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Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist
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Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  3,676 ratings  ·  141 reviews
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.

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Paperback, 512 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 1995)
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I recently re-read this Buffett biography (first published in 1995 and now re-issued with a new Afterword, dated January 2008) and then read Alice Schroeder's The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. Both are first-rate. Which to select if reading only one? That depends on how much you wish to know about Buffett's personal life, including his relations with various family members, and how curious you are about his personal hang-ups, peculiarities, eccentricities, fetishes, etc. If ...more
Everyone is interested in a billionaire! How he did it? Where did his ideas come from? Was he worthy of it? One ends up forming an opinion on such people very easily. Warren Buffet, unlike the Gates and the Jobs of the world, is however not that public a figure. His intelligence does not necessarily impact the common man's life so openly, and so frequently as it does for a few others. But having said that, reading about him has made me realise that not knowing about Buffet's ideologies, his ecce ...more
Steve Bradshaw
An excellent book. I almost didn't read it as I've read a few Buffet books and usually find them quite tedious. Not this one! I loved Lowenstein's perspective as a long-time investor of Buffet's and a well regarded value investor/author himself. The result is an intimate but outside look at what made Buffet into the investor and man he is today.

Buffet is a mess of seeming contradictions, his obsession with accumulating money yet his refusal to spend any of it, his remarkable self confidence yet
Josh Friedlander
My dad bought me this book and I finally read it.

In some ways this guy is the ultimate Mr Burns-like single-minded capitalist. But to be fair to him: he's consistently fought for his income bracket to have to pay much higher taxes, repeatedly attacked Bush's tax cuts for the rich, and finally commited to giving away almost all of his money to the Gates foundation. In some ways I think he is quintessentially American, in the same sense that Citizen Kane is the quintessential American movie.
Evanston Public  Library
Reading this biography clarifies some of the traits that have contributed to Warren Buffett's astounding business success: his laser-like focus, his unusual capacity to perform math in his head, and his appreciation for true value as opposed to what I'll call "bling appeal." Insightful and meticulously researched, Lowenstein sheds light on the personality and thought process of one of the world's richest men, who started off in his in-laws' basement with little more than $800 and parlayed it int ...more
David McClendon, Sr
Book Review: Buffett
The Making of An American Capitalist
Roger Lowenstein
This book was written back in 1995, so it is severely dated. It does, however, give us an idea of what Buffett was like at that time. He may have changed since then.

I used to be able to say I liked almost everything about Buffett. I would use the word “almost” because, since I don’t know him personally, there could have been something I did not like about him. In reading this book, I found out what that was.

I am a Fundamenta
Warren Buffett might be the most enigmatic man of our time. While everyone knows that his past half century of investing has made him into the richest man in the world, nobody seems to know much about him beyond this. The few anecdotes we sometimes hear- he still lives in the same modest house in Omaha, he doesn't drink anything stronger than coca-cola, he drives himself around in a very basic Lincoln- only pique our curiosity more.

Roger Lowenstein is well known for writing extremely engaging an
Munro Richardson
I wish I could give this 3.5 stars.

The first major biography of Warren Buffett. Written without active support by Buffett (he also didn't discourage anyone from working with Lowenstein). I felt Lowenstein's writing in When Genius Failed, the account of the failure of Long Term Capital Management, was stronger. In contrast to Snowball by Alice Schroeder, this book focused more on Buffett as the investor and major owner of Berkshire Hathaway. Charlie Munger's role and contributions are largely sid
I am kicking myself why did it take me so long to pick up Roger Lowenstein's Buffet. It was lying on my bookshelf for such a long time. I think it is the best Warren Buffett book that I've read. I found it better than Alice Schroeder’s Snowball which I read last month.

