Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist
Since its hardcover publication in August of 1995, Buffett has appeared on the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Newsday and Business Week bestseller lists. The incredible landmark portrait of Warren Buffett's uniquely American life is now available in paperback, revised and updated by the author.
Starting from scratch, simply by picking stocks and companies for investment, Warren Buffett amassed one of the epochal fortunes of the twentieth century--an astounding net worth of $10 billion, and counting. His awesome investment record has made him a cult figure popularly known for his seeming contradictions: a billionaire who has a modest lifestyle, a phenomenally successful investor who eschews the revolving-door trading of modern Wall Street, a brilliant dealmaker who cultivates a homespun aura.
Journalist Roger Lowenstein draws on three years of unprecedented access to Buffett's family, friends, and colleagues to provide the first definitive, inside account of the life and career of this American original. Buffett explains Buffett's' investment strategy--a long-term philosophy grounded in buying stock in companies that are undervalued on the market and hanging on until their worth invariably surfaces--and shows how it is a reflection of his inner self.
and not incidentally to spread the soda.10 In 1949, nine Buddhist priests presided over the opening of a plant in Bangkok. Such was Coke’s universality that in 1956, an enterprising Coke publicist set forth to find an innocent to whom he could introduce the drink. He trekked 150 miles into the Peruvian back country, encountered an Indian woman in the jungle, and, through an interpreter, explained his mission. The woman reached into a sack and pulled out a bottle of Coke.11 Buffett was exposed to
battle was still joined. And as long as he continued to heap and pile the job would not be done. * An exception: in 1982, Buffett gave $100,000 to a library in West Point, Nebraska, named for his maternal grandfather. More typical was a $400,000 gift in 1993 to the Columbia University School of Public Health, which was earmarked for a family planning clinic. † In a remarkably prescient forecast, six years before the scandal broke, Munger observed in the Wesco letter for 1983 that “an agency of
been the first big gusher in his career. Now, as before, the company was in trouble. Just weeks earlier, its credit had been downgraded. When Robinson asked for a $300 million investment, Buffett quickly agreed. As Buffett noted at the time, with the market at a high, he was finding few things he liked, and he did like American Express’s basic business. Still, it is hard to account for his saying “We’re buying to be in with Jim [Robinson].”46 Buffett’s friends were stunned. He had even
29. Jim Burke; Charlie Munger; Tom Murphy. 30. “Activities of Salomon,” Senate Subcommittee, p. 73. 31. Eric Rosenfeld. 32. Thomas Hanley. 33. Eric Rosenfeld. 34. Warren Buffett, talk to Salomon employees, October 2, 1991. 35. Randall Smith and Michael Siconolfi, “Salomon Is Scolded by AT&T Chairman, Who Calls Bid Scandal ‘Unforgivable,’ ” Wall Street Journal, September 24, 1991. 36. Floyd Norris, “Forcing Salomon into Buffett’s Conservative Mold,” New York Times, September 29, 1991. 37.
money. He made it clear that he was depending on them, and he underlined this by showing admiration for their work and by trusting them to run their own operations. One time, a discontented fabric buyer at Sears, Roebuck called Buffett and tried to pull an end run around Ken Chace. The buyer reminded Buffett that they had a common friend from college, and asked him to change the salesman on his account. Buffett despised the old-boy routine (it appealed to sentiment, not reason) and bluntly told