A Rare Look at the Leaders behind the Success of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway

"Behind the Berkshire Hathaway Curtain: Lessons from Warren Buffett's Top Business Leaders" out now! (Photo: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--()--“Berkshire is where it is today because of the all-stars running our various operating businesses. This book captures what makes them special,” wrote Warren Buffett, in praise of Ronald W. Chan’s new book, BEHIND THE BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY CURTAIN: Lessons from Warren Buffett’s Top Business Leaders (Wiley; May 2010; $24.95).

Further praise for the book comes from Donald Keough, Chairman of the Board of Allen & Company, Inc., and author of The Ten Commandments for Business Failure, who said: “Ronald Chan has peeked behind the curtain that surrounds Berkshire Hathaway. He introduces us to a superb sample of the remarkable team of leaders who manage the living museum of great companies that Warren Buffett has gathered under the aegis of Berkshire Hathaway.”

Drawing on exclusive interviews with Berkshire executives and directors, author Ronald W. Chan − founder and CEO of Hong Kong-based Chartwell Capital Limited − vividly describes how this exceptional group of leaders achieved success before becoming part of Buffett’s conglomerate. With his keen eye for detail, Chan shows how their lessons can be applied to achieve career success and personal fulfillment. Brimming with practical advice, the book will appeal to both executives and employees wishing to improve their leadership skills and work performance.

Covering the career and life decisions of David Sokol of MidAmerican Energy, Cathy Baron-Tamraz of Business Wire, Dennis Knautz of Acme Brick, Randy Watson of Justin Brands, Stan Lipsey of Buffalo News, and many more, the book offers a wide range of business insights, philosophies, and strategies directly from the mouths of leaders at the top of their fields.

Read an except from the new book at: CNBC’s Buffett Watch: The ‘Next’ Warren Buffett on What He’s Learned from the ‘Current’ Warren Buffett.

Q&A with the Author:

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

A: Seven years ago, I attended the Annual General Meeting of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha for the first time. I found that while the business community often talked about the success of the conglomerate’s Chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, more than 60 active executives were working in the Berkshire empire, quietly contributing to its overall success.

I realized that learning from these executives was crucial to understanding the mindset of Buffett and the Berkshire culture, so in 2007 I contacted Buffett and explained my book idea. He promptly replied that he liked the concept and told me to go ahead with it. Over the next two years, I got in touch with a number of Berkshire’s top executives, many of whom granted me exclusive interviews during which I found out more about their career experiences and sought life advice directly from them.

Q: Did the interviews help you to define the key qualities of a world-class leader?

A: As I interviewed these executives, I began to spot essential leadership traits, such as courage, hard work, endurance, discipline, and passion. These qualities may sound overly simple when written down, but it takes a lot of dedication to master them.

I also noticed that leadership comes in many different forms. One Berkshire executive told me that it is extremely difficult to spot a true leader until he or she becomes one. Sometimes a leader emerges from a crisis, sometimes through the accumulation of life experiences, and sometimes through luck.

Q: What did you learn about yourself while writing this book, and how will this help you in running your company?

A: I learned several life principles from these executives. For example, Randy Watson of Justin Brands told me, “No one cares what you know until they know that you care.” That quote struck me hard, and it has really helped me with my interpersonal skills.

In terms of my career as an investment fund manager, David Sokol of MidAmerican Energy, whom the media expect to be Warren Buffett’s successor, emphasized the importance of discipline. He advised me to never bring emotion to any investment decision because a business is worth only so much. This principle was not new to me, but it is now deeply embedded in my thinking. Getting such advice directly from part of the ‘Buffett think tank’ really made it stick.

About the Author:

Ronald W. Chan is the founder and CEO of Chartwell Capital Limited, a value-based investment management company in Hong Kong. He is a frequent contributor to financial newspapers and magazines in the Asia-Pacific region. Ronald received Bachelor of Science degrees in finance and accounting from New York University.

About John Wiley & Sons:

Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. has been a valued source of information and understanding for 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. Wiley’s core business includes scientific, technical, and medical journals; encyclopedias, books, and online products and services; professional and consumer books and subscription services; and educational materials for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners. Wiley’s global headquarters are located in Hoboken, New Jersey with operations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. www.wiley.com

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6296283&lang=en

Contacts

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Marian Brown, 917-541-5814
marbrown@wiley.com

Release Summary

A Rare Look at the Leaders behind the Success of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway

Contacts

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Marian Brown, 917-541-5814
marbrown@wiley.com