Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything – First Look

Wednesday, 21 November, 2012

Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything by Carol J. Loomis - pix 1

Forty-two months! Thats how long I’ve been eagerly awaiting for Carol Loomisnew book “Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: A Fortune Magazine Book” (368 pages, on sale Nov 26th and online amazon.com & indigo.ca). Carol is Fortune magazine senior editor-at-large and a long time (40+ years) close friend of Warren Buffett! I am thrilled to see Carol’s book published and in my hands as it feels like having an insightful person who knows Warren really well to guide me through some important and insightful articles. It will take me some time to read & review the book, please stay tune for my detailed review. Until then, my first impression of the book is it looks awesome!

Long time readers of Warren‘s news and insights will be familiar with some of key articles in this collection and also see many (for me) new articles that are important but less well known. Carol has added many insightful commentaries before the articles to give us context and share with us her views. For example, the article “The Inside Story of Warren Buffet” (April 11, 1988) is Fortune’s first profile of Warren and Carol’s preamble explains what lead her to finally wrote the first profile about Warren after knowing him for 20+ years at that point! And then the afterword for articles like “Buffett Hits $200 million Downdraft” (Nov 17, 1994) reminds readers that Warren actually made money on the USAir investment (which many people may have an impression of it being a money losing investment).

P.S. Now, let me explain my wait of almost forty-two months in this postscript. You see, in April 2009, shareholders of Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway NOT physically presented at the annual shareholders’ meeting in Omaha were given opportunities to ask Warren & Charlie remotely in advance via email for the first time. And I jumped at the chance by emailing my question to Carol! Along with my question, I told Carol that,

I am a big fan of your Fortune articles about Warren and BRK. (I have taken the time to look up some of your older articles and really enjoy reading them.)”

In Carol’s email reply was where I first read of the mention of a possible book (the book that I am finally holding in my hands)! So, yes, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the book since Apr 2009, and that is about forty-two months! :)

P.P.S. Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed there is a stack of five books in the above picture. Can you guess the titles of the Warren related books in the stack? Find out how many you guess correctly by clicking here to see this picture.

P.P.P.S. If you have read this far, you might as well check out my review of Warren’s biography “Snowball” by Alice.

note: this article is cross-posted by me at examiner.com

May 16, 2016 Update: (with video) “Buffett’s editor Carol Loomis: Pen, paper, Fed-Ex & email but never the telephone“. Via Yahoo, click here to view a full replay of the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting


Did Bloomberg distort Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak’s view on Facebook as an investment?

Wednesday, 6 June, 2012

Did Bloomberg distort Apple Co-Founder Mr. Steve Wozniak's view on Facebook as an investment?

Here is an edited version of a request for clarification sent to Bloomberg reporters and editor for the May 13th, 2012 story “Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Would Buy Facebook At Any [Price]“.

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To: Bloomberg reporters Ms. Shraysi Tandon & Mr. David Fickling and editor Mr. Michael Tighe [see Bloomberg article for email contacts]
copy: Mr. Steve Wozniak

I was in touch with Apple Co-Founder Mr. Steve Wozniak electronically yesterday [see lengthy exchange in this public post’s comments]. And I was very disturbed to hear Mr. Wozniak telling me his view on Facebook “investment” had been distorted by Bloomberg. At the core, Mr. Wozniak told me that he made it clear to Bloomberg’s reporters that any purchase of Facebook shares would be just “ceremonial” (he gave the analogy, like “waiting in line for iPhones“). The following are Mr. Wozniak’s words. Emphasis are added by me to draw your attention.

if I bought Facebook shares (it wasn’t possible due to my schedule) it would not be as an investor but rather ceremonial, like waiting in line for iPhones. But that got missed by a lot of people. I’m very sorry if they duped you.

This is in direct contrary to the video excerpt Bloomberg decided to include. Here is a transcript of the broadcasted video exchange between Bloomberg reporter Ms. Tandon and Mr. Wozniak re investing in Facebook (~00:22 to 00:37)

Reporter: “Would you invest in Facebook?”
Answer: “I would invest in Facebook. I don’t care what the opening price is. I would, just for good reasons. Especially if was an investor looking to make money.”

Mr. Wozniak also wrote the following. And again, I have added emphasis to draw your attention. [see excerpt from public post’s comments]

“I have a great idea. Why don’t you contact the reporter and ask him if, before the interview, I told him how I don’t read financial papers and have never used the iPhone stock price app and that I couldn’t answer financial questions. He was a very good tech reporter but asked that question at the end. It was a trick and a setup, as he’d heard my explanation an hour before during my speech. I think this may have been in Singapore. You have to ask how ethical that was. He knew the truth but set it up in a way that would deceive you. And it was my intent at that time to buy Facebook stock, but not as an investment, and the reporter knew that well. I had told him that my wife and I don’t trade stocks and all we have is Apple and Fusion-io. So he knew the truth but published otherwise. Sorry, but at the end of a tired day one word may have been wrong (invest instead of buy) but 2 people, myself and the reporter, knew it was not an investment. I doubt I used the word “investment” since it’s a word not in my vocabulary. I have never in my life invested in stock. Please contact the reporter to verify this and let him know what you think. And ask him not to do it to the next “nice” guy.”

