Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist

By Roger Lowenstein

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
beth richardson
I really enjoyed this book. It shows well both the human side and the investing philosophy guiding Buffett for the last 70 years.

Also, I found interesting the overview of the history of the market return cycles since 1929.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
abdualrahman
Read about the master in a fun and easy learning read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
angelo giardini
Buffet is well written! The author does an excellent job of illuminating the conditions that surrounded and shaped the character of Warren Buffet. Buffet provides the reader with a detailed and engaging schematic of the reasoning, rationale, and behavior that compose the Buffet/Graham investment discipline.
Reading Financial Statements for Value Investing - Warren Buffett Accounting Book :: Lessons for Corporate America - The Essays of Warren Buffett :: Jack: Straight from the Gut :: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life - The Snowball :: Always a Cowboy (The Carsons of Mustang Creek)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
davin
This is the best business book on warren buffet.. Will recommend everyone to read..
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
millimiles
great book
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
denise barton
Hmmm, well, I haven't even opened this book, but man does it look good on my desk at work.

Update upon reading it: It's actually pretty good. Something tells me Lowenstein wanted to avoid delving too deep into some aspects of Buffett's personal life (i.e. his affair, his relationship with his children, etc.). These things are mentioned, but only to the extent that one would expect from an author hoping to maintain a relationship with the subject of his biography.

All the reviews I read of this book said the same thing. Its real value is as a highly readable business book. You come away from this bio much more appreciative of Graham-Dodd value investing than you would if you just read it in a textbook, which would give you no context or color. There's an entire chapter devoted to the philosophical debate between Buffett and the Efficient Market Theorists, which was far more captivating than any B-school lecture could make it.

My suggestion: if you want an overview of value investing and want to soak up a biography of a truly incredible human being at the same time, read this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
terena scott
I highly recommend it!!! It is very well written and extremely informative.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jwalant
The first 2 thirds of the book are amazing! Personally I didn't like the las third.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
justine kozlina
Great read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karen kelley
I am fully enjoying ir. I has previously read "The Warren Buffett Way", but this is a more intimate view of a real icon of our times!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
darci huete burroughs
Excellent Book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bambinista cricket
great book
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
elissa lewis
Great read!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gerald berke
Its easy to be a fan of the author's straight forward writing style as he builds interest in his subject. Biographies are dry sometimes but Warren Buffett gains interest (no pun) as you read of his life, times, and his investment perspectives.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ryan macphee
You have loads of Buffett books out there.
Most of them just want your money.
Buffett garners some form of premium for his name slapped on books.

This one is a little more than that. If teaches you stuff you want to know about capitalism in its simplest form.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dannielle
It is an amazing research to the background of this extra-ordinary man. Well written, easy to read and an in depth description of Warren's down to earth life. Quite a normal person resurrecting common sense.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nathanial
I knew most of the details yet I was enthralled by the telling. A book I did not want put down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
carly
Reading this answered a lot of questions I had about Warren Buffett. Some of the things he says and does in public just don't quite mesh with a person who is a multibillionaire. There are some very surprising things in here about his personal life as well. Well worth the read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lillibet moore
Awesome book. Really interesting character.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deb maine
Incredible story of Warren Buffet! A must for anyone who is a fan of this iconic figure!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nathan paret
Very good book
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ngaire
This is a great read and is my favorite book on Warren Buffett. You learn a great deal about the foundation behind his success.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kiri
fascinating men of our time. Quite interesting and a page turner actually, well written. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ginny mcnabb
This book is the perfect start for your finance readings. The story about Warren Buffett inspired me to continue reading finance books and to invest in my first stock. In addition to reading a great story, you will also pick up a few, but very important investment principles from Warren Buffett.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kts1227
This book is an excellent summary of Warrent Buffett's earlier achievements (it was written a while ago so it's missing the most recent parts of his activities).
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jess francis
Slow and boring for me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mike johnson
Its a good book and well written. Warren, please give a million dollars to every community college in the country.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jackie hartzog
If you are looking for a romantic story about Warren Buffet's life, this is the right book for you. If you're looking for clear cut investment lessons from a great investor, buy The Warren Buffet Way written by Hagstrom.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
stefani faer
This book is pretty good as a biography of Buffett but the length of the book was too much for me. By the end of the chapters, I would forget what the beginning of the chapter said, because it's contains so much information, it bored me to tears. Has a lot of good information though, for the patient reader. I rather read a concise book about Buffett than this encyclopedia.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
margo thomas may
The book is about most prominent investment of W. Buffet. Loved the book and Buffett's philosophy in general. R. Lowenstein is a good story teller
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jeff ropiequet
Mr. Buffett is an fascinating person. I enjoyed the book but would have preferred more up to date information on Warren..
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
halah rahmam
Paper quality doesn't look great
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matthew dale
Well written and chock full of interesting details about his investment processes and private persona.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
evan pon
Great book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
emilie
You cannot be an investor without reading the story of the greatest investor of all time! Warren is one of the kind but unfortunately, he has become way to acquainted with the politics of wall street since the recent market crash to be considered an outsider. His call for higher taxes on the productive classes goes against all the principles that have been instilled in him by his family, principles that have benefited him tremendously! His recent actions and legacy goes against everything he has stood for many years.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cecily paterson
Although i haven't read the whole book yet, it came quickly, and was in excellent shape when i received it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
tnareau
I would not buy this again. Too much detail about when Warren was a kid. I didn't read the entire book, but made it half-way through. Just too laborious for me, and I hate skipping chapters. Was hoping for more of what made his wealth and how he compounded it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jihee
I am actuall intrigued on how did Mr Buffet made a fortune. Nothing alike Soros or Druckenmiller, the Man did it by taking the Hedge Fund model only 30 yrs earlier. And then taking all the possibilities of Marketing to fools. Easily said, Buffet s made it for himself, not for his investors, wo only can be confortable by taking their cash away from his Closed endd fund, and pocket in . That is because Buffets secrecy makes the trip veryuneasy unconfortable. You got there, but you pay the highest price of not knowing how you DID IT. invest for yourself, enjoy the trip, but dont give the pleasure to some one else.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
melvi yendra
That Warren Buffett's extraordinary career should have attracted a flood of written prose, including biographies, collections, and how-to books is not surprising. Lowenstein's biography, endorsed by friends of Buffett if not in so many words by the investment genius himself, is the best combination of the three genres and the one to read. Though it was published in 1995, the new edition has succinctly been updated to 2008, and nor have Buffett or his career changed in any fundamental way in the meantime.

Written in the conventional style of a biography, this combines in about equal measure personal observations and a description of Buffett's investments and technique. Indeed, both are complementary, and the author makes the point well that one needs to know Buffett the man to understand his business success. This is moreover accessible to the complete layman, and though the more financially literate might have liked more detail on the exact structure of the Buffett partnership, for example, or on some of Buffett's investments and their individual performance, the book should appeal to anyone interested in the guru's investing principles. There are numerous Buffett quotes, moreover, themselves easily complemented by a look at the Berkshire Hathaway annual reports, all available online. And while Lowenstein's style is not particularly literary, this has its good moments, for example Buffett's 1991 rescue of Salomon Brothers. Buffett has been, or is, an extraordinary character, and his life is well worth reading about. For anyone with an interest in investing, it is also of essential relevance.

One note on the Kindle edition. I am generally appalled at the poorness of online publishing, but this really beats anything I have seen so far. The book's electronic version has typos everywhere. Paragraph tabs are constantly missing. The quotes are all over the place. For one full chapter, the same phrase 'she had a broken wrist' is repeat in front of every footnote after the one where it belonged, etc.. This looks as though it was put together, in Word, by a not particularly attentive first-year college kid. What does it take to re-read Kindle books before they are published? Five stars to Lowenstein, one star to the store for its Kindle version.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
piotr
A beautifully researched and written book. Having written a modest little book of my own I appreciate the enormous labor and thought that Roger Lowenstein went through to bring this book into reality. Accordingly, I gave the book and its author 5 stars. If we were, instead, rating Warren Buffet as a human being I don't believe I could possibly manage more than 3 at best. He is the epitome of the class of one-dimensional humans. If you took away his accomplishments as an investor there is left only a shell of a man. And there is nothing wrong in that except when it comes to those who are hurt by his lack of empathy. His relations with his three children could be used in a textbook on family relationships as an example of how to make life difficult and unrewarding for your children.

Take for example, the time he turned down his daughter's request for a loan to expand her house with the comment, "why not go to the bank and take out a loan like everyone else?" And despite his son Howie's invitations he visited his farm only twice in six years and then remarked "send me a rent check and make sure its big enough". He added "no one goes to the supermarket to buy Howie Buffett's corn." Warren made his relationships with his children plain with the remark "the idea that you get a lifetime supply of food stamps based on coming out of the right womb strikes at my idea of fairness".

Despite the beautiful writing, about 60% of the way through I found I just couldn't take any more of Warren - better to spend my time reading about people who have more emotional and intellectual depth.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
titon
He is honest and works hard, and believes in above all else the value of hard work and honesty. He is one of the two of the world's richest individuals, yet still lives in the same old house he's lived in for decades and still has that folksy, unassuming manner of the midwest. He believes in profits before empire and expansion, but he also has a strong sense of what's right and what's fair. These reasons are why Roger Lowenstein believes Warren Buffett (if we ignore the fact that he gets turned on by financial statements) is just as American as apple pie and baseball. He is in fact the quintessential American hero of today.

A poker player is assured of making money in the long-term if he remains patient, focused, and disciplined all the time, which is also why nine out of ten people lose money playing poker. Self-control is easy to say, extremely difficult to do, and Warren Buffett's immense success as an investor is derived from the fact that he's been able to remain patient, focused, and disciplined for all his investing life. He's fortunate to have a personality that actually enjoys reading financial statements, and he's clear and exact about the sort of manager he wants running his companies: focused and disciplined workaholics like himself who care above all about the bottom line. He believes in cultivating long-term relationships, buying into a company and holding onto the stock for years, possibly decades. Above all, he shuns fads and fashions, scams and speculation, and being so far away from Wall Street he's successfully shielded himself from Wall Street's greed and excesses.

