Customer Reviews for

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Riveting

THE SNOWBALL-Warren Buffett and the Business of Life is as engrossing a book as I have ever read. It's a real page-turner. I am not in the habit of reading 840 page books with another hundred or so pages of notes but this book was so fascinating I couldn't put it down. ...
THE SNOWBALL-Warren Buffett and the Business of Life is as engrossing a book as I have ever read. It's a real page-turner. I am not in the habit of reading 840 page books with another hundred or so pages of notes but this book was so fascinating I couldn't put it down. Of the hundreds of books I have read I have never reread one until now. I am rereading the book highlighting many of the interesting topics. It truly is about the business of life.

posted by Reality-Man on November 10, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

I would never attempt to read this... HUGE!!

I gave it as a gift. The recipient said he would read it as he has read other books/articles on Buffet. Given at Christmas not yet read!!
oh well... sometimes if a book is tooooooo large it is intimidating and left for unread.

posted by searchin on February 9, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2008

    Riveting

    THE SNOWBALL-Warren Buffett and the Business of Life is as engrossing a book as I have ever read. It's a real page-turner. I am not in the habit of reading 840 page books with another hundred or so pages of notes but this book was so fascinating I couldn't put it down. Of the hundreds of books I have read I have never reread one until now. I am rereading the book highlighting many of the interesting topics. It truly is about the business of life.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Remarkably detailed biography of Buffett

    Warren Buffett is ¿everyman¿ as multibillionaire. Despite his vast wealth, he has always eschewed ostentation. He pays himself about $100,000 annually, which in today¿s U.S. economy places him in the upper-middle-class. He lives in the same simple Omaha, Nebraska, house that he bought in 1958 for $31,500. He prefers an old gray suit to expensive London tailoring. In Buffett¿s early days, when he was only a multimillionaire and not a multibillionaire, he walked around with holes in the soles of his shoes. To Buffett, wardrobe doesn¿t matter; what matters is making money. He is better at this pursuit than anyone else in the world. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked him as the globe¿s richest man, with a net worth of $62.3 billion. Author Alice Schroeder does a masterful job of chronicling Buffett¿s improbable, inspiring life. As a former superstar research analyst, Schroeder uses her expert knowledge of finance and commerce to detail Buffett¿s investment philosophy and business activities. getAbstract praises Schroeder¿s remarkable skills as a researcher and writer. Her book is packed with fascinating details and trenchant observations about the ¿Oracle of Omaha.¿ One of the best business biographies available, this book shows how the world¿s greatest investor amassed the world¿s greatest fortune, while staying true to his essential self.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2008

    A Skeptical Reader

    Don't be put off by the size or the subject. Warren Buffett is not just a numbers guy, he is a fascinating, totally off beat and engaging person. Thanks to Ms. Schroeder, whose wit and knowledge of the stock market that Mr. Buffett inhabits are essential, it becomes a page turner. When you turn the 800th and some page, you will be wishing for more.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    The Human Side of Greatness

    The Snowball is an in-depth review of Warren Buffett¿s life. At times I found this book surprisingly candid as it identified the frailties as well as strengths of Warren Buffett. This helped me associate with Warren Buffett the person and in my opinion, makes him seem all the more impressive given the challenges he had to overcome during this rise to fame. I found The Snowball to be a must read for those interested in leadership, self-help, or even just a good story.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Educational

    For someone who arrives in mid-life with a minimal knowledge of how the stock market operates, this is a healthy intro, written in an engaging style by someone who has done five years of thorough research. As a retired college prof., I would have said that this should be required reading of every undergraduate, but then again you can't make someone enjoy it. It is not Romeo and Juliet or the Canterbury Tales, but it is certainly Econ 101 worthy. When my granddaughters (ages 13 and 14) ask me this year what I want for Christmas, I will ask them for a promise that they read my copy and talk to me about it for a few minutes.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    Great

