The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

One lesson was not to overly fixate on what he had paid for a stock. The second was not to rush unthinkingly to grab a small profit. He learned these two lessons by brooding over the $492 he would have made had he been more patient. It had taken five years of work, since he was six years old, to save the $120 to buy this stock. Based on how much he currently made from selling golf balls or peddling popcorn and peanuts at the ballpark, he realized that it could take years to earn back the profit he had “lost.” He would never, never, never forget this mistake.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 59). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This fire-breathing rhetoric belied a sweetness in him, a subtle wit, and a certain innocence. For years, Howard had carried in his pocket a handwritten piece of paper, softened and worn to the texture of linen, which said, “I am God’s child. I am in His Hands. As for my body—it was never meant to be permanent. As for my soul—it is immortal. Why, then, should I be afraid of anything?”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 61). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

He characteristically displayed no powerful surge of emotion, rather a detached gravity.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 224). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

He vowed that he would have Berkshire; he would buy it all. He would own it lock, stock, loom, and spindle. That Berkshire Hathaway was a failing, futile enterprise daunted him not. It was cheap, and he craved it. Above all, he wanted Seabury Stanton not to have it. Buffett and the other shareholders deserved it more. In his determination, he ignored all the lessons learned from the experience at Dempster—save one. And that was the one he should have ignored.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 235). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Acting through emotionally charged action is bad.

“Buying Hochschild-Kohn was like the story of a man who buys a yacht,” says Munger. “The two happy days are the day he buys it and the day he sells it.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 250). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Buffett felt at one with the Ben Rosners of the world—he saw in their relentlessness the spirit of success. He was sick of problem companies like Hochschild-Kohn and was looking for more Ben Rosners, people who had built excellent businesses that he could buy. He and Rosner shared a mutual obsession. As Buffett liked to put it, “Intensity is the price of excellence.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 253). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Yet he did not relax his rules in search of ways to keep the money at work. Instead, he laid out two new restrictions that would make it even harder for him to invest. These personal preferences now became part of the official canon. 1. We will not go into businesses where technology which is way over my head is crucial to the investment decision. I know about as much about semiconductors or integrated circuits as I do of the mating habits of the chrzaszcz. 2. [W]e will not seek out activity in investment operations, even if offering splendid profit expectations, where major human problems appear to have a substantial chance of developing.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 256). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Buffett kept an eye on National Indemnity. A nonstop learning machine, he wanted to know everything there was to know about the insurance business. He checked out armloads of books from the library and came to understand Ringwalt’s strategy, which was to insure the most difficult customers. Ringwalt, Buffett saw, was the mix-up player of insurance—the cautious risk-taker and the penny-pinching, aggressive underwriter who went around the office every night and turned off all the lights.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 258). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“There’s no such thing as a bad risk,” Ringwalt liked to say, “only bad rates.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 258-259). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Now Buffett had more time to pursue the personal interests he had spoken about, and less pressure—at least in theory. After King’s speech, Rosenfield easily recruited Buffett to become a Grinnell trustee. Given Buffett’s dislike of committees and meetings, this signified how much he had been touched by the convocation—as well as how close he had grown to Rosenfield. Naturally, he went straight onto the finance committee, where he found the trustees to be a group of like-minded men. Bob Noyce, who ran a company called Fairchild Semiconductor, which made electronic circuits—something about which Buffett knew little and had even less interest—was chairman. Like Buffett, he had an overarching hatred of hierarchy and a love of the underdog, in keeping with the guiding spirit of Grinnell.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 265-266). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre.… It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price. Charlie understood this early; I was a slow learner. But now, when buying companies or common stocks, we look for first-class businesses accompanied by first-class managements. That leads right into a related lesson: Good jockeys will do well on good horses but not on broken-down nags.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 287). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Now Susie Jr. had settled permanently in Los Angeles. Howie had already dropped out of Augustana College after having trouble adjusting and connecting with his roommate. He tried a couple of other schools, but had lost his support system and never graduated. “I was so close to my mom,” he says, “and everything in my life revolved around our family and our home. In college I just could not get any traction.”22 Neither had their father’s ambition, but both had money for the first time. The trust left by Howard to his grandchildren had distributed a little over six hundred shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock to them. Warren gave them no advice on what to do with it. He had never sold a share himself; why would they sell theirs? Susie Jr. sold most of hers to buy a Porsche and a condo. Howie sold some of his to start Buffett Excavating. In a grown-up version of his childhood love of Tonka Toys, he was now digging basements for a living.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 362). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