In other words, Warren Buffett is the patron saint of American capitalism, and that's why this book is so boring to read. It shouldn't be read as a biography, but really as a management case study.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kimlayburn peterson
Warren Buffett outperforms the stock market. The author asserts modern financiers sell out the public and Buffett, a stock picker, doesn't. His annual meetings are famous. His genius is a matter of character, discipline, and rationality. Early on Buffet was intrgued by numbers and money. His father was a stockbroker. He worked at a bank. In 1931 the bank closed. Howard Buffett and a partner opened a business peddling investment securities. Warren Buffett emerged from the first hard years with a determination to become very very rich.

In graduate school at Columbia Buffett studied under Benjamin Graham. By 1956 Buffett had one hundred forty thousand dollars. In 1957 he was managing a mere three hundred thousand. Next Buffett was running five small partnerships in the range of five hundred thousand. Buffett analyzed company reports and committed the information to memory. When the stock became cheap, he pounced. By 1962 seven Buffett investors had grown to ninety. He did not diversify the holdings.

By 1966 Buffett had more cash to invest and fewer bargains and he felt trapped. It was the era of mergers and the performance fund. Keynes, like Buffett, had been in favor of long term investing, (crowds influence market prices). In 1969 Buffett quit. He liquidated the partnership.

Buffett remained in Berkshire Hathaway and Diversified Retailing, a dress chain. Berkshire Hathaway was the product of a merger in 1955. When an Omaha insurance company was acquired, insurance was a backwater. Then a bank in Illinois and a newspaper chain were added. Buffett looked for businesses run by self-starters with proven records.

In 1973, during a downturn, Buffett increased Berkshire's brokerage activity. Suddenly stocks were not overpriced. Investing in the Washington Post and Boston Globe took place, Berkshire having the cash to exploit the moment. Other media stocks were bought. There were paper losses in 1973 and 1974. Other acquisitions in Blue Chip Stamps and See's Candy were important to Buffett's Berkshire portfolio. Berkshire became the controlling investor of GEICO and through Blue Chip, Buffett bought THE BUFFALO `EVENING NEWS.

In the eighties Buffett faced a new investment environment. Not surprisingly the author cites THE PREDATORS' BALL. There were benefits, but Buffett was troubled by the aspect of corporate roulette and by the fact that take-overs distorted prices. In the early nineties when called upon to right a crisis at a financial firm, Buffett showed focus, confidence and perspective.

A portrait emerges of a many-sided human being, (not a caricature), with quirks. The author had access to family and friends of the subject. The book is excellent. Many of the details are surprising, since the public record has been sketchy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karigriff
Any reader of a Warren Buffett biography approaches the text with a whimsical “what if”: a fleeting hesitance that perhaps he will be able to replicate Buffett’s investment success. The reader therefore pays closest attention to that in the text which is imitable. Roger Lowenstein addresses the fantasy in Buffett’s opening pages: “Much of what Buffett did was replicable,” writes Lowenstein for a suddenly ebullient reader.

Lowenstein whittles Buffett’s life down to a simple skeleton of consistent behavior. He reveals Buffett’s principles: “patience, discipline, and rationality.” He uncovers Buffett’s work habits: reading, isolation, and intensity. He shares Buffett’s tactics: “Be greedy when others are fearful;” reverence for the intelligence of Ben Graham; scrupulous judgement of “intrinsic value.”

But while Buffett’s recipe for success is “simple,” it is not easily followed. Consider his investment rules, “Rule one: Don’t lose money. Rule two: Don’t forget rule number one.”

Buffett reveals an abstruse, inevitable gap between Buffett and imitation––call it “alpha.” Alpha is what remains hazy even after Lowenstein’s explanations. “I am a computer,” replied Buffett, when asked why he didn’t have one. His affinity for numbers is inimitable––an anomaly. Buffett’s singular focus on on making money is also remarkable; few hopefuls will be able to copy Buffett’s sheer love of money-making.

Helping to mollify readers’ disappointment, Buffett is an excellent story. Lowenstein follows Buffett from his opportunistic youth through the evening of his career. Though the most drastic change in his person is a switch from guzzling Cherry Coke instead of Pepsi, his fortunes put him, as Buffett says, “in more interesting environments.” The boy who started with a pinball business ends up toe-to-toe with Wall Street bankers, standing tall as hero of Main Street and a “white knight” investor in the LBO craze of the 1980s.

Buffett is an excellent read for anyone interested in the tenets of business success or investing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
donna hole
WOW! This is one of the best books I have ever read. VERY inspiring!!! I felt that I really got into the mind (the thinking) of this man through Lowensteins account. I felt like I learned a LOT about big business and investing even though there are no direct "lessons" or strategies taught in this book. I read this book a year ago. At that time, I was "interested" in learning how to invest in the stock market and had "heard" that Warren Buffett was the best. While this book doesn't provide direct Buffett strategies, it does give the Buffett ideology and if you make some assumptions, you can pick up his patterns for investing and the "types" of investments that he finds attractive. For me this book underscored my belief that anyone can go from having a strong desire for wealth to learning "how to" by spending the time and energy to do so. This book also makes it clear that Buffett's integrity was (and still is) key in his business and investing decisions. I also learned that much of Buffett's wealth has come from being a businessman, not simply a stock investor. The book outlines Buffett's own learning, which is refreshing for a beginner to read. Probably the most important lesson learned for me is how simple his investing strategy is. He buys bargains. Period. He waits until the rest of the world recognizes value, and then enjoys his gains. He also cares about the business and it's "people". This is refreshing for those of us who believe that you can meld humanity with wealth. One year later, I am a Buffetteer, own his stock, have been to his annual meeting, have taken classes at the local college in Economics & Security Analysis, and have begun trading. The book gave me the background I needed to start my own portfolio with confidence, and also gave me the insight into sticking with the "basics" of value. (Much of what I learned in the Securities class goes against Buffett's methods). I have moved on to The Intelligent Investor (Graham), How To Think Like Benjamin Graham & Invest Like Warren Buffett, and have a backlog of others including "Essays" (old Buffett shareholder letters). I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a "feel" of the psychology behind the man. The business ventures mentioned in the book (from Geico, to American Express, to Berkshire, and Hathaway) also help with understanding business deals that show up everyday in the WSJ. Since "how we think" is crucial to success, the book allows you learn how to "think like Buffett". You'll need to glean this wisdom by paying attention to how Buffett reacted in situations. I therefore trusted that Lowenstein portrayed this correctly. After having been to Buffett's annual meeting and watching interviews and reading other articles, I believe Lowenstein was successful on this count. For example, before investing in Geico, Buffett actually visited the Geico office and talked to anyone he could about the company. Would you do this? Would I? They don't teach you that stuff in college. Clearly, Buffett doesn't visit every company that he has invested in, but his hands-on approach is something to observe. His highly personal relationships with many of the owners and executives in the business he DOES own also shows his "personal touch" approach to business. This is a man who truly cares, and this type of investing is not generally practiced on Wall Street. In fact, Buffett stayed as far away from Wall Street as possible. This was surprising and refreshing to learn. Yet another exciting point for the beginner! This is a must-read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deena
It Couldn't Have Happened to a Nicer Guy
Lowenstein achieves a rare feat in business biography: I came away from this book with a warm glow and a deep respect for one of the leading lights in American business: Warren Buffet. Quite rightly, the author likens Buffett to a combination of J.P. Morgan and Will Rogers - someone who has a sharp mind for business, who banks on character rather than glamour and who can spin an instructive and entertaining yarn on how the world works. Buffett is truly a national treasure.
Indeed, Buffett's upbringing, the story of his youth and his approach to life and business brought back memories of the values, character and hardwork of my grandparent's generation - values that seemed to have been eclipsed in the past 40 years. Buffett's story serves to remind us that those values still work and can serve as the basis of solid success in business and life.
But the book is actually much more than the story of Warren Buffett. Within its covers the reader finds the central biography, three smaller biographies and a discourse on value investing. The three short biographies are of Ben Graham, Kay Graham and John Gutfreund: each a very sympathetic and humanizing portrait.
The sections on value investing presented the most cogent arguments against Modern Portfolio Theory and the Efficient Market Hypothesis that I have read yet. I knew there was some dissension as to the merits of EMH - but nowhere had I encountered this convincing an argument against it. Somehow Graham, Buffett and Lowenstein - but mainly Buffett - distilled the argument to a point where I "got it."
Naturally, the first thing I did after finishing this book was to rush out and get Graham's "The Intelligent Investor" which I devoured in three days. Highly recommended!
Lowenstein gets in close to his subject, yet respects his privacy. I'm still wondering why Mrs. Buffett moved out - but of course it's none of my business.
As with any paradise, there are snakes in The Garden: Dwayne Andreas of Archer Daniel Midland (ADM) and Larry King of the Franklin Savings & Loan of Omaha. Lowenstein names the first as Howie Buffett's employer and the second as a phony that Buffett rebuffed. For more on these nefarious characters I refer the reader to Kurt Eichenwald's "The Informant" and to John Decamp's "The Franklin Cover-Up." The first is the inside story on ADM price fixing; the latter a somewhat purple-prose, true crime and hard to believe story of a really sick individual.
Indeed, I wondered why Lowenstein bothered to bring up King at all.
All in all, though, this is a really wonderful book. Not only will you learn that character still counts in business, but that intrinsic value almost always rises to the top. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
merlin jobst
This is a great book that covers Warren Buffett's basic tenets in buying a business. Buffett's initial concept of what to look for when buying a company was shaped by Ben Graham. Graham's philosophy could be boiled down to the "margin of safety" concept. These ideas were like the Rosetta Stone to Buffett -- he had found his idol. Buffett was concerned with the concept of "intrinsic value," or "how much can be taken out [of a business] in the future." Many investors are concerned with the metric known as "book value," which really represents how much as gone into the business, not how much can be taken out.
As time passed, however, Buffett evolved from a strict Graham methodology. He was influenced by Charlie Munger and Philip Fisher, who stressed good, well-managed companies as opposed to simply cheap companies. Buffett analyzed companies in a more subjective manner than did Graham, and he focused on the intrinsic value of the business -- this was one of his key metrics in valuing a company.
While many investors pigeonhole strategies such as "value" and "growth," Buffett saw value and growth as "joined at the hip." "He sees the growth potential of a business as a component of its value, just as its assets are a component." To summarize, a quote from Buffett provides a good synopsis of his view of investing:
"What is "investing" if it is not the act of seeking value at least sufficient to justify the amount paid? Consciously paying more for a stock than its calculated value -- in the hope that it can soon be sold for a still-higher price -- should be labeled speculation."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
francesca oldham
Warren Buffett is probably the most well known stock investor ever in American history. He is currently second richest person in the U.S. with a net worth of about 17 billion. Buffett is respected and admired by everyone in the investment and business community ranging from amateur investors to the most well known gurus such as Peter Lynch and Bill Gates. He would definitely considered as a benchmark in the investment world and stands alone as being the most successful investor ever.