    Alice Schroeder has done a wonderful job parsing the incredibly interesting and complex life of one of the world's true, living legends. This should become the tome to site for all things Buffett. It is thorough, examining his family history, his father's career, and details of his youthful adventures which in many instances, went well over the moral line he now teaches people to steer away from. The hardships suffered by close family members of the financial, psychological, and personal variety are honestly portrayed through the biography, as are details of the complex relationships he has had with women throughout his life. For students of business and investment, the book details clearly the growth of his business knowledge early on and the success of his many investment partnerships. Alice details the countless problems he experienced once owning Berkshire Hathaway and the businesses that were later rolled in to create the present Berkshire. The details of his many acquisitions highlight his unique intelligence, as well as the intellect of his contemporaries, who in-fact were first to discover many of the corporate gems he acquired over the years. His collaboration with other investment managers proved vital to his success, contrary to much of what has been said elsewhere. Lastly, flaws are exposed in his investment acumen numerous times with regard to operations of target companies, and his early judgment in management teams. The very fact that he has been so successful, even given these errors, is testament to his unique abilities as a businessman. The book highlights Buffett's amazing focus and zest for life. His relationships and personal experiences, which have never been exposed in any detail, have led to the unique character of Warren Buffett. His development into a great human being and quest to create something enduring in Berkshire, the Foundations, and his many 'students', is wonderfully explained in this thoroughly enjoyable biography.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2009

    A Very Interesting Book

    The Snowball is a fascinating story of the life Warren Buffet. The story of how Warren Buffet built his empire to become the wealthiest man on the planet was interesting enough to make this a real page turner. I enjoyed almost everything about this book. One factor that turned me off the book however was the bias of the author, it was obvious that he picked her to write the book because she is a close friend of his. I'm not trying to detract from any of the praise Mr. Buffet receives throughout the book, he is deserving of all of it and more. I just think that its a little hypocritical to quote Warren Buffet in the book as saying to go with the less flattering of any contradictory stories in the book, but at the same time choose a personal friend to write it who can hardly stop praising him. Despite this it's a very interesting read that I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn about the business of life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2009

    The Snowball, Warren Buffett

    review by Joseph P . Ritz

    Warren Buffett has been the subject of books and articles since the public became aware he is one of the richest men on earth.
    I thought of writing a book about him when I was about to retire from one of his companies: The Buffalo News. I asked my publisher and Buffett's longtime friend Stan Lipsey, who Buffett had lured from Omaha, if the billionaire would confide in me. He checked with Buffett.
    I was told that Buffett had recruited a young, attractive woman financial writer to write an exhaustive book about him and his family. He would not talk to me.
    The book is The Snowball - Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, by Alice Schroeder. (Bantam Press) 960 pages, $35.
    There is a reasonable wariness of a biography in which the subject has chosen the author. The book includes pages and pages of long reflections, reasoning and comments by the subject. A less restricted author could well have shortened many of the quotes in the interest of readability and clarity.
    Nevertheless, the book adds depth and a large measure of understanding as to how and why Buffett became so concentrated on accumulating money and required the mothering of the several close females in his life, including Katherine Graham, owner of The Washington Post.
    (After Susie, his wife of a quarter of a century, left him, she found Warren a substitute who became Buffett's mistress, housekeeper, caretaker and companion and after Susie's death, his second wife.)
    Surprisingly, the book is not as fawning as I had feared. In fact, for me, the teenage Warren was dislikeable misfit, a shop lifter of golf balls and equipment from a Washington, D.C. Sears. Buffett's congressman father comes across as being out of touch with reality and the common good, so conservative that he opposed everything FDR proposed, including Social Security and later, under Truman, the Marshall Plan. Eventually, he joined the John Birch Society.
    In 1973 the Omaha Sun weekly newspapers, then owned by Buffett with Lipsey as publisher, won a Pulitzer for its expose of fund raising and lack of spending by Boys Town.
    At the time, Buffett wrote that the prize showed the need for more than one printing press in a community.
    A decade later, he had apparently changed his view after buying The Buffalo News. Aware that 60 percent of the rival newspaper's revenues came from its Sunday edition, under Buffett, the News started its own Sunday edition, at first giving away copies knowing that its morning rival, The Buffalo Courier-Express, would eventually have to cease operation, which it did in 1982.
    In the interest of full disclosure, I was on the editorial staff of the Courier during that period.
    Even though it became the surviving newspaper, members of The Newspaper Guild, which represents editorial and much of the circulation departments of the newspaper, today refer to Buffett derisively as "Uncle Warren." One reason is that after accepting meager raises during the battle with the Courier, the employees expected big raises when the News became the only daily in town. They didn't get them.
    In fact, the paper began drastically cutting staff, including a big chunk of the news gathering staff. When there were two papers, the Courier staffed city hall with two reporters; the News had a regular staff of four, which rose to six on important news events. Today, one reporter covers City Hall.