I personally don’t know Mr. Wozniak and had only got in touch with him yesterday. Mr. Michael Tighe, as the Bloomberg editor in charge of this article, can you please confirm with the Bloomberg reporters if Mr. Wozniak’s view got distorted seriously. At times I am a blunt reporter and based on Bloomberg’s original report, I had written,

“I love +Steve Wozniak for his tech but his investment “advice” was worst than idiotic.”

To me, Bloomberg’s reputation is on the line here. Distorting a “ceremonial” purchase of Facebook stocks and turning it into a story with title “Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Would Buy Facebook At Any [Price]” is a serious journalist blunder at least or an inexcusably unethical behaviour at worst.

Finally, Ms. Shraysi Tandon, Mr. David Fickling, and Mr. Michael Tighe, I hope if there was a mistake, Bloomberg will do the honourable thing and issue a formal correction and apologize. Since you are all professional journalists, I don’t need to remind why we in the business of reporting will all remember Jayson Blair (former reporter with New York Times) or Stephen Glass (former reporter with The New Republic) for a very long time to come.

Please kindly recheck the source and basis of your story and issue a correction and apology if a mistake was made. Please let me know an error was indeed made, I would like to promptly issue my apology to Mr. Wozniak in saying his “investment “advice” was worst than idiotic” based on Bloomberg’s May 13th report.

Best,
Kempton

Kempton Lam
B.Sc. MBA
mobile: 403.xxx.xxxx
freelance TV reporter, commentator & blogger

P.S. Cross posted onto examiner.com. I am hoping to hear from Bloomberg really soon to set the record straight.


Kempton’s Review/Best of “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life”

Saturday, 27 September, 2008


I am going to share with you some of my favourite text in my review of “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life” by Alice Schroeder. You see, when I read a good book I will underline the text, add notes in the margin, and sometimes dog-ear my books quite heavily and proudly (for a while, a photo of me holding Bill Buxton’s book was posted on Bill’s site).

So for this 960 Pages, 62 Chapters + Afterword biography about Warren, I will highlight some of my favourite text in each of the 62 Chapters + Afterword and then take a picture of the marked up pages. Enjoy.

NOTE: See bottom of this article to see additional notes, video ofAlice speaking at a conference, etc.

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PART ONE / The Bubble

Chapter 1 – The Less Flattering Version

I don’t know many people who has the humility to tell their biographer, “Whenever my version is different from somebody else’s … use the less flattering version.

(note: click on photo to see a large & clearly readable version of the text)

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Chapter 2 – Sun Valley

I see, I finally know where did Warren first come up with his explanations using the automobiles and airplanes industries. He did it at Sun Valley and then later used them in his 2000 annual letter to shareholders. (If you are too cheap (big smile) to buy this book, download and read some of Warren annual letters to shareholders and gain some investment insights for free.)

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Chapter 3 – Creatures of Habit

Wow, I know Warren reads a lot, but I have no idea that he reads this much. And he also read “… newsletters from writers he admired on the stock and bond market.” My friend, just think for a moment, Warren Buffett reading someone else insights on the stock and bond market. If this is not humble and willing to learn from others, I don’t know what is !!!

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Chapter 4 – Warren, What’s Wrong?

Great insight, “The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard. I always pose it this way. I say: ‘Lookit, Would you rather be the world’s greatest lover, but have everyone think you’re the world’s worst lover? Or would you rather be the world’s worst lover but have everyone think you’re the world’s greatest lover?’ Now, that’s an interesting question.

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PART TWO / The Inner Scorecard

Chapter 5 – The Urge to Preach

Now, can I get someone to work on me? (big smile)

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Chapter 6 – The Bathtub Steeplechase

“But no matter what she [Warren’s mother] thought she was doing, by the time Warren was three years old and their sister Roberta, known as Bertie, was born, “it couldn’t bee put back together,” he says, for him or for Doris. The damage to their souls was done.”

This is the toughest and most insightful chapter for me to read about Warren as I had no idea the challenges that Warren and his sister Doris had to face when they were little. I cry too easily and I did cry when I read this chapter.

I hope when some readers read this section, they will take a moment to reflect upon their own actions towards their children and decide to change. It is never too late. The readers may start reading the book thinking they will get tips on how to get rich, but I hope they will allow what they’ve read/learned to help them grow and change. For the souls of ** your children ** are worth much much more than the money that one may wish to gain from reading the book.

Read the rest of this entry »


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