Buffett's method of investing was and is totally different from that almost every other stock trader. At a time when savvy traders bought and dumped stocks hour by hour, Buffett followed only a few companies, staying with them for years and years. Buffett's methods are in many ways totally opposite from conventional wisdom, which is probably the main reason for his success. His innovative, yet simple ways, and his lack of interest in conforming to the norm has allowed him to build one of the biggest fortunes ever.
The story of Warren Buffett almost reads like a fairy tale with him starting out with virtually nothing and no business influence in his family. From his humble beginnings running investment partnerships, to the creation of his vast empire, Warren has always found a way to succeed and to beat all the odds. He outperformed the market during good times and bad, watching his fortunes grow steadly while others where caught in the excitement of a surge, or suffering from the ravages of a crash.

This book is generally a biography of Buffett although it also gives the reader great insights into Buffett's investment strategies. It takes you through a chronological journey of Buffett's life up till now and masterfully traces it event by event. The author of this book was Roger Lownestein who is a well-know columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He wrote the book independent of Buffett's help relying solely on people who knew Warren. This book was a bestseller when it first came out and is probably the best book about Buffett so far.

The book starts off telling about Buffett's background and childhood. We learn of Warren's photographic memory and his capacity for numbers. Buffett's early business endeavors were also recounted from his massive paper route, to his golf ball business, and his pinball machine "monopoly".

One great inspiration and catalyst for Buffett as an investor was Benjamin Graham. He was considered the "father of securities analysis" having pioneered many of the investment strategies of our time. Graham taught Buffett in collage and later employed Buffett for a short period of time. Although Buffett was greatly influenced by Graham, he later developed his own methods, which were quite different from Grahams but still included his fundamental ideas. Warren went on to return to Omaha in 1957 and started his investment partnership with just $300,000 in capital. But success soon came to him swiftly and very dramatically.

The rest of the book explains how Buffett evolved from Graham's ideas to develop his own beliefs in buying solid companies at reasonable prices for the long term. Buffet's investments and influences in such well known companies as American Express, Washington Post, Gillette, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, GEICO, and many others, were explored in the book and acted to inform, as well as educate the reader.

Lowenstein also explained how Buffett used the company Berkshire Hathaway (a textile manufacture) as the main vehicle to build his empire. After taking over the company, Buffett slowly converted Berkshire from a manufacturer to purely an investment company. Since 1962, Berkshire shares grew from a measly $8 to the incredible price of over $30 000 a share today. This was a prime example of Buffett's unique methods, showing how he can turn a textile company, to an investment powerhouse.

One thing about this book that made it interesting was how the author reveled Buffett's unusual and complex personality. Buffett was portrayed as a person who was modest, overly focused, and extremely conservative. Warren was so set in his ways that even though he was a billionaire; his favorite drink was still Pepsi, and didn't care for life's luxuries. Buffett also doesn't enjoy money the way most people do. He saw money as merely a measure of his success and feared that it would corrupt his family.

I found this book surprisingly easy to read despite its complex subject matter. The fact that it's a biography allows the reader to slowly absorb the business aspect of the book, without getting bored or overwhelmed. It allowed the reader go inside the mind and life the most successful investor and discover his uniqueness and modesty.

My interest in business and achieving success first brought me to read this book. But this book went beyond just reveling Buffett's investment strategies and really showed what he was like as a person. I would recommend this book not only for people interested in business but also for anyone who ever wondered how the truly "great" people accomplished their seemingly impossible feats. If nothing else, the reader comes away having learned about the life of a very unique and interesting person.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amible gal
Bill Gates, Sam Walton and John D. Rockefeller became immensely wealthy by developing innovative businesses. Warren Buffett became rich by picking stocks better than anyone else. Forbes recently listed him as the world's richest man, but he lives in the same Omaha house he bought for $31,500 in 1958. He drives his own car, prepares his own taxes, wears inexpensive suits and does not employ servants beyond an "every other week" housekeeper. Buffett is a simple man with simple tastes. He likes hamburgers, Cherry Cokes and peanuts. Financial journalist Roger Lowenstein does a masterful job of reporting on Buffett's life and explaining his straightforward, common sense investing approach without speculation, fancy charts or complex technical analysis. Buffett focuses on three basics: tolerable risk, a company's value and its stock price. If the price is well below the true value, he's interested. Buffett used this easy-to-understand formula to build his fortune. It must work: When the book went to print, Buffett had a net worth of $64 billion. Using fascinating historical detail and colorful anecdotes, Lowenstein explains how Buffett did it. If you want to know, getAbstract recommends reading this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
denny
"Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist" is a meticulously researched document on the life and times of Warren Buffett. The book starts from his childhood and progresses all the way through to his bailout of Salomon Brothers in the early 90's. The book receives no input from Buffett himself, so all the details are carefully crafted through hours of research and interviews with friends and families.

What emerges is a remarkably detailed and incredibly entertaining look at the life of Buffett. Lowenstein carefully weaves personal stories with investment philosophy to construct a complete picture of Buffett as both a man and as one of the greatest investors of our time. Buffett is portrayed as a man with incredible insight and great strength of character yet he is still afflicted with many of the foibles that besiege mere mortals such as ourselves.

I think the quintessential Buffett image is captured in his negotiation over the price of a warrant. On the opposing side, there is the investment bank, their team of quants, their lawyers and their computers crunching the numbers away. On the other side is Buffett, with no aides and no computers. Just Buffett doing the sums in his head. Classic.

An incredibly well crafted book and I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brian crider
An amazing story which leaves in the dust other "Buffett" books, notably "The Warren Buffett Way" (which is more like a Street Analyst trying to "predict" Warren Buffett- albeit after the fact). Roger Lowenstein's book reads like a Harold Robbins novel, in terms of the story and the manner in which it is told. Also, the author never loses sight of the fact that Buffett neither assisted nor obstructed the book. This is seen in the way he writes about Buffett's personal life. Using the knowledge from his years of Wall Street Journalism experience, Lowenstein makes it really simple for a layman such as me, what is unique about Warren Buffett, and how ridiculous almost everyone else on the Wall Street has sounded over the years.

But the wisdom I've gained from this book is that the single most important factor that contributed to Warren Buffett's success was not his mathematical ability or the teachings of Ben Graham, but his own "Strength of Character" - his complete Honesty, Unwavering Adherence to his Principles in the face of contrarian beliefs by the rest of the world and testing times, total Dedication to Work, and Incredible Patience.

Warren Buffett has blown away the common notion that if you believe in and practice honesty, faithfulness, and simplicity, you can't become rich.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
karen geiger
This book was first published in 1995, at that time, i was studying in NYU. I bought a book about warren buffett to study at that time. However, I didn't pay serious to my studying, I just read it as an interest or for fun. (I am not a smart and hardworking student, and at that time, I thought I am hard working enough)

I started to learn buffett seriously in 2007 and unfortunately, I still lost a battle in 2008 crisis.

16 years later, now, I read this book. If I would read this book in an early time, I am sure I won't got hit so bad in stock market and I would be richer than I am now.

so, this is a book to learn the life of warren buffett, from his childhood till 1994. If u want to be rich, u got to read this book immediately and for many times. U can also learn how to behave correctly, how to become a lovely person. Remember, never too late. (I am a HK guy)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rekha kini
This is a great book about a good man with an extraordinary talent. With Ben Graham and Philip A. Fisher (and to a huge extend Charlie Munger) as a back drop, Warren Buffett searches for a myriad of valuable yet sustainable qualities that allow companies to profit for the long-term. The precision with which he unravels the intrinsic yet unforeseen value of sound companies is inspiring. Given his level of success, (and maybe; just maybe, a little bit of jealousy) it's mind-boggling that so many colleges and universities refuse to teach value investing methods. What's even more stirring is while Mr. Buffet plays his cards close in some respects, (understandably so) he makes no secret of his methods. And while amateurs may never achieve the same level of success he has he nonetheless surrendered his methods to the masses so that you can at least try for yourself. Warren Buffett is a brilliant and humble American original. Bravo to your continued success Mr. Buffett, bravo!!! Although I loved this biography I thought it was long in parts, thus my conservative rating.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
harajyuku
I honestly can't say what drove me to read this book: all I know is that at some point, I knew I had to read about Warren Buffett. So I picked this book up at a bookstore (I had not had the forethought to order it online) and was immediately thrown into the life of the Oracle.
I cannot imagine anyone reading this book and not immediately becoming a disciple of Warren Buffett. In a way, Lowenstein's biography reads like a legend - Buffett is the messiah of capitalism. Imagine having an average return on investments of 29% for one solitary year. Now imagine making that same average return for 40 years! Finally, throw out any notion that making such massive amounts of money was done deceitfully or immorally. Lowenstein helps us see Buffett not as somebody who has stolen wealth away from the masses (because if anything, he's created wealth for the masses), but as an investor - someone who recognizes value and buys into that value. It's what we do when we buy stocks or fall in love (is not love simply a statment of value?): we make investments.
Lowenstein's portrait shows us of a man who has made billions by making rational and morally correct decisions. Yes, it would seem that Buffett has an ingenious ability to understand the capital markets, but even excluding his knack for money, the bottom line which Lowenstein draws is that Warren Buffett is an avatar for human beings. This is not to say that Buffett is perfect, but we would be hardpressed to find such strength of chracter and mind in another human being. How many billionaires live in the same house they've lived in for 30 years? How many CEOs tell their shareholders that they get to decide where to the company should make its charitable donations?
Buffett stands very much as a symbol of Capitalism as an ideal, and Lowenstein paints a portrait of Buffett that beautifully illustrates a life lived under such righteous principal. As such, if you disagree with capitalistic ideals, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK!
Otherwise, maybe you'll be like me and find in Buffett an unlikely hero.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jesi
This is a great biography of world's most renown investor. Roger Lowenstein does a superb job in explaining how Warren Buffett has made his fortune by investing from scratch. In fact, Lowenstein points out that big factor of how Warren Buffett has made his fortune was his temperament and character, which any of us can provide with given the effort. This book will also give directions as to where to look for method and principles of investing by following Buffett's footsteps. Buffett's attitude toward stock market fluctuation, especially the enthusiasm that he drew in 1973-74 crash is quite revealing and informative to our own investing mindset as well. Ben Graham's Intelligent Investor is not the easiest to read, but Graham and Buffett's investing philosophy was quite well described by Lowenstein in this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kellye
It amazes me that more people don't study the methods and success of Buffett. Shouldn't he be the first person you read about if you want to learn about investing?

