The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.pdf

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.pdf
 

书籍描述

编辑推荐
“人生就像滚雪球。最重要的是发现很湿的雪和很长的坡。”   ——沃伦 巴菲特

名人推荐

跟巴菲特学滚雪球

《中国证券报》

在华尔街一片恐慌的日子里,有人又为巴菲特出版了最新传记:《滚雪球巴菲特和他的财富人生》。书名源自巴菲特的名言:人生就像滚雪球,重要的是找到很湿的雪和很长的坡。

湿雪,指的是在合适的环境中投入能不断滚动增长的资金。长坡,指的是能让资金有足够的时间滚大变强的企业。巴菲特也似乎总能找到很湿的雪很长的坡。 近期巴菲特又开始逆势加仓买股票了,通用电气、高盛、比亚迪等公司都成了他猎取的目标。显然,巴菲特已经把当前全球性的金融风暴,当成了很湿的雪。我们又 仿佛看到,在漫天飞雪中,巴菲特已在笑傲风雪,准备着滚雪球。巴菲特的行动,虽然各界人士看法迥异,但我们觉得他在全球金融风暴中亮丽的身影,至少给了我 们这样几点启示:

一、在风暴中要有独特的投资视角。2008年以来,华尔街凄风惨雨,金融风暴愈演愈烈,全球股市风声鹤唳。可就在这个时候,手持443亿美元现金的巴菲特出手了,在收购高盛后,先后投资上百亿美元。按照目前全球股市的状况看,看好后市的巴菲特显得那么纤弱和孤独,肯定也成为套牢一族了,也就是说巴菲特出手的时机未必是最佳。但巴菲特却让我们对金融风暴有了一个很好的视角,那就是看到了聪明钱的运作方向,那就是明确了在危机中不必恐慌,不管全球风暴如何猖獗,但最终会过去的。如果往远处看,一定会有暴风雨过后的彩虹在等着我们。

二、在危机中要敢于捕捉机遇。1910年, 一场特大象鼻虫灾害狂潮般地席卷了美国亚拉巴马州的棉田,害虫所到之处,风卷残云。可是当地的棉农在极度恐慌过后,又重新振作起来。他们在一片狼藉的棉田 里试着套种玉米、大豆、烟叶等农作物,结果既防治了象鼻虫,又获得了很好的经济效益。有一年,墨西哥火山爆发,索罗斯知道此消息后,立刻在芝加哥期货市场 买进谷物和棉花期货。后来由于火山影响,美国的农作物也普遍歉收,而其期货价格却大幅上扬,索罗斯从中大赚了一笔。1907年、1929年、1987年都曾发生过金融风暴,虽然股市都遭遇过暴跌,但最终还是复苏了,并出现了新的上升行情。世上没有人愿意遭遇各种危机,也没有真正意义上的绝对危机,有的只是对待危机的不同态度和行动。巴菲特在风暴中的身影告诉我们,当前股市的动荡,也许正是捕捉机遇的大好时机。

三、在熊市中要留有充足的现金。大笔买进、重拳出击,巴菲特今年以来已经进行了280亿 美元的投资。近日他说,市场当前提供给我们的机会是半年或者一年前根本不可能出现的,因此他将不断投入资金。在全球股市的股价便宜得像白菜萝卜一样时,股 神却有那么多的现金去不断投入,实在是令人羡慕,也值得一直满仓的中小投资者深思。巴菲特抄底成功了吗?从市场规律看,在美国的近代史上,历次系统性熊市 的跌幅都没超过50%,目前美股的跌幅显然已经接近此幅度。从中国A股市场看,历史上曾有过4次大调整,其中1992~1994年出现过两次跌幅分别为72%79%,随后的调整幅度都在50%左右,而本次调整已达到70%,也接近最大调整幅度。虽然我们无法断定真正的市场底在何方,但可以肯定的是,目前这个点位距离真正的市场底已经很近了。

