Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein

Lessons to be learned from a billionaire.

About Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein: Since its hardcover publication in August of 1995, "Buffett" has appeared on the "Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Newsday" and "Business Week" bestseller lists.

The incredible landmark portrait of Warren Buffett's uniquely American life is now available in paperback, revised and updated by the author. 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. His awesome investment 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 dealmaker who cultivates a homespun aura.

Journalist Roger Lowenstein draws 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" explains 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--and shows how it is a reflection of his inner self.

My two cents

I have been hemming and hawing over writing this review because I can't seem to get my head into writing something worthy of this amazingly written biography about an amazing man.

You probably have come across this name before. Warren Buffett: he happens to be among the richest and most influential men in the world! But he is also one of the most unassuming richest men. Held in high regard in the financial world as one of the most successful investors of the 20th century, he is also a man of paradoxes. Like: he has over $44 billion but he still lives in the same house ... he bought it for $31,500 in 1958!

I liked:

The book is a chunkster, I admit. But it was intriguing in so many ways. It presents how a simple man was able to make a huge fortune using his gumption, going against the traditional way of thinking and doing things.

I don't know how Lowenstein did it, but he managed to pack in an interesting biography with a popularly written investments guidelines booklet!

This book is a treasure trove for:
  • Warren Buffett fans ... in fact this'll make you appreciate how just how human he is. 
  • Investors - whether you already are, or thinking of, there is so much to learn from Warren Buffett's ideas for value investing -- buying at bargain prices and buying into successful companies for the long haul. There are many examples presented throughout Buffett's career that many company names will pop out at you!
  • Those who love a good biography -- highlighting Buffett's relationships with his family, the women in his life, his colleagues, his business partners ... and, yes, his loyal disciples. We get a more personal look at his personality, his failures, and his heartaches. There is a bittersweetness to Buffett's life: he wildly successful financially but emotionally detached from his family.

I had trouble with:

  • The length - the book is shy a few pages of 500 pages! And there are footnotes. I read this over the course of several months, and in short bursts each day. There is a lot to take out of this but it can be overwhelming at times.
  • Some of the jargon. But I managed to get through it by asking the hubby or looking things up online. There is quite a lot about business strategies and mergers and takeovers ... if you're not into this sort of thing, you could feel a bit lost.
Verdict: A thoroughly enjoyable yet challenging read about the life of a wildly successful man.

First line: Almost from the day that Dr. Pollard awakened him to the world, six pounds strong and five weeks early, Warren Buffett had a thirst for numbers.

Read my Friday 56 for this book!

I've taken the easy way out and decided to share with you an infographic of some of the most interesting aspects about Warren Buffett:

Warren Buffett Infographic

Infographic c/o Trustable Gold

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall