At first glance, little appears to differentiate Berkshire Hathaway annual stockholders reports from other major corporationsâ€™. (Except perhaps the results â€“ a $1000 investment in Berkshire stock in 1965 is worth around $200,000 today).
A closer look reveals something almost hidden in plain sight in the letter to the stockholders, trading commentary, and other financial information. Even in years in which Berkshire has been more successful than imaginable, often the first few pages of Warren Buffetâ€™s Chairmanâ€™s report will draw the shareholdersâ€™ attention to a snag, strain or shortcoming that has occurred that past year.
In a reputation-obsessed world, too often we present only positive attributes and strengths while sweeping flops and failures under the rug.Â Â Mr. Buffet, instead, draws attention to a downside early in his address. Does he have it wrong?