四、在低位要寻找自己的长坡。巴菲特在2002~2003年期间购买了总价4.88亿美元的中石油H股,5年后出手时已达40亿美元,守了5年的长坡,增长了10倍的雪球。这一次,他投资的多只股票准备守几年呢?虽然我们无法全部了解,但有一点是肯定的,巴菲特完全在用自己的投资理念和方式进行投资,我们没有必要一味地去效仿。有人说牛市炒绩优,弱市炒重组,也有人说永远要把价值投资放在第一位,但不管怎么说,都应在把握市场节奏的前提


无比专注的巴菲特

美国《商业周刊》 艾米费尔德曼

半个多世纪以来,沃伦巴菲特一直都恰到好处地把握了时机。因此,他选择9月下旬也就不足为奇了,第一本经他授权的官方传记公开出版,而头版头条却充斥着金融危机的消息,这是他之前都警告过的;而几天之前,他还刚刚同意为高盛公司注资50亿美元。

对于这位传奇投资家,我们并不陌生,尤其是通过罗杰洛温斯坦的《巴菲特传:一个美国资本家的成长》一书,我们对他有了深入的了解。现在,施罗德,摩根士丹利保险公司的前保险分析师,再次将这位奥马哈之神敏锐和个性的一面呈现在了我们面前,这就是《滚雪球:巴菲特和他的财富人生》。

施罗德历时5年, 经过潜心研究各种资料包括以前从未公开过的档案文件,终于为读者描述了一个与众不同的巴菲特。他执著,痴迷,幼时备受母亲打击伤害,因为她根本就不知道一 个小孩想要什么,以及怎样得到那些东西。这里,读者将会再次见到这个熟悉的,酷爱汉堡、可乐,时不时说几句名言警句,而又不太入流的家伙。但是,《滚雪 球》比其他作品更加敏锐,它深入到心灵深处挖掘其成功秘诀。他的长期投资取得了惊人的回报,甚至有些学者都不敢相信,认为那只是侥幸成功。

巴菲特把自己的成功归结为专注。施罗德写道:他除了关注商业活动外,几乎对其他一切如艺术、文学、科学、旅行、建筑等全都充耳不闻因此他能够专心致志追寻自己的激情。施罗德说,小时候,沃伦就随身携带着自己最珍贵的财产自动换币器。而10岁时,父亲提出带他旅行,他要求去纽约证券交易所。不久之后,巴菲特读到了一本名为《赚1000美元的1000招》的书,他对朋友说要在35岁前成为百万富翁。1941年的世界大萧条中,一个孩子敢说出这样的话,可真是胆大包天,听上去有点傻得透顶了,施罗德写道,但是……他很肯定自己能够实现这一梦想。

当然,他确实做到了,并且还不止这些。大学毕业后,巴菲特被哈佛商学院拒绝,于是他来到哥伦比亚大学,投身名扬四海的本杰明格雷厄姆的门下,成为他的学生,这是《聪明的投资人》一书的作者、价值投资之父。巴菲特从格雷厄姆那里明白了市场先生的危险,并且学会了如何抛开市场行情分析公司价值的秘诀。

他开始购买烟蒂型股票,即那些只剩一口气、即将出局的公司,最终买进了美国商业史上一些最伟大的品牌,包括可口可乐和吉列,以及其他的私营公司,如内布拉斯加家具城和喜诗糖果公司。巴菲特投资战车的核心是伯克希尔哈撒韦公司这也是施罗德第一次和他接触的原因该公司主要经营保险业务,麾下拥有政府雇员保险公司和通用再保险公司。这些公司都很赚钱,为巴菲特赚取了大量可供投资的资金。
巴菲特的投资方法,源自格雷厄姆,同时又有独创,十分简单:评估投资价值,规避风险,保留安全边际,让复利发挥实际功效。尽管在20世纪60年代的赌博性投资和90年代互联网的泡沫时期,人们都卷入了这一狂潮之中,而巴菲特的原则依然没有改变。他只买自己能够理解和评估的股票,并且想在很便宜时买进。任何人都明白这些简单的想法,施罗德写道,但是很少有人能够去实行。

