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The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life [Kindle Edition]

Alice Schroeder
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (382 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $22.00
Kindle Price: $12.92
You Save: $9.08 (41%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book 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.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Successful investor Warren Buffett sits down with author Schroeder to give readers deep and erudite insights into his work and personal life. Detailing his views on current trends in the economy and society, Buffet speaks with tremendous wisdom about everything from his family to his business ethics. Richard McGonagle gives an eloquent, straightforward reading. He has a knack for delivering words with a profound importance in his voice, drawing in listeners and holding their interest for hours. Schroeder reads her introduction and sets the tone for this revealing biography. A Bantam hardcover (reviewed online). (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Warren Buffett should be applauded for allowing such open access to his life. Alice Schroeder, who interviewed friends and family, pored over Buffett's personal archive, and spent thousands of hours with Buffett, comes away with an unprecedented look at the hidden life of an American icon. At more than 900 pages (100 of which are notes), The Snowball—the title is a metaphor for the relentless growth of Buffett's portfolio—sets the bar high for future efforts. Schroeder's account is comprehensive and her eye for the telling detail keen; while she explains the financial deals, she also explores Buffett's childhood quirks and his unconventional marriage. Enough is enough, though, and John Mark Eberhart of the Kansas City Star speaks for several critics when he points out, "I just could have done with a little less bang for my buck."
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

Product Details

  • File Size: 6096 KB
  • Print Length: 832 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0747591911
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1st edition (September 29, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009MYD9F8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,287 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
303 of 339 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I recently re-read Roger Lowenstein's biography, Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist (first published in 1995 and now re-issued with a new Afterword), and then read this more recent one by Alice Schroeder. Both are first-rate. Which to select if reading only one? That depends on how much you wish to know about Buffett's personal life, including his relations with various family members, and how curious you are about his personal hang-ups, peculiarities, eccentricities, fetishes, etc. If you can do without any of that, Roger Lowenstein's biography is the one to read. I also highly recommend the recently published Second Edition of The Essays of Warren Buffet: Lessons for Corporate America, with content selected, arranged, and introduced by Lawrence Cunningham.

The heft of Schroeder's biography may discourage some people from obtaining a copy. To them I presume to suggest that they not be deterred by that factor. Schroeder has a lively, often entertaining writing style that drives the narrative through just about every period and (yes) interlude of Warren Buffett's life and career thus far. There is much more information provided than most readers either need or desire. However, she had unprecedented access not only to Buffett but to just about everyone else with whom he is (or once was) associated as well as to previously inaccessible research resources. It is possible but highly unlikely that anyone else will write a more comprehensive biography than Schroeder has, at least for the next several years, if not decades. Also, her opinion of Buffett seems to me to be balanced and circumspect. No doubt he wishes that certain details about his life and career were not included.
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141 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Insight into an Enigma! September 29, 2008
Format:Hardcover
The title of this book refers to Buffett's likening life to a snowball - "the important thing is to find wet snow and a really long hill." Buffett certainly has had that effect with money.

"The Snowball" begins with a Buffett presentation to an elite 1999 group at Sun Valley, suggesting in a humorous manner that the ".com" frenzy was no more than a bubble. Then, its on to learning why his associate Charles Munger (an inseparable partner since 1959) is both the opposite and highly similar to Buffett.

Warren Buffett, we learn comes from a heritage of very thrifty small business owners. His parents initially struggled through the Great Depression, carried initially by grandfather's letting the food bill run at his grocery store, then by the success of his newly opened stock brokerage that focused on conservative investments. Unfortunately, his mother was somewhat unbalanced, directing frequent tirades at Warren and his sister, creating a lifelong need for the approval of women. Calculating the comparative life spans of religious song writers while in church led Warren towards religious skepticism at an early age.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By Mike
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you want some technical tips on how to be the next Warren Buffet, go grab a copy of Ben Graham's Security Analysis from 1934. But if you want a look at the man Warren Buffett, you have come to the right place. Want to know what kind of family man Buffet is? Want to know how a billionaire treats his children? Or how a young millionaire budgets money to his homemaker wife? Fascinating stuff.

You can also learn about his early career and how he got started, as well as his father the politician and the impact that had.

To many of us Warren Buffet is a billionaire investor who knows the ins and outs of Wall Street way better than most of us. Being a financial celebrity, you would expect to find his whole life online. That though isn’t the case with Warren. Little was known about his personal life until Alice Schroeder wrote this book- The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life. Reading through the book you will realize that you don’t have to be successful after everyone else has failed. Warren, commonly known as the “Oracle of Omaha” is a financial investor who also doubles up as a mentor. For only $13.84, you will get to meet Warren in this 832 pages book. He will endow you with timeless financial wisdom and proper business ethics that aren’t taught in school.

His practical approach to life will motivate you to kick start your own. The pity party story that one may tend to propagate as reason as to why they aren’t succeeding will diffuse after reading this book. Warren worked to be where he is currently and was never born with a silver spoon. He is a practical inspiration. As you read along, you will learn that no man is an island and that having a strong support system will go a long way in ensuring you succeed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like money, you are going to love this book.
A very interesting look into the life of one of the richest men on the planet.I am preparing to read the book again. His life story is very inspirational.
Published 2 days ago by Joseph E. Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The man is a financial genius. Very inspiring and interesting book.
Published 4 days ago by Viorela Chin
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
I give it 4 stars, Nick
Published 13 days ago by Nicholas A Speno
4.0 out of 5 stars Good background on the famous investor.
Good background on the famous investor.
Published 19 days ago by Frank B. Curran
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great interesting book, written well...a must for a true buffett fan
Published 21 days ago by Hassan Hijleh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An unbiased insight to an interesting life and a great rewarding read in both hard-copy and digital form.
Published 26 days ago by John Doe
4.0 out of 5 stars Discover Another Side of Warren Buffett
This is an interesting business read that also gives you a look into some of the personal life of arguably the worlds greatest investor. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Samantha Klein
5.0 out of 5 stars Found book in good quality.
Found book in good quality. Minor signs of wear and tear and some notes. But nothing was damaged.
Published 1 month ago by M.Anwa ul Haq
5.0 out of 5 stars Get Rich Slowly
Face it. Youll never be Warren Buffett and neither will I because he reads all the stuff that comes in the mail. I'm a modest investor. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gerry Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading!!!
Good reading!!!
Published 1 month ago by Leslie A Snyder
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More About the Author

Dubbed by Risk and Insurance magazine as one of the most respected--and fearless--thinkers on Wall Street, Alice Schroeder is the author of The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, a #1 New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Schroeder started to track the story behind the money as a CPA, and former regulator for the Financial Accounting Standards Board. After joining Morgan Stanley, she was the first and only analyst to be granted an interview with the famously reticent Buffett. Telling The New York Times, "I like the way she thinks and writes," Buffett gave Schroeder unprecedented access -- to his files, family, business associates and himself, devoting massive amounts of his time over the course of five years - to interviews and questions.

The Snowball is a complete -- and revealing -- look at Buffett's life, wisdom and philosophy, from the development of his outlook on the world and the principles he lives by to the business secrets he has never before shared publicly. It was named Amazon's #1 Business and Investing Book of 2008 and one of the 10 best books of the year by TIME. That same year Ms. Schroeder was chosen alongside Ben Bernanke and Hillary Clinton as one of the"People to Watch" by BusinessWeek.

Now a Bloomberg News columnist, she continues her signature brand of telling the greater truth, and is on the road researching her next book.

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