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Dear Shareholder

The best executive letters from Warren Buffett, Prem Watsa and other great CEOs

By Lawrence A. Cunningham

Paperback £18.99 / $20.00
eBook £14.99 / $16.00
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Dear Shareholder

The best executive letters from Warren Buffett, Prem Watsa and other great CEOs

By Lawrence A. Cunningham

Jacket text

The shareholder letters of corporate leaders are a rich source of business and investing wisdom. There is no more authoritative resource on subjects ranging from leadership and management to capital allocation and company culture.

But with thousands of shareholder letters written every year, how can investors and students of the corporate world sift this vast swathe to unearth the best insights?

Dear Shareholder is the solution!

In this masterly new collection, Lawrence A. Cunningham, business expert and acclaimed editor of The Essays of Warren Buffett, presents the finest writers in the genre of the shareholder letter, and the most significant excerpts from their total output. Skillfully curated, edited and arranged, these letters showcase the ultimate in business and investment knowledge from an all-star team.

Dear Shareholder holds letters by more than 20 different leaders from 16 companies. These leaders include Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Tom Gayner (Markel), Kay Graham and Don Graham (The Washington Post and Graham Holdings), Roberto Goizueta (Coca-Cola), Ginni Rometty (IBM), and Prem Watsa (Fairfax).

Topics covered in these letters include the long-term focus, corporate culture and commitment to values, capital allocation, buybacks, dividends, acquisitions, management, business strategy, and executive compensation.

As we survey the corporate landscape in search of outstanding companies run by first-rate managers, shareholder letters are a valuable resource. The letters also contain a wealth of knowledge on the core topics of effective business management. Let Dear Shareholder be your guide.


Watch a video of the virtual launch event for the book:



About the author

Lawrence A. Cunningham is well-known to Berkshire shareholders and other followers of Warren Buffett. A business law professor and consultant based in New York City and Washington DC, his acclaimed books include The Essays of Warren Buffett, which Buffett calls the “gold standard” in books of the genre, and Berkshire Beyond Buffett, both of which Buffett has designated for sale inside the Berkshire Annual Meeting. A member of the George Washington University faculty, Cunningham is the Founding Director of GW in New York, an intensive training program for aspiring Wall Street lawyers.
A graduate of the University of Delaware and Cardozo Law School and former corporate lawyer at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Cunningham consults on corporate governance and has served on several boards, private and public, currently including Constellation Software Inc. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the University of Delaware College of Business and is a Trustee of the Museum of American Finance.

Reviews

Dear Shareholder provides a collection of invaluable lessons and insights from the world’s savviest wealth creating CEOs. Lawrence Cunningham delivers a curated classic that is both bingeworthy and a permanent addition to any investor’s library.

Lauren C. Templeton, President, Templeton & Phillips Capital Management & Author, Investing The Templeton Way

Lawrence Cunningham was the first to distill the wisdom of Warren Buffett’s letters in his ground-breaking Essays of Warren Buffett. Now he analyzes and extracts important information from the letters of other financial legends. Incorporating these cultural and leadership insights will surely boost your strategic IQ and your investment returns.

Laura Rittenhouse, CEO, Rittenhouse Rankings, Inc. & Author, Investing Between the Lines: How to Make Smarter Decisions By Decoding CEO Communications

Want to know how the best CEOs in the business think? Dear Shareholder is your cheat sheet. Larry Cunningham has distilled the lessons buried in the annual letters of the most successful CEOs of our generation to bring us a treasure of timeless, common-sense principles for business, management and capital allocation (a surprisingly uncommon trifecta).

Robert Robotti, President, Robotti & Co.

Want to know how the best CEOs in the business think? Dear Shareholder is your cheat sheet. Larry Cunningham has distilled the lessons buried in the annual letters of the most successful CEOs of our generation to bring us a treasure of timeless, common-sense principles for business, management and capital allocation (a surprisingly uncommon trifecta).

Robert Robotti, Distinguished Investor

Lawrence Cunningham has put together another excellent book, a collection of letters by CEOs, the limited few, who are not only good operators, but also good asset allocators, i.e., value investors. Dear Shareholder is a must-read for anyone looking to understand those CEOs who know how to manage to create value and make their companies attractive to those who seek value creation. They are defined by these character traits: integrity, humility, discipline, patience, and long-term perspective.