对那些已经了解巴菲特故事的人来说,施罗德这本书最引人瞩目的地方就是它史诗般的视野。她为我们栩栩如生地刻画了巴菲特的一家,包括他曾经担任共和党国会议员、同他一样恪守道德原则的父亲沃伦霍华德;脾气乖戾的母亲利拉,因为她母亲一生大多数时间都卧病不起,需要人照顾,所以也造就了她的这种脾性;他的妻子苏珊,三个孩子的母亲,以及阿斯特丽德,沃伦的情人。(阿斯特丽德和沃伦在2006年结婚,此时据苏珊去世已经两年。)

同时,施罗德也提醒读者,巴菲特首创的新词定时炸弹(time bombs可以追溯到伯克希尔哈撒韦公司2002年的股东报告中,并且说他们疯狂的扩张,可能会引发金融灾难的连锁反应

很遗憾,没有人仔细听,但是正如施罗德所写的:2008年春天的混乱之中,巴菲特坐在那里,在他近60年的职业生涯中,他所思考的价值和风险一直都没有改变,总是有人在说规则已经变了。但是,他说,只有短线投资,你才可以这么认为。


From Publishers Weekly
In this startlingly frank account of Buffett's life, Schroeder, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley—and hand picked by Buffett to be his biographer—strips away the mystery that has long cloaked the word's richest man to reveal a life and fortune erected around lucid and inspired business vision and unimaginable personal complexity. In a book that is dominated by unstinting descriptions of Buffett's appetites—for profit, women (particularly nurturing maternal types), food (Buffett maintained his and his family's weight by "dangling money")—it is refreshing that Schroeder keeps her tone free of judgment or awe; Buffett's plain-speaking suffuses the book and renders his public and private successes and failures wonderfully human and universal. Schroeder's sections detailing the genesis of Buffett's investment strategy, his early mentoring by Benjamin Graham (who imparted the memorable "cigar butt" scheme: purchasing discarded stocks and taking a final puff). Inspiring managerial advice abounds and competes with gossipy tidbits (the married Buffett's very public relationship with Washington Post editor Katherine Graham) in this rich, surprisingly affecting biography.

Review
“The mandatory book to read in these treacherous times of financial crisis.…A thoughtful and intimate biography of the globe’s wisest investor.” –Forbes

“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

“Anyone who has been watching events unfold in recent months–which would be everyone–can now appreciate the wisdom of Buffett....The most authoritative portrait of one of the most important American investors of our time.”–Los Angeles Times

“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 Magazine

"Schroeder, a former analyst, has a meat-and-potatoes style that matches the homespun wisdom of her subject...Now more than ever, Buffett's emphasis on fundamentals seems like genius. It's the perfect moment for a great book on an immensely inspiring capitalist."–People, four stars

“Schroeder, a former investment analyst, is well equipped to elucidate Buffett’s deals…[and] Buffett’s life abounds with good stories.” —The New Yorker

“An instructive chronicle of financial success at a moment when financial failure is on everyone’s mind....All you wanted to know about Warren Buffett–and more.”—Wall Street Journal

“You will learn a lot about one of the nation's most compelling and important men from reading The Snowball.” —Boston Globe

“In The Snowball, novice biographer Alice Schroeder gives us one of the most detailed, candid life stories ever published…It is almost impossible to stop reading.” —Christian Science Monitor

“A penetrating and personal look at the Oracle of Omaha…An astute, and at times riveting, read–especially now.”—BusinessWeek