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    I would never attempt to read this... HUGE!!

    I gave it as a gift. The recipient said he would read it as he has read other books/articles on Buffet. Given at Christmas not yet read!!<BR/>oh well... sometimes if a book is tooooooo large it is intimidating and left for unread.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Must Read

    The audio was well done and the book was well written. A must read for anyone seeking insight into the life of self-made success, and what an effective inner score card can have on life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2009

    Simple but complex

    This book was amazing. even though it was a little on the long side for my taste, it was absolutely beautifully written and tells the story of one of the smartest business men in history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2008

    Very Well Written Book

    I bought this book the day it came out because it is the only book out there that Buffett endorses about his life. Other authors have tried to make money writing about Buffett, from their perspective. This book is written from Warren Buffett's perspective.<BR/><BR/>For a book so long it would be easy to lose the reader. Alice Schreoder has not lost me. She wrote this book so well I felt like Warren Buffett wrote the book himself. It feels like the only way someone could get every single detail that is found in this book is to actually live them all.<BR/><BR/>About Warren Buffett: This book does a good job and telling us about his life. As someone who did not have the best family environment growing up it feels good to hear that you can overcome that and accomplish anything you want. In Buffett's case he wanted to make money. He overcame a verbally abusive mother and became the richest person in the world. What is most impressive is he has done it with integrity, loyalty, and honesty. These are qualities rarely found in the business world as seen the last few months in 2008.<BR/><BR/>I recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about business, or may even be looking to deal with being born to a terrible parent or two. It is just as good as a self-help book as it is a business book.<BR/><BR/>Very well done!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2008

    Alice you have done a fine job writing of this fine man

    What can I say that has not already been written about this great read, Only I loved every page. This man's in sights about the financial traps that were coming, he wrote about them years in advance and even with his financial respect and skill people still did not listen, only when everyone lost their shirts did they now begin to look for a new shirt. Too late!<BR/><BR/>Buffet in my eyes is a MAN OF HONOR, a rare commodity now adays!<BR/><BR/>gwazdos

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2008

    The best look at what makes the man work

    I'm sure everyone reads about Warren Buffet because he is an interesting man, but, if you're like me, you read about him because you also want to know how he thinks and the strategies he used to create his wealth. If that's what you're into, then this is the book for you. Quite fascinating to see how he got that big old snowball rolling and how he keeps it rolling in any economic conditions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2013

    Highly recommended for those with a financial interest

    Great book for those fascinated with financial achievements and they mysteries of Warren Buffet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2013

    Great read

    Buffet's life

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2012

    Hi

    I could be Marble.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    F

    Snowball sat next to her two moon old kits, Marble and Flutter. She wanted them to join a clan so the nofurs wouldnt take them.

    Marble: white she cat with black and brown patches
    Flutter: brown she cat with white stripes
    (BTW ANOTHER KIT IS HERE BUT IS BERY WEAK HIS NAME IS MITTENS HE IS BLACK WITH WHITE PAWS AND WHITE EARS)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    LOVE THIS BOOK IT IS A MUST READ.

    IF YOU HAVE EVER SPOKE THE WORDS THE RICH ARE GREEDY READ THIS BOOK IT MAY CHANGE YOUR MIND.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    Pretty good read

    This is a pretty good read. Some very interesting insights into Buffet. It tells story about Buffet's first job as a vendor at University of Omaha football game. He paraded up and down the stands wearing Wilkie-McNary buttons on his shirt. His manager asked him to take the buttons off and later confiscated them. Buffet should have learned from that while he is a great investor, he should keep his political opinions to himself. While he has some very great ideas on value investing, I have a hard time listening anything he has to say. Particularly when he advocates raising taxes. Isn't that a little bit like advocating pulling in the gangplank when you are already onboard the ship.

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