Friday, October 24, 2008

Book Recommendation: The Snowball

Warren Buffet is well recognized as the world's best investor and as a man blessed with making the complex simple.

Roger Lowenstein wrote a wonderful biography of Buffet, The Making of An American Capitalist.

Now, Alice Schroeder, a former insurance analyst, brings us The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life.

Warren Buffet allowed Schroeder unparalleled access to his records, business partners, and family and delivers a masterful portrayal of a master businessman.  In return, we are granted valuable and entertaining insights into Buffet's life, philosophies, and world view.

Occam's Razor states that, "all things being equal, the simplest solution is the best." Of all of Buffet's strengths, the trait that leaves the greatest impression on me is his ability to make simple that which others make so complicated. In that simplicity, the confusion fades and things appear so clear and easy to understand.  

His ability to digest ungodly amounts of information - 10Qs, 10Ks, CNBC, the paper, magazines, deal pitches - and to identify signal amongst the noise is simply amazing.

He is loved not just for his brilliance, but also for his complete authenticity - an amazing sense of self and constancy in the face of a world fraught with change and uncertainty.

While few us, maybe none, will replicate his investment track record, there is much to aspire to in regards to his clarity of thought and his internal compass that maintains a steady heading in a stormy world.