Friday, November 18, 2016

The Snowball

Warren Buffet is a rich midwesterner who has been obsessed with money from a young age. He grew up in Omaha and spent some time in Washington D.C. when his dad was a congressman. In both places he was working to earn money and have that money compound through investments. He then created his own fund to invest other people's money. He followed the conservative investing principals of Ben Graham (and even talked himself into Columbia Business School so that he could learn from Graham himself.) He was most eager to work for himself, and liked to take large stakes in companies. One company he bought was a New Bedford textile company, Berkshire Hathaway. He initially did not want to buy it, but he felt wronged and eventually took over the company. He would later say that it was one of his worst mistakes. However, that company would become the holding company for many other organizations.
The book portrays Buffet as a "country boy" who does not mind hob-knobbing with elites, yet is reluctant to venture out of his comfort zone. (He'd prefer to eat a hamburger and fried rather than Asian food while in Asia.) He knows what he is good at and sticks to that. He seems overly obsessed with money. However, he also wants to make sure his children can live comfortable but do not get undue benefit from their winning the "ovarian lottery". He realizes he was able to make a fortune due to being in the right place and working hard. However, he is in favor of inheritance taxes and other similar programs to share the wealth. People should be able to work on things that they are good at, but shouldn't have a life of idleness simply because of their birth. (He seems to be unable to stop working, in spite of "retiring" a few times.)

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