Chapter 1

1 . This quote,or its variation,“Behind every great fortune there is a great crime,” is cited endlessly without a specific source: for example,in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and in commentary on The Sopranos and on the Internet bubble. This pithier version condenses what Honoré de Balzac actually wrote in Father Goriot :“The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out,because it was properly executed.”

Chapter 2

1 . Herbert Allen made an exception for Ken Auletta,the first and only time a writer was allowed to attend and write about Sun Valley.“What I Did at Summer Camp” appeared in the New Yorker ,July 26,1999.

2 . Interview with Don Keough. Other guests commented on Buffett’s role at Sun Valley as well.

广告:个人专属 VPN,独立 IP,无限流量,多机房切换,还可以屏蔽广告和恶意软件,每月最低仅 5 美元

3 . Except Donald Trump,of course.

4 . Dyan Machan,“Herbert Allen and His Merry Dealsters,” Forbes,July 1,1996.

5 . Elephant herds are matriarchal,and the females eject the males from the herd as soon as they are old enough to become dominant and aggressive. Then the solitary males approach herds of females,trying to mate. However,this isn’t exactly the way human elephant-bumping works.

6 . Allen & Co. does not release the numbers,but the conference was said to cost around $10 million,more than $36, 000 per invited family. Whether $5 or $15 million,that pays for a lot of flyfishing and golf over the course of a long weekend. Much of the money pays for the conference’s exhaustive security and logistics.

7 . Buffett likes to tell a joke about having worked his way up to this exalted state: starting from a trailer,then the lodge,then a lesser condo,and so forth.

8 . Herbert Allen’s son Herbert Jr. is usually referred to as “Herb.” However,Buffett refers to Herbert Sr. as “Herb” as a mark of their friendship,as do a few other people.

9 . This portrait of Sun Valley and the impact of the dotcom billionaires is drawn from interviews with a number of people,including investment managers with no ax to grind. Most asked not to be named.

10 . Allen & Co. and author estimate. This is the total assets under management of money managers who attend the conference,added to the personal fortunes of the guests. It represents their total economic power,not their consumption of wealth. By comparison,the capitalized value of the U.S. stock market at the time was about ten trillion dollars.

11 . $340, 000 per car in Alaska,Delaware,Hawaii,Montana,New Hampshire,both Dakotas,Vermont,Wyoming,and throw in Washington,D.C.,to boot (since the District of Columbia is not a state).

12 . Interview with Herbert Allen.

13 . Buffett had spoken twice before at the Allen conference,in 1992 and 1995.

14 . Buffett and Munger preached plenty to their shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings,but this preaching to the choir doesn’t count.

15 . Al Pagel,“Coca-Cola Turns to the Midlands for Leadership;” Omaha World-Herald ,March 14,1982.

16 . Buffett’s remarks have been condensed for readability and length.

17 . PowerPoint is the Microsoft program most often used to make the slide presentations so ubiquitous in corporate America.

18 . Interview with Bill Gates.

19 . Corporate profits at the time were more than 6% of GDP,compared to a long-term average of 4.88%. They have since risen to over 9%,far above historic standards.

20 . Over long periods the U.S. economy has grown at a real rate of 3% and a nominal rate (after inflation) of 5%. Other than a postwar boom or recovery from severe recession,this level is rarely exceeded.

21 . American Motors,smallest of the “Big Four” automakers,sold out to Chrysler in 1987.

22 . Buffett is speaking metaphorically here. He admits to investing in things with wings a time or two,and not with good results.

23 . Buffett first used this story in his 1985 chairman’s letter,citing Ben Graham,who told the story at his tenth lecture in the series Current Problems in Security Analysis at the New York Institute of Finance. The transcripts of these lectures,given between September 1946 and February 1947,can be found at http://www.wiley.com//legacy/products/subject/finance/bgraham/ or in Benjamin Graham and Janet Lowe,The Rediscovered Benjamin Graham: Selected Writings of the Wall Street Legend. New York: Wiley,1999.

24 . A condensed and edited version of this speech was published as “Mr. Buffett on the Stock Market” Fortune,November 22,1999.

25 . PaineWebber-Gallup poll,July 1999.

26 . Fred Schwed Jr.,Where Are the Customers’ Yachts ? or,A Good Hard Look at Wall Street. New York,Simon & Schuster,1940.

27 . Interview with Bill Gates.

28 . Keynes wrote: “It is dangerous...to apply to the future inductive arguments based on past experience,unless one can distinguish the broad reasons why past experience was what it was,” in a book review for Smith’s Common Stocks as Long-Term Investments in Nation and Athenaeum in 1925 that later became the preface for Keynes,The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes. Vol. 12,Economic Articles and Correspondence; Investment and Editorial. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1983.

29 . The comedian Mort Sahl used to end his routine by asking,“Is there anyone I haven’t offended?”

30 . According to a source who overheard them and would rather remain nameless.

31 . Interview with Don Keough.

Chapter 3

1 . Interview with Charlie Munger.

2 . Parts of Munger’s explanation are taken from three lectures on the psychology of human misjudgment,and his commencement address to the Harvard School on June 13,1986,both as found in Poor Charlie’s Almanac,The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger,edited by Peter D. Kaufman. Virginia Beach,Va.: Donning Company Publishers,2005. The rest is from interviews with the author. Remarks have been edited for brevity and clarity.

3 . Interview with Charlie Munger.

4 . Munger’s driving habits are described in Janet Lowe,Damn Right.t Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger. New York: John Wiley & Sons,2000.

5 . Required to produce a doctor’s note to prove he was blind in one eye and qualified for a special license at the California Department of Motor Vehicles,Munger refused and offered to take out his glass eye instead.

6 . Munger’s doctor used an older type of surgery that had a higher complication rate. Rather than blame the doctor,Munger claims he should have done more research on doctors and types of surgery himself.

7 . Buffett’s interest in such products as pig stalls and egg counters is limited; he reviews some of these statistics in a summarized form.

8 . Despite the complaints of passengers,Buffett has never,to the author’s knowledge,been responsible for an accident,only near heart attacks.

9 . Beth Botts,Elizabeth Edwardsen,Bob Jensen,Stephen Kofe,and Richard T. Stout,“The Cornfed Capitalist” Regardie’s,February 1986.

Chapter 4

1 . Buffett predicted up to 6% growth in the market per year,but gave historical ranges of no growth,and the underlying math suggested that figure could be high. The 6% was a hedged bet.

2 . S&P is Standard & Poor’s Industrial Average,the most widely used measure of the overall stock market’s performance. S&P includes reinvested dividends. Berkshire does not pay a dividend. All numbers are rounded.

3 . “Toys ‘R’ Us. vs. eToys,Value vs. Euphoria,” Century Management,http://www.centman.com/Library/Articles/Aug99/ToysRUsvsEtoys.html. In March 2005,Toys“R” Us agreed to a takeover offer from private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.,Bain Capital,and real estate group Vornado Realty Trust in a deal valued at $6.6 billion.

4 . Interview with Sharon Osberg.

5 . Buffett,speaking to the Oquirrh Club,“An Evening with Warren Buffett” October 2003.

Chapter 5

1 . Warren’s sister Doris Buffett,the family genealogist,has done extensive research on the Buffett family tree. This abbreviated account of the early ancestors is drawn from her research.

2 . Either Nathaniel or Joseph.

3 . This was the largest and finest of the livery stables in town,with seventy horses at its peak,boasting sleighs,buggies,a circus bateau,and even a hearse. It prospered for a number of years but disappeared sometime around the early days of the automobile.“Six Generations Prove That Buffett Family Is Really Here to Remain,” Omaha World-Herald,June 16,1950.

4 . Orville D. Menard,“Tom Dennison... The Rogue Who Ruled Omaha” Omaha,March 1978.John Kyle Davis,“The Gray Wolf: Tom Dennison of Omaha,” Nebraska History,Vol. 58,No. 1,Spring 1977.

5 . “Dry Law Introduced as Legislators Sing” Omaha World-Herald,February 1,1917.

