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Extended Audio Sample The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life Audiobook, by Alice Schroeder Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00017400382808 out of 54.00017400382808 out of 54.00017400382808 out of 54.00017400382808 out of 54.00017400382808 out of 5 4.00 (5,747 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alice Schroeder Narrator: Kirsten Potter Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2008 ISBN: 9781415948019
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The personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha”—for fans of the HBO documentary Becoming Warren Buffett

Here is the book recounting the life and times of one of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom.

Although the media track him constantly, Buffett himself has never told his full life story. His reality is private, especially by celebrity standards. Indeed, while the homespun persona that the public sees is true as far as it goes, it goes only so far. Warren Buffett is an array of paradoxes. He set out to prove that nice guys can finish first. Over the years he treated his investors as partners, acted as their steward, and championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, and speaker. At the same time he became the world’s richest man, all from the modest Omaha headquarters of his company Berkshire Hathaway. None of this fits the term “simple.”

When Alice Schroeder met Warren Buffett she was an insurance industry analyst and a gifted writer known for her keen perception and business acumen. Her writings on finance impressed him, and as she came to know him she realized that while much had been written on the subject of his investing style, no one had moved beyond that to explore his larger philosophy, which is bound up in a complex personality and the details of his life. Out of this came his decision to cooperate with her on the book about himself that he would never write.

Never before has Buffett spent countless hours responding to a writer’s questions, talking, giving complete access to his wife, children, friends, and business associates—opening his files, recalling his childhood. It was an act of courage, as The Snowball makes immensely clear. Being human, his own life, like most lives, has been a mix of strengths and frailties. Yet notable though his wealth may be, Buffett’s legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth; it will be his principles and ideas that have enriched people’s lives. This book tells you why Warren Buffett is the most fascinating American success story of our time.

Praise for The Snowball

“Even people who don't care a whit about business will be intrigued by this portrait. . . . Schroeder, a former insurance-industry analyst, spent years interviewing Buffett, and the result is a side of the Oracle of Omaha that has rarely been seen.”Time

“Will mesmerize anyone interested in who Mr. Buffett is or how he got that way. The Snowball tells a fascinating story.”New York Times

“If the replication of any great achievement first requires knowledge of how it was done, then The Snowball, the most detailed glimpse inside Warren Buffett and his world that we likely will ever get, should become a Bible for capitalists.”Washington Post

“Riveting and encyclopedic.”Wall Street Journal

“A monumental biography . . . Schroeder got the best access yet of any Buffett biographer. . . . She deals out marvelously funny and poignant stories about Buffett and the conglomerate he runs, Berkshire Hathaway.”Forbes

“The most authoritative portrait of one of the most important American investors of our time.”Los Angeles Times Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Anyone who has been watching events unfold in recent months—which would be everyone—can now appreciate the wisdom of Buffett. . . . The most authoritative portrait of one of the most important American investors of our time. Los Angeles Times

    “Even people who don't care a whit about business will be intrigued by this portrait. . . . Schroeder, a former insurance-industry analyst, spent years interviewing Buffett, and the result is a side of the Oracle of Omaha that has rarely been seen.
  • “Schroeder . . . has a meat-and-potatoes style that matches the homespun wisdom of her subject. . . . Now more than ever, Buffett’s emphasis on fundamentals seems like genius. It’s the perfect moment for a great book on an immensely inspiring capitalist. People, four stars
  • Schroeder . . . is well equipped to elucidate Buffett’s deals [and] Buffett’s life abounds with good stories. New Yorker
  • You will learn a lot about one of the nation’s most compelling and important men from reading The Snowball. Boston Globe
  • In The Snowball, novice biographer Alice Schroeder gives us one of the most detailed, candid life stories ever published. . . . It is almost impossible to stop reading. Christian Science Monitor
  • A penetrating and personal look at the Oracle of Omaha . . . An astute, and at times riveting, read—especially now. BusinessWeek
  • Everyone knows that in a deep and liquid capital market like that of the US, it is just about impossible to beat the stock market averages over anything more than the short term. But Buffett has been ahead of the curve for most of the past 50 years, making him one of the world’s richest people. Alice Schroeder’ s massive authorized biography, The Snowball, provides some clues about how he’s done it. Financial Times
  • In this startlingly frank account of Buffett’s life, Schroeder, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley—and hand picked by Buffett to be his biographer—strips away the mystery that has long cloaked the word’s richest man to reveal a life and fortune erected around lucid and inspired business vision and unimaginable personal complexity. Publishers Weekly 
  • This massive—and highly readable—text (produced with Buffett’s full cooperation) is an unvarnished and well-paced biography that is essential for all public and academic business collections. Library Journal
  • For students of the Oracle of Omaha, or even those looking for a little reassurance during the crisis, Schroeder’s book is a fascinating study of America’s most successful investor. New York Post
  • “Alice Schroeder’s accumulation of detail, her vivid, artless descriptions of people and places, and the resulting narrative fluidity make this a compelling book. It has the bouncing vitality of an early Sinclair Lewis novel. Times Literary Supplement
  • An excellent and highly enjoyable look at the business titan . . . If you’ve looked at your 401(k) statement and started to fear that everyone in financial markets is either greedy, predatory or incompetent, do yourself a favor. Take $35 out of the mattress and buy a copy of Alice Schroeder’s The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. At a time like this, it’s a real comfort: Buffet is living proof there’s at least one wholly rational person managing money. Houston Chronicle
  • Ms. Schroeder does a good job of pulling . . . volunteered disclosures out of Mr. Buffett but her real contribution is her own investment expertise which enables her to make the convoluted financing schemes over the last 50 years understandable to lay readers and truly instructive to the business information junkie. Washington Times
  • This is a fast-paced, precisely drawn profile of a man who, despite his high visibility in the financial world, isn’t someone we’ve known much about. . . . We do now. Kansas City Star
  • Top-notch biographies demand thorough research and crisp, finely honed writing. Schroeder exhibits both. . . . It’s hard to imagine a more complete account of Buffett’s life had he written it himself. Buffalo News 
  • Riveting and encyclopedic . . . The overall power of the story carries The Snowball forward. There is much to be learned from it. Wall Street Journal
  • A monumental biography . . . Schroeder got the best access yet of any Buffett biographer. . . . She deals out marvelously funny and poignant stories about Buffett and the conglomerate he runs, Berkshire Hathaway. Forbes
  • The mandatory book to read in these treacherous times of financial crisis. . . . A thoughtful and intimate biography of the globe’s wisest investor. Forbes
  • “Will mesmerize anyone interested in who Mr. Buffett is or how he got that way. The Snowball tells a fascinating story. New York Times
  • If the replication of any great achievement first requires knowledge of how it was done, then The Snowball, the most detailed glimpse inside Warren Buffett and his world that we likely will ever get, should become a Bible for capitalists. Washington Post
  • “Will mesmerize anyone interested in who Mr. Buffett is or how he got that way. The Snowball tells a fascinating story.”

