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Warren Buffett's Biography

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Warren Edward Buffett was born in Omaha on 30 August 1930.

Warren Buffett's father, Howard was a stockbroker and Republican congressman. When he was just 11, Warren Buffett bought his first stock - three shares of Cities Service Preferred. The price initially dropped but Buffett held and sold at a small profit. However, he did not put into play what was to become a hallmark of his investment strategy - patience. After Warren Buffett sold the stock, the price rose eventually from $40 to $200 a share.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska, Warren Buffett was rejected by the Harvard Business School and went to study at the Columbia University Business School with Ben Graham, author of Security Analysis.

According to Graham the way to treat the market was like it was a manic-depressive. When it's manic sell to it, when it's depressed offer to buy from it.

In 1957, Warren Buffett returned to Omaha and started his first investment partnership. His painstaking research started to pay off. He stayed in Omaha, which is emblematic of his preference for his original shareholders over meetings with analysts.

Buffett adapted Graham's approach. Whereas the latter took a pure statistical approach, Buffett has said (according to Adam Smith's excellent book, The Roaring '80s): "Valuing a business is part art and part science..."

"The Oracle of Omaha" or "The Sage of Omaha" as Warren Buffett is known, has achieved an excellent long-term investment record, which had propelled him into Number 2 spot in the list of the world's richest men. His friend, Bill Gates, was Number One.

However, in March 2008, the tables finally turned with Warren Buffett taking the top spot from Bill Gates, after Forbes calculated that Buffett's wealth had grown $10 billion to about $62 billion in the 12 months through February 11.

In May 2005, Berkshire Hathaway shareholders rubber-stamped the appointment of Bill Gates to their board. At the annual meeting Warren Buffett played the ukulele and told jokes. He also faced questions about a federal investigation into a reinsurance transaction between insurance company American International Group Inc. and Berkshire subsidiary General Re.

On March 11 2005, Forbes estimated Warren Buffett's wealth to be $44 billion. He and his late wife, Susan were listed as the second largest charitable donors in 2004.

The Berkshire Hathaway letters to shareholders make interesting and informative reading. They are posted on the Berkshire Hathaway's website. They provide insight into Warren Buffett's life and his ideas.

Warren Buffett has said that only in the case of physical or mental incapacity would he consider retiring as chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire. In which event Warren Buffett's eldest son, Howard, a Berkshire board member, would take over as chairman.

In June 2006, Warren Buffett revealed that he was donating an incredible $37 billion (£20bn) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mr Buffett will give 10 million shares in Berkshire Hathaway. Mr Buffett's donation is the largest made by one person in the US.

In August 2006, on his 76th birthday, Warren Buffett married his long-time partner, Astrid Menks, who was 60.

In 2008, Alice Schroeder published a biography of Warren Buffett entitled The Snowball, which was written with his cooperation.

In July 2011, Warren Buffett donated $1.78bn to several charities, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In May 2021, Warren Buffett, aged 90, mentioned no intention of stepping down but told CNBC "The directors are in agreement that if something were to happen to me tonight, it would be Greg [Abel] who'd take over tomorrow morning."

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