Corner of Berkshire & Fairfax Message Board

General Category => Berkshire Hathaway => Topic started by: cobafdek on June 19, 2014, 10:39:27 PM

Title: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: cobafdek on June 19, 2014, 10:39:27 PM
This year marks the tenth anniversary of my receiving a personal reply from WEB, on Berkshire stationary over his original signature.  The story:

That year I thought I had solved the Berkshire succession problem (or at least postpone it for a good 45 years), as well as the task of getting his autograph.  I entered WEB's name and address into my gifting list at amazon.com and sent him this:

 http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-120-Year-Diet-Double/dp/1568581572/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403241420&sr=8-1&keywords=beyond+the+120+year+diet+how+to+double+your+vital+years

Total cost to me (book price + shipping/handling):  $15.19.

A week later, I got his terse reply:  "Methuselah has thrown in the towel.  Thanks."  I think I'll frame this for posterity.

1.  Was I being a mere sucker-acolyte to buy something for a multi-billionaire, just to get his autograph?

2.  Or, on the contrary, was the $15 a good value investment on my part?

Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: peter1234 on June 19, 2014, 11:21:59 PM
Congratulations, this is a thoughtful gift. Amazing that he still replies personally.

If you really contributed to prolonging his life and got some personal satisfaction from his reply, I think this is a wonderfully valuable contribution.

 :)
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: Parsad on June 19, 2014, 11:35:59 PM
This year marks the tenth anniversary of my receiving a personal reply from WEB, on Berkshire stationary over his original signature.  The story:

That year I thought I had solved the Berkshire succession problem (or at least postpone it for a good 45 years), as well as the task of getting his autograph.  I entered WEB's name and address into my gifting list at amazon.com and sent him this:

 http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-120-Year-Diet-Double/dp/1568581572/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403241420&sr=8-1&keywords=beyond+the+120+year+diet+how+to+double+your+vital+years

Total cost to me (book price + shipping/handling):  $15.19.

A week later, I got his terse reply:  "Methuselah has thrown in the towel.  Thanks."  I think I'll frame this for posterity.

1.  Was I being a mere sucker-acolyte to buy something for a multi-billionaire, just to get his autograph?

2.  Or, on the contrary, was the $15 a good value investment on my part?

If you are happy you received the letter, who cares?  Cheers!
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: cobafdek on June 20, 2014, 07:22:07 AM
"1.  Was I being a mere sucker-acolyte to buy something for a multi-billionaire, just to get his autograph?

2.  Or, on the contrary, was the $15 a good value investment on my part?"


These are just tongue-in-cheek questions ( I was in a whimsical mood.)  I could have used these to start a poll, but thought better about it.

Alas, I don't think I affected WEB's diet one whit.  He has, however, gone another 10 years.  Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: longinvestor on June 20, 2014, 07:25:12 AM
Congratulations, this is a thoughtful gift. Amazing that he still replies personally.

If you really contributed to prolonging his life and got some personal satisfaction from his reply, I think this is a wonderfully valuable contribution.

 :)

+1
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: hyten1 on June 20, 2014, 07:29:29 AM
i would like a personal letter/signature from him

how do you guys suggest i go about getting a letter/signature from the oracle?

i tried once before, i didn't get anything
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: gfp on June 20, 2014, 07:45:02 AM
i would like a personal letter/signature from him

how do you guys suggest i go about getting a letter/signature from the oracle?

i tried once before, i didn't get anything

Alice Schroeder had this advice in her reddit chat recently:
"Contacting Warren Buffett. He prefers to be contacted in writing and likes handwritten or typed letters more than email. Write him a letter at Kiewit Plaza. As a side note, a lot of people write him with essentially the following message: Dear Mr. Buffett, you are wonderful, will you please do the following for me (a) hire me (b) give me money (c) speak at my event (d) donate to my charity (e) be my mentor (f) help me get out of prison (g) help me market my invention. He gets thousands of these letters -- no kidding! Be original and you're more likely to get his attention."

source: http://www.reddit.com/r/investing/comments/2550vq/hi_im_alice_schroeder_author_of_the_snowball
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: petey2720 on June 20, 2014, 08:35:53 AM
i would like a personal letter/signature from him

how do you guys suggest i go about getting a letter/signature from the oracle?

i tried once before, i didn't get anything

A little over 10 years ago I sent him a letter suggesting a company for acquisition be Berkshire.  It was a bolt-on acquisition for one of the retail companies.  He thoughtfully replied in writing, thanked me and congratulated the family of the company I recommended but said that it would not meet their size requirements.

So I suggest that you come up with a private company worthy of acquisition and send a letter.
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: stahleyp on June 21, 2014, 06:05:22 AM
I tried writing him like 3.5 years ago or something.

In my letter, I wrote how he's a big role model for me and things. I even tried to be somewhat creative and included a sharpie to sign it and a self addressed and posted paid envelope to send the autograph back. I'm like "I don't want shareholders to bear any cost so included is a pen and return envelope." I had delivery confirmation on it and saw it arrive. I saw it being sent back and I got so excited. haha...yeah, super nerdy.