“Everyone knows that in a deep and liquid capital market like that of the US, it is just about impossible to beat the stock market averages over anything more than the short term. But Buffett has been ahead of the curve for most of the past 50 years, making him one of the world’s richest people. Alice Schroeder’s massive authorized biography, The Snowball, provides some clues about how he’s done it.” —Financial Times

“In this startlingly frank account of Buffett’s life, Schroeder, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley–and hand picked by Buffett to be his biographer–strips away the mystery that has long cloaked the word’s richest man to reveal a life and fortune erected around lucid and inspired business vision and unimaginable personal complexity.” —Publishers Weekly

“This massive–and highly readable–text (produced with Buffett’s full cooperation) is an unvarnished and well-paced biography that is essential for all public and academic business collections.” —Library Journal

“For students of the Oracle of Omaha, or even those looking for a little reassurance during the crisis, Schroeder's book is a fascinating study of America's most successful investor.” —New York Post

“If you've looked at your 401(k) statement and started to fear that everyone in financial markets is either greedy, predatory or incompetent, do yourself a favor. Take $35 out of the mattress and buy a copy of Alice Schroeder's The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. At a time like this, it's a real comfort: Buffet is living proof there's at least one wholly rational person managing money…an excellent and highly enjoyable look at the business titan.” —Houston Chronicle

“Ms. Schroeder does a good job of pulling…volunteered disclosures out of Mr. Buffett but her real contribution is her own investment expertise which enables her to make the convoluted financing schemes over the last 50 years understandable to lay readers and truly instructive to the business information junkie.” —Washington Times

“This is a fast-paced, precisely drawn profile of a man who, despite his high visibility in the financial world, isn’t someone we’ve known much about… We do now.” —Kansas City Star


媒体推荐
《滚雪球》提供了以往从未有过的深度分析,让读者透视巴菲特的性格和人生,并浓缩了那些使其获得非凡成功和声誉的原则及理念。它向读者呈现了巨大的成功、 卓越的领导力和慷慨的慈善家背后的巴菲特。本书记录了巴菲特的思想,其视角可以运用到生意中以及主导我们生活的日常决策中。
——《金融时报》

在金融危机的危险时刻,很有必要读读这本书。
——《福布斯》

在施罗德女士这本厚达900多页的书中,我们能够学到许多经验教训……从失败中汲取经验十分重要……许多人会说:下一次沃伦?巴菲特警告危机来临时,我们最好洗耳恭听。
——《华尔街日报》

对那些已经了解巴菲特故事的人来说,施罗德的这本书最引人注目之处就是它史诗般的视野。《滚雪球》比其他作品更加敏锐,它深入到心灵深处,挖掘了巴菲特的成功秘诀。
——美国《商业周刊》

这是一个典型的美国故事,讲述了一个完全靠自我奋斗而成功的人,并且在一些方面依然保持了自己的本色。这本书权威地展现了巴菲特非凡的一生,是所有资本家的《圣经》。
——《华盛顿邮报》

巴 菲特选择艾丽斯?施罗德为其作传真是明智之举……她具有高超的驾驭能力,纵横捭阖,收缩自如,将巴菲特的传奇故事娓娓道来,抽丝剥茧地梳理了他那盘根错节 的商业帝国。施罗德女士不仅对巴菲特的传奇人生了如指掌,同时也敏锐把握到了他对当前经济危机的精确预见。    
——《纽约时报》

施罗德的这本书是 一本惊人的好书,之所以“惊人”,是因为她不仅仅详尽描述了巴菲特私人生活的细微之处,同时她的写作技巧娴熟,文笔优美,让这本书感人肺腑。尽管她明显得 到了巴菲特的鼓励和合作,但在评价他时依然直言不讳……从个人角度而言,巴菲特也许不是世界上最容易相处的人,但是他的一生却很值得研究。在施罗德的书 中,她找到了一个独特的视角来讲述他的故事。
——《人物周刊》

