The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life [audiobook notes]

Here are some notes on the audiobook, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, by Alice Schroeder. 

At first, I was hesitant to listen to a biography of someone who (at this time) is not yet dead. What if they go on to do a whole bunch of incredible things still and I have to reread their final biography? Or imagine I actually meet them in real life, would I be awkwardly star struck? But these are silly reasons not to read a book…

I was interested in this book for a few reasons:

0) To learn more about finances and business
What better way to get my mind thinking about this than hearing about one of the greatest business minds and most wealthy person of our time. How did he make big decisions? What was his approach to managing people?

1) Buffet seems to encourages such philanthropic behavior among the wealthy
Who is such a person that they would amass such a fortune, only to give it away?

2) Learn a bit about American history over the past ~100 years

Note that this is a hefty audiobook. At ~37 hours, this is by far the longest audiobook I have completed. And there are a lot of details. A lot.

Here are some bookmarks I made listening to the audiobook along with their corresponding times.

Section 3 / 00:40:34
Valuing a stock and predicting the price of stocks are not the same thing

Section 3 / 00:54:55
Praise people by name, criticize by category

Section 5 / 1:23:41
It’s my painting. It will never be finished.

Section 5 / 1:24:09
How people behave depends on if they have an inner score card or an outer score care.

Section 18 / 6:08:03
Compound interest is powerful

Section 27 / 10:57:16
Buffet met many amazing people through writing articles

Section 27 / 10:57:44
It’s not a treasure hunt. Don’t get obsessed with the obscure needle if you’re in a gold hay stack.

Section 27 / 11:08:36
Took to the actual streets to see if the Wall Street speculation made a difference. People still used the product… paradigm that a stock is part of a business

Section 28 / 11:25:34
This idea of shareholders buying a company to liquidate it and it’s assets… to me it seems that it benefits such a small number of people. Just the owners, not the current employees, not the future employees.

Section 28 / 11:53:57
Even Buffet can go on a tilt

Section 29 / 12:16:46
Buffet would make out blank cheques to get leverage on himself…

Section 30 / 12:37:01
Intensity is the price of excellence

Section 33 / 13:39:04
Buy when others sell

Section 34 / 13:52:57
People selling their business sometimes care more about how it will be run then the final price.

Section 38 / 16:19:18
There’s two types of stocks (at least). A and B. Some allow you to take over the company. Some don’t.

Section 40 / 17:33:20
Settling vs prosecuting… seems like settling is more flexible

Section 41 / 18:07:31
Tipping point: at what point do people change their habits

Section 42 / 19:26:08
To protect against moderate inflation, put money in stocks where the company can raise prices to match inflation. Does not protect against severe inflation

Section 44 / 20:57:58
The consumer vs the producer

Section 44 / 21:04:02
Buffet sees (or saw?) a trust fund as “a lifetime supply of food stamps”

Section 51 / 27:19:16
When asked what factor was the most important to get where they are in life, both Bill Gates and Buffet said “focus”

Section 51 / 28:17:19
The ovarian lottery. Our society plays a huge role in who we are. We did not to it all ourselves.

Section 56 / 31:06:29
Work for whoever I admire the most. It’s crazy to waste time on “in-between” jobs