The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of LifeBy Alice Schroeder
List Price:
$19.25 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details

Availability: Usually ships in 24 hoursShips from and sold by
72 new or used available from $14.99 Average customer review:
Product Description
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. The result is the personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha.”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.
Customer Reviews
Finest insight into the man and his investments Alice has written a singularly remarkable book: for the first time we have a historical record of Buffett's career with his cooperation as well as the cooperation of those close to him. The book gives Buffett masterful treatment by placing his saga in its appropriate historical context. For students of the world's greatest investor, this is a godsend and adds tremendously to the existing literature. You'll get so much out of this that for the price of the book, you're being paid to read it. One of the book's best features is the amount of detail it provides on many of Buffett's investments. From a bird's eye view (and from reading the existing histories as well as his letters to investors), you've heard that he bought Washington Post stock and that it turned into a multi-decade multi-bagger for Berkshire. Reality is a lot more complicated than that. Buffett created Kay Graham as an expert capital allocator and had hands-on (literally) involvement with the company. The same is true of GEICO. Buffett's greatest investments, therefore, have been those in which he has invested much more than just his capital. We also learn that Buffett relied much more than previously thought on his network of friends, and encouraged them to "ride the coattails" of great investors (though not his). Whereas the American Express investment during the salad oil crisis had been explained very simplistically, here we learn that Buffett employed friends to dig up large piles of scuttlebutt and reports on the company before committing capital. And so it goes. Alice provides a very balanced, sometimes skeptical, look at Buffett's life. She's no pushover and holds her own by successfully treating her subject objectively (at least much more than I expected). Buffett is the world's greatest simplifier: he lives by simple, crisp rules. And in the end, he notes that the purpose of life is to be loved by as many people as possible among those you want to have love you. If you take one lesson from this book, it's that there are two things that even a mountain of cash can't buy: a sterling reputation, and love. Many anecdotes are poignant, others hilarious, and all are instructive and insightful. At various points I was laughing out loud. The world is much enriched by this history. Is it perfect? No, but neither could it be. Different readers will have different demands. Some won't care about the personal side, and wish the author had provided even more detail on the businesses and investments. But the personal side of this enigmatic personality is essential to an understanding of this puzzle of a man who has, without a doubt, the finest reputation and track record of any juggernaut businessman who ever lived. If Roger Lowenstein's excellent "The Making of an American Capitalist" is the undergraduate course on Buffett, then this is the master's degree -- masterfully written, researched, thought out, and a valuable gift to Buffett aficionados, admirers, and students of life.
First Book about Buffett This is the first book I have read about Warren Buffett. I think a persons legacy should be measured by the influence and values they instill in their family. I was surprised that Mr. Buffett, even after amassing a large forture played such a small part in his children's and wife's life. As I read the book I felt that he had missed out on so much in his "real" life .
Snowball If you're a Buffet fan this is very interesting. I'm about half way through it and it is somewhat captivating. Warren Buffet is NOT who I thought he was. But I'm impressed! Very good book.