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Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  6,554 Ratings  ·  211 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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Dec 02, 2008 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 13, 2011 Abhishek rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 16, 2013 Steve Bradshaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: investment
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.
Jonathan Perez
Oct 17, 2014 Jonathan Perez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the Snowball by A. Schroeder but wanted to see how this earlier Bio compared. Many of the details of his story are similar and dealt with in the same chronological order. Even though the Snowball gives a lot more personal almost intimate details about WB's life, there are some good different insights here too.

The value principles resurface as expected. In random order some of my takeaways are as follows. Have the purchase price so attractive that even a mediocre sale would do. Put all yo
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
Jewel Miller
Feb 20, 2017 Jewel Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I previously knew many small details about Warren Buffett and had a vague sense of his personality and investment strategies. From the first chapter, this book was captivating as it details key events throughout Buffett's entire life. From his first "businesses" delivering newspapers and arcade games, starting a family and trying to instill his values in his children and in more modern day times, having to take a more direct role in companies he invested in. Buffett's determination from a very y ...more
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
Jun 06, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Briant T'Ome
Dec 09, 2016 Briant T'Ome rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very interesting.
André Bueno
Apr 28, 2015 André Bueno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
Excellent biography about the man himself. Very insightful on how Warren thinks, all in all a great story.
Mar 18, 2013 Asif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed every minute of the book
"Mhd Haikal"
May 31, 2009 "Mhd Haikal" rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Menarik nih bukunya untuk membaca kehidupan sang maestro dalam dunia investasi. Seorang milyader yang hidup dengan sederhana...
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
Tom Meunier
Mar 13, 2017 Tom Meunier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an employee just going over five years at a company in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, I was interested to see this come across my Audible feed and picked it up. I've noticed several interesting things in my tenure with my employer: that employee retention is ridiculously long, even the information technology staff has MOSTLY been there five, ten, or more years. That Berkshire Hathaway seems to keep its hands completely off the wheels of our organization. And that we don't get employee disc ...more
Harshavardhan Patwal
buffet story inspires all traders and stock enthusiasts . its allways good to read between the lines .
Mar 10, 2017 一丝不苟 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a good book, off the cuff takeaways.

- Principles / Character matters more than a profitable business rarely does (shady character / profitable business) || (good character & unprofitable business) succeed in the long term.

- He did it his way

- He actually isn't a good manager at all, just allocator of capital.

- He was/is in a poly relationship

- His dad was a house representative for Nebraska

- He is scared of death

- His diet is shit

Clarence Hayes
Dec 30, 2013 Clarence Hayes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Darko Doko
Mar 04, 2017 Darko Doko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read almost all there is about Buffett, so I didn't expect much, but author surprised me more than few times. Good book
UMass Dad in SLC
Feb 22, 2017 UMass Dad in SLC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: society
I find people like Warren Buffett immensely interesting. The story of how he become a billionaire is fascinating. He built a hell of a company without a bunch of analysts, marketing pros, etc. I think it'd be interesting to know if he'd have made a super CEO had he needed to manage thousands of employees, multi-million dollar projects, etc. I guess he found his niche and exploited his talents. Yet I don't think it'd be worth the money, accolades, etc. if the trade off was not having a great rela ...more
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
May 03, 2008 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2016 Felix rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
solid 4.5/5 Stars

The Making of an American Capitalist is an excellent description of Warren Buffetts life. All of his most important investments, life decisions and principles are portrayed. It describes a lot about Buffetts life ranging from the foundations of value investing to the relationship with his family. As Ben Grahams most famous disciple, he managed to beat the street by far. As CEO of Berkshire he turned the company into the most profitable business in the world. He revolutionized th
This was a good book, even with next to no understanding of the stock market and investing, the book held my interest. It went into detail about his childhood, college days, family life, and went through his investing and business ventures in every decade. This was interesting, especially to see how he dealt with the uniquely different economic issues that faced each decade. I enjoyed learning his investment strategy and realizing that he bought low stocks for companies that had potential. Then ...more
May 08, 2008 P. rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jun 22, 2009 E rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 28, 2016 Sandeep rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book while casually browsing through the library by simply reading all that was written on the back-cover and i must confess, this one time, i agree with the reviews printed on it.
Warren Buffett is an enigma in his own right and Roger Lowenstein has done a wonderful job in chronicling his life.
The book is interesting to read and has been written in a very smooth and structured manner. As a financial journalist, the author has not just stated the facts but has mentioned the eve
Dec 28, 2010 Riley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Geoff Noble
Jun 24, 2014 Geoff Noble rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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

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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.” 18 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.” 11 likes
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