Summary of What I Learned Before I Sold to Warren Buffett

An Entrepreneur's Guide to Developing a Highly Successful Company

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What I Learned Before I Sold to Warren Buffett book summary
To build a business strong enough to sell to Warren Buffett, be hands-on, ethical, smart, savvy and, by the way, humble.


7 Overall

10 Applicability

6 Innovation

6 Style


In a book that is more almanac than business history, author Barnett C. Helzberg Jr. includes a bit of narrative, but this is not a discourse on what he learned as he developed his Kansas City jewelry store empire, not a case study and not a look at how the sale of his company to Buffett went (which might have been a dandy negotiations yarn). Instead, it is basically a sound collection of sayings, aphorisms and - now and then, it must be said - platitudes about what he knew before Buffett came along. This is not, therefore, a book that recommends necessarily reading from cover to cover. Instead, keep it handy. Pick it up when you are stuck for ideas or guidance, and peruse it for experience and sense. If all the thoughts are not particularly original, that is part of their appeal. Like a Polonius of the Plains, the author is never at a loss for a nostrum. He reaffirms the sound, traditional principles that guided the steady and sure growth of his business. It worked for Warren; it may well work for you.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the author created the thriving jewelry business he sold to Warren Buffett; and
  • What pithy suggestions he offers about succeeding in business.


The Elevator Pitch
Barnett C. Helzberg Jr. spotted Warren Buffett on a New York street, walked up to the great man and delivered an "elevator pitch" on why Buffett should invest in his company. More interesting still, he built the sort of company that Warren Buffett would invest...
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About the Author

From 1962-1995, Barnett C. Helzberg Jr., was president and CEO of Helzberg Diamonds, Inc., a company that Goldman Sachs called the "Nordstrom of the jewelry business."

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