Hyper-billionaire Warren Buffett, in addition to being rich, is the best business writer of our time. I particularly liked this comment in his latest annual report, which has a sense of humanity in it often lacking in our public discourse these days:
“We do not follow the common practice of talking one-on-one with large institutional investors or analysts, treating them instead as we do all other shareholders. There is no one more important to us than the shareholder of limited means who trusts us with a substantial portion of his or her savings. As I run the company day-to-day – and as I write this letter – that is the shareholder whose image is in my mind.”
I don’t think this is sentimental hokum. Rather, I think it is someone who appreciates the value of a dollar to people trying to get by on what they have saved over a lifetime of hard work. As a former Berkshire Hathaway shareholder (when I was a reporter there, the Wash Post Co. sold shares to employees without charging commission costs, but I sold the stock to buy the house in Maine), I am thankful to him.