    New York Times

  • “If the replication of any great achievement first requires knowledge of how it was done, thenThe Snowball, the most detailed glimpse inside Warren Buffett and his world that we likely will ever get, should become a Bible for capitalists.”

    Washington Post

  • “The most authoritative portrait of one of the most important American investors of our time.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Even people who don’t care a whit about business will be intrigued by this portrait…Schroeder, a former insurance-industry analyst, spent years interviewing Buffett, and the result is a side of the Oracle of Omaha that has rarely been seen.”

    Time

  • “Schroeder…has a meat-and-potatoes style that matches the homespun wisdom of her subject…Now more than ever, Buffett’s emphasis on fundamentals seems like genius. It’s the perfect moment for a great book on an immensely inspiring capitalist.”

    People (4 stars)

  • “Alice Schroeder’s accumulation of detail, her vivid, artless descriptions of people and places, and the resulting narrative fluidity make this a compelling book. It has the bouncing vitality of an early Sinclair Lewis novel.”

    Times Literary Supplement

  • “Schroeder…is well equipped to elucidate Buffett’s deals…[and] Buffett’s life abounds with good stories.”

    New Yorker

  • “You will learn a lot about one of the nation’s most compelling and important men from readingThe Snowball.”

    Boston Globe

  • “The mandatory book to read in these treacherous times of financial crisis…A thoughtful and intimate biography of the globe’s wisest investor.”

    Forbes

  • “Everyone knows that in a deep and liquid capital market like that of the United States, it is just about impossible to beat the stock market averages over anything more than the short term. But Buffett has been ahead of the curve for most of the past fifty years, making him one of the world’s richest people. Alice Schroeder’s massive authorized biography, The Snowball, provides some clues about how he’s done it.”

    Financial Times

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2008 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 grayling | 1/7/2017

    " This was a very well written book providing a great picture of Buffett. A very good look at his life, how he worked as well as his values. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 2/19/2014

    " I really liked this one - I think Warren Buffet is fascinating anyway, but the author didn't shy away from pointing out his eccentricities and the tradeoffs he made in the life he chose even as she clearly got his cooperation and he contributed thoughts to several sections of the books. It reconfirmed much of what I knew but also taught me a lot about situations I did not know before. A really enjoyable read from my perspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ali | 2/5/2014

    " great biography, very cleverly written to teach some financial basics, the principles with which warren buffett has always operated and the person behind the business mogul "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie Frieze | 2/4/2014

    " After I read this book I am going to be in the top 5% of the country, right? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeremy | 1/25/2014

    " Once I heard this book was out, I was excited. Warren Buffett is an interesting person and I admire him for his skills in making so much money. However, the book was very long. I enjoyed some of the person accounts I received from the many stories through out the book. It was a little over-bearing for a biography. I guess I was looking for some secret to making billions and all I got was how normal Warren is in everyday life. I found the book rather boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 1/18/2014

    " Absolutely wonderful history of, arguably, the greatest investor of our time. The man is a genius, but this book shows so much more than his investing strategies. The author paints a picture of Buffett as a person as well. Its a lengthy read, but I highly recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roslynn | 1/16/2014