6 . “Omaha’s Most Historic Grocery Store Still at 50th and Underwood,” Dundee and West Omaha Sun,April 25,1963.

7 . Zebulon Buffett,letter to Sidney Buffett,December 21,1869.

8 . Sidney’s store was originally named Sidney H. Buffett and Sons,where both brothers,Ernest and Frank,worked. The store originally sat at 315 South 14th Street downtown,where it stayed until its closing in 1935. Frank took over as sole proprietor after Sidney’s death in 1927. In 1915,Ernest opened a branch store,which moved west to 5015 Underwood Avenue in Dundee in 1918. (At the time Dundee was a separate town,eventually annexed by Omaha.)

9 . A third child,named Grace,died in 1926. Three more,George,Nellie,and Nettie,died at young ages in the nineteenth century.

10 . Warren Buffett quoting Charlie Munger.

11 . According to Doris Buffett,she was born Daisy Henrietta Duvall and began to call herself Henrietta (after her mother) rather than Daisy by the time she arrived in Omaha.

12 . Charles T. Munger letter to Katharine Graham,November 13,1974.

13 . Ernest Buffett letter to Barnhart & Son,February 12,1924.

14 . Interview with Charlie Munger. His mother told him this story,although,he notes,“she may have been garnishing it just a bit.” But others recall the notebook.

15 . In letters like one to his son Clarence in January 1931,he analyzed the effect of railroad automation on unemployment and suggested that the best solution for the Great Depression was a great public-works project. It seems ironic that he and his son Howard became such foes of Roosevelt when he initiated the Works Progress Administration after the next election.

16 . Ernest Buffett letter to Fred and Katherine Buffett,undated,“ten years after you were married,” circa June 1939.

17 . He died young,in 1937,in an auto accident in Texas.

18 . Coffee with Congress,radio interview with Howard,Leila,Doris,and Roberta Buffett,WRC Radio,October 18,1947,Bill Herson,moderator. (Note: This description is based on a tape of the broadcast.)

19 . Interview with Doris Buffett.

20 . Based primarily on family files.

21 . Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech,delivered on July 9,1896,has been called the most famous political speech in American history. Bryan is best remembered for opposing the gold standard and for getting involved in the Scopes case,where the famous lawyer Clarence Darrow made him look foolish for testifying against teaching evolution in schools. In fact his interests were broader and less extreme and his contemporary influence greater than he is generally remembered for today.

22 . Family files. Bernice blamed her father for marrying into a family with genetic mental defects,begetting children who would suffer the result.

23 . Leila was a freshman at Nebraska during the 1923~1924 academic year,according to the Cornhusker yearbook,when Howard was a junior. On Coffee with Congress,Howard noted that they met in the fall of 1923,when Leila was 19. Because students usually entered college at 17,this suggests she worked for about two years before starting. She pledged Alpha Chi Omega as a freshman in the 1923~24 school year,but was still classified as a freshman in 1925,suggesting she went home to work on the newspaper and returned in the spring of 1925.

24 . Probably in fall 1923.

25 . Howard was secretary of the Innocents (Daily Nebraskan,September 27,1923). This group persisted for many more years,until,as Buffett puts it,“the day came when they couldn’t find thirteen who were innocent.

26 . Coffee with Congress.

27 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek.

28 . At Harry A. Koch Co.,whose motto was “Pays the Claim First.” He made $125 a month.

29 . Receipt from Beebe & Runyan,December 21,1926,annotated by Leila.

30 . They were married December 26,1925.

31 . February 12,1928.

32 . Howard became a deacon in 1928 at the age of 25.

33 . Address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors,Washington,D.C.,January 25,1925.

Chapter 6

1 . Even so,only three in a hundred Americans owned stocks. Many had borrowed heavily to play the market,entranced by John J. Raskob’s article,“Everybody Ought to Be Rich” in the August 1929 Ladies’ Home Journal and Edgar Lawrence Smith’s proof that stocks outperform bonds (Common Stocks as Long-Term Investments. New York: The MacMillan Company,1925).

2 . “Stock Prices Slump $14, 000, 000, 000 in Nation-Wide Stampede to Unload; Bankers to Support Market Today,” New York Times,October 29,1929; David M. Kennedy,Freedom from Fear,The American People in Depression and War,1929~1945. New York: Oxford University Press,1999; John Brooks,Once in Golconda,A True Drama of Wall Street; 1920~1938. New York: Harper & Row,1969. Roger Babson’s famous warning,“I repeat what I said at this time last year and the year before,that sooner or later a crash is coming,” was useless.

3 . Kennedy,Freedom from Fear. Kennedy notes that interest payment on the national debt rose from $25 million annually in 1914 to $1 billion annually in the 1920s due to World War I,accounting for one-third of the federal budget. The actual budget in 1929 was $3.127 billion a year (Budget of the U.S. Government,Fiscal Year 1999——Historical Tables,Table 1.1——Summary of Receipts,Outlays,and Surpluses or Deficits: 1789~2003. Washington,D.C.: Government Printing Office).

4 . By the bottom tick on November 13,the market had lost $26 to $30 billion of its roughly $80 billion precrash value (Kennedy,op. cit.,Brooks,op. cit.). World War I cost approximately $32 billion (Robert McElvaine,The Great Depression: America,1929~1941. New York: Three Rivers Press,1993; also Hugh Rockoff,It’s Over,Over There: The U.S. Economy in World War I,National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 10580).

5 . Charlie Munger reported that all the Buffetts,including those employed elsewhere,worked at the store,in a letter to Katharine Graham dated November 13,1974.

6 . Coffee with Congress.

7 . Roger Lowenstein,Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist. New York: Doubleday,1996.

8 . Roger Lowenstein,in Buffett,cites Leila Buffett’s memoirs for this fact.

9 . Ernest Buffett letter to Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Buffett and Marjorie Bailey,August 17,1931.

10 . “Union State Bank Closes Doors Today: Reports Assets in Good Condition; Reopening Planned,” Omaha World-Herald,August 15,1931. Characteristically,the story understated the bank’s dire situation. It went into reorganization under regulatory supervision and filed for bankruptcy.

11 . Howard had borrowed $9, 000 to buy $10, 000 of stock in the bank. The stock was now worthless. The house and mortgage were in Leila’s name. Standard Accident Insurance Company,Howard Homan Buffett application for fidelity bond.

12 . “Buffett,Sklenicka and Falk Form New Firm,” Omaha Bee News,September 8,1931. Statement of Buffett,Sklenicka & Co. for the month ending September 30,1931.

13 . The wave crested in December 1931 with the failure of the Bank of the United States,an officialsounding institution that had nothing to do with the government. The $286 million collapse broke a record,took down 400, 000 depositors,and was understood by everyone——in one sense or another——as a failure of public trust (Kennedy,Freedom from Fear). It kicked the quivering legs out from under the banking system and sent the already battered economy into collapse.

14 . Although its return on revenues was low,the firm by then was consistently profitable and would remain so,with the exception of a couple of months.

15 . By the end of 1932,Howard Buffett was averaging 40%~50% more in commissions than in 1931,based on financial statements of Buffett,Sklenicka & Co.

16 . Charles Lindbergh Jr.,“The Little Eaglet,” was kidnapped on March 1,1932. His body was found on May 12,1932. Many parents in the 1920s and 1930s were preoccupied with kidnapping,a fear that actually began with the Leopold and Loeb case in 1924 but peaked with the Lindbergh baby. An Omaha country-club groundskeeper claimed he was kidnapped and robbed of $7. In Dallas a minister faked his own kidnapping,trussing himself to his church’s electric fan (Omaha World-Herald,August 4,1931,and June 20,1931).

17 . According to Roberta Buffett Bialek,Howard once had rheumatic fever,which may have weakened his heart.

18 . Interview with Doris Buffett.

19 . Interview with Doris Buffett. Warren also remembers this.

20 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek.

21 . Interviews with Jack Frost,Norma Thurston-Perna,Stu Erikson,Lou Battistone.

