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Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  9,807 ratings  ·  304 reviews
Ships from USA. Will take 25-35 days
Paperback, 496 pages
Published August 18th 1996 by Main Street Books (first published 1995)
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,807 ratings  ·  304 reviews

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Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
David Ball
Nov 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been following the markets for the better part of 25 years, and over the years I've come across many books, articles, and profiles of Warren Buffett; seen him interviewed countless times on CNBC, even watched a documentary about him on Danish television last week, so I approached Buffett with reasonably low expectations - how much more was there to learn? Quite a bit apparently. This book is as good as the book on his partner Charlie Munger (previously reviewed) was bad. Lowenstein does a g ...more
David Dennington
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, finding it entertaining and informative, which when you think about it, is unusual when talking about finance and boring stuff of that nature. In reality, it’s a character study of the man himself—and he’s interesting. Buffett’s genius is largely genius of character—of patience, discipline, rationality and resourcefulness. He appears to be one of the few capitalists who got super rich without leaving a trail of victims and suicides (as one would find in a bleeding ...more
Jonathan Perez
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Avadhoot Joshi
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
To summarise this book, as correctly described about Buffett in chapter 14 (The Eighties) -
"In the old days he was cigarette butt investor. He looked for value.Then it got hard to find such deals and he became a franchise investor , he bought great businesses at reasonable prices. And then he said, ' I can no longer find good businesses at even acceptable prices, and I will take advantage of my size and teach the world a lesson about long-term investing'. "
This is how Buffett's life has progress
Gergely Szabo
Once or twice a year I come to read a biography of a great man and I just fall for them. This was definitely one of these occasions, I don't think it's possible to dislike this man. His thorough biography is full of things I like in one. Early attempts at what they eventually succeed in, business deals described in detail, character integrity, etc. I rarely go as far as naming someone my idol, but this past ten days Warren Buffet has become one.
Abhilash Bhat
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant book chronicling the life of greatest investor, and one of my few personal idols, the world has seen!!
Contains several pearls of gem about his personality, temperament and his genius that led to a follower-ship bordering on idolatry. From several stories covering his impeccable value-investing style and principles, to instances showing his less-than-perfect personal relationships, this book is a must-read for people wanting to know more about the Oracle of Omaha.
Stefan Bruun
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great insight into the life and thinking of one of the greatest investors of all time.
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
Bradley Dowell
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
An epic work on Buffett and the difinitive book on Buffett's story.
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 13, 2015 rated it liked it
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





Jewel Miller
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Not a terribly exciting book. Warren Buffett's pecularities (drinks coke, lives in Omaha, invests "permanantly") makes him a curious phenom but not an exciting subject matter. And by the time you get to 40th sentence in the likes of "in 10 year period, XYZ stock grow by astonishing 2000%) you are definitely not astonished. And no, there are no stock tips in here that you don't know already.
Briant T'Ome
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
very interesting.
André Bueno
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography
Excellent biography about the man himself. Very insightful on how Warren thinks, all in all a great story.
Kalle Wescott
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best Buffett book, by far!
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed every minute of the book
"Mhd Haikal"
May 31, 2009 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...
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Warren Buffett is incredibly interesting. It is great to read about him.
Ahmed Al sanhani
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
The common thing between Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and Warren Buffett is their entrepreneurial mindset since their childhood. But Buffett is the only one, to my knowledge, who flourished at school and business and graduated from college with straight A's, unlike the others mentioned above. The childhood of Buffett was tough and permeated many difficulties as he was born in the era that was hit by the great depression. However, this was the reason that made money always in the ...more
Aaron Arnold
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anne Holmes recommended this book & gave me her copy. I’m glad she did! This was an enjoyable and insightful read. Lowenstein provides a nice mix of personal and business details of Buffett’s life and career.

I’m a professional Financial Advisor and I enjoyed seeing how Buffett’s investment approach developed and transformed over time - some principals staying the same and some aspects evolving. The personal interactions with other business people and the way he approaches analysis of securi
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book in February 2019, I felt the book was a little dated, as it tracks Warren Buffett's life only until the late 90's - which means the two major stock market crashes of the early 21st Century are both not covered in the book.

The tone of the book is in staunch defence, and adulation for the once Richest Man in the World, but does a great job of explaining the importance of his stock market ideology, that of value investing, in contrast with prevailing wisdom in the 90's: the Effic
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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

“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.” 20 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.” 12 likes
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