A lot of what is written about him is short sighted, amateurish...a lot of hype, little substance (Trade like Buffett, 12 steps to invest like Buffett). Or what's written about him gets caught up in technicalities, like whether you're really a "value investor", or a position that he differs on, things that don't matter very much to the average reader. If you're reading about Babe Ruth or Tiger Woods, you don't care how he holds the bat, or whether he enters the batter box in a different way from other hitters.

This is an excellent biography. Very readable, it moves along at a nice pace. You don't need any advanced degree to understand Buffett's career, there are no greek symbols or complex calculations.

What struck me about the book (and the time line presented, basically from the 50's to the mid 90's)..

-How irrational and crazy the rest of the world can be, compared to Buffett's simplicity. Buffett inches along, sometimes going years without buying anything, and the rest of the world is caught up in insanity, hot/quick deals, whatever the latest craze is.

I don't think irrationality is covered nearly enough in books about Buffett or investing in general. It's usually framed as, "Buffett's the genius, the rest of us are mortals"....the assumption being, everyone is rational, rationality is the norm. When it's really, "Buffett stays rational, patient and only bets when he has an advantage in an otherwise very, very irrational and frenetic world".

It's a shame that Buffett has all but been ignored and shunned by academia and industry professionals. Kind of sad, the 3rd richest man in the world, he's beaten the market for 50+ years, and yet he's dismissed as a "statistical anomaly" or a "six sigma event" by other "professionals" or "experts" in the industry.

That's really crazy when you think about it, and very short sighted. In music, no one thinks Madonna is lucky if she records 20 hit singles. No one thinks Jordan is lucky.

Steven Speilberg gets lifetime achievement awards from his peers. It's so strange to see Buffett rack up year after year of gains, yet no one goes over to his camp. Reread the chapter on efficient markets in this book a few times, it's really bizarre.

-The stories in the book confirm the obvious, that nothing ever changes in the market.

There's a chapter about the crash of '87, and everyone thought, "it would be different this time." Portfolio insurance would save them. Sound familiar with the housing bubble a few years ago? Some of the homebuilders thought they could limit their risk..."it's different this time"...hmmmmm.

-And Buffett's incredible honesty, integrity.....his humility, most people worth $50 k don't have his humility and his ability to admit that he's wrong.

You come away from this book with a warm glow and great respect for what he's done. How rare is that? Especially about a corporate titan. He's in the same class as Carnegie, Mellon, Morgan....yet he's an average guy. Just incredible. A book from the mid 90's to the present would be great (especially including his gift to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). What an incredible, overall story that would be.

Good compliments for this book would be....Graham's "Intelligent Investor", WB's article "The Super Investors of Graham and Doddsville" and WB's letters to shareholders.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
wendy unsworth
The most important criteria I use to grade a book by is my "captivation" factor. Having dispensed with this criteria, I was at times thoroughly captivated by this book, and at times, not. Suffice it to say that the book was a good read and that I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the cognizant processes of a great mind like that of ole Warren.
The really captivating parts of the book occur when the author shows us how Warren's thinking about business was formed. This is probably the book's most significant contribution. Here we learn about the type of work Warren does, what he does to evaluate a purchase, and who he learned everything he knows from.
Humor is spread out through the book, and sometimes I found myself laughing out loud. The stories about Mrs. B are too good to miss. Especially when Warren says he "would rather wrestle a grizzly than compete with Mrs. B". Also, this anecdotal relief occurs again when he says it was "HELL to compete with her", and that was the reason why she dominated the furniture market in Omaha. He finally bought her business for $80 million, but not until after she had turned down an earlier offer. Not too shabby for an immigrant with a bad accent.
There are moments when the book is boring, non-captivating, but I would still say that I am thoroughly satisfied with having read this book. Especially when he says that sometimes when he wakes up in the morning, he "could tap dance" b/c he is so happy with his work! It is easy to be envious of ole Warren.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kristina kent
I like almost any book about the Oracle of Omaha so there's an inherent boas in the subject matter. Having said that, this is my favorite - better than Robert Hagstrom's book and far better than The Snowball. Lowenstein writes clearly and compellingly and keeps the narrative flowing. Though this was written some years ago, it captures Buffett's character wonderfully. This book is less of a "ho-to" and more of a "how did he get this way." Great stuff-highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chas broman
I hand picked this book with the intention to know more about Mr. Buffett and this book has very well satisfied my appetite. In a very lucid way book is walking you along different phases of Warren's life. By the time I reached the last chapter, it has changed my perception about Warren's investment philosophy. In the media, Warren is portrayed at stanch follower of the theory proposed by Professor and investor Ben Graham but that it not entirely true ! Though his investing endeavor (which started in 1943, at the age of 13) is heavily influenced by Ben (since his college years in Columbia), he has adapted to the market dynamics and made choices which Ben wouldn't have made. The best part I found with Buffett is, he has always invested as a businessman rather then gambler/speculator and maintained his originality.

The book's front and back flap has summarized the book very well. the store hasn't provided that in "search inside" so putting it here (copyrights by Roger Lowenstein and Random House Inc.):-

"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. If you had been among the lucky few sitting in his study of Omaha at the start of his career in 1956, and had invested $10,000 with him and kept your money with him throughout , your original investment would be worth $80 million today. That awesome 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 deal-maker who cultivates a homespun aura.

But just who is the Oracle of Omaha, and why is he so successful ? In his illuminating biography, journalist Roger Lowenstein drawn 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' reveals a man whose conscientiousness, integrity, and good humor exist alongside an odd emotional isolation. It shows how 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--is a reflection of his inner self.

Intelligent and offbeat, Buffett was obsessed with money-making from childhood. His parents (particularly his stockbroker/political father) were demanding but instilled in him self-reliance and honesty. As an undergraduate at Wharton, Buffett knew as much about economics as his teacher did -- but at Columbia Business School he met Professor Ben Graham, whose investment philosophy he adopted and then improved on with his own particular genius. 'Buffett' masterfully traces its subject's life: his enormously successful partnership, his early, inspired investments in American Express and Geico, his companionship and investment with Katherine Graham of the Washington Post, his role in the Capital Cities purchase of ABC, his unique relationship with his wife and his mistress, his rescue of the scandal-ridden Saolomon Brothers. Lowenstein paints Buffett as the antithesis of the reckless mentality that fueled the financial debacle on Wall Street at the end of the 1980s, and shows him to be a man of lifelong reach for stability and security. In outlining the character traits and financial philosophy that made Buffett the country's richest man, 'Buffett' presents a landmark portrait of a uniquely American life. "

Though book has very good account of W. Buffett, it could have been written better. I will reserve 5-stars for authors such as George Anders and Uresh Vahalia. I wish I could give 4.5 starts to this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
r gine michelle
This book is by far the best book I've read on Warren Buffett. I've read about a dozen of books on Buffett, I've seen hundreds of interviews with the guy, and I've read tons of articles on him.
Lowenstein is a master writer, I already knew that after reading his other book (When genius failed). This one is just as good.

For everybody interested in reading on Buffett, I strongly recommend this book. Another reviewer suggested to read other materials from Buffett al well while reading this book. I suggest you get the annual reports from Berkshire Hathaway and read them chronologically with this book. These letters from Buffett will give you more insights on how he was thinking and acting at the different time periods.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
evie moller
He's perhaps the most successful self-published author in the world. His books cost several thousand dollars and up. He's the world's most successful work-at-homer (he started out in a home office in the 1950s, way before it was cool). That he has entrepreneurial instincts there can be no doubt. We're talking about publishing wunderkind, Warren Buffett. Is it no coincidence that this formerly low-profile investor from Omaha, Nebraska has achieved pop icon status around the same time that working Americans are questioning and re-evaluating their own economic status and security in light of their career investments in time, money, and education? Roger Lowenstein is a Buffet biographer who was somewhat surprised when sales of his book passed the 100,000 mark. "I guess I underestimated the number of people out there who want to get rich in the stock market," he said. His paperback edition of Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, will hopefully begin to pay dividends for Doubleday's Main Street Books imprint this month. Warren Buffet is a well-known author to stockholders in his Berkshire Hathaway investment vehicle. He writes lengthy, folksy, and astutely analytical annual reports that stand in marked contrast to the PR-speak of most such documents. Some pay thousands of dollars for one share of Berkshire so they can read his annual missives. Lowenstein, a Wall Street Journal columnist, was a longtime reader who yearned to write about Buffet at length. Buffett did not share Lowenstein's enthusiasm so did not cooperate with the book. But he didn't try to interfere, either, according to the author. "He was inadvertantly an entrepreneur, "said Lowenstein. "He started out as a guy in Omaha going around trying to raise money from people who were impressed with his self-confidence and brightness, and he worked out of his study. He had a neightbor named Don Keough, who later became president of the Coca-Cola Company. Buffett told him, `have you ever thought about these great kids you have, w! ho's gonna provide for `em? Maybe you oughta give me some of your money and let me invest it.' Keough thought about it and talked with his wife about it, and he knew that Buffett was right, but he told me he just couldn't get over the hump of giving money to somebody who sat around all day in a t-shirt. "Buffett spent the day in his study when the respectable folk wore a coat and tie to the office. So Keogh didn't invest...After about 5 or 6 years Buffet got an office and he's in the same office his whole career. It's two miles from his house, so it's almost as if he just lengthened the corridor. He doesn't lose much time commuting." Home officing and entrepreneuring doesn't get much more successful than this.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shubham gupta
That's the return an investor would have if they invested with Buffett at the beginning of his career in 1956 and held until the end of 1995. In 2006 it would be more like $250 million +. Buffett is a patient, disciplined and extremely rational investor who says his favorite holding period is "forever" and once wrote that he would no more take an investment banker's opinion on whether to do a deal than he would ask a barber whether he needed a haircut.

