Posts Tagged ‘Biography CEOs’

Book Review: The Snowball : Warren Buffett …

Monday, March 16th, 2009

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Schroeder, Alice. The snowball : Warren Buffett and the business of life. Bantam Books, 2008.

Alice Schroeder’s published research on Berkshire Hathaway so impressed Warren Buffett that he offered her unprecedented access to his files and himself. The resulting biography is a detailed chronology of not just his business strategies but also his personal life. Frugal to a fault, Buffett lives modestly and takes a mere six-figure salary from Berkshire Hathaway. His disciplined habit of investing for the long term has garnered him a sizable fortune.

While his investing strategies are well known, his ideas on philanthropy have not been as widely disseminated. Criticized for not giving away more of his enormous personal fortune, Buffett’s multiple reasons for not doing so are explained in one of the more interesting sections of the book. Responding to critics aghast that he wasn’t leaving the bulk of his money to his children, he responded that trust funds were “a lifetime supply of food stamps” and doing so was a “harmful and antisocial act”. Buffett didn’t give much money to charity until very recently because he wanted to allow what money he had to grow more quickly by compounding over time.

Schroeder writes clearly and Buffett fans will enjoy the book’s level of detail, but this biography is overlong at nearly one thousand pages.

© Reviewer: Paula Robinson & Ford Library РFuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.