22 . The correct clinical term for Leila’s condition is unknown,but it may have boiled down to a literal pain in the neck: occipital neuralgia,a chronic pain disorder caused by irritation or injury to the occipital nerve,which is located in the back of the scalp. This disorder causes throbbing,migrainelike pain,which originates at the nape of the neck and spreads up and around the forehead and scalp. Occipital neuralgia can result from physical stress,trauma,or repeated contraction of the neck muscles.

23 . Interview with Katie Buffett. This may have been while pregnant with either Warren or Bertie.

24 . Interview with Katie Buffett.

25 . “Beer Is Back! Omaha to Have Belated Party,” Omaha World-Herald,August 9,1933; “Nebraska Would Have Voted Down Ten Commandments,Dry Head Says,” Omaha World-Herald,November 15,1944; “Roosevelt Issues Plea for Repeal of Prohibition,” Associated Press,July 8,1933,as printed in Omaha World-Herald.

26 . U.S. and Nebraska Division of Agricultural Statistics,Nebraska Agricultural Statistics,Historical Record 1866~1954. Lincoln: Government Printing Office,1957; Almanac for Nebraskans 1939,The Federal Writers’ Project Works Progress Administration,State of Nebraska; Clinton Warne,“Some Effects of the Introduction of the Automobile on Highways and Land Values in Nebraska,” Nebraska History quarterly,The Nebraska State Historical Society,Vol. 38,Number 1,March 1957,page 4.

27 . In Kansas,a banker sent to foreclose on a farm turned up dead,shot full of. 22–and. 38–caliber bullets and dragged by his own car.“Forecloser on Farm Found Fatally Shot,” Omaha World-Herald,January 31,1933. See also “‘Nickel Bidders’ Halted by Use of Injunctions,” Omaha World-Herald,January 27,1933; “Tax Sales Blocked by 300 Farmers in Council Bluffs,” Omaha World-Herald, February 27,1933; “Penny Sale Turned into Real Auction,” Omaha World-Herald,March 12,1933; “Neighbors Bid $8.05 at Sale When Man with Son,Ill,Asks Note Money,” Omaha World-Herald,January 28,1933,for examples of the mortgage crisis.

28 . “The Dust Storm of November 12 and 13,1933,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society,February 1934;“60 Miles an Hour in Iowa,”special to the New York Times,November 13,1933; Waudemar Kaempffert,“The Week in Science: Storms of Dust,” New York Times,November 19,1933.

29 . Also cited from Leila’s memoirs in Roger Lowenstein’s Buffett.

30 . From the Almanac for Nebraskans 1939. Sponsored by the Nebraska State Historical Society,which also contained some tall tales such as the idea of scouring pots by holding them up to a keyhole.

31 . “Hot Weather and the Drought of 1934,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society,June-July 1934.

32 . Grasshoppers are the informal state mascot; Nebraska terms itself the “Bugeater State.” Long before the Cornhuskers name,the University of Nebraska football team called itself the “Bugeaters” in 1892 in honor of its flying guests. Nebraska football fans still informally call themselves Bugeaters. Grasshoppers love drought conditions and contribute to soil erosion by devouring every living plant down to the black earth. From 1934–1938 the estimated national cost of grasshopper destruction was $315.8 million (about $4.7 billion in 2007 dollars). The region encompassing Nebraska,the Dakotas,Kansas,and Iowa was the epicenter of grasshopper infestation. See Almanac for Nebraskans 1939; also Ivan Ray Tannehill,Drought: Its Causes and Effects. Princeton: University Press,1947.

33 . “Farmers Harvest Hoppers for Fish Bait,” Omaha World-Herald,August 1,1931.

34 . As asserted in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inaugural address (March 4,1933)——he was speaking,however,of economic paralysis.

35 . Lacking electronic security and thoughtful cash controls,banks were more vulnerable to robbery in those days,and an epidemic of bank robberies took place in the 1930s.

36 . Several Buffetts,including Howard and Bertie,contracted polio. Another epidemic took place in the mid–1940s. People born after the vaccine became available in the 1950s and ’60s may find the chronic anxiety this disease engendered difficult to comprehend,but it was very real at the time.

37 . In 1912,twenty-five people were injured when a howling wind derailed a train near North Loup,Nebraska,according to the Almanac for Nebraskans 1939.

38 . Ted Keitch letter to Warren Buffett,May 29,2003. Keitch’s father worked at the Buffett store.

39 . Interview with Doris Buffett.

40 . Howard wanted his children to attend Dundee’s Benson High School instead of Central,where he had suffered from snobbery.

41 . Marion Barber Stahl was a partner in his own firm,Stahl and Updike,and had become counsel to the New York Daily News,among other clients. He and his wife,Dorothy,lived on Park Avenue and had no children. Obituary of Marion Stahl,New York Times,November 11,1936.

42 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek.

43 . Interviews with Roberta Buffett Bialek,Warren Buffett,Doris Buffett.

44 . Interview with Doris Buffett.

45 . September 9,1935,at the Columbian School.

46 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek as well as Warren Buffett.

Chapter 7

1 . Adults interviewed by the author who attended Rosehill as children recall it as idyllic,yet the year before Warren started first grade,Rosehill parents pleaded for relief from overcrowded rooms and a“mud hole”playground. They were told not to expect help “until the sheriff collects back taxes”.“School Plea Proves Vain,” Omaha World-Herald,January 22,1935.

2 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek.

3 . Walt Loomis,the teacher of the boxing lesson,was a big kid,about Doris’s age.

4 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek.

5 . Stella’s doctors referred to her as schizophrenic,while noting she suffered annually from predictable periods of agitation and confusion,and indicated that her personality did not deteriorate as expected in schizophrenia. Based on family history and Bernice’s statement that other older relatives in addition to Stella’s mother,Susan Barber,were“maniacal” and mentally unstable,bipolar disorder may be suspected as the real condition. This disease was barely understood,to say the least,in the 1930s and ’40s.

6 . From an entry in Leila’s “day book.”

7 . In an interview,one of his classmates,Joan Fugate Martin,recalled Warren showing up on his rounds periodically to “shoot the breeze” in her driveway.

8 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek.

9 . Interviews with Stu Erickson,Warren Buffett.

10 . According to his Rosehill transcript,Warren was promoted to 4B in 1939.

11 . Interview with Stu Erickson.

12 . “My appendectomy was the high point of my social life,” Buffett says.

13 . “I wish one of those nuns had gone bad,” he says today.

14 . Rosco McGowen,“Dodgers Battle Cubs to 19–Inning Tie,” New York Times,May 18,1939.(Warren and Ernest did not stay for the entire game.)

15 . Ely Culbertson,Contract Bridge Complete: The New Gold Book of Bidding and Play.Philadelphia: The John C. Winston Co.,1936.

16 . This explanation of bridge was provided by Bob Hamman,eleven-time world champion and #1-ranked bridge player in the world between 1985 and 2004. Hamman appears at the Berkshire shareholders’ meeting.

Chapter 8

1 . Warren bought the gum for three cents a pack from his grandfather.

2 . Interviews with Doris Buffett,Roberta Buffett Bialek.

3 . Two presidents,Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt,had previously sought election to a third term. Both were defeated.

4 . The Trans-Lux Corporation placed the first ticker-tape projection system at the New York Stock Exchange in 1923. The system worked something like a fax machine. Trans-Lux knew a good thing when it saw one: The company’s own stock was listed on the American Stock Exchange in 1925,and Trans-Lux remains the oldest listed company on the Amex today.

5 . Frank Buffett had reconciled with Ernest on Henrietta’s death in 1921 and ran the other Buffett store. John Barber was a real estate agent.

6 . Pyramid schemes are frauds that promise investors impossible returns,using cash from later investors to pay off earlier investors and create the appearance of success. To keep going,the scheme has to grow like a pyramid,but their geometrically compounding structure guarantees eventual failure and discovery.

7 . Alden Whitman,“Sidney J. Weinberg Dies at 77; ‘Mr. Wall Street’ of Finance” New York Times,July 24,1969; Lisa Endlich, Goldman Sachs:The Culture of Success. New York: Knopf,1999.

