- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 29, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812979273
- ISBN-13: 978-0812979275
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist Paperback – April 29, 2008
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Starting from scratch, simply by picking stocks and companies for investment, Warren Buffett amassed one of the epochal fortunes of the 20th century -- an astounding net worth of $10 billion and counting. That awesome record has made him a cult figure.
This illuminating biography reveals a man whose conscientiousness, integrity, and good humor exist alongside an odd emotional isolation. Buffett also masterfully traces his life: his enormously successful partnership; his early, inspired investments in American Express and Geico; his companionship and investment with Katharine Graham of the Washington Post; his role in the Capital Cities purchase of ABC; his unique relationship with his wife and mistress; and his rescue of the scandal-ridden Salomon Brothers. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
By picking the right stocks and businesses to invest in, plainspoken Nebraskan Warren Buffett became the richest man in the U.S. In this excellent biography, Wall Street Journal reporter Lowenstein details the billionaire stock market wizard's strategy of betting on the long-term growth of a handful of successful companies such as American Express and Berkshire Hathaway. Providing personal glimpses of a very private man, Lowenstein unearths childhood traumas such as the tormenting rages of Buffett's mother and his forced relocation to Washington, D.C., in 1943, where, at 13, he ran away from home (he was found by the police the next day). Buffett's wife, Susan Thompson, a nightclub singer, walked out on him in 1977 and was quickly replaced by his mistress, Latvian-born Astrid Menks. Lowenstein profiles an emotionally guarded, "strangely stunted" Midas obsessed with work and secrecy, who seemingly derives little pleasure from his fabulous wealth. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The latter is regarded as essential reading for security analysts, money managers, etc. but I found it relatively heavy going. Seeing Ben Graham was Warren Buffett's inspiration I thought it better to read this first before moving onto Roger Lowenstein's book about Buffett.
Here, I saved the best until last because this book is mind blowing, even though all the principles espoused by the great Ben Graham are detailed in Roger Lowenstein's book. Therein lies the difference - this book is easy to read & Ben's principles, which Warren Buffett endorses, are put in a perspective, which hit you immediately between the eyes-just like a revelation.
The first few chapters I found a bit tedious but once I had past these, the book was riveting. Whilst a biography, it has plenty of "how to" investment information & will certainly make you into a bettor stock market investor. It is the best book one can read if you have not done any investing in stocks yet-merely to avoid the mistakes & bad habits other stock investors have made & I speak for myself.
One understands how Buffet avoided the Dot.com crash & why. Possibly the most interesting thing for me is that Buffet believes that NO ONE can call the market. He says its silly to rely on investment strategies like buying shares on a Monday is better than a Friday & that investing in small caps in December will likely reap you a fortune. And you should watch out for October. Whilst the latter comments are trite, there are huge numbers of books written exclusively about investment cycles & when to make calls - this book puts that technical stuff into perspective & for me this was tremendously thought provoking.
I first read this book in December of 2001 when the tech. stock boom was on the wane. I was a committed "growth" investor until I read this book. I am now unashamedly a "value" investor. This book has completely changed the way I have thought about stock market investments & I am intensely relieved to have come across it before making more baseless investment decisions.
I have read this book three times. I have since read about four other books on Warren Buffett's investment "styles" & this one is still the best.
This book is a fantastic biography of Warren Buffett. I think anyone who wants to learn about Warren Buffett or his investment techniques etc should first read this book before anything else (including his essays).
This book is written time-chronogically, from the time around the early 1930s (Buffett was born in August 1930) to around 1994. Here we can observe how Buffett had a great desire to be rich since he was young, but in his teen years, after being involved in several business ventures, he longed for a method which is more consistent in making money.
Meeting Benjamin Graham when he was 19/20 years old solved this longing for Buffett. He became a devoted investor in businesses since then. After working under Graham for several years, Buffett began a partnership (noticed how confident he was, despite his young age, to be successful) when he was 26 years old (in 1956) and achieved a 29.4% compounded annual return in the fund (he dissolved the partnership in 1969). During these 14 years, Buffett learnt which businesses (like those possessing customer franchise - Buffett called these with "Deep moats around the castles") were better than others. He dissolved his partnership in 1969 as he deemed the market to be very overvalued then.
From then on, he used the lessons he had learnt to purchase great businesses at reasonable (or cheap) prices, such as Nebraska Furniture Mart, Washington Post, Cap Cities, etc.
To fully enjoy this book, the reader should stop at certain chapters, and read other - yes, other - related books. For instance, around after I had finished reading chapter 3, 'Graham', I read Ben Graham's 'Intelligent Investor'. Also, when Phil Fisher was mentioned as one of the strongest influencers in Buffett's life, I read his book 'Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits'. The readers can get more insights from reading it this way.
Mr. Lowenstein also took excursions when discussing Buffett to go through discussions about certain business characteristics, to ensure that the readers can fully appreciate Mr. Lowenstein's perceived motivation behind a certain Buffett action etc. Mr. Lowenstein also helped the reader to be more knowledgable about key points about US stockmarket history through interesting dissertations. I found these excursions extremely enlightening.
Mr. Lowenstein's writing style is also very 'flowing' - he changed from one topic to another in a very smooth way. You've got to read it to understand what I'm saying.
Lastly, I just want to say that the readers should have at least a moderate-to-strong knowledge and interest in business (and investing; but business = investing and investing = business) to fully appreciate this book. Enjoy!