2011 Buffett Lunch at $2.345 Million, Four Days to Go

Recession? Not if you’re the type to bid on an eBay auction for lunch with Warren Buffett. The 2011 lunch for eight with Buffett is now guaranteed to exceed all but last year’s top bid of $2.63 million and there are still three and a half days to go. Looking at the bidding, it appears to be a hot and heavy tussle between two bidders. It looks like someone put in a reserve and the other is probing to find out what the reserve seems to be, finally discovering that it’s at $2,000,000.

It’s now $280,633 short of last year’s mark, with the current bid at a cute $2,345,678 (couldn’t spare the 90 cents? or the extra ten million to complete the trend?), think we’ll break it?


Lunch with Buffett Auction: 2011 Edition

Every year, Warren Buffett auctions off lunch at Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in midtown Manhattan. The winner gets to bring seven of his closest friends for some steaks and salads with the Oracle.

Last year, the winner decided to remain anonymous after forking over $2.63 million for lunch with Buffett. Despite the recession, which reduced the take in 2009 to a “mere” $1.68 million, down from $2.11 million, 2010’s haul reversed the downward trend.

Here are past winners:
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Buffett’s Million Dollar Bet

As we near the end of the year, the big issue of the Bush tax cuts remains unresolved. As we inch into December and still have very little idea as to how the tax brackets will look next year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at a popular sound bite from Warren Buffet.

One of Warren Buffet’s most famous quotes is that he pays a lower tax rate than his receptionist. He’s said it numerous times, including at a $4,600 a seat fundraiser for then-Senator Hilary Clinton. His exact quote from that night – ““The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”

It wasn’t until today, over three years later, that I learned that Warren Buffett called out his fellow Forbes 400 “members” in an interview with Tom Brokaw.
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Annual Lunch with Warren Buffett Auction

Every year Warren Buffett auctions off a lunch date to benefit the Glide Foundation. The Glide Foundation describes its mission as creating “a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.” It’s a noble goal and it’s not surprising that Warren Buffett has supported this organization for years in this way.

The winner last year was Courtenay Wolfe, president and chief executive of Canadian hedge fund Salida Capital, who shelled out $1,680,300.00 for lunch with Buffet and seven of Wolfe’s closest friends. It wasn’t the highest amount ever paid for lunch with Buffett, that honor goes to the 2008 winner Zhao Danyang, manager of Hong Kong-based Pure Heart Asset Management. Zhao Danyang paid out $2.11 million dollars (check out how he used the power of the press to get a nice return even before sitting down with Buffett).
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Payback Time by Phil Town

Payback Time by Phil TownIn Payback Time, Phil Town teaches you the tenets of value investing, the same approach that Warren Buffett takes, with today’s tools. With all the value investing books out there, what separates Town’s Payback Time, and his earlier work Rule #1, from the pack? Two reasons – first, he’s not a long time investor who is very far removed from “Main Street,” he was a regular Joe just a short time ago and he’s able to explain concepts in terms most people can understand. Second, he explains these terms and walks you through the tools, like the screener from Yahoo Finance, you can use today to find good companies.

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 Personal Finance 

$2.11 Million Lunch Bill: Historical Look at Lunch with Warren Buffett

Warren BuffetToday marks the day that Zhao Danyang, winner of the 2008 Warren Buffett charity lunch, will be dining with the Oracle of Omaha at Smith & Wollensky steakhouse. Zhao Danyang, who runs the Pureheart China Growth Investment Fund in Hong Kong donated a whopping $2.11 million to the Glide Foundation for the opportunity to invite seven of his closest friends to join him and Warren Buffet.

Buffett has been doing these charity auctions for several years and it wasn’t until 2003 did the auctions move online. The proceeds benefit the Glide Foundation, a San Francisco non-profit that offers housing, job training, health and child care, and meals for the poor. In addition to the winner’s donation, Smith & Wollensky also donates $10,000 to the charity as well.

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Augment Yourself, Not Your Résumé

When I was a kid, my parents taught me that my job was to do well in school so that I could get into a good college. In college, my job was to do well, earn my diploma, and then get a good job. Once I started working, I was told that leaders take leadership training classes and took rotational assignments in areas others didn’t. I, of course, wanted to be a leader (that’s what’s next right?). I started signing up for all these classes that had great names and interesting content but really lacked any application in my day to day activities.

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Review: 50 Prosperity Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon

50 Prosperity Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon50 Prosperity Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon is an assimilation of fifty great financial classics that will help you “attract it, create it, manage it, and share it,” with “it” being prosperity. It’s part of the “50 Classics Series,” a series I’d never heard about until this edition, but it’s a clever distillation of many great works down into something shorter than Cliff Notes. For each of the fifty classics, there’s a brief salient quote, followed by a box of important facts (think: executive summary), then a few pages of commentary that reads like a book report. The book reads like a Who’s Who of important financial and business individuals from Warren Buffett to John Bogle, from Bill Gates to Guy Kawasaki, from Adam Smith to Peter Lynch. The books span the ages going as far back as 1778 with Adam Smith (the ones after that are P.T. Barnum in 1880 and Andrew Carnegie in 1889) and as recently as Suze Orman (2007).

I chose to take a look at Andrew Carnegie’s The Gospel of Wealth first, since it was the namesake and founder of my alma mater Carnegie Mellon University. How’s this for a quote to capture the message of the book:

“The man who dies rich thus dies disgraced.”

And the “In a nutshell” summery, written by the author, was:

The wealth creator has a moral obligation to enrich the lives of others in whatever way they can.

Then the author launches into three page book report of The Gospel of Wealth followed by a brief biography of Andrew Carnegie.

I’m a big fan of books where you get little stories and vignettes, something I mentioned in my review of Ken Fisher’s 100 Minds That Made The Market. This book is in that same vein, offering little stories about each author, summarizing their books into a one sentence and a “book report” that makes it easy and quick to digest. To be honest, it makes a great bathroom book if you’re into reading a lot about personal finance, wealth creation and management!

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