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Among the landmark occasions in the legendary history of Berkshire Hathaway and its iconic co-leaders, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, was a 1996 symposium held in New York at Cardozo Law School. The focus of the symposium was Warren's letters to Berkshire shareholders. The format was a series of panels with two dozen different experts dissecting all the ideas in the letters, about corporate governance, takeovers, investing, and accounting. Intellectual sparks illuminated the two-day affair, which drew unusual press interest for an academic convocation.
While the principal tangible result of the conference was the publication of the international best-seller, The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, the transcript of the symposium is now being made available with annotations and updated commentary that show just how timeless the topics are and how venerable the principles Buffett laid out remain. I had the honor of hosting the event, editing The Essays, and now publishing this archival treasure, with current assessments by such luminaries as Robert Hagstrom as well as several participants from the original symposium.