Rob Rose Editor: Financial Mail

There are some local CEOs who probably think they’re far too busy and important, but who could learn a heap from reading Warren Buffett’s letter to shareholders. Buffett, 90, writes with beguiling simplicity to investors about exactly what it is that his company Berkshire Hathaway does, how it decides to invest in companies and how it thinks about making money. It’s insightful, practical and, critically, he speaks of the boots-on-the-ground entrepreneurship behind the companies in which he invested. Like the Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM).

"The company’s founder, Rose Blumkin, arrived in Seattle in 1915 as a Russian emigrant, unable to read or speak English," Buffett writes. "She settled in Omaha several years later and by 1936 had saved $2,500 to start a furniture store. Competitors and suppliers ignored her, and for a time their judgment seemed correct: World War 2 stalled her business, and [by] 1946, the company’s net worth had grown to only $72,264. Cash, both in the till a...

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