The Snowball

Got my copy of “The Snowball – Warren Buffett and the business of life” yesterday. I had some apprehension before buying the book. Message boards on the internet were already full of reviews and a lot of them criticised the writing style of Alice Schroeder and the unnecessary length of the book.

I have not read the book completely. I have just skimmed through it so far. However let me say this. I was pleasantly surprised after reading the book. Despite having read most of the other books that have been written about him before, I got to know more. Arguably this is the first book which portrays him as a human. The authors of the previous books seem overawed by his wealth and success and seem to think the Buffett can do no wrong.

It is not that I think less of Buffett after reading The Snowball. However it is as important to know about the mistakes of your role model as it is to know about the things he got right. The neglect of family life and relationships while pursuing material happiness was quite stunning. In fact recently Buffett has been prone to tone down his views on frugality and on foregoing consumption to get the power of compounding to work for you. Now I know where he is coming from.

You may not get too much from The Snowball in terms of becoming a better investor. However there is a lot in there to help you become a better human being.