毫无疑问,本书详尽呈现了巴菲特无与伦比的商业成就,同时也讲述了一个独具 特色的美国成功故事,确立了他的伟大形象……那些根本不关心商业的人们也会着迷于他的传奇人生,一个儿时饱受母亲呵斥的邻家少年,长大后却仍然依赖女人们 的心理安慰—甚至当他成为这个世界上最为富有的人后,依然如是。
——《时代周刊》

“The mandatory book to read in these treacherous times of financial crisis.…A thoughtful and intimate biography of the globe’s wisest investor.” –Forbes

“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

Anyone who has been watching events unfold in recent months–which would be everyone–can now appreciate the wisdom of Buffett....The most authoritative portrait of one of the most important American investors of our time.”–Los Angeles Times

“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 Magazine

"Schroeder... has a meat-and-potatoes style that matches the homespun wisdom of her subject...Now more than ever, Buffett's emphasis on fundamentals seems like genius. It's the perfect moment for a great book on an immensely inspiring capitalist."—People, four stars

“Schroeder…is well equipped to elucidate Buffett’s deals…[and] Buffett’s life abounds with good stories.”—New Yorker

“You will learn a lot about one of the nation's most compelling and important men from reading The Snowball.” —Boston Globe

“In The Snowball, novice biographer Alice Schroeder gives us one of the most detailed, candid life stories ever published…It is almost impossible to stop reading.” —Christian Science Monitor

“A penetrating and personal look at the Oracle of Omaha…An astute, and at times riveting, read–especially now.”—BusinessWeek

“Everyone knows that in a deep and liquid capital market like that of the US, it is just about impossible to beat the stock market averages over anything more than the short term. But Buffett has been ahead of the curve for most of the past 50 years, making him one of the world’s richest people. Alice Schroeder’s massive authorized biography, The Snowball, provides some clues about how he’s done it.” —Financial Times

“In this startlingly frank account of Buffett’s life, Schroeder, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley–and hand picked by Buffett to be his biographer–strips away the mystery that has long cloaked the word’s richest man to reveal a life and fortune erected around lucid and inspired business vision and unimaginable personal complexity.” —Publishers Weekly

“This massive–and highly readable–text (produced with Buffett’s full cooperation) is an unvarnished and well-paced biography that is essential for all public and academic business collections.” —Library Journal

“For students of the Oracle of Omaha, or even those looking for a little reassurance during the crisis, Schroeder's book is a fascinating study of America's most successful investor.” —New York Post

“… Alice Schroeder’s accumulation of detail, her vivid, artless descriptions of people and places, and the resulting narrative fluidity make this a compelling book. It has the bouncing vitality of an early Sinclair Lewis novel…”—Times Literary Supplement

“If you've looked at your 401(k) statement and started to fear that everyone in financial markets is either greedy, predatory or incompetent, do yourself a favor. Take $35 out of the mattress and buy a copy of Alice Schroeder's The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. At a time like this, it's a real comfort: Buffet is living proof there's at least one wholly rational person managing money…an excellent and highly enjoyable look at the business titan.” —Houston Chronicle

“Ms. Schroeder does a good job of pulling…volunteered disclosures out of Mr. Buffett but her real contribution is her own investment expertise which enables her to make the convoluted financing schemes over the last 50 years understandable to lay readers and truly instructive to the business information junkie.” —Washington Times

“This is a fast-paced, precisely drawn profile of a man who, despite his high visibility in the financial world, isn’t someone we’ve known much about… We do now.” —Kansas City Star

“This massive—and highly readable—text (produced with Buffett’s full cooperation) is an unvarnished and well-paced biography that is essential for all public and academic business collections.”—LibraryJournal.com

"Top-notch biographies demand thorough research and crisp, finely honed writing. Schroeder exhibits both.... It's hard to imagine a more complete account of Buffett's life had he written it himself."—Buffalo News

“Riveting and encyclopedic.... The overall power of the story carries “The Snowball” forward. There is much to be learned from it.”—wsj.com

“[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.com


From the Hardcover edition.