8 . That Weinberg cared about his opinion mattered more than the opinion itself; Buffett has no recollection of which stock he recommended to Weinberg.

9 . Buffett later said,in an interview,that these were the words that ran through his head——“that’s where the money is”——although at the time he was not familiar with the famous quote attributed to bank robber Willie Sutton.

10 . Almost a decade later,he would lower the age to 30 while talking to his sister Bertie,who was 14 or 15 at the time. Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek.

11 . Buffett believes he overheard his father talking about the stock,which traded on the “Curb Exchange,” where brokers gathered in the street (later organized into the American Stock Exchange).

12 . From the records of Buffett,Sklenicka & Co.

Chapter 9

1 . “All these handouts in Europe are being used by the politicians to retain and expand their own power.” “U.S. Moving to Socialism,” citing Howard Buffett,Omaha World-Herald,September 30,1948.

2 . Roosevelt said this in Boston on October 30,1940,while campaigning for his third term,fourteen months before Pearl Harbor.

3 . Leila Buffett letter to Clyde and Edna Buffett,undated but approximately 1964.

4 . United States Department of Agriculture and Nebraska Department of Agriculture,Nebraska Agricultural Statistics (preliminary report) 1930. Lincoln,Government Printing Office,1930,p. 3.

5 . Buffett’s impression of 1940s South Omaha was vivid: “If you walked around down there in those days,believe me,it was not conducive to eating hot dogs.”

6 . John R. Commons,“Labor Conditions in Meat Packing and Recent Strike,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics,November 1904; Roger Horowitz,“‘Where Men Will Not Work’: Gender,Power,Space and the Sexual Division of Labor in America’s Meatpacking Industry,1890–1990,” Technology and Culture,1997; Lawrence H. Larsen and Barbara J. Cottrell,The Gate City: A History of Omaha. Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press,1997; Harry B. Otis,with Donald H. Erickson,E. Pluribus Omaha: Immigrants All. Omaha: Lamplighter Press (Douglas County Historical Society),2000. Horowitz,commenting specifically on Omaha,points out that slaughterhouses in 1930 were still organized much the same way as portrayed in Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel The Jungle.

7 . In 2005,the GAO cited “respiratory irritation or even asphyxiation from exposure to chemicals,pathogens,and gases” as a current occupational risk for industry workers in GAO 05–95 Health and Safety of Meat and Poultry Workers. See also Nebraska Meatpacking Industry Workers Bill of Rights (2000),a “voluntary instrument” whose “reach has been modest” according to Joe Santos of the state labor department,as cited by Human Rights Watch in its report Blood,Sweat and Fear: Workers’ Rights in the U.S. Meat and Poultry Industry,December 2004.

8 . This description of Washington in wartime owes much to David Brinkley’s Washington Goes to War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf,1988).

9 . With so many men off to war,15% of the city’s buses and trolleys sat idle. The Capital Transit company refused to hire blacks as conductors and motormen after it hired one black conductor in 1943 and the white conductors walked off the job. (Over the course of 1944 and 1945,J. Edgar Hoover,Director of the FBI,reported to the Attorney General that “If the company employs Negroes as operators there will be an immediate ‘wildcat’ strike.. and the inevitable result would be the complete paralysis of the transportation system in the District of Columbia.” (Office memorandums re: racial conditions in Washington,D.C.,September 5,1944,and December 9,1944,from Georgia State Special Collections.)

10 . Howard University students used “stool-sitting” on two occasions: In April 1943,at Little Palace cafeteria,until the proprietor changed his policy,and a year later,with fifty-six students at Thompson’s Restaurant,where some whites joined the cause,a crowd gathered,and the police got Thompson’s to serve everyone,temporarily. (Flora Bryant Brown,“NAACP Sponsored SitIns by Howard University Students in Washington,D.C.,1943~1944,” The Journal of Negro History,85.4,Fall 2000).

11 . Dr. Frank Reichel headed American Viscose.

12 . Interviews with Doris Buffett,Roberta Buffett Bialek,Warren Buffett.

13 . Buffett is probably embellishing a little here with hindsight.

14 . Interview with Roberta Buffer Bialek.

15 . Gladys,formerly known as Gussie,changed her name to Mary sometime during this period.Warren vainly pursued a romance with her daughter Carolyn,who later married Buffett’s friend Walter Scott.

16 . Warren claims it was Byron’s idea. Byron claims it was Warren’s idea. Stu says he can’t remember.

17 . Joan Fugate Martin,who remembers the date,in an interview corroborated the story. She called the boys perfect gentlemen,but had nothing to add about their self-confessed awkwardness.

18 . Interviews with Stu Erickson and Byron Swanson,who supplied various details of the story.

19 . The phone number is from a letter from Mrs. Anna Mae Junno,whose grandfather used to work as a meat cutter.

20 . The lowly stock boy was Charlie Munger.

21 . Interview with Katie Buffett.

22 . Ibid. Leila had a striver’s fascination with social hierarchies and upward mobility.

23 . “You might argue that it was working in my grandfather’s grocery store that fostered a tot of desire for independence in me,” Buffett says.

24 . This letter,which was at one time one of Buffett’s treasured heirlooms,resided in his desk drawer for many years,written on a piece of yellow paper. He can no longer locate it. Through a trade association,Ernest lobbied against chain stores and worked for legislation that would levy special taxes on them——in vain.

25 . Interview with Doris Buffett.

26 . Warren Buffett letter to Meg Greenfield,June 19,1984.

27 . Sadly,no one in the family can locate a copy of this manuscript today.

28 . Spring Valley marketing brochure. The place had its own coat of arms.

29 . “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.” Before the WAVES,the Navy accepted women only as nurses.

30 . Alice Deal Junior High School was named after the first junior high principal in Washington,D.C.

31 . Buffett is reasonably sure Ms. Allwine was his English teacher and that “she had good reason” for her low opinion of him.“I deserved it,” he says.

32 . Interview with Casper Heindel.

33 . “I’m not sure I paid tax on that either,” Warren adds.

34 . In her memoir,Leila wrote that Warren would not let her touch the money.

35 . Roger Bell,who confirms the story in an interview,was saving war-bond stamps until he had enough to buy an actual bond,and cashed them in to fund the trip.“I told my mother we were going,but she didn’t believe me,” he says.

36 . Interview with Roger Bell.

37 . From Buffett’s 1944 report cards.

38 . Based on comments in his report cards.

39 . Interview with Norma Thurston-Perna.

40 . Queen Wilhelmina owned stock in the Dutch holding company that had bought The Westchester.

41 . He collected the bus passes from various routes.“They were colorful. I collected anything.” Asked if anyone else in his family ever collected anything: “No. They were more popular.”

42 . Customers also discarded old magazines in the stairwells,and Warren would pick them up.

43 . While Warren recalls the story,it was Lou Battistone who remembered its fascinating details.

44 . Interview with Lou Battistone.

Chapter 10

1 . This particular prank letter circulated widely in the mid-twentieth century. Where the idea originated and from whom Warren might have gotten a copy is unknown. What makes this fondly recalled prank funny (putting aside whether or how often he actually perpetrated it and upon whom) is how it plays to the commonplace interest in hidden lives and feet of clay. Its essence is a tribute to the power of shame.

2 . The impact of Sears,the first department store in Tenleytown,and its unusual rooftop parking lot are described in Judith Beck Helm’s Tenleytown,D.C.: Country Village into City Neighborhood.Washington,D.C.: Tennally Press,1981.

3 . In an interview,Norma Thurston-Perna substantiates the essential elements of this story,recalls her boyfriend Don Danly “hooking” from Sears with Warren,adds that to some extent this behavior continued into high school,and mentions how annoyed she was to discover that an impressive honeysuckle fragrance and bath powder set given to her by Don as a birthday gift turned out to have been stolen from Sears.

4 . A letter from Suzanne M. Armstrong to Warren Buffett,December 20,2007,recalls a friend of her father’s cousin,Jimmy Parsons,stealing golf balls with Buffett while at Woo&ow Wilson High School.

