Excerpted with permission from the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, from Dear Mr. Buffett, What an Investor Learns 1,269 Miles from Wall Street, by Janet Tavakoli. © 2009 by Janet Tavakoli.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.