Warren made the comment while still young that he would be a millionaire by the age of thirty or he would jump off the tallest building in Omaha. Throughout his career, even though he had a burning desire to be extremely wealthy he never forgot concepts that were instilled in him from his father and grandfather, such as the belief that your credit and your word is far better than money.

In 1945 while only 14 he was earning $175 a month from his paper route (just under $2000 in today's dollars) and took the profit and bought 40 acres of Nebraska farmland. By the time he graduated high school he was involved in three businesses and had read over 100 books on business.

By 1956 he had turned his $9,800 savings into $140,000. He left his mentor / idol, Ben Graham and his White Plains NY apartment and headed back to Omaha. By 1957 he set up shop and was running $300,000. By 1964 he was managing $22 million and his personal net worth was approaching $4 million and by the time he was 35 years old in 1966 he managed $44 million and was worth $6.8 million.

In 1967 he was 37 years old, worth $10 million and managing $65 million. In 1968 the Buffett partnership had a gain of $40 million or 59% and he was managing $104 million. By 1970 when he wound up the partnership because he felt the market was nuts (extremely overvalued) an investor that started with him in 1957 would have had a compounded annual return of 29.5% compared with 7.4% for the Dow. For those investors that were wise or lucky enough to stay with him by taking their shares in Berkshire Hathaway instead of cashing out the ride was just getting started.

For a more complete timeline and chronicle of events see my blog: [...] I cut it a bit short here for courtesy's sake.

The wisdom packed into this book is priceless, event though its not earth shattering or revolutionary. The ideas are things we have all probably heard before, its just that Warren lived them. Maybe its best describes by Warren's partner Charlie Munger in his recent book, Poor Charlie's Almanak where he describes his decision making process as running an idea through a hundred or so mental disciplines or beliefs before deciding whether to act on it. For example Buffett tells his son one day, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

A few great quotes worth remembering:

"With enough inside information and a million dollars you can go broke in a year"

When asked how he does it, Buffett replies, "By reading a couple thousand financial statements a year"

What counted to Buffett was, "Profit as a percentage of capital invested" he said, "I'd rather have a $10 million business making 15% than a $100 million business making 5%, I have other places I can put the money"

In 1970 with the dissolution of Buffett Partnership, Buffett personally became the owner of 29% of Berkshire's stock and for the first time composed the letters to shareholders. Which I highly recommend reading, as this was Buffett's stage throughout the years to preach his view on investing.

During a Q&A for GEICO executives Buffett said, "An investor should approach the stock market as if he had a lifetime punch card. Every time he bought a stock he punched a hole. When the card had 20 holes he was done-no more investing for life. Obviously the investor would filter out every idea but the best."

In an essay for Forbes in 1979 after a prolonged bear market, and after Business Week ran the celebrated cover story, "The Death of Equities" Buffett said, "The future is never clear; you pay a very high price in the stock market for a cheery consensus. Uncertainty actually is the friend of the buyer of long term values."

Interestingly when a friend suggested that Buffett try his hand at real estate, Buffett grinned. "Why should I buy real estate when the stock market is so easy?"

Probably the most memorable and important quote, especially for business owners is on page 245:

"Regardless of price, we have no interest at all in selling any good businesses that Berkshire owns, and are very reluctant to sell sub-par businesses as long as we expect them to generate at least some cash..."

I think I'm going to hang that up in my office under a printout of Berkshire's annual performance.

Again, for a more complete listing of the Buffett Pearls see my Blog :
[...] I cut it a bit short here for courtesy's sake. I also have a list of Buffett's and Munger's recommended reading.

By Kevin Kingston, author of, A 20,000% Gain in Real Estate: A True Story About the Ups And Downs from Wall Street to Real Estate Leading Up to Phenomenal Returns
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
susana ebp
If this is the first book that you read about Buffett, then, like me, you will be inspired and/or may seriously consider investing.
This book will show you how successful you can be in the investment world if, and only if, you have what it takes. So read this first and not jump to technical books like those written by Robert Hagstrom and Mary Buffett (these books are technical coz they actually show you how Buffett invests, step-by-step). I know some people who read just these technical books but unfortunately, fail to produce satisfactory return on their investments. Remember, there are many ways to MAKE 'and' LOSE money on Wall St.
Even if you don't turn to investing after reading this book, don't worry, there's plenty to learn from Buffett especially about trust, being patient, and rational when it comes to handling money.
To those who aspire to become a superinvestor, my suggestion would be to get Mary Buffett's Buffettology after reading this book. ....
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nayyera
This Audiobook, unfortunately on cassette, not CD, is a decent overview of early Buffett history. Lowenstein writes a coherent history of Buffett's major investments up through 1994. I found the part covering his childhood and investing beginnings most interesting. Buffett truly was a self-made man, starting out with paper routes and small businesses in Omaha.

The narrator does a good job reading the book.

This is a history of Buffett with very little discussion of his investment process - the author does not claim to teach you how to invest like Buffett. If you are interested in a general summary of early Buffett history, this is a good way to get it. The only negative is Lowenstein is so enamored with his subject that we only hear how brilliant Buffett is, without hearing of his mistakes.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ron shuman
This is a superbly interesting look into the life of Mr. Buffett. In my opinion, the most fascinating reading involves Warren's early years, as he learns to craft his genius and begin his life as an allocater of capital.
It's especially puzzling that despite being a nerd, Buffett easily charms many of his class mates and others with whom he interacts. These skills were wildly successful as he went out seeking capital to launch his partnership.
I have read this book a few times, and recently took to underlining the most interesting anecdotes passages and Buffettisms. After recently finishing the book, I realized that I had practically highlighted each sentence. There are many gems within to be comptemplated
If you REALLY want to understand Buffett, ignore the "Invest Like Buffett" books out there (and there are a bunch). It is a lot more worthwhile to learn about the man, and especially his principles. This book in conjunction with his annual letters to his partners / shareholders is the best method by which a student can truly learn from the Oracle of Omaha.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
verenize torrez
This well written biography of Warren Buffett is just that, a biography. Those readers seeking Mr. Buffett's investment advice need to look elsewhere. "The Warren Buffett Way" written by Hagstrom or Mr. Buffett's shareholder letter in Berkshire Hathaway's annual reports would be an excellent place to start. In this book Lowenstein descriptively documents the events that shaped Buffett's life beginning with childhood. The reader gains an in depth understanding and appreciation of Mr. Buffett's business acumen. Any disappointment that the reader encounters is probably a result of the fact that Mr. Buffett leads an exceptionally mundane life. As a result, the reader at times will feel compelled to put the book down. If you are fascinated with Mr. Buffett's ability to consistently outperform the market or are a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder this is a must read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sarahlals
What interests me is not how smart Buffett is - of course he is smart - but how lucky he is. He himself put it well: If he had been born in Brazil, or somewhere other than America, he could have ended up a bum on the street. His talents would not have met their opportunities. Too young to fight in the second world war, he was old enough to avoid the draft for Korea and Vietnam. Another example of his luck would be meeting Ben Graham at Columbia....after he had been turned down by his first choice: Harvard Business School.
Graham was a genius in investing. But he was nearly bankrupt by 40 years of age, wiped out by the Crash along with everyone else. He died wealthy - worth only a million or two! When Security Analysis came out of the printers Graham could hardly point to his own investing career as a succesful example of his own abilities.
It says much about Buffett's own genius that he immediately recognized Graham's philosophy as the correct one, at a time when nobody had heard of Graham.
My personal feeling is that Buffett and Graham are right in the way they approach investing. Unfortunately, too many people in America share my feeling now, and the general interest in stocks makes investing in stocks much less rewarding than it used to be. Those who are still interested in making money through stocks should look elsewhere, outside America. Not that stocks are the only way to wealth, of course.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michelle mcgrath
Compared to Buffett's official autobiography, this book seems to focus more on business aspects while the official autobiography seems to focus more on personal aspects. Both books are good.

The only negative point I have about this book is that its description of the troubles at Salomon Brothers is too long and detailed which was uninteresting to me.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ursula
An interesting read for those who have some knowledge of Buffett and the investment world. Even if you don't you will learn a lot and most likely find this an informative read and find yourself more knowledgeable big business. It kept my interest and I will watch for other books about this
very unique man and his unusual talents.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
barry cohen
This book was recommended to me by an MBA student at Uchicago. Since it is the first time that I have read about Buffett, I cannot compare this book with other Buffett biographies. The book is certainly well written and comprehensive, though I sometimes find certain parts overly detailed with trivia's. But overall it is a very inspiring book, and the author deserves credit for his excellent portrait of a character distinct from, and more decent than, an average Wall Streeter in terms of both intelligence and integrity. I agree with Yannis Larios (Aug. 26, 1998) that sheer passion about the financial markets should not jeopardize one's character, and success in investment career does not require negligence or arrogance of any kind. However, I do not agree to the notion that Buffett to be treated as a role model. Needless to say, no reader should find comfort in his negligence of, as well as isolation from, other family members. Moreover, his professional success is, in my opinion, largely due to his emphasis on shareholders' interest and an investment philosophy that pioneered his time. At the start of his career, the work of Graham had already put him at the knowledge frontier in the then prevailing economy. Thus despite his competence in the "traditional" industries, Buffett has been reluctant to enter the more exotic "hi-tech" arena. Having said that, I think that Buffett has demonstrated the importance of avoiding "stalled" thinking (Donald Mitechell, Mar. 24, 1999) as well the reward of intellectual inquiries in a seemingly haphazard marketplace (taking into account his own knowledge growth in investment practice). There are some interesting mentions of the Efficient Market Theory (EMT) in the book as well as several reviews but I personally consider Buffett as neither proof nor disproof of EMT. Bear in mind that Wall Street does not always provide adequate or accurate information (How trustworthy are 90% of the research reports anyways?) and Buffett does not necessarily rely on public information alone. Noticeably, the author himself takes a rather laissez-faire attitude towards government oversight. This bias may cause him to overlook Buffett's ability to obtain information from his personal network that is unavailable to most investors (remember his charm and intelligence during conversations). I personally believe that due to legal and regulatory barriers (e.g. M&A) or continual changes in technology (online arbitrage at one point or another) the market may provide certain profitable windows that defy EMT. If you find such an opportunity, please let me know.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
betsy brooks
This book is not as detailed about Warren Buffett's life as The Snowball by Alice Schroeder, but it is still an excellent read. From early childhood, Warren learned the value of a dollar by working hard at numerous jobs. He was never a spendthrift, but instead saved as much as possible so that he could invest it long-term. His determination and focus made him what he is today.

