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The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Lifeby Alice Schroeder
Reading Group Guide
“Life is like a snowball,” Warren Buffett once remarked. “The important thing is finding wet snow and a really long hill.” Now, in the new book about the “Oracle from Omaha,” which is the first of its kind to be both a life story and a biography of ideas, readers worldwide have an unprecedented opportunity to discover how Americas savviest investor amassed his legendary “snowball,” a fortune that spans not only multi-billion-dollar financial achievements but also includes a wealth of beloved friends, family, and business partners, and a lifetime of sparkling experiences.
Buffett has also amassed a wealth of respect, drawing thousands from around the globe who seek his wisdom and have hoped he might write a book one day. Though Buffett never wrote a memoir, the time seemed right to look back on the “really long hill” that propelled him to success. Discovering a suitable ally in insurance analyst and financial reporter Alice Schroeder, Buffett granted remarkable access to his files, his closest associates, and his most personal memories of his boyhood, marriage, and fatherhood. His cooperation with Schroeder would lead to more than five years of in-depth research and would produce a book that, in keeping with Buffetts tradition of unrivaled results, is unlike any biography, business book, or family history you have ever read.
Unlike celebrities who hire ghostwriters to produce flattering tributes, Buffett told Schroeder that if she encountered conflicting versions of an event, she should emphasize the one that was least flattering to him. And by choosing Schroeder to tell his story, he put his epic story in the hands of an industry insider who would ask him tough questions about the hundreds of deals he has made. Along the way, she translated his business triumphs into a riveting series of deeply human narratives, telling us not only that the price of his Berkshire Hathaway stock eventually topped a record-setting $100,000 per share but also bringing to life the colorful cast of characters involved in making BRK one of the most surprising fiscal victories in business history. With equal candor, The Snowball reveals the emotional toll exacted by Buffetts devotion to his work, and the emotional rewards he has reaped through philanthropic strategies that have sparked a radical new vision of the purpose of wealth in the world.
Whether you read it with your book group or your investment club, your lifelong friends or your board of directors, The Snowball will give you priceless lessons in life.
The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your reading of Alice Schroeders The Snowball. We hope they will enrich your experience of this unparalleled American success story.
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