作者简介
艾丽斯·施罗德 曾任摩根士丹利的董事总经理,因撰写伯克希尔·哈撒韦公司的研究报告而与巴菲特结识,而巴菲特也因为赏识她的洞察力、和掌握主题的能力,授权施罗德撰写他 的人生故事。生于德州,在得克萨斯大学奥斯汀分校获得学士及MBA学位。拥有会计师执照,目前与丈夫居住在康涅狄格州。

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.

目录
PART ONE/The Bubble
 1:The Less Flattering Version
2:Sun Valley
3:Creatures of Habit
4:Warren.What’S Wrong?
PART TWO/The Inner Scorecard
5:TheUrgetoPreach
6:The Bathtub Steeplechase
7:Armistice Day
8:A Thousand Wavs
9:Inky Fingers
 10:TrHe Crime Stories
 11:Pudgy She Was Not
 12:Silent Sales
 13:The Rules of the Racetrack
 14:The Elephant
 15:The Interview
 16:Strike One
 17:Mount Everest
 18:Miss Nebraska
 19:Stage Fright
PART THREE/The Racetrack
 20:Graham—Newman
 21:The Side to Play
 22:Hidden Splendor
23:The Omaha Club
24:The Locomotive
25:TheWindmillWar
26:Haystacks of Gold
27:Folly
28:Drv Tinder
29:What a Worsted Is
30:Jet Iack 294
31:The Scaffold Sways the Future
32:Easy,Safe,Profitable,and Pleasant
33:The Unwinding
PART FOUR/Susie Sings
34:Candy Harry
35:The Sun
36:Two Drowned Rats
37:Newshound
38:Spaghetti Western
39:The Giant 399
40:How Not to Run a Public Library
41:And Then What?
42:Blue Ribbon
PART FIVE The King ofWall Street
 43:Pharaoh
 44:Rose
 45:CalltheTow Truck
 46:Rubicon
 47:White Nights
 48:Thumb—Sucking.and Its
Hollow—Cheeked Result
 49:The Angry Gods
 50:The Lottery
 51:To Hell with the Bear
 52:Chickenfeed
 ……
PART SIX/Claim Checks
Notes
A Personal Note About Research
Photo Credits and Permissions
Acknowledgments
Index

文摘
Chapter One

The Less Flattering Version


Omaha, June 2003

Warren Buffett rocks back in his chair, long legs crossed at the knee behind his father Howard’s plain wooden desk. His expensive Zegna suit jacket bunches around his shoulders like an untailored version bought off the rack. The jacket stays on all day, every day, no matter how casually the other fifteen employees at Berkshire Hathaway headquarters are dressed. His predictable white shirt sits low on the neck, its undersize collar bulging away from his tie, looking left over from his days as a young businessman, as if he had forgotten to check his neck size for the last forty years.

His hands lace behind his head through strands of whitening hair. One particularly large and messy finger-combed chunk takes off over his skull like a ski jump, lofting upward at the knoll of his right ear. His shaggy right eyebrow wanders toward it above the tortoiseshell glasses. At various times this eyebrow gives him a skeptical, knowing, or beguiling look. Right now he wears a subtle smile, which lends the wayward eyebrow a captivating air. Nonetheless, his pale-blue eyes are focused and intent.

He sits surrounded by icons and mementos of fifty years. In the hallways outside his office, Nebraska Cornhuskers football photographs, his paycheck from an appearance on a soap opera, the offer letter (never accepted) to buy a hedge fund called Long-Term Capital Management, and Coca-Cola memorabilia everywhere. On the coffee table inside the office, a classic Coca-Cola bottle. A baseball glove encased in Lucite. Over the sofa, a certificate that he completed Dale Carnegie’s public-speaking course in January 1952. The Wells Fargo stagecoach, westbound atop a bookcase. A Pulitzer Prize, won in 1973 by the Sun Newspapers of Omaha, which his investment partnership owned. Scattered about the room are books and newspapers. Photographs of his family and friends cover the credenza and a side table, and sit under the hutch beside his desk in place of a computer. A large portrait of his father hangs above Buffett’s head on the wall behind his desk. It faces every visitor who enters the room.

