ABOUT THE BOOK
If you picture the life and home of one of the world's richest, most powerful men with fifteen bedrooms and a room devoted to swimming in gold (a la Scrooge McDuck) you’ll be shocked with self-made billionaire Warren Buffett. The 81-year-old man lives a modest life in same the three-bedroom home he bought in Dundee, Nebraska in 1958 with his late wife Susan. Never one for extravagance, Buffett always preferred a low key life, both at home and at work, and earlier in his life, at school. His high school year book photo was captioned “likes math, future stock broker” and couldn't have been a better predictor. After college and apprenticeships, Buffett became an investment icon. His flagship investment, Berkshire Hathaway, has become an industry leader for how to choose stocks that have longevity, similar to Buffett himself. Buffett has made significant contributions to the way investments were made on Wall Street by deciding early on to look at the company structure and not just the balance sheets. His unique perspective and insight has earned him the much deserved title “Oracal of Omaha.”
Buffett has always been a philanthropist. In college he belonged to the fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi, like his father before him, whose core mission is, “Silence, purity, charity, honor, and patriotism.” During the 1980s, Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, devised a plan to allow shareholders to allocate funds to their particular charities. Although immensely popular, the program came to a halt after members of a subsidiary, The Pampered Chef, felt they were discriminated against because of the donations Buffett made to pro-choice groups.
In 2006 Buffett shocked the world when he announced that he would be leaving the majority of his vast fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and not to his family members. Buffett, Gates, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, infamously signed the “Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge” that stated each pledged at least half of their earnings to charities.
Also in 2006, Buffet became enraged when his youngest son's adopted daughter, Nicole, appeared in a documentary called “The One Percent,” about growing up in households with money, produced by heir to the Johnson and Johnson fortune, Jamie Johnson. He wrote the 28 year-old Nicole and said, "I have not emotionally or legally adopted you as a grandchild, nor have the rest of my family adopted you as a niece or a cousin,” effectively removing her from his family unit.
Buffett, however, is not free of controversy in his business life either. His first bump with regulators was in 1973 over the perceived notion that he and long time business partner Charlie Munger caused a takeover failure of Wesco Financial. The Security Exchange Commission (SEC) investigated the stock buy up of Wesco shares by the firm Blue Chip, which Buffett owned a majority stake in, and determined that they had sufficient evidence to bring charges of stock price manipulation. Blue Chip neither denied nor confirmed the allegations but settled for $115,000 which was paid out to Wesco shareholders who might have been slighted by their actions.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
Buffett was born on August 30, 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska to Howard and Lelia Buffett. He was the couple’s middle child and only son. Howard Buffett was the son of grocery store owners, but after he was unable to get a job in the family business, he started his own brokerage firm. While Howard ran his investment business he also served on the Omaha Board of Education for four years and then ran for the US House of Representatives. He was elected and relocated the family to Washington, DC. There, Warren attended public schools and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High in 1947, five years later. He was only seventeen years old.