Lowenstein's book is more objective in highlighting how Buffet made his investment decisions, though Schroeder’s is more detailed and focused on his personal life. He describes all of his major investing decisions in different chap
Clarence Hayes
The book is adequately written and easily read.
It is not overburdened with extraneous psychology, but tells the story of Buffett's life primarily focused on what he himself focused on - the pursuit of wealth.
One might think the book hagiographic, but it appears to stick largely to verifiable facts and sources with long personal relationships with Buffett. His life appears to be as simple as it seems.
Nevertheless, Buffett is an extremely interesting character, an exaggerated exemplar of numerous
"Mhd Haikal"
Menarik nih bukunya untuk membaca kehidupan sang maestro dalam dunia investasi. Seorang milyader yang hidup dengan sederhana...
Enjoyed every minute of the book
Somasundaram Sadasivamoorthy
Where do you want to be in 5yrs, 10 yrs? This is typical question we ask ourselves over some time to streamline our goals and progress in life. But can you be believe, it's been 50years since Mr. Buffett has started guiding his crewmen in the Berkshire Hathaway. When I come across about this fact in the news few months back, I was intrigued and wanted to know more about the “Sage of Omaha" and his juggernaut Berkshire Hathaway still continuing to advance/strive forward.
This interest in me, made
Geoff Noble
Carrying on from my interest in reading about people that I think people have romanticised and trying to find the real story about these people, I turned my attention to Warren Buffett. Anyone who has any interest in investing knows who Warren Buffett is. In fact, people seem content to quote him to back up anything when it comes to investing. I am hopefully not one of those people. There is no doubt in my mind that Warren Buffett is a smart man. I would say he enjoyed more success in his earlie ...more
Aaron Arnold
Warren Buffett is an accomplished enough guy that a full account of his career probably deserves several volumes of rather larger size, but this is a good introduction to his life, career, and general investment philosophy. While it suffers from having been published in 1995, meaning that it includes nothing on the last third of his career (though the 2008 edition contains an updated Afterword), it's useful enough to be worth picking up for anyone who's interested in his investment history, a br ...more
Informed biography of Buffett

Bill Gates, Sam Walton and John D. Rockefeller became immensely wealthy by developing innovative businesses. Warren Buffett became rich by picking stocks better than anyone else. Forbes recently listed him as the world’s richest man, but he lives in the same Omaha house he bought for $31,500 in 1958. He drives his own car, prepares his own taxes, wears inexpensive suits and does not employ servants beyond an “every other week” housekeeper. Buffett is a simple man wi
Warren Buffett has done for long-term investing what Mark Twain did for the novel - make it accessible to all and distinctly American. Lowenstein does a fantastic job of drawing a portrait of a man who, even in his teens, knew he was destined to compound wealth like no one else in history. One of Buffett’s childhood friends recalled when she asked the 12-year-old Buffett why he was always so busy working to make money, he replied “It’s not that I want money. It’s the fun of making money and watc ...more
May 08, 2008 P. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: MBAs,
This is an uncommonly strong work about Warren Buffett, the 'Oracle of Omaha', the second richest man in the world now. Although Buffett portrays himself as an 'aw shucks', hayseed from the Midwest, he is anything but. He is a disciplined, effective, compassionate, and ethical investor, dedicated to honest and honorable dealings. This is not to say he will not strike favorable deals for his beloved Berkshire-Hathaway, but he will not cheat or defraud you or his stockholders. He will buy good com ...more
Roger Lowenstein is my favorite business journalist and this biography of Warren Buffett is probably one of his best known works. It's a nice portrait of Buffett from someone who obviously admires him.

It is hard not to see Buffett, with his homespun ways and lack of pretension, as one of more impressive great American capitalists. But I was still struck by the fact that making money and doing good are not one and the same.

For instance, consider this statement Buffett made during the leveraged bu
Michal Palczewski
I was glued to this book shortly after I started reading it. Buffett has lived an amazing life, starting out with a lemonade stand and finding ways to make it more profitable all the way to becoming insanely rich. All while living modestly, drinking pepsi/later coke and eating hamburgers. Buffett's investment strategy has always been to pay a good price for value and hold on to his stocks for a very long time. Lowenstein writes a very readable book that was a joy to read.
A true hustler!

This book has re-awakened my value-minded economist mentality. Warren Buffet really personifies money-consciousness and frugality and, above all, perseverance! Studying a company before investing in them and being confident in your investments so that you can be immune to market movements and be able to stick to your guns rather than over-speculate. All the while, keeping life as simple as possible. Truly genius.