Although a late-spring Omaha morning beckons outside the windows, the brown wooden shutters are closed to block the view. The television beaming toward his desk is tuned to CNBC. The sound is muted, but the crawl at the bottom of the screen feeds him news all day long. Over the years, to his pleasure, the news has often been about him.

Only a few people, however, actually know him well. I have been acquainted with him for six years, originally as a financial analyst covering Berkshire Hathaway stock. Over time our relationship has turned friendly, and now I will get to know him better still. We are sitting in Warren’s office because he is not going to write a book. The unruly eyebrows punctuate his words as he says repeatedly, “You’ll do a better job than I would, Alice. I’m glad you’re writing this book, not me.” Why he would say that is something that will eventually become clear. In the meantime, we start with the matter closest to his heart.

“Where did it come from, Warren? Caring so much about making money?”

His eyes go distant for a few seconds, thoughts traveling inward: flip flip flip through the mental files. Warren begins to tell his story: “Balzac said that behind every great fortune lies a crime. [1] That’s not true at Berkshire.”

He leaps out of his chair to bring home the thought, crossing the room in a couple of strides. Landing on a mustardy-gold brocade armchair, he leans forward, more like a teenager bragging about his first romance than a seventy-two-year-old financier. How to interpret the story, who else to interview, what to write: The book is up to me. He talks at length about human nature and memory’s frailty, then says, “Whenever my version is different from somebody else’s, Alice, use the less flattering version.”

Among the many lessons, some of the best come simply from observing him. Here is the first: Humility disarms.

In the end, there won’t be too many reasons to choose the less flattering version–but when I do, human nature, not memory’s frailty, is usually why. One of those occasions happened at Sun Valley in 1999.



Chapter Two

Sun Valley

Idaho, July 1999

Warren Buffett stepped out of his car and pulled his suitcase from the trunk. He walked through the chain-link gate onto the airport’s tarmac, where a gleaming white Gulfstream IV jet–the size of a regional commercial airliner and the largest private aircraft in the world in 1999–waited for him and his family. One of the pilots grabbed the suitcase from him to stow in the cargo hold. Every new pilot who flew with Buffett was shocked to see him carrying his own luggage from a car he drove himself. Now, as he climbed the boarding stairs, he said hello to the flight attendant–somebody new–and headed to a seat next to a window, which he would not glance out of at any time during the flight. His mood was buoyant; he had been anticipating this trip for weeks.

His son Peter and daughter-in-law Jennifer, his daughter Susan and her boyfriend, and two of his grandchildren all settled into their own café au lait leather club chairs set around the forty-five-foot-long cabin. They swiveled their seats away from the curved wall panels to give themselves more space as the flight attendant brought drinks from the galley, which was stocked with the family’s favorite snacks and beverages. A pile of magazines lay nearby on the sofa: Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, Fortune, Yachting, the Robb Report, the Atlantic Monthly, the Economist, Vogue, Yoga Journal. She brought Buffett an armload of newspapers instead, along with a basket of potato chips and a Cherry Coke that matched his red Nebraska sweater. He complimented her, chatted for a few minutes to ease her nervousness at flying for the first time with her boss, and told her that she could let the copilot know that they were ready to take off. Then he buried his head in a newspaper as the plane rolled down the runway and ascended to forty thousand feet. For the next two hours, six people hummed around him, watching videos, talking, and making phone calls, while the flight attendant set out linens and bud vases filled with orchids on the bird’s-eye maple dining tables before returning to the galley to prepare lunch. Buffett never moved. He sat reading, hidden behind his newspapers, as if he were alone in his study at home.