Warren Buffett's investment philosophy is just so simple. Just buy excellent companies at reasonable prices and hold them long-term. This philosophy shows readers that they can do it themselves and become successful just like Warren Buffett. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in investing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
craig blois
One of the most interesting things I found in this biography of one of the world's greatest investors is that investing, to some, is not only a way to build wealth but also a philosophy of life. Lowenstein's depiction of America's greatest investing icon demonstrates how one man turned his life into a constant comparison of valuations - not only of companies and assets but even things as simple as choosing Cherry Coke over root beer. In investment parlance it might be thought of as a continuing journey toward maximizing utility with every decision.

I can't imagine everyone would be as fascinated with that kind biographical exploration as I was, but for those interested in learning what makes Warren Buffett America's greatest investor I think this book does a pretty good job explaining exactly what it is that makes Warren... Warren.

It certainly has been a great influence on my life, and many others.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
steve young
I've read almost every Buffett book around. For some reason, this was one of the last I read. Perhaps because it didn't claim to be about his investment methods and that was what I was most interested in. That was a mistake.

Just as he did in 'When Genius Failed', Roger Lowenstein has a way of writing so clearly and beautifully, even on very complicated subjects. He brings people alive in his books.

If you want to maximum amount of detail on Buffett's life, read 'The Snowball'. If you want to enjoy many hours of reading pleasure, you should go with 'Buffett'.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
zee al alawi
For me this was the best of about 6 stock market investment books I bought after selecting from a list of books touted by Morningstar.com as good reading. I read this book straight after reading Ban Grahams book, The Intelligent Investor.
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
son kemal
Warren Buffett is an extraordinary man with humble roots who goes on to become one of the richest men in the world. He sticks out from other billionaires because he amassed his fortune from investing, not a product or innovation. Roger Lowenstein did an excellent job of not only capturing Warren Buffett from his successful career, but also from his personal life and the people who influenced him. I really enjoyed reading about Mr. Buffett's childhood (family life, close relationship with his dad, buying his first stock at the age of 11, making profits from his newspaper route and selling coca-cola to neighbors). His down-to-earth upbringing in Omaha played a crucial role in shaping his life and even his business ventures (picking honest business partners and sticking to his morals).

I was surprised by Buffett's simple approach to investing. I have an Economics background and worked for an investment firm in the past and quite used to complicated theories in explaining the Stock Market and investing, but Buffett's approach was quite the opposite - very simple and makes sense. While the book doesn't discuss exactly how he picked his stocks, it does discuss what influences his decisions and is good advice for people interested in investing. Buffett: The Making of An American Capitalist is a book that I would highly recommend.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
menno87
Read this because you want to know about the man and the method, not the money. I admire the billions of dollars that he's amassed on his own terms, but it's his history, relationships, and singular outlook on life that had me plowing through this tome like it was a short story. I am a reborn fan of biographies, and a new follower of financial books. I hope there are other books out there like this: clear, absorbing, and off-beat enough to make you laugh like a fool on a packed metro. I never dog-ear, but I had to all the way through this book for the stellar quotes dashed off here and there. One being, off the top of my head: "God sent me a blessed gift in the form of a Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report." AGH! And don't get me started on Mrs. B. Extremely worthwhile read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
deimant
A great book. I also read The Snowball, which is a more recent biography - but this one goes into a bit more depth on his early years. The book takes you from his early childhood through the end of his time at Salomon Brothers. There is a great feel for his investment philosophy, ethics, personal life and theories. The author is pretty balanced in his apporach, and does address some of the elements of Buffett's personal life. The lessons of Buffett's life are well told - including insights into his homespun wisdom, quiet determination and business acumen. A great read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erich
Lowenstein presents us with a book about Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of the 20th century. The book takes us on a trek through Buffett's life, from his childhood interest in money, to his successful investing and business ventures in college, to his partnership, and then to his days at Berkshire.
Through this look at how the 2nd richest man in the world acquired his fortune, we as investors stand to gain a lot. The book is a great look at how prudently selecting stocks and sticking to fundamentals can help us choose the right companies to invest in.
And for those finance nerds like myself out there, this book will prove to be a very fascinating read about Buffett's life and the companies he has invested in (and subsequently made successful). Great book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
niklai
This was a joy to read; literally couldn't put it down. I read it before the "Snowball" book came out. It appears that the main advantage Snowball has is the input of Buffett. This is important in one aspect, the relationship with Kay Graham. Lowenstein gives arguments for both views, platonic or not, and sides with the platonic view. I believe Snowball says the opposite, and Buffett did not disagree.
This guy is a terrific writer, his book on LTCM was fantastic. I'm looking forward to reading "The End of Wall Street".
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lauren angeletta
Buffett is a fantastic biography on one of the 20th century's most well-known investors. Far from being just a financial volume or a how-to-invest-like-Buffett, Lowenstein's work is a genuine biography, and a very well-written one at that. That's not to say one cannot learn something about Buffett's investing style by reading this book; in fact, I believe I learned more about how the man has been so successful from this book than from any other source on Buffett.

The great strength in Lowenstein's biography is that he highlights just what Buffett is-an anomaly. His success on Wall Street is unique, and not merely because that success happened from a couple thousand miles away in Omaha. No, Lowenstein recognizes Buffett for the remarkable man that he is, and analyzes Buffett's character in a way that, if you pay attention, actually explains how to "win" like Buffett has. Lowenstein highlights various attributes in Buffett's personality-his honesty, his amazing ability to keep things simple and find the "inherent value" in companies he analyzes, and his old-fashioned value finding approach to name a few-and examines them both in the context of Buffett's personal life and in his business life. The result is very intriguing, and the resulting impression is that Buffett succeeded on the Street because of who he was, both on and off. While this book may not spell out for you the criteria to invest like Buffett, it certainly shows, with great clarity, what kind of man it takes to be Warren Buffett. The fact that it's a very interesting read and an excellent biography only add to its appeal.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rebekka istrail
Before writing my impressions of this book, I think it is first important to identify the reviewer so others can see my perspective. I am a young graduate with limited to no investing experience. I became interest in Warren Buffett after reading a fair amount of articles on Buffett the person; his success in investing, his political views, his recent contribution to the Gates charity, and most importantly, his character. I became intrigued enough to inquire about the details of who this man is and his philosophy.

This was exactly what the book offered; it is a biography, not an investment guide. That said, it is not really possible to unlink Buffett the person and Buffett the investor. His core values are too in entwined for it to be anything other. Lowenstein does a great job of presenting information in terms that a layman like myself can understand (with some help from simple research) while still providing enough information to get the details about Buffett's investment strategies and core values.

I found the book to be both informative and enticing. It has instilled in me a great respect for the man, as well as an interest in becoming less of an investment layman. The book is a bit dated, now being about 13 years old, but after reading it, I find this point moot. Buffett's approach has been the same since he learned from Graham, just with more information and an increasing scope in which to apply his tactics.

In my opinion, Lowenstein did a fantastic job researching his subject matter. The book is ripe with references and further signs that he truly knows his subject. I also found little to no signs of a subjective approach in respect to either glorifying Buffett or demonizing him, as far as is humanly possible. Buffett's mistakes are presented as clearly as his amazing triumphs (and they are quite amazing). Lowenstein's approach is instead to provide as clear as possible a presentation of Buffett's character, which is again entwined with his (enormous) successes and (minor) setbacks.

Highly recommended for those interested in his character. Again, this book is a biography, not an investment guide, but it seems hard to separate the two in regards to Buffett.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
christyn
Having started work in the fund management industry as a fund accountant just after 2000 and the crash, (having since moved sideways into the IT industry) the workings of the market and the psychology of those who invested in it always fascinated me. Just as Warren Buffett credited Benjamin Graham with setting him on the path of successful investing, this book which covers how Warren took those lessons and crafted his own path to success have firmly set me on the path of value investing rather than the more speculative type I once envisaged. I get bored easily and often flick through books half way to see how much more I have to plough through. This one however was different; flicking ahead I wanted it to go on and on right up to 2008. Unfortunately however the first version printed took us up to 1995, and in the decade and a half since the book provides only highlights which is a pity given that this second edition was released in 2008. I really enjoyed Lowenstein's writing style and he struck a good balance between the personal life of Warren and his ventures in the world of investing. All in all a must read for those who are interested in investing or just how the world of finance works in general.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
p panther
Although few readers probably come to this book because it is well-crafted, Roger Lowenstein's prose is superb. This is a thorough biography without being tawdry. But readers will likely be disappointed if they expect a blueprint for Buffett's investment process by perusing Lowenstein's book. Lowenstein never makes the claim that you'll learn to be a better investor by reading BUFFETT. In fact, it appears to be Lowenstein's essential thesis that it is Buffett's firmness of character, as much as his intellectual acumen, which makes him such a fine investor. Whatever one might think of Warren Buffett, it is a rare pleasure to find so well-written and thoughtful a book as Lowenstein's biography amongst the sensationalized and poorly edited biographies of late.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
enthudaydreamer
After reading the book, which I enjoyed, it seems as though Buffett was the only nice guy to ever make a career in investing. He also seems to be the only guy who has been able to consistently outstrip the market's annual returns and do so without much more than his beloved annual reports. Full of flaws in his personal life and mannerisms that border on the absurd; what is more shocking is the fact that he is able to be deeply analytical and logical about investing while wholly unaware of his wife, children, and his outward appearance. Unchanged by the trappings of wealth he seems to be a role model for all and truly in a league of his own. My favorite quote:

