What’s Warren Buffett’s Secret to Great Writing?

Warren Buffet is obviously seen as the gold standard for the investment world. But there is something else he excels at as well – financial writing. His annual letters to shareholders are gold standard as well for financial and economics writers.

Lawrence Cunningham of George Washington University looks at the secret behind the other gold standard – financial writing. He looks at few of these letters and analyses how Buffet argues for Berkshire’s strategy using rhetoric, humor and wit.

In nut shell it is about loving your job which shows in words as well:

Buffett’s essays are rich with history, putting current debates in broad context, and steeped in statistics, anchoring argument in data. Buffett contrasts and compares; jokes and quips; and prefers to praise by name but criticize by category. Even when confronting critics, Buffett’s essays avoid sounding defensive.

Above all, the work expresses who Warren is—a confident, astute and joyous capitalist. Yale University writing professor William Zinsser says that “Motivation is at the heart of writing.” Buffett loves Berkshire, his curated life’s work defined by unusual shareholders, adroit managers, and idiosyncratic principles. Munger has commented: “Warren’s whole ego is poured into Berkshire.” More than the elements of style, such motivation is a gold standard worth aspiring to.

Nice question to ask but wish the author dug more on Buffet’s writing strategy.

We rarely look at this aspect of fund and investment management as well – art of communications. How do various fund managers do in terms of writing to their audiences of big and small investors?

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