I open the envelop and I see a signature. "Yesss!" I thought to myself...only to find out that it was his secretary's signature with a form letter. :(
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: tede02 on June 22, 2014, 10:00:54 AM
I sent Warren a letter when I was in college in the early 2000s and received a little hand written note back.  I was pumped!  Still have it.  At the time, I asked him for any suggestions about good money managers to work for in the Minneapolis area.  His rely was very brief and written with a sharpie, "Ted, no ideas re Twin Cities, but good luck!  Warren Buffett. 

It seems like over the past 10 years Buffett's popularity has grown exponentially.  My guess is he gets more mail now than ever, so getting a response is probably also harder than ever.
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: wachtwoord on June 22, 2014, 11:15:42 AM
What does "Ted, no ideas re Twin Cities, but good luck!" mean? re Twin Cities?  ???
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: Kraven on June 22, 2014, 12:31:03 PM
What does "Ted, no ideas re Twin Cities, but good luck!" mean? re Twin Cities?  ???

The Twin Cities is the nickname for Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota. They are essentially two large cities that have grown into each other over time. So the OP asked about opportunities in the Minneapolis area and Buffett used the nickname in reply to refer to the entire area.
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: wachtwoord on June 22, 2014, 12:36:33 PM
Thanks, but what is "re" did he mean "in"? I couldn't really decipher the meaning.
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: ajc on June 22, 2014, 12:49:37 PM
Thanks, but what is "re" did he mean "in"? I couldn't really decipher the meaning.

It's Latin. Basically, it can be interpreted as meaning 'with regards to/concerning'.

(Seems like you can't spend 3 years studying a dead language without picking up at least one minor scrap of useful information.)


Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: wachtwoord on June 22, 2014, 01:01:09 PM
Thanks, but what is "re" did he mean "in"? I couldn't really decipher the meaning.

It's Latin. Basically, it can be interpreted as meaning 'with regards to/concerning'.

(Seems like you can't spend 3 years studying a dead language without picking up at least one minor scrap of useful information.)

Ah thanks, I took Latin for two years in high school but never picked that up.

Sorry for derailing the thread but I was really curious :)
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: tede02 on June 22, 2014, 02:28:20 PM
Kraven and ajc are both exactly correct!   ;D  Sorry for not being more specific.   8)
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: cobafdek on June 22, 2014, 02:38:54 PM
"Sorry for derailing the thread but I was really curious "

(Since I started the thread, perhaps I have a right to derail it further!)  Two appearances of Latin in this thread!  Ben Graham would be pleased. 

Anyone know this one?:  Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum tendimus.

Someone quickly get this thread back on track.  I love hearing more of these Buffett autograph-hound stories!
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: LC on June 23, 2014, 01:04:37 PM
Through various hazards, through many difficulties we move

Another one, my favorite:

Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Italiam fato profugus Lavinaque venit
Litora...

(Disclaimer: huge Virgil nerd...did anyone else translate the Aeneid in school?)
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: Andy Dufresne on June 23, 2014, 02:36:54 PM
Thanks, but what is "re" did he mean "in"? I couldn't really decipher the meaning.

wachtwoord - "re" is a preposition essentially meaning "about" or "with respect to" of course (here comes the nerdy part) its etymology is derived from the ablative singular of the Latin "res" meaning "thing" or "matter" from which we also get the word republic :)

LC - you'll surely find this one familiar ... Multa renascentur quae iam cecidere, cadentque quae nunc sunt in honore vocabula :)
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: cobafdek on June 23, 2014, 03:13:42 PM
Through various hazards, through many difficulties we move

Another one, my favorite:

Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Italiam fato profugus Lavinaque venit
Litora...

(Disclaimer: huge Virgil nerd...did anyone else translate the Aeneid in school?)


As I said, Ben Graham would be glad to know of the Latin nerds on this message board.  But my quotation quiz is a bit of a trick question.

It's the epigraph Graham used prefacing The Intelligent Investor, although he used an English translation.   From my 4th edition 1973 (i.e., pre-Zweig) hardback. 

I don't know if it was in the 1949 1st edition.  Perhaps someone knows whether he was translating Greek and Latin at that stage in his career.
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: LC on June 23, 2014, 04:14:18 PM
Thanks, but what is "re" did he mean "in"? I couldn't really decipher the meaning.

wachtwoord - "re" is a preposition essentially meaning "about" or "with respect to" of course (here comes the nerdy part) its etymology is derived from the ablative singular of the Latin "res" meaning "thing" or "matter" from which we also get the word republic :)

LC - you'll surely find this one familiar ... Multa renascentur quae iam cecidere, cadentque quae nunc sunt in honore vocabula :)

Andy: that is one of my favorites as well, and relevant for this board. Reversion to the mean! :)
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: Ham Hockers on June 24, 2014, 06:23:57 AM
Haha Latin nerds.

6 years of Latin. Stupid Aeneid and Catullus AP exams still haunt me.
Title: Re: Personal Letter from Warren Buffett
Post by: Andy Dufresne on June 24, 2014, 07:17:31 AM
LOL - you think taking it in school is nerdy ... I began studying it by myself!

LC - reversion to the mean is indeed a powerful thing! Now can we please have a nice juicy correction so that we spend more time finding wide-moat companies with excellent brands trading for 1X FCF ... pretty please?!?!