protectors.


Reviewed by Entreprenerd Dan Hanson, the Great Lakes Geek (12/13)

What are you reading?  Let us know at dan@greatlakesgeek.com














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