Prof. George Athanassakos, Ben Graham Chair in Value Investing, Ivey Business School, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

Little has been written about CEOs’ letters to shareholders. In Dear Shareholder, Lawrence Cunningham pulls together the best excerpts from the best letters. He demonstrates the qualities of superior letters, and the ones he has excerpted illustrate what makes for a successful company and a great CEO. There’s much to be learned from this volume.

Howard Marks, Director and Co-Chairman, Oaktree Capital & Author, The Most Important Thing and Mastering the Market Cycle

Lawrence Cunningham forever changed my life with a simple insight: the best way to learn about business is to read the letters of its greatest practitioners. Larry’s book, The Essays of Warren Buffett, is a master class in finance that inspired a generation of value investors. His newest offering, Dear Shareholder, channels legendary CEOs to teach us valuable lessons about management, leadership and corporate stewardship. Future titans of industry should begin their business education with this book.

Jeff Gramm, Author, Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism

Lawrence Cunningham was the first to distill the wisdom of Warren Buffett’s letters in his ground-breaking Essays of Warren Buffett. Now he analyzes and extracts important information from the letters of other financial legends. Incorporating these cultural and leadership insights will most surely boost your strategic IQ and your investment returns.

Laura Rittenhouse, CEO, Rittenhouse Rankings, Inc.

Shareholder letters are a unique keyhole into the business world. Professor Cunningham, the master curator behind The Essays of Warren Buffett, works his magic again in this inspired collection of the best letters.

Jacob L. Taylor, Host, Five Good Questions, Author, The Rebel Allocator

Dear Shareholder provides a collection of invaluable lessons and insights from the world’s savviest wealth-creating CEOs. Lawrence Cunningham delivers a curated classic that is both bingeworthy and a permanent addition to any investor’s library.

Lauren C. Templeton, President, Templeton & Phillips Capital Management, Author, The Templeton Way

Lawrence Cunningham profiles how value creating CEOs communicate their activities to their shareholders. Dear Shareholder both informs and inspires.

Joseph Calandro, Jr., Gabelli Center for Global Security Analysis at Fordham University, Author, Creating Strategic Value and Applied Value Investing

Dear Shareholder is an invaluable curation of the finest shareholder letters, a treasure trove for current and aspiring investors and CEOs, and for anyone on the lookout for exceptional capital allocators. The clarity and concision of these letters correlates highly with extraordinary returns and will delight any reader intrigued by (very) long term value creation.

William N. Thorndike, Author, The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

It’s usually the case that ‘Those who can do, while those who can’t, teach or write.’ Not so here. Of course, Warren Buffett, Prem Watsa, Tom Gayner and others have been unquestionably successful. But they have also been able to write about that success, and therefore to teach. And Lawrence Cunningham’s excellent selection, arrangement and commentary on their shareholder letters make their lessons that much more accessible and digestible for the rest of us.

Guy Spier, Author, The Education of a Value Investor

Good shareholder letters are rare. Lawrence Cunningham has collected the best of them and highlighted the strongest parts. The result is some of the finest, insightful business writing you can find. Highly recommended!

Max Olson, Max Capital Corporation

An insightful compilation of shareholders letters from some of the best operators in the world. A must read for any investor. I loved it.

Ian Cassel, Founder, MicroCapClub, CIO, Intelligent Fanatics Capital Management

Lawrence Cunningham has put together another excellent book, a collection of letters by CEOs, the limited few, who are not only good operators, but also good asset allocators, i.e., value investors. Dear Shareholder is a must-read for anyone looking to understand those CEOs who know how to manage to create value and make their companies attractive to those who seek value creation. They are defined by these character traits: integrity, humility, discipline, patience, and long term perspective.

Professor George Athanassakos, Ben Graham Chair in Value Investing, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario

“Shareholder letters are a unique keyhole into the business world. Professor Cunningham, the master curator behind The Essays of Warren Buffett, works his magic again in this inspired collection of the best letters.”

