Here's a title that says it all: WARREN Buffett Speaks. In fact, he spouts off like a one-man Bartlett's. But the billionaire stock picker's not revealing much. And this compilation of ''wit and wisdom'' makes no effort to analyze or interpret his remarks. Readers who want to learn about investing will likely be disappointed.

For those seeking breezy entertainment, though, Speaks, the No.7 hardcover book on this month's best-seller list, is worth a look. Author Janet C. Lowe has combed through media stories, annual reports, and speeches for most of the 500 quotes that fill the book. Among them, some amusing one-liners nicely convey the ''Oracle of Omaha's'' folksy persona. Offered a glass of pricey wine at a dinner party, Buffett replies: ''No thanks, I'll take cash.'' Asked whether he heeds stock recommendations from brokers, Buffett says: ''Never ask the barber if you need a haircut.''

The material from the olden days seems more surprising and original than the recent. Listen to how Buffett explained his decision in 1969 to liquidate his investment partnership and retire at age 38: ''I have no urge to keep piling up money,'' he told the Omaha World-Herald. Guess what? He was back in business in no time, and, somehow, the money kept rolling in.

Lowe accepts off-base and on-target statements with equal reverence. The lesson: Watch where Buffett puts his money, and take what he says with a grain of salt.


1 SUCCESS IS A CHOICE by Rick Pitino with Bill Reynolds (Broadway $25) And no question about it-$70 mil does signify success.

2 THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR by Thomas J. Stanley, PhD, and William D. Danko, PhD (Longstreet Press $22) The penny-pinchers shall inherit the earth.

3 PERSONAL HISTORY by Katharine Graham (Knopf $29.95) The grande dame of the Washington Post on journalism, business, and her life.

4 STOCK MARKET MIRACLES by Wade B. Cook (Lighthouse Publishing $24.95) Investing fundamentals, from portfolio-building to stock selling.

5 WALL STREET MONEY MACHINE by Wade B. Cook (Lighthouse Publishing $24.95) Formulas to help you strike it rich.

6 THE PRINCESSA by Harriet Rubin (Currency $22) New rules for successful women, demonstrated by heroines past and present.

7 WARREN BUFFETT SPEAKS by Janet Lowe (Wiley $16.95) Quotes, droll and otherwise, from Omaha's wealthiest citizen.

8 THE 9 STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM by Suze Orman (Crown $23) Practical and ''spiritual'' steps for handling money, by a Self magazine writer.

9 THE DILBERT PRINCIPLE by Scott Adams (HarperBusiness $20) The revenge of the cubicle dwellers.

10 NUTS! by Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg (Bard Press $24.95) Southwest Airlines' personality and flight plan for success.

11 SELLING THE INVISIBLE by Harry Beckwith (Warner $15) A collection of bite-size lessons on marketing.

Mackay (Currency $24.95) How to build and maintain a personal network, by a syndicated columnist.

13 DOGBERT'S TOP SECRET MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK by Scott Adams (HarperBusiness $16) Straight from the puppy's mouth.

14 FINANCIAL PEACE by Dave Ramsey (Viking $21.95) Getting out of debt--for good.

15 ONLY THE PARANOID SURVIVE by Andrew S. Grove (Currency $27.50) Intel's CEO tells how to turn crises into moments of opportunity.


by Stephen R. Covey (Fireside $12) Habitually popular.
2 1001 WAYS TO REWARD EMPLOYEES by Bob Nelson (Workman $10.95) Give them a champagne brunch, a casual-dress day--or plain old cash.

3 BUILT TO LAST by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras (HarperBusiness $14) How 3M, Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, and others became standouts.

4 THE 1997 WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? by Richard Nelson Bolles (Ten Speed Press $16.95) The enduring job-search bible--with a new resource guide.

5 THE ERNST & YOUNG TAX GUIDE 1997 by the Tax Partners and Professionals of Ernst & Young LLP (Wiley $14.95) Better late than never.

6 BARRON'S DICTIONARY OF FINANCE AND INVESTMENT TERMS by John Downes and Jordan Elliot Goodman (Barron's $11.95) What is an oligopsony anyway?

INVESTMENT GUIDE by the Beardstown Ladies' Investment Club with Leslie Whitaker (Hyperion $10.95) Recipes for four-bean salad, five-hour stew--and 23% returns.

8 THE WALL STREET JOURNAL GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING MONEY AND INVESTING by Kenneth M. Morris and Alan M. Siegel (Fireside $13.95) Still more advice on money.

9 THE ONE MINUTE MANAGER by Kenneth Blanchard PhD and Spencer Johnson M.D. (Berkley $9.95) Three management techniques, conveyed in brief story form.

10 J.K. LASSER'S YOUR INCOME TAX 1997 by the J.K. Lasser Institute (Macmillan $14.95) You mean they charge interest if you're late?

11 YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (Penguin $11.95) To achieve financial independence, restructure your life.

12 PERSONAL FINANCE FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson (IDG Books $19.95) Lighthearted primer.

13 HOME BUYING FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson and Ray Brown (IDG Books $16.99) Getting your dream house.

14 GETTING TO YES by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton (Penguin $11.95) A Harvard team's step-by-step guide to conflict resolution.

15 GET A FINANCIAL LIFE by Beth Kobliner (Fireside $11) Hey, Gen-Xers-mutual funds and mortgages can be fun!

BUSINESS WEEK's Best-Seller List is based on a survey of chain and independent booksellers that carry a broad selection of books on economics, management, sales and marketing, small business, investing, personal finance, and careers. Well over 1,000 retail outlets nationwide are represented. Current rankings are based on a weighted analysis of unit sales in April.

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Updated June 15, 1997 by bwwebmaster
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