I attended Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting and wrote about it for The New York Times Op-Ed page:
THE Berkshire Hathaway Corporation held its annual shareholders meeting here last weekend, drawing a record 27,000 capitalist faithful from all over the world to worship at the Qwest Center in downtown Omaha. Onstage, the chairman and investor in chief Warren Buffett and his partner and vice chairman, Charles Munger, once again entertained the well-washed and well-heeled masses and educated them in the doctrine of value investing.
And what’s not to worship? Berkshire shareholders gained $16.9 billion in net worth last year alone, an 18.4 percent increase in per share book value. Even more fun, the guy in charge, despite being the second-wealthiest man in the world, is a prize ham who loves to play his ukulele, show a video of himself “winning” a rigged one-on-one game against LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then kick off the shareholder meeting by sending the singer Jimmy Buffett onstage to pretend he is a distant cousin who believes â€œthat blood is thicker than waterâ€ and therefore he â€” the Margaritaville Man â€” should be Mr. Buffett’s successor.
Succession was much discussed at both Saturday’s shareholder Q. and A. session and at the Sunday press conference that was sandwiched between the shareholder-only shopping day at Borsheim’s Fine Jewelry and the annual dinner at Gorat’s Steak House. Warren Buffett is 76 years old, and Mr. Munger is 83. Nobody sitting with me in that audience wanted to think about anybody but Mr. Buffett in charge; his talk of stepping down is as if the Wizard himself, in an unwelcome inversion of Oz protocol, keeps calling attention to his own mortality.