"To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail" pg 318

Specific without saying anything, but able to be interpreted by the other person in which ever way suits their needs and desires. Buffett seems particularly capable to listening to other people and in turn giving them the conviction to do the right thing without ever saying as much. The stories are well written and seem to frame his character well. He is said to have the unique ability to focus on what matters, as opposed to what is measurable (ie EMT). My only wish is that we the reader could learn exactly what he thinks matters within those annual reports. Maybe a look into his letters will prove more illuminating.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
damaduende
I just read the Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. This book is a great supplement to that decidedly more technical text, and offers excellent insights into what drives Warren Buffett. While the Intelligent Investor is somewhat dated, this book gives you a more updated version of Buffett's exploits and ideas, as well as a fresher look at Buffett's metamorphoses since his days at Columbia. I have read numerous books on Buffett, and I have to agree with Bill Gates' analysis of this book - this is the one to read. An indispensable biography of Buffett, and a must read for anyone keen on Buffett's investment philosophy.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jessica gregory
I picked up Roger Lowenstein's book because I had enjoyed his column in the Wall Street Journal. In a nutshell, he and Mr. Buffett explain the differences between investing and speculation. Purchasing a stock based on a cold-blooded assessment of its VALUE is investment; buying a stock based on guesses about the general market, the economy, the mood of the public or other factors that are inherently unknowable is speculation. Unfortunately, that distinction has largely been lost on the frenzied day-traders, the purchasers of Internet stocks and the legion of "expert" market prognosticators who ought to know better. If you are interested in investing successfully for the long term, you should read this book. Apart from all that, Lowenstein also gives us a highly readable story of Warren Buffett the person, and I came away with a strong sense of Mr. Buffett's personal integrity and intellectual discipline. (In a curious way, though, the laser-like focus and icy rationality that have made Buffett so successful as an investor have apparently made him less successful as a father and husband. Read the book and you'll see what I mean.) The book is worth reading simply for what it has to say about this remarkable man.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hydee
Here is a man who seems ordinary but is indeed extraordinary. A man whose sole desire is excellence in work. The greatness about Buffett is his achieving dizzy heights of financial success by conforming to truth honesty and simplicity - the foundation of the Principle Centered living. In a day and time when principles and morality are thrown to the wind and have become the norm by companies and individuals alike Buffet proves different from them all. Buffett proves that value investing wins over speculation. Consistency in return on investments is what sets him apart. The book is like seeing and talking to Warren in person! It's indeed the power of focus that has got him where he is today. The book alternates between his professional and private life. Since he is so much of a 'private person' the personal details were of as much interest to me as his professional achievements. This is a terrific read for anyone wanting to manage his money well and achieve financial freedom. His one failing seems to be his inability to express himself verbally in intimate relationships. Also Buffett would do well to use his enormous wealth by parting some of it to some humane cause or social activity. It appears he is unwilling to do that. This will ensure that his name lives long after he ceases to exit. All in all a great read for anyone into stocks. You finish the book with a clear idea of what it takes to win in any stock market. It's possible to make a fortune with even a very small sum. I follow Berkshires investments and stock price closely and hope to manage my finances better.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
haya totah
I received this as a gift over the holidays, and couldn't put it down 'til I'd finished it. As with 'When Genius Failed', Lowenstein writes an engaging portrayal of his subject, who built a great fortune by watching carefully. Here, it's obvious that he respects and appreciates Warren Buffett, but he also does not whitewash the man, for example, revealing and discussing the frustrations those close to him have felt.

Buffett is a storyteller, and so is Lowenstein. It is a happy combination, and it makes for a book worthy of your time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
molly mahoney
Let me start by saying that anyone interested in understanding Warren Buffett needs to read this book before anything else. The reason is simple. This is a pure biography - it doesnt try to influence you to think one way or another - it simply tells you the whole story about Warren Buffett and leaves you to draw your own conclusions.
Though once you have established a knowledgeable unbiased view of WB and if you are interested in knowing more about WB's investment methods and their analyses - you should go on to read other texts by Ben Grapham Phil Fisher among others.
Another important point is that the book is becoming a bit dated (ends in 1994). I think another edition is sorely needed as many important events have taken place in the last 8 years, not to mention the dotcom bubble - a time when WB was said to have lost his art.
Also if the author does come out with another edition he would do well to include some analyses in it. Nothing much but simple charts etc giving a factual account of WB's investments like PE, BV and other ratios and sales, profits etc of companies in which WB invested at and near the time of investment.
Overall I was greatly impressed with the work and recommend it to everyone interested in investing and WB.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sherri stockman
The author's incisive, erudite, and flowing writing style coupled with his thorough and singular comprehension of business and finance captures the essence of Buffett's personality and investment acumen as no other book on this subject has, and I have them all. Roger Lowenstein's biography is the principal must-read for the average untutored investor as well as the professional money manager of every stripe and persuasion. He elucidates the man as the individual as well as the investor, both inextricably interwoven.

To grasp Buffett fully one must devour each of the shareholder letters in the annual reports consecutively from 1980 to the present. This book fleshes out the whole personna from early on to his steady ascendancy into the public realm. View this book as the common man's bible to common sense thinking. I have one paperback copy liberally marked up, underlined, and dog eared. Another pristine hardcover copy as a piece of artwork rests front and center on my desk, a daily reminder of how we should approach life as well as investing, and a tribute to the author and his subject, both of which are first class in their chosen professions. As Warren Buffett, quoting Mae West says, " You can never have too much of a good thing ".
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hanne sercu
Lowenstein's book is the benchmark for all other Warren Buffett biographies. The book is routinely included on business school reading lists for good reason. This book is a very readable journey through Warren Buffett's private and business life. True to the man, the book focuses much more on his business dealings (including the early partnership, the original Berkshire Hathaway, Washington Post, Nebraska Furniture Mart and Salomon) than his personal dealings. But still, the author is careful to offer details of Buffett's dealings with others, leaving the reader with a feeling that he/she has a general understanding of the subject.

Some have been critical of the book for not offering details on Buffett's "investment secrets," but this criticism is misplaced since his investment methodology is clearly spelled out in his annual shareholder letters. Any attempts to rehash these writings in this book may benefit a small portion of the readership while creating a tedious feel for the large majority.

[...]
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stephanie griffin
This is the only book you should read about Warren Buffet. Very thoroughly researched, the story is told with just the right amount of detail. This is the only book on Buffet in which the reader actually learns exactly how Warren Buffet goes about finding under-valued companies and investing for the long-term. It is the story of one man's rise to the pinnacle of the business world. It is a good read for students of finance and a must for anyone saving for retirement.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anthony hairston
I was given this book as a gift from a former assistant when I was a financial advisor many years ago. I just got around to reading it recently. I should have read it at its publication! Through a chronological storytelling framework, Lowenstein does an excellent job of portraying the good, the bad and the ugly. Although he seems to take great pains to paint Buffett in only the most positive light, there are times when he treads lightly over his mistakes and his somewhat strange personal life.
There are many lessons to take away from this book beyond its enjoyable read. I'll leave that to you to take what you want from this biography, but certainly Buffett has conviction, confidence and ultimate respect and trust for those he does business with. He invests for what is really the long term: life and maybe even beyond that!
He has taken his mentor, Benjamin Graham (Graham/Dodd)and over the decades moved past analyzing the numbers to factor in the people variable, though never straying too far from the numbers and allowing them to be the ultimate driver of decision making.
Again, a great read, worthwhile...enjoy it!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jaime
I am sure that I have read every biography of Warren Buffett ever written. Several others are good but this is the one book to own. It stops in 1995 and could use an update but extremely well written with great insights into Buffett's personality. Gets into his personal life, good and bad, a great deal more than other books. You get to know Buffett the person as opposed to only Buffett as an investment genius....
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
john eaton
This is a very interesting look into the life and mind of Mr. Buffett. I first read it back in 1997. I found it interesting (and believe it or not, at times riveting) and very easy to read.

Mr. Lowenstein does a great job of describing the life of Mr. Buffett in a way that illustrates the humor, the complexities, the determination of a man who, to the rest of the world, is perceived as being dry, standoffish, and humorless.

I just bought a second copy to give as a gift. I think in the past 10 years there has been alot of happenings in the financial markets that a revision or addendum is warranted.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
caroline kent
Having read quite a few books on investments and security analysis, I clearly consider this book to be one of the most enjoyable and well-written ones, offering deep insight into what seems to be a winning strategy towards the stock market. The Buffett-way of investing is not merely presented as a series of successful buy/hold/sell actions but is rather linked to his extraordinary personality and syllogistic, thus providing not only a very good methodology on stock market investments but also a character-shaping manual. Fully recommended if you want a profitable course in the stock market....
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
adel maher
This is a truly outstanding book for 2 primary reasons. The first reason being that Roger Lowenstein has spared absolutely no effort in his research for this book. He is very thorough and gives a number of references in each chapter. The second reason is that it is very inspiring to read how Buffett built his empire almost from scratch. This book gives a very good account of Buffett's thoughts when he was making his investment decisions. Also the subsequent deviation between Benjamin Graham's "Value Investing" and Buffett's own unique approach is highlighted. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who plans to invest in the stock market on a long term horizon.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
andeeeeee
I like this book. It is not about the Buffet's investment methodology, but about his investment philosophy. By describing both the personal and business life of Buffett, the author tells us a lot about Buffett's way of thinking. I think the author is a little bit harsh on contemporary finance theory and it is funny when he accuses Buffett of confusing intrinsic and bookvalue in a certain investment decision in the 60's. However, I hope the author is working on a second edition, because this story ends in 1995 and what happened the last seven years with Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of Buffet, is interesting, just as this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
virginia
Lowenstein does a wonderful job of painting an intimate picture of major events in Buffett's personal and professional life. In the end, the reader is provided with a deep appreciation for the magnitude and long-term nature of Buffett's success in investing as well as a better understanding of Buffett's sense of values and beliefs.

Moreover, reading about Buffett's history of long term investments is a refreshing change from the hedge fund mania that is currently in the news and a reminder that Warren's basic value investing remains as relevant today as ever.

If you are seeking to set your own road as an investor and need are in need of an 'Emersonian' guide, then you would be well served to pick up a copy. It will be an investment you won't regret.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
thundermusic
I read the Snowball before this book as it was an official biography blessed by Warren Buffett himself. I found this book by Roger Lowenstein more engaging. Roger has done a good job of highlighting the keys aspects of Buffett's personal and investment life without losing the reader's interest.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
cburns
As such books on Warren Buffet are sparse. So far Warren Buffet hasn't written any book's either. (Probably his Annual Reports are the only direct sources for getting insights into his investing sytle.). So for the Warren Buffet fans, anything you can find about Warren Buffet is valuable.

This book chronicle's Warren Buffet's life right from his early childhood to the present day Value Investor. The author has done a nice job of bringing out Warren Buffet's strategy of investing long term in companies based on their intrinsic value. This book also delves into his personal life to some extent as well. Warren Buffet's sketch derived based on comments from his close allies like Charlie Munger and others is also interesting.