If you were headed to the racetrack and were a serious racing handicapper, you wanted the Racing Form. He could charge whatever he wanted, and people were going to pay it. It’s like selling needles to addicts, basically. “So every year, Walter would go in and say, ‘Mirror, mirror, on the wall, how much should I raise the price of the Racing Form this fall?’ “And the mirror would always say, ‘Walter, charge another quarter!’ “ This was when you could buy the New York Times or Washington Post for a quarter. And yet, thought Buffett, the Times and the Post were great businesses! That meant the Daily Racing Form was an incredible business.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 374). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“Meanwhile, he couldn’t have been nicer to me. He put me in this super-fancy guest room. And he took me into his office, where he had a little display in a glass case of a Prussian coin, a pocketknife, and one other thing. It was all that his grandfather had in his pocket when he landed in this country from Prussia. And he said, ‘Everything you see here is a product of that.’ In a period of not that many years, Walter had rehabilitated his family. He did his father proud. And that was his number one goal in life, to do his father proud.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 375-376). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In Forbes, Buffett wrote that it was time for investors to buy stocks. “The future is never clear,” he wrote; “you pay a very high price in the stock market for a cheery consensus. Uncertainty actually is the friend of the buyer of long-term values.”29 He was the buyer of long-term values—except that he had no cash. Periodically, cash had showered on Buffett since the beginning of the decade—$16 million from distributing the partnership assets, then millions more from the sale of Data Documents stock, a private investment. But he had poured it all into Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett had always paid himself only $50,000 a year, a number that he now raised to a still-modest $100,000. He borrowed some money from banks and started to invest again.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 398). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

That, he thought, was “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”27 This phrase would become one of his mantras, repeated over the years. “Warren, that’s wrong,” said Larry Tisch, one of his former partners. “If they aren’t spoiled by age twelve, they won’t be spoiled.”28 Kay Graham, tears streaming down her face, asked, Don’t you love your children, Warren?

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 415). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

philosophy: “It’s better to have them hate you than to feel sorry for you.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 418). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

