Category: Investor biography
Reviewed: Aug 2010
This book tells the story of the life of Warren Buffett. It begins with his days as a child when he worked as a paper boy, started several ventures, and moved with his family around the country. It moves on to talk about Buffett's college years at Wharton and Columbia, his marriage, his initial investment partnerships, and the creation of Berkshire Hathaway. The book dedicated space to some of the key deals Berkshire was involved in, including: ABC, See's Candies, Salomon Brothers, a furniture store, Champion, US Air, Gillette, and Coke.
This book is casually written in a laid back and easy-to-read style and is suitable for anyone who knows little about Warren Buffett and would like to know the broad strokes of his life. The book is about Buffett as a person, and not an investor, so it doesn't talk about his investment criteria or philosophies, except in a general way. And the book will be redundant for those who are already know him well. But even though the book is not very deep, the stories of his life are still entertaining to read. Here are some of the interesting quotes and ideas from the book:
- "My perhaps jaundiced view is that it is close to impossible for outstanding investment management to come from a group of any size," he wrote in 1965.
- "One of the things that attracted me to working with securities was the fact that you could live your own life. You don't have to dress for success."
- "Look at [stock market] fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy - profit from folly rather than participate in it."
- "Could you really explain to a fish what it's like to walk on land? One day on land is worth a thousand years of talking about it, and one day of running a business has exactly the same kind of value."
- "The market, like the Lord, helps those who help themselves. But, unlike the Lord, the market does not forgive those who know not what they do."
- The propensity to gamble is always increased by a large prize versus a small entry fee, no matter how poor the true odds may be."
- "When I go to my office every morning, I feel like I'm going to the Sistine Chapel to paint and Berkshire Hathaway is my canvas."
- "I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me."
- Buffett called inherited wealth "food stamps for the rich." All these people who think that food stamps are debilitating and lead to a cycle of poverty, they're the same ones who go to and want to leave a ton of money to their kids."
- "The market will pay better to entertain than to educate."
- "I'm involved in a kind of intellectually interesting game that isn't too tough to win."
- "A public opinion poll is no substitute for thought."
- "It's much easier to think here", when talking about why he lives in Nebraska.