Jacob L. Taylor, Host, Five Good Questions, Author, The Rebel Allocator

The best communications from managers leave me with a refreshing sense of clarity. The lessons leaders bestow about their business cross over to allow interdisciplinary reflections on philosophy, strategy, and life. In Dear Shareholder, Cunningham has curated some of the very best writing on business and leadership, ranging from the highest profile executives to thoughtful, less well-known stars. Housing this compendium in one volume is equal parts convenient and rich with wisdom.

Ted Seides, Host, Capital Allocators Podcast

Dear Shareholder is an invaluable curation of the finest shareholder letters, a treasure trove for current and aspiring investors and CEOs, and for anyone on the lookout for exceptional capital allocators. The clarity and concision of these letters correlates highly with extraordinary returns and will delight any reader intrigued by (very) long term value creation.”

William N. Thorndike, Author, The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

Media coverage

From Excess Returns Podcast:

In this episode, we are joined by Lawrence Cunningham. He is a professor at George Washington University and one of the world’s leading experts on Warren Buffett. He is also the author of many excellent investing books including “Dear Shareholder”, “The Essays of Warren Buffett”, “Quality Investing”, and the upcoming “Quality Shareholders: How the Best… Read more »

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From Think Advisor:

Cunningham’s new book is “Dear Shareholder: The Best Executive Letters from Warren Buffett, Prem Watson and Other Great CEOs” (Harrison House-April 2020). In our conversation, Cunningham discusses four of the 20 CEOs whose shareholder letters compose the book. He explains why, for example, Buffett wrote: “A hyperactive stock market is the pickpocket of enterprise”; opines… Read more »

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From Yahoo Finance News:

Yahoo Finance Editor-in-chief Andy Serwer, along with others from Yahoo Finance and guest Lawrence Cunningham, discuss what to expect during Berkshire Hathaway’s first-ever virtual shareholder meeting for 2020.

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From Market Watch:

From Warren’s pen to God’s ears. Lawrence Cunningham is a professor at George Washington University. He is the author of many investing books including The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America (Carolina Academic Press; 5th ed. 2019); Margin of Trust: The Berkshire Business Model (Columbia Business School Publishing; 2020) (mentioned by Buffett in… Read more »

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From Seeking Alpha:

Dear Shareholder is a new collection of excerpted shareholder letters, edited by Lawrence Cunningham. In the interview below, Professor Cunningham discusses this new collection. Topics include how the letters were selected, how to spot the disingenuous CEO author, and the best lessons that Professor Cunningham has received from considering these letters over the years.

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From Prem Watsa - 2020 edition of his famous shareholder letter:

Wrote Watsa in his letter, released March 6, 2020 (p. 28) : This year Lawrence Cunningham, an author and a law professor at George Washington University, will be on hand with his bestselling book, Dear Shareholder: The Best Executive Letters, containing letters from Warren Buffett, yours truly and other CEOs. He will have some copies… Read more »

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Contents

Part One: Classic

1. Warren Buffett: Berkshire Hathaway
2. Robert Goizueta: Coca-Cola
3. Prem Watsa: Fairfax Financial
4. Ian Cumming & Joe Steinberg to Rich Handler & Brian Friedman: Leucadia-Jefferies

Part Two: Vintage

5. Don Graham to Tim O'Shaughnessy: Washington Post Co.-Graham Holdings
6. Steve Markel & Tom Gayner: Markel Corporation
7. Jeff Bezos: Amazon

Part Three: Contemporary

8. Charles Fabrikant: SEACOR
9. Brett Roberts: Credit Acceptance Corporation
10. Larry Page & Sergey Brin: Google
11. Joe Mansueto & Kunal Kapoor: Morningstar
12. Mark Leonard: Constellation Software
13. Indra K. Nooyi: PepsiCo
14. Weston Hicks: Alleghany Corporation
15. Ginni Rometty: IBM
16. Robert Keane: Cimpress N.V.



Published: 14/04/2020
Edition: 1st
Pages: 336
Formats: paperback - ISBN 9780857197917
ebook - ISBN 9780857197924
Media enquiries

If you’d like to get in touch with the author for interview or comment, or you’d like a review copy of this book, please contact us at pr@harriman-house.com or call +44 (0)1730 233870.

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