5 . Hannibal was the antihero of the book and movie The Silence of the Lambs.

Chapter 11

1 . See John F. Kennedy,Profiles in Courage (NewYork: HarperCollins,1955) for an admiring portrait of Taft written from the perspective of the other side of the aisle.

2 . From 1933,when the U.S. went off the gold standard,through 1947,the Consumer Price Index fluctuated wildly,spiking over 18%. The history of the Federal Reserve under inflationary conditions was short and provided little evidence to support an opinion either way.

3 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek. The others remember this story.

4 . Coffee with Congress.

5 . Interview with Katie Buffett. Leila apparently became obsessed with Wallis Warfield Simpson around 1936 during the abdication crisis in England.

6 . Woodrow Wilson’s terms ran through February and June. Because Warren had skipped half a grade,he started his sophomore year in February.

7 . Cartoonist Al Capp Created Li’l Abner,who inherited his strength from his mother,the domineering Mammy Yokum,whose knockout “Good night Irene” punch maintained discipline among the Yokum clan.

8 . Interview with Doris Buffett.

9 . Battistone recalls Howard giving them a lift at least part of the way.

10 . Although most of this information is from Strength and Health,Elizabeth McCracken wrote “The Belle of the Barbell,” a tribute to Pudgy Stockton,in the New York Times Magazine,December 31,2006.

11 . Pudgy was married to Les Stockton,a bodybuilder who had introduced her to weight lifting.

Chapter 12

1 . “It was never any big success at all... it did not do well. It did not do terribly either. And it didn’t last very long,” says Buffett.

2 . In interviews,Roger Bell and Casper Heindel,as well as Warren Buffett,helped remember details about the farm. Buffett believes he bought this from or through his uncle John Barber,a real estate broker.

3 . Interview with Casper Heindel. More than half of all Nebraska land was farmed by tenant farmers. Real property ownership with mortgages was unpopular because unstable crop prices left farmers vulnerable to foreclosure.

4 . Interview with Norma Thurston-Perna.

5 . In an interview,Lou Battistone observes that he noticed the“two sides” of Buffett’s brain in high school——the cool mathematical businessman and the burlesque-watching one——while at the burlesque.

6 . Interview with Lou Battistone.

7 . Buffett told this story at Harvard Business School in 2005.

8 . Carnegie was a salesman for Armour & Co.,covering the Omaha territory; the compatibility of his views with Buffett’s temperament probably owes something to a shared Midwestern ethos.

9 . All text,Dale Carnegie,How to Win Friends and Influence People. New York: Simon & Schuster,1938. Copyright Dale Carnegie & Associates. Courtesy of Dale Carnegie & Associates.

10 . Dale Carnegie quoting John Dewey.

11 . The average man earned $2, 473 a year in 1946,according to the U.S. Department of Commerce,Bureau of the Census,Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970,Bicentennial Edition. Washington,D.C.: Government Printing Office,1975,Series D–722–727,p. 164.

12 . According to Lou Battistone in an interview.

13 . According to a newspaper advertisement on July 24,1931,at early Depression-era prices a dozen years earlier,quality refurbished golf balls cost three for $1.05.

14 . Interview with Don Dedrick,a golf teammate from high school.

15 . Interview with Lou Battistone.

16 . “We were the only guys that paid the fifty-dollar stamp tax on pinball machines,” Warren says.“I’m not sure we would have done it if my dad hadn’t been insisting.”

17 . Interview with Lou Battistone. The name“Wilson” came from Woodrow Wilson High School.

18 . An essay into barbershop food concession ended quickly after the peanut dispenser,filled with five pounds of Spanish nuts,broke and got customers a handful of peanuts mixed with ground glass.

19 . Dialogue and expressions used by Buffett in this story came from Lou Battistone,although the facts align with Buffett’s recollection.

20 . Interview with Don Dedrick.

21 . In one version of this story,told by a high school friend of Buffett’s who was not present,Kerlin was too smart to fall for it and never made it to the golf course. Whatever happened,Buffett’s version is,not surprisingly,funnier.

Chapter 13

1 . Interview with Katie Buffett.

2 . While this story sounds buffed and polished over the years,the tone of it rings true. Letters from Warren at college to his father a couple of years later have the same breeziness.

3 . Interview with Stu Erickson.

4 . Interview with Don Dedrick.

5 . Interview with Bob Dwyer.

6 . According to Gray,Buffett also jokingly dreamed up an idea for a magazine called Sex Crimes Illustrated while they were on the train to the Havre de Grace racetrack.

7 . Interview with Bill Gray,now Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University and head of the Tropical Meteorology Project.

Chapter 14

1 . The class size is approximate because Woodrow Wilson had,in effect,two classes graduating in parallel (February and June graduates); students like Warren could shift from February to the previous June by taking a few extra credits. The school described Buffett’s top 50 ranking as falling in the top “one-seventh” of his class.

2 . Barbara “Bobby” Weigand,who remembers only the hearse. Doris Buffett recalled the family debate about the hearse.

3 . Interviews with Bob Feitler,Ann Beck MacFarlane,Waldo Beck. David Brown became brotherin-law of Waldo Beck,Ann Beck’s brother.

4 . Interviews with Bob Feitler,Warren Buffett. Note that,because he was using the car for commercial purposes,Buffett would probably have been able to get extra gas coupons at a time when gas was tightly rationed.

5 . The term “policy” probably came from the Gaelic pá lae sámh (pronounced paah lay seeh),which means “easy payday,” a nineteenth-century Irish-American gambling term.

6 . The bill generated fierce anti-Taft labor reprisals in the Midwest.

7 . Interview with Doris Buffett.

8 . Estimate based on data supplied by Nancy R. Miller,Public Services Archivist,The University Archives and Record Center,University of Pennsylvania.

9 . Jolson,a vaudeville singer,was the most popular stage entertainer of the early twentieth century. He made famous such songs as “You Made Me Love You” “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody,”“Swanee,”“April Showers,”“Toot,Toot,Tootsie,Goodbye,” and“California,Here I Come.” He performed “My Mammy” in blackface in the 1927 movie The Jazz Singer,the first feature film to enjoy widespread commercial success. Jolson was voted “Most Popular Male Vocalist” in a 1948 Variety poll on the back of a film about his life,The Al Jolson Story,which repopularized him to a younger generation. Performing in blackface would be considered racist today but was ubiquitous and unremarkable at the time.

10 . “My Mammy,” words by Sam Lewis and Joe Young; music by Walter Donaldson,copyright 1920.

11 . Rich Cohen,“Pledge Allegiance.” From Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot to Print,ed. David Wallace. New York: Nation Books,2004.

12 . Interview with Clyde Reighard.

13 . Coffee with Congress.

14 . Interview with Chuck Peterson.

15 . Interview with Clyde Reighard.

16 . Interviews with Chuck Peterson,Sharon and Gertrude Martin.

17 . Interview with Anthony Vecchione,as quoted in Roger Lowenstein,Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist. New York: Doubleday,1996.

18 . Peterson recalls that he stuck it out all year——or,well,almost.

19 . Interview with Doris Buffett.

20 . Kenesaw Mountain Landis,Segregation in Washington: A Report,November 1948. Chicago: National Committee on Segregation in the Nation’s Capital,1948.

21 . Interview with Bob Dwyer.

22 . Don Danly,as quoted in Lowenstein,Buffett. Danly is deceased.

23 . Interview with Norma Thurston-Perna.

24 . Interview with Barbara Worley Potter.

25 . Interview with Clyde Reighard.

26 . Beja,as quoted in Lowenstein,Buffett. Beja is deceased.

27 . Interview with Don Sparks.

28 . Shoe-shining was a big thing at Penn; a typical pledge haze was to shine the actives’ shoes.

29 . In an interview,Reighard recalled the outlines of the story. Buffett became a close friend of the victim Beja’s roommate,Jerry Oransky (renamed Orans),who is deceased.

30 . Interview with Barbara Worley Potter.

31 . Interview with Ann Beck MacFarlane,who thinks the date was engineered by her parents and Leila Buffett.