The book is written in plain and simple manner. Overall it is an interesting read.

-Sachin
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jessie marie
This is an amazing look into the life of a man who was born to make money. He absolutely knew from a very young age that he would be rich. Most of us have no idea what we want to be until after we graduate, but Warren Buffett always knew what he wanted to be. The author made me feel as if I actually knew Buffett personally. Good job.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
robin caldwell
This is a competently-researched, and well-written biography. Lowenstein starts from Buffett's childhood, and covers all of important chapters of Buffett's career as an investor. I especially recommend this book to anyone curious about Buffett-mania. No background in finance or Wall Street-lingo required.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pixie orvis
A great book for starting investors or anybody. Is personal, has history, you can relate things on a personal level and historically.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bill eger
Awesome book! Everything you wanted to know about Buffets life and how he became such as keen investor. Also builds up confidence in the reader than research, common sense and patience can get you ahead with stocks. Not a common view now a days.

My only gripe is it doesn't cover the last 10 years. Time for an update.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pistol
Lowenstein is to Buffett what Gleick is to Richard Feynman. This is easily the best of the Buffett books. Lowenstein combines astute financial acumen with fair and balanced biography. Very well written, organized, and executed. A better book on Buffett simply can't be found.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
leyka
Absolutely great book on the greatest investor of all time. The author of the book has done a remarkable and extensive research of anything and everything that is Warren Buffett. From before his birth up until around 1995, the book is filled with details about Warren Buffet's life, personality, and investment strategy. Although there are countless books about his life, I think this one ranks as the best in terms of details and writing style; the book never fails to entertain and keeps you highly interested. Buy this book, it is a great addition to any collection, a story of an unparalleled phenomenon.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
happytheman
Amazing account of this great investor's life and trials. Not just a biography....gives insight into Buffett's world through the eyes of close family, friends, and partners. Must read for an intelligent investor that can think for himself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alayne
This is the "Best of Breed" for the Warren Buffett books. I have read or skimmed most of them. This one requires more reading, in terms of volume, but it also delivers a better sense of his thoughts / actions and gives a better idea of how to implement it for yourself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kevin steeves
I had to read a book for a college class I was taking about leadership or teamwork. After much research of finding a book that would be of interest to me and teach me about life in general, I was recommend to read this book. At first I thought this book would not be what I was looking for but just tips on how to make money. But much to my dismay, I found this book to be a great guide to becoming a success person in the business world as well as personally.

This is a great book that will not teach you how to become a great investor but more importantly what kind of character Warren Buffett was and how his personality traits helped him become one of the greatest businessman and investors. This book was not dry like most autobiographies entail; instead it was anything but that. It had a deep understanding on different aspects of Buffett's life that helped him become the man he is today. It taught many strategies to becoming a good leader and more importantly a team player. Roger Lowenstein also showed great emphasis on Buffett's childhood and how he was able to think future success to show that he wanted to become successful and have great amounts of wealth. He showed that Buffett was a great man that made morally, ethical decisions to become one of the best investors of all time.

I definitely recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in Warren Buffett's life. This book is a life long lesson.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
krista holtz
Thorough, thoughtful, well-written biography of the greatest investor in last 50 years. Educational, thought-provoking and entertaining. My only criticism is that it is a little slow. That may be an unfair comment in that I had just finished Liar's Poker and The New New Thing by Michael Lewis. This is more of a traditional biography with deep detail.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
prema
I gave this book 4 stars only because it was published in 1995, which is over a decade ago. It is a good source for background information about a corporate executive I respect--and there are few of those to be found. Buffett told the author he would nothing to help or hinder, and the journalistic quality and information is well-presented and -documented. A good place to learn more about the "Oracle of Omaha". I'd like to see Lowenstein do a follow-up covering the more recent years.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
debi salanitro
This book helps you understand how one of the greatest business thinkers of all time got that way. (How would Buffett approach a paper route as a boy, for example?) If you are interested in getting inside his head, this book is a good way to start.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kseniya
Buffett mentioned this book to Bill Gates when Gates asked for his recommendations. I learn a great deal about Buffett through this book. One of the first books for me to read about Buffett, and one of the best as well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lisasancrom
I bought this book because it was one on a recommended reading list for investing. Well, while the book was great and entertaining, I'm not trying to read for entertainment purposes.

That said, if you are looking to read a book about Warren Buffett, his life, career, family, etc. then this is a great biography. If you want an investment guide, don't look here.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ching in
Buffett is an icon and a true role model. He was years ahead of his time in his knowledge and his teaching. The way he chooses to live his life is an inspiration and a great lesson to work hard and always believe in yourself. Great man and amazing human being.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shruts
good history on Warren Buffet.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lowie
Was ok. If you are intrigued by Warren Buffet, The Essays Of Warren Buffet is a bit more informative into the ideology behind his investments.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matthew mccrady
I couldn't put this book down. Not only is the story of Buffet's life interesting, but there are great investment pearls in this book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rosie
Well written and a must read for anyone following the Buffett-Graham style of investing. This is not a "how to invest like Buffett" book but it does give a look at his life and character and offers hope that anyone can invest like Buffett.

Checked-out from the library. More money from investing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cverbra
Most Buffett books have been horrible, but Lowenstein did a fabulous job in writing about the greatest investor of our time. A must read. One of best books I ever read. Lowenstein is a master story-teller and is probably one of the best business authors of our time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gabriele bauman
This is one of my favorite biographies. Wonderfully written. Put this at the top of your reading list.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alureq
I am a professional investor and have been following Mr Warren Buffett for a very long time but it was only after I read Mr Lowenstein's Five-Star book that I understood -- as much as one can understand another -- the Great Investor and how his thinking and investment strategies evolved. Great stuff.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vivien
I found that I knew so little about Warren Buffett, and this gave me a wealth of knowledge. Unfortunately, the book was written before the tech boom and subsequent collapse. Therefore, you do not get a sense of what he did during that time of hysteria, but prior to that it gives an insight that most authors aren't capable of relaying.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mattias ivarsson
This is a great book that outlines Buffett's life and the way he accumulated his wealth. I hated to see the book end - I couldn't put it down. You can also learn Buffetts investment philosophy and approach to capitalism. One very small criticism is that Solomon section was a bit long. The best book I've read on Buffett and I've read them all.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
soraya
I loved it. The best biography out there. We need more men like Buffett. Waiting for Roger's next book. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lachelle
Reading this account of Warren Buffet, I am in awe of this man's intellect and aptitude for what he has spent his life doing. Investing. You will soon realize that any hopes of copying Buffet's strategy or system isn't possible for the "average Joe". It would be the same to think you could produce an outcome exactly like Michaelangelo or Rembrandt-it can't be done.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shawana loveliladi
An excellent and insightful biography of the greatest investor ever. Much more focuse on Buffett as a man than "The Warren Buffett Way"
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mircea
Lowenstein does a great job with this book. The reader is able to get a picture of Warren Buffett the man, as well as businessman. It is Buffett's temperment and character that makes him such a great investor, and the book includes a lot about this. For any Buffett fan, investor, or soon-to-be investor, this is a must-read book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
randy ross
The work of a genius about a genius. This book will change your life!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
caroline chan
This book is great and I absolutely recommend it! I never realized how interesting Warren Buffet's life was until picking up this book. The book offers some insight on Mr. Buffet's investment style in addition to just providing a biography of his life. I think anyone who works in the financial services industry would appreciate this book as much as I do.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ronaanne
This is the most influential account on investing I've ever read. It shows why Warren Buffett has been exceptionally, consistently successful on the stock market - because he has ignored one fad after another and stuck to the fundamentals and analyses he so cherishes. It's also an interesting personal story and an entertaining read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
chris pringle conard
As a novice investor, I found this story to be a very good lesson on how to value companies and ultimately stocks. As an unexpected bonus, it turned out to be an engaging story of one man's life from paperboy to becoming the wealthiest man in America. I bought it as a reference book of sorts and turned out to have acquired an entertaining story as well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mike allen
This book is a very good read to say at least -- nicely written with good details of Warren Buffett's mentality, strategy, and learning process.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
joe lin
Roger Lowenstein confesses from the beginning that he did not have access to Warren Buffett though he did have access to almost everyone else including his partner, Charlie Munger. That makes in mind an incomplete biography of a living legend. The book is very thorough in details and character nonetheless.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
gwyneth
Amazingly inspiring book from a legend in the world of capitalism.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bernd
This is the best investment biography ever written. It is very concise and detailed. It paints a accurate and systematic flow of Buffett's personal life and investment ventures.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
oriol viv
A truly wonderful book filled with real-life examples of how common sense, intelligence and courage pays off. Extremely well written and a very enjoyable read. I was up to 2 a.m. every night reading until I was finished! Buy it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ali mousavi
This is an excellent biography of Warren Buffett's life and why and how he has become the incredible person he is today. It is interesting and also well-written. It could make you an investor if you are not already one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
adena
True an enlightening book. Found much interesting information on value investing, and recommend it to all my proletariot friends who wish to join the bougerougie.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cornelia
I bought two copies of this book, one for myself and one for my cousin (a senior in high school). We both like this book very much.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
angela parkhurst
I've read a lot of books about Warren Buffett and this is by far my favorite. If you have to read only one, read this one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
suzanne olsson
Well researched, analyzed, and written.

I see why Buffett was silently acceptive in autographing it. Superb job in reporting both analytical economics and personal life. Truth.

I will read more from this author.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
suzanne f
A rare account of Buffett's life and financial ventures, detailing several milestones in the evolution of Buffett from wiz kid to financial guru.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bharti bhagat
This is simply the most thourough book written about the life of Warren Buffett.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jmck
A very good book. You feel as though you have listed to a great teacher as you read this account
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
waffles
There is a reason this man is a business icon. Read it, love it, and you will respect Buffet on a whole new level.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
shruti raghu
A star-struck review that doesn't get into the heart of this capital driven character. Doesn't go behind the man at all or talk to anybody who has competed with Buffet or been involved in a business he has taken over. Kind of like an autobiography written by a ghost writer, but with the ghost writers name on it. I've read a long article this author did on Jamie Dimon that was pretty much the same pap. This author just changed the names to protect the not too innocent.
Please Rate Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist
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