People Who Kick Buts: Warren Buffet
You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.
- Born on August 30, 1930.
- He is widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century. He is the primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
- He was ranked as the world’s wealthiest person in 2008. In 2012, American magazine Time named Buffett one of the most influential people in the world.
- Buffett is noted for his adherence to the value investing philosophy and for his personal frugality despite his immense wealth.
- Buffett is also a notable philanthropist, having pledged to give away 99 percent of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Gates Foundation.
- On April 11, 2012, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- Buffett was born in 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska, the second of three children and only son of U.S. Representative Howard Buffett.
- Warren graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1947, where his senior yearbook picture reads: “likes math; a future stock broker”.
- Even as a child, Buffett displayed an interest in making and saving money. He went door to door selling chewing gum, Coca-Cola, or weekly magazines.
- While still in high school he was successful in making money by delivering newspapers, selling golfballs and stamps, and detailing cars, among other means. Filing his first income tax return in 1944, Buffett took a $35 deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route.
- In 1945, in his sophomore year of high school, Buffett and a friend spent $25 to purchase a used pinball machine, which they placed in the local barber shop. Within months, they owned several machines in different barber shops.
- Buffett entered college as a freshman in 1947 at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania and studied there for two years from 1947 to 1949. In the year 1950, when he entered his junior year, he transferred to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where at the age of nineteen, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration.
- Buffett enrolled at Columbia Business School after learning that Benjamin Graham (author of “The Intelligent Investor” – one of his favorite books on investing) and David Dodd, two well-known securities analysts, taught there. He earned a Master of Science in economics from Columbia in 1951. Buffett also attended the New York Institute of Finance. In Buffett’s own words:
“I’m 15 percent Fisher and 85 percent Benjamin Graham.”
- Buffett married Susan Buffett (née Thompson) in 1952. They had three children, Susie, Howard and Peter. The couple began living separately in 1977, although they remained married until her death in July 2004.
- In 2006, on his seventy-sixth birthday, Warren married his longtime companion, Astrid Menks, who was then 60 years old. She had lived with him since his wife’s departure to San Francisco in 1977.
- It was Susan Buffett who arranged for the two to meet before she left Omaha to pursue her singing career. All three were close and Christmas cards to friends were signed “Warren, Susie and Astrid”. Susan Buffett briefly discussed this relationship in an interview on the Charlie Rose Show shortly before her death, in a rare glimpse into Buffett’s personal life.
- Warren Buffett disowned his son Peter’s adopted daughter, Nicole, in 2006 after she participated in the Jamie Johnson documentary, The One Percent. Although his first wife had referred to Nicole as one of her “adored grandchildren”, Buffett wrote her a letter stating, “I have not emotionally or legally adopted you as a grandchild, nor have the rest of my family adopted you as a niece or a cousin.” He signed the letter “Warren”.
- Buffett is an avid player of bridge, which he plays with fellow fan Gates. He spends 12 hours a week playing the game.
- On 11 April 2012, Buffett was diagnosed with stage I prostate cancer during a routine test. He announced he would begin two months of daily radiation treatment from mid-July; however, in a letter to shareholders, Buffett said he felt “great – as if I were in my normal excellent health – and my energy level is 100 percent”.