32 . Susan Thompson Buffett described her husband circa 1950 this way.

33 . Interview with Clyde Reighard.

34 . Interview with Bob Feitler.

35 . Interview with Clyde Reighard.

36 . Interview with Anthony Vecchione,as quoted in Lowenstein,Buffett.

37 . Interview with Martin Wiegand.

38 . “Buffett Lashes Marshall Plant,” Omaha World-Herald,January 28,1948. Buffett campaign literature also describes foreign aid as money down the rat hole.

39 . June 5,1948,dedication of Memorial Park.

40 . Last will and testament of Frank D. Buffett,filed February 19,1949.

41 . Approved application to the county court of Douglas County,Nebraska,April 14,1958. The bonds were allowed to mature,since the will said proceeds of any property “sold” could only be invested in U.S. bonds. Given the opportunity cost and interest rates,Howard’s move was wise.

42 . Leila Buffett’s day books.“It’s Cold——But Remember that Bitter Winter of ’48–’49?” Omaha World-Herald,January 6,1959.

43 . Commercial & Financial Chronicle,May 6,1948.

44 . Interview with Doris Buffett.

45 . Interview with Lou Battistone.

46 . Interview with Sharon Martin.

47 . Interviews with Waldo Beck and Ann Beck MacFarlane,to whom Brown repeated the story.

Chapter 15

1 . They would sell 220 dozen balls for a total of $1, 200.

2 . Warren Buffett letter to Howard Buffett,February 16,1950.

3 . He asked Howard to advance him $1, 426 that the broker required him to keep on deposit,signing off,“Yours,for lower auto profits,Warren.” Warren Buffett letter to Howard Buffett, February 16,1950.

4 . Warren Buffett letter to Jerry Orans,May 1,1950,cited in Roger Lowenstein,Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist. New York: Doubleday,1996.

5 . “Bizad Students Win Scholarships,” Daily Nebraskan,May 19,1950.

6 . Benjamin Graham,The Intelligent Investor: A Book of Practical Counsel. New York: Harper & Brothers,1949.

7 . Garfield A. Drew,New Methods for Profit in the Stock Market. Boston: The Metcalf Press,1941.

8 . Robert D. Edwards and John McGee,Technical Analysis of Stock Market Trends. Springfield,Mass.: Stock Trend Service,1948.

9 . Wood,as cited in Lowenstein,Buffett. Wood is deceased. He told Lowenstein he was not sure when this conversation took place——before Buffett was rejected by Harvard or as late as after when he had started at Columbia,but it was apparently before he met Graham himself.

10 . According to Buffett,Howard Buffett was acquainted with one of the board members.

11 . Columbia University in the City of New York,announcement of the Graduate School of Business for the winter and spring sessions 1950~1951,Columbia University Press.

Chapter 16

1 . In his memoir,Man of the House (New York: Random House,1987),the late Congressman Tip O’Neill recalled that his pastor,Monsignor Blunt,said it was a sin for Catholics to go to the Protestant-managed YMCA. O’Neill and a Jewish friend stayed at the Sloane House anyway. The regular rate in the 1930s was sixty-five cents a night,but,O’Neill said,“If you signed up for the Episcopal service,it was only thirty-five cents,with breakfast included. We were nobody’s fool,so we signed up for the thirty-five-cent deal and figured to duck out after breakfast and before the service. But apparently we weren’t the first to think of this brilliant plan,because they locked the doors during breakfast,which meant that we were stuck.” By the 1950s,there was no longer a “pray or pay” deal at the Sloane House.“If there had been” Buffett says,“I would have experienced a revelation and embraced whatever denomination offered the greatest discount.”

2 . Buffettis not certain if the smoking deal applied to all three of the Buffett kids or only his sisters,but they all got the $2, 000 on graduation on roughly the same terms.

3 . Most of the money was invested in U.S International Securities and Parkersburg Rig & Reel,which he replaced with Tri-Continental Corporation on January 1,1951. Howard contributed most of the money and Warren contributed the ideas and work,or “sweat equity,” to an informal partnership.

4 . Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd,Security Analysis,Principles and Technique. New York: McGraw-Hill,1934.

5 . Barbara Dodd Anderson letter to Warren Buffett,April 19,1989.

6 . David Dodd letter to Warren Buffett,April 2,1986.

7 . The Union Pacific Railroad in the nineteenth century was the most scandal-plagued and bankruptcy-riddled of the nation’s railroads.

8 . William W. Townsend,Bond Salesmanship. New York: Henry Holt,1924. Buffett read this book three or four times.

9 . Interview with Jack Alexander.

10 . And,according to Buffett,one woman,Maggie Shanks.

11 . Interview with Fred Stanback.

12 . Anyone of a certain age from the Mid-Atlantic region would still recognize the slogan,“Snap back with Stanback,” and “neuralgia” as an old-fashioned term for a bad headache.

13 . The SEC’s Regulation FD now bars selective disclosure of material nonpublic information and requires that it be disseminated simultaneously by companies to the market on a timely basis.

14 . At $2, 600 a year,Schloss as an investor was making less than the average secretary in 1951,who took home $3, 060,according to a survey of the National Secretaries Association.

15 . Interview with Fred Stanback.

16 . Interview with Walter Schloss. Some material is from The Memoirs of Walter J. Schloss. New York:September Press,2003.

17 . Benjamin Graham,The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street. New York: McGraw-Hill,1996.

18 . Stryker & Brown was the “market maker,” or principal dealer,in Marshall-Wells stock.

19 . Marshall-Wells was the second Graham and Dodd stock he had bought,after Parkersburg Rig & Reel. Stanback confirms the lunch with Green,but can’t recall the date.

20 . Not,as has been written,from Who’s Who in America. However,he may have learned it from reading Moody’s,hearing it from David Dodd or Walter Schloss,or from a newspaper or magazine source.

21 . Due to a legal technicality,this divestiture of GEICO stock was required in a consent order with the SEC in 1948. Graham-Newman violated Section 12(d)(2) of the Investment Company Act of 1940,although “in the bona fide,though mistaken,belief that the acquisition might lawfully be consummated.” A registered investment company (Graham-Newman was “a diversified management investment company of the open-end type”) cannot acquire more than 10% of the total outstanding voting stock of an insurance company if it does not already have 25% ownership.

22 . GEICO oral history interview of Lorimer Davidson by Walter Smith,June 19,1998,and also see William K. Klingaman,GEICO,The First Forty Years. Washington,D.C.: GEICO Corporation,1994,for a condensed version of this story.

23 . Making $100, 000 in 1929 was equivalent to making $1, 212, 530 in 2007.

24 . By 1951,GEICO was deemphasizing mailings in favor of platoons of friendly telephone operators who answered the phone at regional offices and were trained to quickly screen bad risks.

25 . A type of auto insurer called “nonstandard” specializes in these customers,surcharging them,say,80%. USAA and GEICO at the time were “ultra-preferred” companies,specializing in the best risks.

26 . The main problem with tontines was that people were gambling with their life insurance policies instead of using them as protection. Originally a “survivor bet” expulsion from a tontine pool was later based on failure to pay premiums for any reason.“It is a tempting game; but how cruel!” Papers Relating to Tontine Insurance,The Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company,Hartford,Conn.: 1887.

27 . Office Memorandum,Government Employees Insurance Corporation,Buffett-Falk & Co.,October 9,1951.

Chapter 17

1 . Benjamin Graham,The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street. New York: McGraw-Hill,1996. Anecdotal material from this source has been verified with Warren Buffett.

2 . In 1915,members of the Grossbaum family,like many American Jews,began to anglicize their name to Graham in response to the anti-Semitism that flourished during and after World War I. Ben’s family made the change in April 1917. Source: November 15,2007,speech by Jim Grant to the Center for Jewish History on “My Hero,Benjamin Grossbaum.”

3 . Graham was born in 1894,the year of one of the biggest financial panics in American history,which was followed by the depression of 1896~1897,the panic of 1901,the panic of 1903~1904 (“Rich Man’s Panic”),the panic of 1907,the war depression of 1913~1914,and the postwar depression of 1920~1922.

