Author Interview: Lawrence A. Cunningham

Lawrence is the author of The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Investors and Managers, which provides excellent insight into the investing secrets and philosophy of Warren Buffett. The book does this by reproducing extracts of letters written by Mr Buffett which were sent to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway; his investing conglomerate.

“A classic on value investing and the definitive source on Buffett.” – The Financial Times

I’ve ranked his title #3 in our ranking of the best value investing books.

Lawrence was kind enough to respond to several interview questions I shared with him last week, and I’m delighted to publish these responses below.

If you’re interested in hearing more from Lawrence, you can follow him on Twitter. His handle is @CunninghamProf. Alternatively, please leave a comment below if you’d like to begin a conversation about this book or Lawrences’ other works.

Lawrence A. Cunningham books generally fall into the following sub-genres:

Interview with Lawrence A. Cunningham


Please could you tell us a little about your professional background and why you felt inspired to write the book?

Lawrence: I have always worked at the intersection of investing and management, focusing on what quality shareholders look for and what quality companies and managers look like.

This title is a guide suitable for beginners. What drove you to write such a comprehensive guide compared to a more specialist title?

Lawrence: The Essays of Warren Buffett is the foundational work at the intersection of investing and management. There is no better expert on that joint perspective than Buffett, who has shined as the best investor of all time and one of the best managers of all time. It is suitable for “beginners” in a broad way: not only those starting out in their careers but those who have not read a book that expertly integrates the views of an investor and a manager.

In the course of researching and writing your book – did you come across anything that surprised you?

Lawrence: That so few others focus on the intersection of investing and management, as most books are either about investing or management but not both.

For budding financial writers, what is the one piece of advice you would give to those writing to educate beginners about investing?

Edit, edit, edit. I have published 2 million words lifetime (15 books, 50 research articles, and 100 columns) and produced another 1 million words that are not published because I edited them out. The published work is much better for pruning.

And finally, I like to ask all authors; when saving and investing your own money, what is your preferred investing style?

Quality shareholder thoroughly. With my employer retirement funds, I elect the funds that are managed by stock pickers, not indexers, and have outperformed lifetime; with all my other income (royalties, board retainers, consulting fees), I maintain and grow a concentrated portfolio of the highest quality companies, a total of 20 different names over 25 years, most held for at least a decade. I practice what I preach.

A selection of Lawrence Cunningham’s published works:

The Essays of Warren Buffett, now in its 5th edition

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

Quality Investing: Owning the Best Companies for the Long Term

Quality Shareholders: How the Best Managers Attract and Keep Them

The Warren Buffett Shareholder: Stories from inside the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

How to Think Like Benjamin Graham and Invest Like Warren Buffett

Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values (Columbia Business School Publishing)

Contracts in the Real World: Stories of Popular Contracts and Why They Matter

The AIG Story

Margin of Trust: The Berkshire Business Model (Columbia Business School Publishing)

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