David wen avatar
David Wen
Entrepreneur, software developer, management consultant. He reads Wikipedia articles on a daily basis.
Snow ball book
The Snowball

Reviewed by David Wen

What does the most successful investor billionaire do every Monday night? Play bridge online. On a computer that Bill Gates helped him set up, no less. This, and many other colourful nuggets, are what you can expect to find in this wonderfully complete (and thus, also somewhat long) biography of Warren Buffett.

Some of the anecdotes give a picture of Buffett that will make you say, "ya, he would do that". Like how he used to keep track of statistics on the colours of cars he saw. Or how he optimized his paper route delivery system in high rises by keeping the elevator door open and simply throwing the newspapers at each door.

Since reading the book, I've tried to incorporate a few things into my own life. For example, Warren Buffett has a group of people that he meets with annually to share and exchange ideas. That's all. Not necessarily stock-focused - just idea-focused. These are people he trusts very deeply and he values their opinions. I thought this meet-up thing was a good idea and have since strived to always stay in touch with people I respect. Often it's just to hear them out, and not to attain any particular purpose except to be a better intellectual.

Another thing I've tried to glean is his focus. Warren Buffett made his first investment when he was 11, and he's been quoted as saying he's "wasted his life up 'til then." His entire mind was focused on making money from very early on, from when he sold tip sheets at the horse track to when he started his first investment group. At one of the group meetings with the people he trusts, one of the exercises was to name the one thing that got you the success you have today (because they're all successful). Bill Gates and Warren Buffett gave the same answer: focus. So that's another thing I've tried to implement in my life - a strong focus on a few things as opposed to half-hearted dabblings in many things.

A monumental book for a monumental person - you have to read it for yourself.

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David wen avatar
David Wen
Entrepreneur, software developer, management consultant. He reads Wikipedia articles on a daily basis.