4 . Benjamin Graham,Memoirs.

5 . Ibid.

6 . Ibid.

7 . Traditionally,people came to Wall Street in one of two ways. Either they entered the family business by following a relative into the job,or,having no such connection,they“came up through the hawsehole,” to use a nautical expression common on Wall Street at the time,starting young as a runner or board boy and working their way up,like Sidney Weinberg,Ben Graham,and Walter Schloss. Attending business school with the conscious intention of working on Wall Street was essentially unheard of until the early 1950s because most areas of finance,and especially the art of security analysis,had not developed as academic disciplines.

8 . Details of Graham’s early career are from Janet Lowe’s Benjamin Graham on Value Investing: Lessons from the Dean of Wall Street. Chicago: Dearborn Financial Publishing,1994.

9 . Graham believed that one could be swayed by personality and salesmanship by going to meetings with a company’s management,so this was partly a way of remaining dispassionate. But Graham was also not particularly interested in human beings.

10 . Interview with Rhoda and Bernie Sarnat.

11 . As cited by Lowe.

12 . Benjamin Graham,Memoirs.

13 . Ibid.

14 . Interview with Jack Alexander.

15 . In Security Analysis,Principles,and Technique (New York: McGraw-Hill,1934),Benjamin Graham and Dodd stressed that there is no single definition of“intrinsic value,” which depends on earnings,dividends,assets,capital structure,terms of the security,and “other” factors. Since estimates are always subjective,the main consideration,they wrote——always——is the margin of safety.

16 . The apt analogy to Plato’s cave was originally made by Patrick Byrne.

17 . Often this was because the kind of undervalued stocks he liked were illiquid and could not be purchased in large positions. But Buffett felt that Graham could have followed a bolder strategy.

18 . Interview with Jack Alexander.

19 . Interview with Bill Ruane.

20 . Interviews with Jack Alexander,Bill Ruane.

21 . Schloss,in his memoir,wrote with warm affection of his wife,Louise,who “battled depression throughout her entire adult life.” They remained married for fifty-three years,until she died in 2000.

22 . Interview with Walter Schloss.

Chapter 18

1 . Mary Monen,sister of Dan Monen,who would later become his lawyer.

2 . Susie’s parents were friends of Howard and Leila Buffett,but their children attended different schools,so they did not socialize.

3 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek. Susie was born June 15,1932. Bertie was born November 15,1933.

4 . Earl Wilson was the saloon writer for the New York Post. In describing Newsday scribe Jimmy Breslin,Media Life Magazine defined a saloon writer as the purveyor of“a certain style of journalism that’s peculiar to New York,and a bit peculiar in itself,where the writer journeys about the places where ordinary people can be found and writes of their visions of the human condition.”

5 . A well-known women-only residence still in operation today (at 419 W. 34th Street in New York City).

6 . Vanita,in a Valentine letter to Warren,February 1991,poses the possibility that she “never liked cheese sandwiches and that I just ate them to please.” (In this letter,as at some other times,she spells her middle name “May” instead of“Mae” as in her youth.)

7 . This description came from various letters from Vanita,reminiscing about her dates with Warren——January 1,1991,February 19,1991,January 1,1994,many undated; Buffett agrees.

8 . Susan Thompson Buffett,as told to Warren Buffett in 2004. He does not remember this but adds that,of course,he wouldn’t.

9 . Buffett says that,despite her antics,he was never intimidated by Vanita.“I wouldn’t have had the guts to stick Pudgy in a wastebasket,” he says.“I mean,she’d have beaten the hell out of me.” For her part,Vanita later claimed to Fred Stanback that the incident never happened——although she did have some incentive to downplay the histrionic side of her personality to Fred.

10 . As Charlie Munger puts it,Buffett narrowly missed a disastrous marriage when he “escaped the clutches of Vanita.”

11 . “A Star Is Born?” Associated Press,Town & Country magazine,September 24,1977.

12 . Information on William Thompson comes from a variety of sources,including interviews with Warren,Roberta,and Doris Buffett and other family members,and “Presbyterian Minister Reviews Thompson Book,” Omaha World-Herald,January 5,1967; “Old ‘Prof’ Still Feels Optimistic About Younger Generation,” Omaha World-Herald,March 28,1970; “W. H. Thompson,Educator,Is Dead,” Omaha World-Herald,April 7,1981; “O.U. Alumni Honor Dean,” Omaha World-Herald,May 15,1960.

13 . As supervisor of the school system’s IQ testing,Doc Thompson had access to and,according to Buffett,knew Warren’s IQ. Indeed,the IQ test results for the three little Buffetts may have intrigued him,given their remarkably high——and remarkably similar scores.

14 . In an interview,Marge Backhus Turtscher,who attended these services,wondered what on earth motivated Thompson to make the long trip each Sunday to preach at this tiny church. Thompson also once published a book,The Fool Has Said God Is Dead. Boston: Christopher Publishing House,1966.

15 . Susan Thompson Buffett told this story to various family members.

16 . In many patients,rheumatic fever causes mild to serious heart complications (in Howard Buffett’s case,at least moderate complications),but based on her subsequent health history,Susan Thompson appears to have been among the 20%~60% who escape significant carditis,or long-term damage to the heart.

17 . Warren,Doris Buffett,Roberta Buffett Bialek,Susie Buffett Jr.,and other Buffetts talk of this striking film.

18 . Interview with Raquel “Rackie” Newman.

19 . Al Pagel,“Susie Sings for More Than Her Supper,” Omaha World-Herald,April 17,1977.

20 . Interviews with Charlene Moscrey,Sue James Stewart,Marilyn Kaplan Weisberg.

21 . According to some high school classmates who asked not to be identified.

22 . Interviews with Donna Miller,Inga Swenson. Swenson,who went on to become a professional actress,played Cornelia Otis Skinner opposite Thompson’s Emily Kimbrough.

23 . A composite taken from interviews with Inga Swenson,Donna Miller,Roberta Buffett Bialek,and John Smith,whose brother Dick Smith took Susie dancing.

24 . Interviews with Sue James Stewart,Marilyn Kaplan Weisberg. Stewart,who was Sue Brownlee in high school,had access to a car and drove her best friend Susie to Council Bluffs for dates with Brown.

25 . Interviews with Roberta Buffett Bialek,Warren Buffett,Doris Buffett,Marilyn Kaplan Weisberg.

26 . “I don’t think anything as exciting has ever happened to me,” Bertie told the college newspaper.“This is what we sent her to Northwestern for?” wondered Howard.

27 . The Wildcat Council acted as guides for campus visitors and leaders during New Student Week. Members joined by petitioning the council for membership (Northwestern University Student Handbook,1950~1951).

28 . Interview with Milton Brown,who says he would have depledged had the roles been reversed.

29 . Interview with Sue James Stewart. Susie,a self-described “personal theist,” flirted with Buddhism,a nontheistic religion,all her life and often referred to Zen or to herself as a “Zen person.”It is fair to say she used the terms “Zen”and “theist”loosely.

30 . Al Pagel,“Susie Sings...”

31 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek.

32 . Interviews with Chuck Peterson,Doris Buffett.

33 . Interview with Charlie Munger.

34 . Interview with Milton Brown. In a minor footnote to the story,this was the only time Brown ever entered the Buffetts’ house.

35 . Interview with Sue James Stewart.

36 . “I can see her in those dresses now,” Buffett says,a poignant statement from a man who does not know the color of his own bedroom walls.

37 . “Debaters Win at Southwest Meet,”Gateway,December 14,1951.

38 . “ASGD Plans Meet for New Members,”Gateway,October 19,1951.

39 . Warren Buffett letter to Dorothy Stahl,October 6,1951.

40 . Susan Thompson Buffett,as conveyed to Warren Buffett.

41 . Interview with Milton Brown.

42 . The United States airlifted food and supplies into West Berlin during 1948 and 1949 during a Soviet blockade in which the Soviet Union attempted to seize the entire city,which had been partitioned after World War II.

