Friday, June 26, 2009

A Waco Tribune-Herald Special

Not sure how in the world the Waco Tribune-Herald got such an interesting interview but Tim Woods managed to do just that with Alice Schroeder, author of Snowball - a biography on Warren Buffett. This was the first book Warren Buffett ever agreed to do an interview for. I have read it and highly endorse it. From the Waco Tribune:

On the personal side:

There are many aspects to his personality. It’s almost like he’s several different people.

There’s that grandfatherly wise man you see on TV. There is this tough, icy businessman that I called “the great white shark” in The Snowball. You would not want to be on the other side of a deal with him, trying to negotiate with him. Then, there’s this little kid that needs taking care of and that manages to pull everybody in to protect him. Everybody in his world is his protector.

Then, he has a very showoff side that’s like P.T. Barnum and he likes to dress up like Elvis and sing and play the ukelele and put on shows and he’s a great theatrical personality. And then he’s very sensitive to criticism and there’s a part of him that’s also childlike and vulnerable, but in a different way, in that he cannot tolerate anything that would make him feel unworthy. That’s because his mother abused him and his sister emotionally for years and told them that they were literally worthless and didn’t deserve to exist.

As Warren put it, by the time he was 3 years old he was broken and couldn’t be put back together. That might have something to do with his reaction to the book. He’s sensitive in a way that is very hard to describe.

on the investing side:

So, the book details the battles that he had to get control of some of the companies that he ended up buying. And his friends and how he went through these long, strategic battles that were really very funny, but also very intense.

So, you can learn a lot from them, but they’re also really revealing. He was not somebody sitting in a room investing. He was conducting wars, and that’s something that people don’t know.


All of these books that say you can get rich by investing like Warren Buffett, it’s a bunch of baloney. You can’t do it. He’s not only brilliant, but he works like a demon from morning until night and he’s been doing that for 70 years. So, when you see him and you’re around him, you realize the futility of trying to replicate his achievement. It can’t be done.


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