SMART Market

Inspiring for Smart Investing

Review: The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

cover-image-wb1by Alice Schroeder

There have been many books written about Buffett and I have read most of them. They generally gloss over his life but try to extract his investment principles by deduction from some of the trades that he has made.

This book is different. It examines Warren’s life in some detail and interposes the tale with comments directly from Buffett himself and from others in his life. What is important however is that it looks in exquisite detail at many of the deals he has made, giving the reader the opportunity of working out his investment principles for themselves. This way you get to make up your mind how he does it.

Unlike many of the other Buffett books, Schroeder also shows us the occasional error of judgment and, like Buffett, you can also learn from these.

This book tells us all about the big and well-publicised deals – Coca Cola, Washington Post, Salomons. But it also details the many smaller and lesser-known ones – the shirt factories, the share-an-airplane company and others. I particularly liked the chapter on Rose Blumkin and the Nebraska Furniture Mart. I think that the amazing Rose may be one of the few people that had Buffett’s measure. And the story of Warren’s early career as a race handicapper is a blast.

This is one of the best biographies that I have read in years.

These are perilous times but I believe that a close reading of this book, together with a re-reading of Buffettology by Mary Buffett will give you a good insight into the way Buffett does it. Plus, I would also re-read The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, the man Buffett says taught him the basic principles of investment.

January 22, 2009 - Posted by | Investment Guide

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