43 . Buffett recalls a literal three-hour lecture. A conversation of such length was almost certainly the result of him working himself up to ask the question while Doc Thompson carried on.

Chapter 19

1 . The net gain on investments was $7, 434. He also put $2, 500 into the account that he’d saved from his pay working at Buffett-Falk.

2 . Delving a little further into Buffett’s reasoning about the valuation of an insurance business: “The stock was trading around forty dollars and therefore the whole company was selling for about seven million. I figured the company would be worth as much as the premium volume,roughly,because they would get the investment income on ‘float’ that was pretty close to dollar-for-dollar,maybe with the premium income. Plus,they’d have the book value. So I figured it would always be worth at least as much as the premium. Now,all I had to do was get to a billion dollars of premium income and I was going to be a millionaire.”

3 . This company later became ConAgra. Buffett-Falk had apparently managed a $100, 000 preferred-stock offering for it as an investment banker——at the time not a trivial transaction.

4 . Interview with Margaret Landon,the secretary at Buffett-Falk.

5 . According to Walter Schloss in an interview,the Norman family,who were heirs of Julius Rosenwald of Sears,Roebuck,“received GEICO stock because they were big investors in Graham-Newman. When the Normans wanted to put more money with Graham-Newman,they gave Ben Graham the GEICO stock he had distributed to them instead of putting cash in. Warren is out in Omaha,and he’s buying GEICO. But Graham didn’t know he was selling to Warren,and Warren couldn’t figure out why Graham-Newman was selling it.”The distribution of GEICO stock by Graham-Newman is also described in Janet Lowe’s Benjamin Graham on Value Investing: Lessons from the Dean of Wall Street. Chicago: Dearborn Financial Publishing,1994.

6 . Interview with Bob Soener,who called him “Buffie”in those days.

7 . As seen in a photograph taken in the classroom.

8 . Interview with Lee Seeman.

9 . People attended the class partly to get stock ideas. This was the only time he resembled Ben Graham in giving out ideas. He did so mainly because he had more ideas than money.

10 . Interview with Margaret Landon. Her memory of him is in this posture,reading.

11 . Office Memorandum,Cleveland Worsted Mills Company,Buffett-Falk Company,September 19,1952.

12 . Interview with Fred Stanback.

13 . Buffett traded two stocks personally,Carpenter Paper and Fairmont Foods. While astute enough to set the firm up as a market maker and trade the stocks,he was immature (albeit witty) enough to refer to the CEO of Fairmont Foods,D. K. Howe,as “Don’t Know Howe.”

14 . Bill Rosenwald later founded the United Jewish Appeal of New York.

15 . Interviews with Doris Buffett,Roberta Buffett Bialek.

16 . Interview with Fred Stanback.

17 . Interview with Chuck Peterson.

18 . Brig. Gen. Warren Wood of the 34th National Guard Division.

19 . Interview with Byron Swanson.

20 . Interview with Fred Stanback.

21 . Susie told Sue Brownlee (Sue James Stewart) this the week after she returned from her honeymoon. Interview with Sue James Stewart.

22 . Wahoo is best known as the birthplace of movie mogul Darryl E Zanuck.

23 . “Love Only Thing That Stops Guard,”Omaha World-Herald,April 20,1952.

24 . Interview with Buffett. Also,Brian James Beerman,“Where in the Hell Is Omaha?”Americanmafia.com,March 21,2004.

Chapter 20

1 . General Douglas MacArthur made a halfhearted run for the nomination but was eclipsed by Taft. He and his former aide Eisenhower were bitter enemies.

2 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek.

3 . David L.Dodd,Associate Dean,Columbia University,letter to Warren Buffett,May 20,1952.

4 . This was the same Robert Taft who had cosponsored the Taft-Hartley Act,much favored among businessmen but despised by broad swaths of Americans. In short,Taft represented the extreme end of the party,which made him less likely to capture moderate voters.

5 . Ironically,many in this faction promoted tariffs,government farm supports,and tough labor laws desired by their small-business and farm constituents,even though this may have seemed inconsistent with their other views on government. Another famous member of this group was popular Nebraska Senator Ken Wherry,the “merry mortician,”famous for malapropisms such as calling Indochina “Indigo China,”addressing the chairman as “Mr. Paragraph,”and offering his “unanimous opinion.”Time,June 25,1951. Wherry died shortly before the election.

6 . The leaders of this wing of the party were Henry Cabot Lodge and Nelson Rockefeller,despised by Howard Buffett and like-minded Republicans as rich East Coast Ivy League elitists who abandoned core Republican principles to join forces with Democrats whenever it furthered their own pragmatic interests and those of“big business.”

7 . “Top GOP Riff Closed But Not the Democrats’,”New York Times,September 14,1952; Elie Abel,“Taft Rallies Aid for GOP Ticket,”New York Times,October 5,1952.

8 . Howard Buffett wrote to former president Hoover,October 23,1952: “I have no enthusiasm for Eisenhower,but your decision to support his election is good enough for me.”He apparently changed his mind after this letter was written.

9 . Interview with Roberta Buffett Bialek.

10 . Interview with Katie Buffett,who recalled this conversation and found it amusing.“Warren’s probably forgotten he told me that one,”she said.

11 . Susan Goodwillie Stedman,recalling personal interview with Susan Thompson Buffett conducted November 2001,courtesy of Susan Goodwillie Stedman and Elizabeth Wheeler.

12 . Interview with Susan T. Buffett.

13 . Interviews with Mary and Dick Holland,Warren Buffett.

14 . Interviews with Racquel Newman,Astrid Buffett.

15 . The IQ story is a family tale,but since Dr. Thompson was in charge of IQ testing for the whole school system,it has at least some credence. Within the family,Dr. Thompson often tested his daughters and grandchildren while he was creating new psychology and intelligence tests.Whatever her IQ,Dottie was considered no dummy.

16 . This story is related in Leila Buffett’s diary. Also,Gabe Parks,“Court Has Nomination Vote Vacancy,”Omaha World-Herald,July 4,1954.

17 . “Buffett May Join Faculty at UNO,”Omaha World-Herald,April 30,1952; Buffett-Falk and Company announcement,Omaha-World Herald,January 9,1953; “Talks on Government Scheduled at Midland,”Omaha World-Herald,February 6,1955; “Buffett Midland Lecturer in 1956,”Omaha World-Herald,February 15,1955.

18 . Warren Buffett letter to “Pop”Howard Buffett,dated “Wednesday,”presumed August 4,1954.“Scarsdale G.I. Suicide,Army Reports the Death of Pvt. Newton Graham in France,”New York Times,August 3,1954. The entire text of the item read: “Frankfurt,Germany,Aug. 2 (Reuters)——Pvt. Newton Graham of Scarsdale,N.Y.,committed suicide at La Rochelle,France,the United States Army announced today.”Newton——named after Sir Isaac Newton——was the second of Graham’s sons to be named Isaac Newton; the first had died of meningitis at age nine. Noting Newton’s increasing mental instability,which he labeled “highly neurotic,even probably schizophrenic,”Graham had written letters trying to get him discharged from the army,but failed. (Benjamin Graham,The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street. New York: McGraw-Hill,1996.)

19 . Susie Buffett Jr. says she had a crib.

20 . Using the term “pay”loosely,since all of the earnings are not actually paid out as a dividend. This distinction was once the subject of heavy academic debate as to the discount that should be imputed to a stock’s valuation for earnings that were not paid out. The premium assigned to companies that pay dividends has waned for a number of reasons. See also the reference to “The Frozen Corporation”in Chapter 46,“Rubicon.”

21 . Interview with Fred Stanback.

22 . His personal investment return that year was 144.8%,compared to 50.1% for the DJIA.

23 . Union Underwear was the predecessor to Fruit of the Loom.

24 . Buffett recalled this classic story in an interview.

25 . Interview with Sue James Stewart.

26 . Interview with Elizabeth Trumble.

27 . Interview with Roxanne Brandt.

28 . I Love Lucy,Season 1,Episode 6,November 11,1951.

29 . Buffett’s exact quote was “I can see her pulsing and moaning as she said,‘Tell me more...’”