    " Listening to the CD. Very interesting person. I am striving to be a frugal person, it is key! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brandon Meredith | 1/1/2014

    " Waaaaaay long winded. I read half the book and feel like I know nothing about Buffett as a business man. Done with it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scot Butler | 11/30/2013

    " Want to know why he's so rich, it's cause he's really, really smart! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheri | 11/19/2013

    " After I read this book I swear, Baby Berk stock was issued to help fund the purchase of a railroad. I owned about 10 stocks in the railroad and it was converted into Baby Berks. I still have them and will keep them. Warren Buffett rocks! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Straton Mwashighadi | 9/30/2013

    " Alice Schroeder sets the best tone in both her writing tone and her ideas arrangement. She is never a boring writer and in this book, she transforms a biography meant to be about figures and numbers to an unforgettable story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brad Dworkin | 5/12/2013

    " I am absolutely loving this biography of my favorite Billionaire Warren. 900pages long but a fascinating story "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rhea Abramson | 4/16/2013

    " Loved this book - raced through it like it was fiction. Writer understands the financial world in great depth but knows how to communicate it to the layperson. Meticulously researched. An open door into Buffet's personal life. A Must read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colleen | 3/11/2013

    " As a long-time Warren Buffett fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Buffett's eccentricity fascinated me and I enjoyed reading of his interesting life. At times, I did find some of the in-depth economic explanations a bit dry, but found I could skim them quickly and not miss any significant content. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 8/24/2012

    " Interesting to see what drives a simple boy from Omaha to become the richest man in the world. Yet Warren Buffet still prefers hamburger to gourmet food, drives a 7 yr old car, and has suffered from social anxiety. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Max Mccann | 7/11/2012

    " A great bio on Warren Buffett, quite a wealthy man, from my hometown! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alain | 5/28/2012

    " I loved this book. I've read other books about investing, and other books about Warren Buffet. He is a unique personality and reading about him and his accomplishments and failures was very enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Author Sharon King | 4/17/2012

    " I truly love Warren Buffett and anything he writes. This is an awesome read. I am recommending this book to everyone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave Schrecengost | 3/9/2012

    " A fascinating and different man. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tobias Barker | 1/9/2012

    " This was an enjoyable read about the life of one of the most legendary men thanks to his immense sagacity in finance & eventual philanthropic endeavours. Although this was meant to be a life story it does contain a lot of fluff and could have been shorter & sweeter. A good read none the less! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Glenn M | 8/23/2011

    " Bio of The Man from Omaha "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adrian | 7/10/2011

    " Interesting biography about Warren Buffett. Neat to see what makes the "Oracle of Omaha" tick. Although it was interesting, it went on and on and on - for the last 1/3 or so I just felt like I was just slogging through to finish, and it became more and more like a chore. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ali | 6/30/2011

    " great biography, very cleverly written to teach some financial basics, the principles with which warren buffett has always operated and the person behind the business mogul "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sakyahara | 5/20/2011

    " Start Open Chapter 2.
    Buku yang tebal benar. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JOHN | 5/10/2011

    " Busyet....12% Kekayaannya Naik Tiap Taun....Orngnya ckckck...Meskipun Pny Pershaan Penerbngan Terbesar....Kemn-mna Blm Prnah Pq Peswat Milikny....ckck...ckck... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzie | 4/16/2011

    " Completely fascinating!!! A very detailed look at Warren Buffett's life so far, plus lots of Omaha history which I found very interesting. Can't say enough about how much I enjoyed reading The Snowball! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eliot | 4/5/2011

    " A good material to learn about Warren Buffett's life and his thinking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fi | 3/20/2011

    " Best ever biography. Captivating. And success is not from luck. You need to be obsessed with it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan | 3/19/2011

    " Conceptual yet understandable. What he does is quite sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laird | 3/18/2011

    " As good a bio of Buffett as exists - much better than the Lowenstein book from the 90s. Very readable, fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leslie | 3/7/2011

    " Learned so much about the world and how it ticks and what a pillar of financial truth Warren Buffet is. I don't think there is anyone on the planet I admire more. What a guy! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan | 2/23/2011

    " I was worried about reading another book about a billionaire but he is such cheapskate it was OK. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scot | 2/17/2011

    " Want to know why he's so rich, it's cause he's really, really smart! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/10/2011

    " Fascinating (but really long) story of Warren Buffett's life, his family and his rise to become one of the richest men in the world. He exemplifies what Gladwell wrote about in Outliers. "

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About the Author
Author Alice SchroederAlice Schroeder was a Wall Street analyst and a managing director at Morgan Stanley when she decided at Warren Buffett’s suggestion to write full-time. A former CPA, she lives in Connecticut with her husband.
About the Narrator

Kirsten Potter, who graduated with highest honors from Boston University, has narrated numerous audiobooks and has performed for television and in theaters across the country. She has won several awards, including eleven AudioFile Earphones Awards, and been a three-time finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. Her work has been recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and by AudioFile magazine, among many others.