The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

by Alice Schroeder
4.0 109

NOOK Book(eBook)

View All Available Formats & Editions
Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
Want a NOOK ? Explore Now


The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

The personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha”—for fans of the HBO documentary Becoming Warren Buffett

Here is the book recounting the life and times of one of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom.

Although the media track him constantly, Buffett himself has never told his full life story. His reality is private, especially by celebrity standards. Indeed, while the homespun persona that the public sees is true as far as it goes, it goes only so far. Warren Buffett is an array of paradoxes. He set out to prove that nice guys can finish first. Over the years he treated his investors as partners, acted as their steward, and championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, and speaker. At the same time he became the world’s richest man, all from the modest Omaha headquarters of his company Berkshire Hathaway. None of this fits the term “simple.”

When Alice Schroeder met Warren Buffett she was an insurance industry analyst and a gifted writer known for her keen perception and business acumen. Her writings on finance impressed him, and as she came to know him she realized that while much had been written on the subject of his investing style, no one had moved beyond that to explore his larger philosophy, which is bound up in a complex personality and the details of his life. Out of this came his decision to cooperate with her on the book about himself that he would never write.

Never before has Buffett spent countless hours responding to a writer’s questions, talking, giving complete access to his wife, children, friends, and business associates—opening his files, recalling his childhood. It was an act of courage, as The Snowball makes immensely clear. Being human, his own life, like most lives, has been a mix of strengths and frailties. Yet notable though his wealth may be, Buffett’s legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth; it will be his principles and ideas that have enriched people’s lives. This book tells you why Warren Buffett is the most fascinating American success story of our time.

Praise for The Snowball

“Even people who don't care a whit about business will be intrigued by this portrait. . . . Schroeder, a former insurance-industry analyst, spent years interviewing Buffett, and the result is a side of the Oracle of Omaha that has rarely been seen.”Time

“Will mesmerize anyone interested in who Mr. Buffett is or how he got that way. The Snowball tells a fascinating story.”New York Times

“If the replication of any great achievement first requires knowledge of how it was done, then The Snowball, the most detailed glimpse inside Warren Buffett and his world that we likely will ever get, should become a Bible for capitalists.”Washington Post

“Riveting and encyclopedic.”Wall Street Journal

“A monumental biography . . . Schroeder got the best access yet of any Buffett biographer. . . . She deals out marvelously funny and poignant stories about Buffett and the conglomerate he runs, Berkshire Hathaway.”Forbes

“The most authoritative portrait of one of the most important American investors of our time.”Los Angeles Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553905496
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/29/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 976
Sales rank: 138,710
File size: 11 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Author Alice Schroeder was a noted insurance industry analyst and writer who was a managing director at Morgan Stanley. She first met Warren Buffett when she published research on Berkshire Hathaway; her grasp of the subject and insight so impressed him that he offered her access to his files and to himself. Their friendship and mutual respect make her ideally positioned to write the The Snowball.

Ms. Schroeder was born in Texas, and she earned an undergraduate degree and her MBA at the University of Texas at Austin before moving east to work in finance. She is a former CPA and lives in Connecticut with her husband.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Snowball 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 109 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
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.
mso More than 1 year ago
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.
jrsedivy More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
skwalker367 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
turboscott More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.

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.

Very well done!
gwazdos More than 1 year ago
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!

Buffet in my eyes is a MAN OF HONOR, a rare commodity now adays!

Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sudakje More than 1 year ago
Great book for those fascinated with financial achievements and they mysteries of Warren Buffet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buffet's life
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could be Marble.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BKW75 More than 1 year ago
EntrepreneurTX More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago