Edward Warren Buffett- Oracle of Omaha

Meghashree Das Meghashree Das
Sep 11, 2020 9 min read
Edward Warren Buffett- Oracle of Omaha

Edward Warren Buffett, is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is a philanthropist, corporate tycoon, and American investor. He's among the world's most influential investors. He purchased his first share at age 11. And now is the 5th richest man in the world with a net worth of around $82 billion.

Read ahead to know more about him.

Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet

Edward Warren Buffet- Biography

Name Edward Warren Buffett
DOB 30 August, 1930
Nationality American
Occupation Buisness Man
Spouse Susan Thompson
Children Susan Alice Buffett, Howard Graham Buffett and Peter Buffett
Net Worth $82.4 billion (September 2020)

Warren Buffett- Childhood
Warren Buffett- Family
Warren Buffett- Education
Warren Buffet- Career
Warren Buffett- Berkshire Hathaway
Warren Buffett- Investments
Warren Buffett- Personal Life
Warren Buffett- Assets
Warren Buffett- Awards and Achievements

Warren Buffett- Childhood

He was born in Omaha , Nebraska, on 30th August 1930. From a very young age he 'd been interested in business. When he was seven years old, he burrowed a book from the Omaha public library, One Thousand Ways to Make $1000 which inspired him a lot. Buffet during his entire childhood enlivened with entrepreneurial ventures. He began by selling door-to - door chewing gum, Coca-Cola bottles and weekly magazines.  

He used to deliver newspapers while at high school, selling golf balls and stamps, and describing automobiles. His first income tax return was in 1944. Buffet took a $35 deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route. In one occastion in his high school sophomore year, he and his friend got a pinball machin for $25 to place in a barber shop. And within months, they owned several other machines in 3 different barber shops across Omaha. Then later the year they sold the business to a war veteran for $1,200.

Buffet's interest in stock market and invested dates back to his school days. He used to spend his time in a regional stock brokerage lounge near his father's own brokerage office at the customer's. At the age of ten he made a point to visit the New York Stock Exchange on his trip there. At 11, he bought himself 3 shares of Cities Service Preferred and also three shares for his sister Doris Buffett. At the age of 15 just by delivering Washington Post newspapers, he made more than $175 per month.

During his high school, he invested in a business owned by his father and bought a 40-acre farm worked by a tenant farmer. He bought a land at the age of 14 with his $1,200 savings. By the time he finished college he has accumulated a savings of $9,800( about $105,000 today).

Warren Buffett- Family

  • He was born to Howard Buffett and Leila Stahl Buffett. His father owned a Broker shop- his first learning experience of investment.
  • Buffett married Susan Thompson at Dundee Presbyterian Church in 1952. Next year they had their first child, Susan Alice. In 1954, the Buffetts had their second child, Howard Graham. In 1958 the Buffetts' third child, Peter Andrew, was born.
  • In 1977, Susan left hi to pursue her own career and started living separately. They never divorced and remained legally married till Susan’s death in 2004.
  • He again married at the age of 77 years to Astrid Menks in 2006.

Warren Buffett- Education

He started his education from Rose Hill Elementary School. After that he attended Alice Deal Junior High School and then graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1947. In where his senior yearbook picture reads: "likes math; a future stockbroker." Although he wanted to go into business directly his father told him to take the business school first.

Buffett entered the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1947. After Warren studied there for two years and joined the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. He then transferred to the University of Nebraska at 19, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.  Buffet was rejected by Harvard Business School, and after that he enrolled at Columbia Business School of Columbia University after learning that Benjamin Graham taught there. In 1951, he graduated with a Master of Science in Economics from Columbia.

After graduating from Columbia, Buffett attended the New York Institute of Finance.


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Warren Buffett- Career

Early business career

Warren Buffet worked at

  • Buffet- Falk&C0. as an investment salesman from 1951 - 1954.
  • Graham- Newman Corp. as a securities analyst from 1954 to 1956
  • Buffet Partnership, Ltd as a general partner from 1956- 1969
  • Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc from 1970.

Graham was on the board of GEICO insurance, in 1951. He used to take a train to Washington, D.C. He knocked on GEICO 's headquarters door on Saturday, before he was admitted by a janitor. He met Lorimer Davidson, the vice president of GEICO, and spent hours discussing insurance business with him.

Davidson became Buffett's lifelong friend and a lasting influence. And he later recalls that he found Buffett to be an "extraordinary man" just after talking with him for only fifteen minutes. Buffett wanted to work on Wall Street. But both his father and Ben Graham requested him not to. He even offered to work for Graham for free, but Graham refused.

Warren Buffett returned to Omaha and worked as a stockbroker and also took a Dale Carnegie public speaking course. He felt confident enough to teach an "Investment Principles" night class at the University of Nebraska-Omaha from what he had learned. The average age of his students was more than twice his own there. During this time he purchased a Sinclair Texaco gas station as a side investment but it was unsuccessful.

Buffett accepted a job at Benjamin Graham's partnership, in 1954. His starting salary was $12,000 a year (about $114,000 today). He worked with Walter Schloss there. Graham was a tough boss but retired and closed his partnership in 1956. At this time Buffett's personal savings were over $174,000 (about $1.64 million today). He started Buffett Partnership Ltd then.

Buffett operated three partnerships, in 1957.  Buffett operated five partnerships in 1958. The company grew to six partnerships and Buffett met future partner Charlie Munger, in 1959. Buffett operated seven partnerships by 1960. Edward asked one of his partners, a doctor, to find 10 other doctors willing to invest $10,000 each in his partnership. 11 of them agreed. When accepted and Buffett pooled their money with his own initial contribution of just $100.

Buffett disclosed that in 1961 35 per cent of the assets of the partnership were invested in the Sanborn Map Business. In 1958, Sanborn stock sold for just $45 per share but the investment portfolio of the company was worth $65 per share, he explained. This meant that Sanborn's map business was being valued at a loss of $20. Buffett purchased 23% of the company's outstanding shares as an activist investor, obtaining a seat for himself on the Board of Directors, and allied with other dissatisfied shareholders to control 44% of the shares. The Board offered to repurchase shares at fair value, paying with a portion of its investment portfolio to avoid a proxy fight. 77% of the outstanding shares were turned in after that. Buffett obtained a 50% return on investment in just two years.


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Warren Buffett- Berkshire Hathaway

In 1962, Warren invested in a New England textile company called Berkshire Hathaway and bought some of its stock. He began to buy shares aggressively after a dispute with its management. That convinced him that the company needed a change in leadership. Ironically, the purchase of Berkshire Hathaway turned to be Warren’s one of major regrets.

Berkshire Hathaway headquarters
Berkshire Hathaway headquarters

Warren used Berkshire Hathaway as a holding company to buy National Indemnity Company and used its substantial cash flow to finance further acquisitions (the first of many insurance companies that he buys).

Seeing a company that was so cheap, Buffet bought it. The fact that he wasn’t an expert in textile manufacturing didn't matter. Gradually, Buffett shifted Berkshire’s focus away from its traditional endeavors, instead used it as a holding company to invest in other businesses. Over the years, Edward has bought, held and sold companies in a variety of different industries.

Warren Buffett- Investments

Some of Berkshire Hathaway’s most well-known subsidiaries are:

  • GEICO (that little Gecko actually belongs to Warren Buffett!!!),
  • Fruit of the Loom
  • Dairy Queen,
  • NetJets,
  • Benjamin Moore & Co.

But, these are only a handful of companies of which Berkshire Hathaway has a majority share. The company's major investments are:

  • American Express Co. (AXP),
  • Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST),
  • DirectTV (DTV),
  • General Electric Co. (GE),
  • General Motors Co. (GM),
  • Coca-Cola Co. (KO),
  • International Business Machines Corp. (IBM),
  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT),
  • Proctor & Gamble Co. (PG) and
  • Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC).

Warren Buffett- Personal Life

In order to compete with the boyfriend of a young woman whom he was trying to persuade, he tried to learn ukulele, in 1949. And has been playing ever since. Although he was unsuccessful  at playing, but his keen music interest is the major factor for their relationship.

He is often seen playing that instrument in stockroom meeting and other such opportunities.

He had purchased a five-bedroom stucco house in Omaha for just $31,500, where he still lives.

He is well-known for his personal frugality; he does not even carry a cell phone and prefers to travel by public transport.

In April 2012, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has successfully completed his treatment.

He is a great philanthropist, who has pledged to give away the major portion of his wealth to charity, with 83% of it going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  

In 2006, he disowned his son Peter's adopted daughter, Nicole. Mainly because she participated in the Jamie Johnson documentary The One Percent. Which was about the growing economic inequality between the wealthy and the average citizen in the United States.

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.

But his first wife, referred Nicole as one of her "adored grandchildren".

Buffet is an avid bridge player. He allegedly spends 12 hours a week playing the game. He has even sponsored a bridge match for the Buffett Cup, in 2006.

Buffett reads five newspapers per day, beginning with the Omaha World Herald, which his company acquired in 2011.

He is an ardent fan and lifelong follower of Nebraska football, and attends as many games as his schedule permits.

In 2006, his annual salary was about $100,000, which is quite small compared to senior executive remuneration in comparable companies. He earned a total compensation of $175,000, which included a base salary of just $100,00, in 2008.

Buffett had worked with Christopher Webber. They have worked on an animated series called "Secret Millionaires Club". He worked with chief Andy Heyward of DiC Entertainment. The series features Buffett and Munger and teaches children healthy financial habits.


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Warren Buffett- Assets

  • He owns a house in Omaha that he had bought in 1958 for $31,500, a fraction of today's value.
  • He also owns a house in Laguna Beach, California whose worth is about $4 million.
  • In 1989, he bought  a private jet, and named it "The Indefensible". He spent nearly $6.7 million of Berkshire's funds on that jet.
  • This was a break from his past stricture of extravagant purchases by other CEOs and his history of using more public transportation.

Warren Buffett- Awards and Achievements

  • He was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, in 2011.
  • In 2008, he became the richest person in the world in 2008 with a total net worth estimated at $62 billion by Forbes, overtaking Bill Gates who had been the No.1 on Forbes list for the past 13 years.
  • He is the 5th richest person in the world according to current Forbes ranking.
  • He has been the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

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