I was offered a review copy of a book called Gems from Warren Buffett which is basically selected snippets from Warren Buffett’s Letter to Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. I read it and it was entertaining, but there was no real original material other than the contribution of organizing the quoted portions into themes like “Managing With Style” or “Market Forces”. It was also short; the book was small with large print and still only ran a little more than 100 pages.
I suppose if the author was another notable investor the curation might be useful, but that wasn’t the case. I’m actually a little surprised that even Buffett granted permission for this book to be published, although he did stipulate a condition that 20% of print and eBook sales (not just profits!) will be donated to a charity that he supports (Glide.org).
In any case, I can’t say that I recommend buying the book. Instead, if you’re really serious about learning insights into Warren Buffett’s way of investing and business management, do what other serious investors do and read the full, unabridged letters. Buffett is known for spending a good deal of time carefully writing the letters to be both informative and understandable.
Updated. Shareholder letters from 1977 to 2014 are available free to all on the Berkshire Hathaway website. You can also now purchase all of the Shareholder letters from 1965 to 2013 for only $2.99 in Amazon Kindle format (~$22 paperback). That is a very reasonable price to have them all stored in electronic format; you used to be able to find them floating around on document sharing sites, but it looks like they have reclaimed copyright protection on them.