As someone interested in long-term value investing it only seems appr
A damn interesting read. Buffett is a huge lefty, if you didn't know (I didn't realize it, and certainly didn't get how far left he really is) and the book is so well written, it feels like good fiction. If you're even mildly interested in Warren Buffett, read this book. His mantra, it would seem, is to never waste money, and to always maximize profit. The author does a bang up job at getting a picture of Warren across, though I'd say that it is mildly idolizing (hard not to do this when the man ...more
Jonathan Mah
A very high quality biography. I really enjoyed the length of detail the author provided on the tangential aspects of Warren Buffet's life and career. For example, the riveting account of Salomon Brothers and the gung-ho culture of Wall Street in the 70s and 80s. Another great example is the chapter dedicated to "Mrs. B" and her furniture mart. This book should definitely be on any aspiring investor's reading short list and is a worthwhile read for all.
Feb 04, 2008 Matthew rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: biography lovers
Shelves: biography
Excellent read on Buffet, really draws out the investor as a person, as a character... One wonders after reading, even if I were as smart as he was, which is unlikely, am I really that obsessed, that devoted, that enamoured of analysing stocks? Then again, when Lowenstein describes how Buffet goes about his work, the dry world of financial analysis suddenly appears like a magical, intellectual challenge, running beside rocky cliffs and sharp tang of sea.

Also a highly educational read in terms o
Otto Arkhom

If you want to know about Buffett, this is the best book to read. I've read several books about Buffett but this is the best, well written and informative.

What you can glean from the biography are also some of Buffett's basic investment concepts on value investing. Highly recommended, read a great biography and get investing concepts.

Juan Carlos
Very enjoyable biography. Not only is Warren Buffet's life presented well, but his investing methodology is treated with precision. It's not only an interesting look at Buffet's life, but on the investing climate throughout his career. The way he incorporated Benjamin Graham's investing strategies, but how his own ideas about investing evolved along the way. A great read in general, but even more so if one wants to understand Buffet's investing philosophy a little more.
An easier read than one might think. It clips along at a good pace and is full of interesting anecdotes about Buffett's life. It's a solid resource for developing your own framework for analyzing companies, and seems most thoroughly appreciated when read in the context of other, more practical books on value and long-term investing.
Clement Ting
A must read for Buffet enthusiasts. There are hardly any financial terms inside and even if there is, you can just google it up or just skip it. The book is meant to serve as a biography and not a lesson on how to invest, though there will be pieces of advice here and there on why he bought such and such. Its mostly logical so there is no pressure in opening up this book especially if you are a financial illiterate.
Sabrine Faragallah
Once again Roger Lowenstein delivered a fantastic story on another financial genius. I am huge fan of his portrayal of John Merriweather in When Genius Failed and this time around, Lowenstein he added just the right mix of personal and professional anecdotes.

Buffett’s contrarian style, diehard commitment to patient capital and firm resolve that the balance sheet and senior management is his “tell all” to investing in companies is humbling. But like any good Greek tragedy, the hero is fallible.
Aug 13, 2009 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: would-be investors & aimless wanderers
Dear God, this man is incredible. For would-be investors, Buffett offers some practical insights and lessons you will not easily forget: research matters, management matters more, and there's no reason not to take a big bet on something that you trust. But perhaps the more important lesson from this book is for those career hoppers and ne'er-do-wells who remain constantly uncertain what they want to do when they grow up.... Buffett works his tail off at everything he does, with a single-minded f ...more
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Roger Lowenstein has reported for the Wall Street Journal for more than a decade and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and The New Republic. He is the author of Buffet: the Making of an American Capitalist

More about Roger Lowenstein...
When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management The End of Wall Street Warren Buffett (Duckworth) While America Aged: How Pension Debts Ruined General Motors, Stopped the NYC Subways, Bankrupted San Diego, and Loom as the Next Financial Crisis Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and Its Undoing

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“Buffett found it 'extraordinary' that academics studied such things. They studied what was measurable, rather than what was meaningful. 'As a friend [Charlie Munger] said, to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” 10 likes
“The modern spirit is a hesitant one. Spontaneity has given way to cautious legalisms, and the age of heroes has been superseded by a cult of specialization. We have no more giants; only obedient ants.” 7 likes
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