I first wrote about Warren Buffett’s famous annual shareholder letters about 30 years ago, for Fortune, when Berkshire Hathaway stock was $300. (I said he was obviously amazing, and that I might well buy a few shares when they pulled back a little. They closed Friday at $140,000. In hindsight it might have been wiser to ‘pay up for quality’ than wait for a pullback.) You can read this year’s letter here. (Or, in my case, having never bought the stock: read it and weep.)
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, JR.
Jesse: ‘Re your comment Thursday, I have a hard time mourning anyone who could think, much less write, that AIDS sufferers should be ‘tattooed in the upper forearm, to protect common-needle users, and on the buttocks, to prevent contamination’ to other homosexuals.’
☞ That, naturally, was one of the many places I didn’t see it his way. But what seems to have struck so many people – and what certainly struck me in my glancing acquaintanceship with him (he even took me and another guy out on his little boat for a sleepover sail one night, one of the odder nights of my life) – was how warmly he embraced his liberal friends, even as he hotly disagreed with them.
Buckley loved debate. Unlike today’s cowardly conservatives, he debated the best minds he could entice on to a stage. He never used his opponents as props or punch lines for fixed fights. He liked them. Loving his own ideas, not just hating theirs, left room for liking them. What a long sad fall from Bill Buckley to Bill O’ Reilly. I’m not part of the crowd that says if we can just get along everything will be alright. But I am part of the crowd that thinks learning to get along better will help . . .
☞ So I say again, rest in peace, Bill Buckley.
Half their age and prettier, Wendy might not normally figure in a column with these guys, but I just had dinner with her and her husband tonight, and that’s when I realized: it’s all about the WB! You can read her blog, and see the jewelry she designs, here.