The Snowball

By Alice Schroeder,

Book cover of The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Book description

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…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Snowball as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is an authorized biography of Warren Buffett. I am not sure this is the best book to read if you want to learn to invest like Mr. Buffett, but it gives a fascinating view of his life. There are many great lessons we can learn from Mr. Buffett that go far beyond investing, for example about honesty and treasuring one’s reputation. But I thought this book was important for a very different reason: it shows that Warren Buffett is not a perfect human being and that we can also learn from the maestro by not repeating his mistakes. He…

From Vitaliy's list on that bring meaning to your life.

This is my favorite of the many Buffett biographies. I first heard his name when Fortune paid me $1,500 to write a “book review” of his then 15 or so annual reports, which even back in the early 1980s had become must-reading for those in the know. Had I invested that $1,500 fee in 5 shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock—sadly, I did not—I’d have had an extra $2 million today. But at least I’ve gotten to have lunch with him over the years. This biography might be the next best thing.  

The Snowball is the only biography that Buffett explicitly cooperated on, so it is the closest we will get to an autobiography, besides his detailed shareholder letters and interviews. Given Buffett’s close collaboration on the project, Schroeder uncovers some stories that we would most likely never read about from other sources. For example, as a teenager, Buffett shoplifted from Sears. Schroeder also makes the often overlooked point that Buffett is not only a great investor, but also a splendid businessman. For an 832-page book, I wish she would have spent more time going into the details of Buffett’s investment philosophy,…

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