BUSINESS BOOKS IN BRIEF
THE WARREN BUFFETT WAY, by Robert G. Hagstrom Jr. (John Wiley & Sons, 313 pp., $14.95 paper). In American popular mythology, Warren Buffett has taken on the mantle of Everyman as investment savant. Buffett is humble, guzzles cherry Coke, lives in Omaha, Neb., works out of a modest office, drives his own car, prepares his own taxes - and makes a fortune in stocks. He is worth more than $8 billion. If Buffett can do that, books such as Hagstrom's suggest, we can do it as well, if we'll just learn his techniques.
Dream on! Buffett is hardly Everyman. He's partly a math genius, partly a street-smart investor who picked up strategies from his father, a stockbroker who later became a United States congressman. As ordinary as he may seem, Buffett, by background, schooling, and experience, is unique.
Still, there is much to learn in this interesting account. This just-issued paperback version of Hagstrom's 1994 hardcover book (Wiley) has up-to-date material on the Walt Disney Company-Capital Cities/ABC merger, as well as Buffett's investment in Salomon Inc., the investment house, and other companies. Buffett's basic strategy: Buy into companies having intrinsic value and almost never sell the stock.
- Guy Halverson
TIME MANAGEMENT FOR DUMMIES, by Jeffrey J. Mayer (IDG Books, 274 pp., $16.99). Whether you qualify as ''organizationally challenged'' or you're simply looking to shave a few minutes off the time it takes to respond to voice-mail messages, this easy-to-read book could be for you.
Mayer, who has written other books on clutterbusting and makes a living cleaning up other people's desks (at $1,000 a shot), covers a variety of topics in his newest release, from setting up a filing system you can live with to how to become a better public speaker and ''make the telephone your friend.''
On a remedial level, he discusses making a master ''things to do'' list and how to put the list, your calendar, and Rolodex on your computer. Mayer also shows how to optimize your phone, voice mail, and e-mail time. For example, don't check your e-mail every time your computer blips. Turn that function off, and set aside certain times during the day to check messages. And cut the socializing on the phone. By adding five minutes of chitchat to each call, he says, you can lose an hour or two a day.
The last section, ''The Part of Tens,'' covers, among other things, 10 computer programs that will save you time and 10 ways to increase your computer's performance.
- Shelley Donald Coolidge
BOOM: VISIONS AND INSIGHTS FOR CREATING WEALTH IN THE 21ST CENTURY, by Frank Vogl and James Sinclair (Irwin Professional Publishing, 244 pp., $24.95). In the new century that is only five years away, say the authors of this book, ''more people than ever before will come to enjoy decent and rising living standards in the era of prosperity that is about to dawn. It is an era which will contain the wealth, and perhaps the wisdom, to secure a more peaceful world....''
That's the theme of this nonacademic review of major world economic trends and prospects. The first half of the book most likely was written by Vogl, a former economic correspondent for the Times of London and then the World Bank's director of information. It is plain vanilla journalism: clear, knowledgeable, full of quotes, and utilizing dozens of studies by the World Bank and many other international institutions. The authors see rampant corruption in the Third World as the greatest threat to their boom scenario. Vogl, now running a public-relations firm, has helped launch an anticorruption organization, Transparency International.
The last half of the book is probably mostly written by Sinclair, chairman of a Canadian minerals-exploration company, Sutton Resources Ltd. The sentences get longer. He talks about how companies can best grasp the opportunities arising from the globalization of the world's economy. Sinclair gives as an example his own company's major operations in Tanzania.
- David R. Francis