They were flying in a $30 million airborne palace called a “fractional” jet. As many as eight owners shared it, but it served as part of a fleet, so all the owners could fly at once if they wished. The pilots in the cockpit, the crew that maintained it, the schedulers who got it to the gate on six hours’ notice, and the flight attendant who served their lunch all worked for NetJets, which belonged to Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway.

Sometime later, the G-IV crossed the Snake River Plain and approached the Sawtooth Mountains, a vast Cretaceous upheaval of dark and ancient granite mounds baking in the summer sun. It sailed through the bright clear air into the Wood River Valley, descending to eight thousand feet, where it started to buck on the mountain wave of turbulence thrown into the sky by the brown foothills beneath. Buffett read on, unperturbed, as the plane rocked and his family jerked about in their seats. Brush dotted higher altitudes of a second ridge of hills and rows of pines began their march up the ridges between ravines on the leeward side. The family grinned with anticipation. As the aircraft descended through the narrowing slot between the rising mountain peaks ahead, the midday sun cast the plane’s lengthening shadow over the old mining town of Hailey, Idaho.

A few seconds later, the wheels touched down on the Friedman Memorial Airport runway. By the time the Buffetts had bounded down the stairs onto the tarmac, squinting in the July sunshine, two SUVs had driven through the gate and pulled up alongside the jet, driven by men and women from Hertz. They all wore the company’s gold-and-black shirts. Instead of Hertz, however, the logo said “Allen & Co.”

The grandchildren bounced on their heels as the pilots unloaded the luggage, tennis rackets, and Buffett’s red-and-white Coca-Cola golf bag into the SUVs. Then he and the others shook hands with the pilots, said good-bye to the flight attendant, and climbed into the SUVs. Bypassing Sun Valley Aviation– a pocket-size trailer at the runway’s southern end–they swung through the chain-link gate onto the road that led to the peaks beyond. About two minutes had elapsed since the plane’s wheels first touched the runway.

Right on schedule, eight minutes later, another jet followed theirs, headed to its own runway parking spot.

Throughout the golden afternoon, jet after jet cruised into Idaho from the south and east or swung around the peaks from the west and descended into Hailey: workhorse Cessna Citations; glamorous, close-quartered Learjets; speedy Hawkers; luxurious Falcons; but mostly the awe-inspiring G-IVs. As the afternoon waned, dozens of huge, gleaming white aircraft lined the runway like a shop window full of tycoons’ toys.

The Buffetts followed the trail blazed by earlier SUVs a few miles onward from the airport to the tiny town of Ketchum on the edge of the Sawtooth National Forest, near the turnoff to the Elkhorn Pass. A few miles later, they rounded Dollar Mountain, where a green oasis appeared, nestled among the brown slopes. Here amid the lacy pines and shimmering aspens lay Sun Valley, the mountains’ most fabled resort, where Ernest Hemingway began writing For Whom the Bell Tolls,...

内容简介
《滚雪球: 沃伦·巴菲特和他的财富人生》这本巴菲特生平唯一授权的官方传记,以从未有过的视角,揭开了巴菲特的真实人牛。许多年来聚光灯下高大的“股神”终 于走下神坛,以他最平实的语言、最真诚的心,娓娓道来,讲述了他78午人生巾最触动人心的故事,分享了他60多年商业和投资生涯中最宝贵的经验。

1939午的冬天,9岁的巴菲特在院子里玩雪。他把少量的积雪铲到一块,揉成一个雪球,然后把它放在地上慢慢滚动,雪球越滚越大……

从此,巴菲特再也没有停下脚步,目光投向白雪皑皑的整个世界……

沃伦·巴菲特,我们这个时代硕果仪存的商业领袖和投资大师,甚至在死后还会影响后世50年的伟大人物,终于向我们敞开了他的心扉。

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. The result is the personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha.”

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.


From the Hardcover edition.

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