The Snowball

The Snowball

Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

eBook - 2008
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Random House, Inc.
The personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha”—for fans of the HBO documentary Becoming Warren Buffett

Here is the book recounting the life and times of one of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom.

Although the media track him constantly, Buffett himself has never told his full life story. His reality is private, especially by celebrity standards. Indeed, while the homespun persona that the public sees is true as far as it goes, it goes only so far. Warren Buffett is an array of paradoxes. He set out to prove that nice guys can finish first. Over the years he treated his investors as partners, acted as their steward, and championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, and speaker. At the same time he became the world’s richest man, all from the modest Omaha headquarters of his company Berkshire Hathaway. None of this fits the term “simple.”

When Alice Schroeder met Warren Buffett she was an insurance industry analyst and a gifted writer known for her keen perception and business acumen. Her writings on finance impressed him, and as she came to know him she realized that while much had been written on the subject of his investing style, no one had moved beyond that to explore his larger philosophy, which is bound up in a complex personality and the details of his life. Out of this came his decision to cooperate with her on the book about himself that he would never write.

Never before has Buffett spent countless hours responding to a writer’s questions, talking, giving complete access to his wife, children, friends, and business associates—opening his files, recalling his childhood. It was an act of courage, as The Snowball makes immensely clear. Being human, his own life, like most lives, has been a mix of strengths and frailties. Yet notable though his wealth may be, Buffett’s legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth; it will be his principles and ideas that have enriched people’s lives. This book tells you why Warren Buffett is the most fascinating American success story of our time.

Praise for The Snowball

“Even people who don't care a whit about business will be intrigued by this portrait. . . . Schroeder, a former insurance-industry analyst, spent years interviewing Buffett, and the result is a side of the Oracle of Omaha that has rarely been seen.”Time

“Will mesmerize anyone interested in who Mr. Buffett is or how he got that way. The Snowball tells a fascinating story.”New York Times

“If the replication of any great achievement first requires knowledge of how it was done, then The Snowball, the most detailed glimpse inside Warren Buffett and his world that we likely will ever get, should become a Bible for capitalists.”Washington Post

“Riveting and encyclopedic.”Wall Street Journal

“A monumental biography . . . Schroeder got the best access yet of any Buffett biographer. . . . She deals out marvelously funny and poignant stories about Buffett and the conglomerate he runs, Berkshire Hathaway.”Forbes

“The most authoritative portrait of one of the most important American investors of our time.”Los Angeles Times

Baker & Taylor
A portrait of the life and career of investment guru Warren Buffett sheds new light on the man, as well as on the work, ideas, business principles, strategies, and no-nonsense insights that have guided his phenomenally successful business endeavors.

Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 2008
ISBN: 9780553905496
Characteristics: xi, 960 p., [32] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm


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Nov 14, 2018

The writing isn't bad, I was only interested in the business side of Buffet, so I skipped over large swaths of the book that covered his personal life.

Corey G Brooks Feb 17, 2016

"First, I want t to say that [I chose] not to finish this book a couple chapters short of the conclusion, because the influence on brain and also out of respect to Warren Buffet prior to this publication not releasing in depth information about his business and life. Though that fails my self interest; I know it's not my fault. Pres. Obama gave Warren Buffet the citizens metal, yet he admits in the publication to have grown up in an environment that could have easily made him a business man like the Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort. Having admitted that Oklahoma was a racist place in the early 20th century. I know I can be manipulated into doing or not doing, but I read the majority of the substance of this book, and I know of conduct that is asked of the people that attend Berkshire Hathaway functions, him being a philanderer (Having admitted to cheating on Susie Buffet), The business trouble he found himself in dealing with the principled Rose, the way he dealt with financially (He advises his family on investment, and was said to give his children money for milestones.), etc.. I would like to finish it, but like Trigonometry and Calculus (Let alone Computational physics and Quantum Mechanics) it may take me longer than I have to do so (Unless I run into Pres. Obama for. advisor Shirley Ann Jackson).

bgv69 Oct 01, 2015

It is a hard book to read, and a large one. It wanders a lot about in the formative years of Mr. Buffett and skimps on the most interesting late years (after 1990). It shows how the early years and certain qualities built in childhood are having a large print later in life. It pushed me to find more about Mr. Charles Munger, who has a larger view on life than Mr. Buffett and seems much more interesting.

Ever wonder how to become a billionaire? Learn how Warren Buffett, a decidedly low key and down home personality came to be one of the richest men in the world. Author Alice Schroeder gets up close to the highly private and personal life of Mr. Buffett. Includes insights on his personal and business friendships and dealings with such persons as Kay Graham and Bill Gates. Buffett, an Omaha native lives a very unconventional life, from ‘elephant bumping’ with the world’s elite to maintaining his long distance marriage.


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