He also operated on the assumption that if somebody was smart, they could do anything. Charlie Munger said of him, “Warren doesn’t have stress, he causes it.” Dale Carnegie said to give people a fine reputation to live up to, and Buffett had learned that lesson well. He knew how to Carnegize heroic accomplishments out of his people.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 423). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“Through no fault of their own, they were in a position of being a horse when the tractor arrived. The free market did them in.… And there wasn’t any answer. When you talk about retraining people—it’s not like they’ll all go become computer technicians by taking junior-college courses or something like that. “But you’ve also got to deal with the people that are displaced. The free market does all kinds of good things in this country, but we need a safety net. Society is getting the benefits, and it should pick up the tab.” Warren, of course, was not going to pick up the tab because society lacked a proper safety net. Whatever pension the workers were entitled to under their terms of employment, that was exactly what they would get.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 429-430). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Ajit did not seem to need much sleep; when he got up around five or six a.m., he roused his colleagues for lengthy predawn talks about reinsurance deals, even on Saturdays and Sundays. He and Buffett established a routine of nightly ten o’clock phone calls, which Ajit maintained in every time zone throughout a ceaseless routine of globe-trotting.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 433). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Buffett the collector kept the letters; they began to fill up his files. Many of them confirmed the way he thought of himself, as a role model, as a teacher. Occasionally, he wrote a debtor or gambler back with firm but kind insistence that they take responsibility for their problems. As if they were his kids, he suggested they buy time to bail themselves out by telling their creditors how broke they were and negotiating easier payment terms. He always added a little soliloquy about the perils of too much debt—especially debt from credit cards, the junk bonds of the personal-finance world.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 437-438). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“I cried a lot when my mother died. It wasn’t because I was sad and missed her. It was because of the waste. She had her good parts, but the bad parts kept me from having a relationship with her. My dad and I never talked about it. But I really regret the waste of what could have been.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 554). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Buffett was always wary of falling into what Munger called the Shoe Button Complex, pontificating on any and all subjects merely because he was an expert on business. But by the mid-1990s, both he and Munger were starting to receive—and answer—more and more questions about the business of life. He often treated the athletes and college students to whom he periodically spoke to the fable of the Genie.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 569). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Yet after tolerating cavalier treatment all his life, his health was beginning to set limits. Someday, his wrestling match with infinity would end; the questions he was avoiding must be faced.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 579). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Then he seemed to catch his rhythm. “People ask me where they should go to work, and I always tell them to go to work for whom they admire the most,” he said. He urged them not to waste their time and their life. “It’s crazy to take little in-between jobs just because they look good on your résumé. That’s like saving sex for your old age. Do what you love and work for whom you admire the most, and you’ve given yourself the best chance in life you can.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 584). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

To the students, he explained his “Twenty Punches” approach to investing. “You’d get very rich,” he said, “if you thought of yourself as having a card with only twenty punches in a lifetime, and every financial decision used up one punch. You’d resist the temptation to dabble. You’d make more good decisions and you’d make more big decisions.”

He ran his life on Twenty Punches, too, with as little flitting as he could arrange. Same house, same wife for fifty years, same Astrid on Farnam Street; no desire to buy and sell real estate, art, cars, tokens of wealth; no jumping from city to city or career to career. Some of that was easy for a man so certain of himself; some of it came with being a creature of habit; some of it was a natural tendency to let things compound; and some of it was the wisdom of inertia. When he gave somebody a punch on his card, they became a part of him and that decision was permanent. Any crack in the facade of permanence was extraordinarily difficult for him to face.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 584-585). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“Cash combined with courage in a crisis is priceless,” said Buffett.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 590). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

quoting Bobby Bare’s country song: “I’ve never gone to bed with an ugly woman, but I’ve sure woke up with a few.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 591). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The Sage of Omaha, at whom plutocrats railed and tax-cutters shook their fists, before whom accountants quivered and stock-option abusers fled, whom autograph-seekers followed and television lights illuminated, was at heart nothing more than a starstruck little kid, endearingly clueless in many ways about his place in the pantheon. He got excited over and over by fan letters from Z-list celebrities. Every time somebody wrote him to say he was their hero, it was like the first time. When porn star Asia Carrera called him her hero on her Web site, he was thrilled. He was thrilled to be anybody’s hero, but being called a hero by a porn star who was a Mensa member had real cachet. His favorite letters were from college students, but when prisoners wrote and said he was their hero, he was proud that his reputation extended to convicts who were trying to turn around their lives. He would much rather be idolized by porn stars and college students and prisoners than by a bunch of rich businessmen.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 597-598). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Buffett began to capitalize on this, first with smaller investments, then with a deal to buy Clayton Homes, which was the class act of the troubled manufactured-housing industry. Even though it was fundamentally sound, its lenders were behaving, as Buffett said, like Mark Twain’s cat, who, having once sat on a hot stove, wouldn’t sit on a cold one.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 602). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“What is the ideal business?” a shareholder asked when the questions began. “The ideal business is one that earns very high returns on capital and that keeps using lots of capital at those high returns. That becomes a compounding machine,” Buffett said. “So if you had your choice, if you could put a hundred million dollars into a business that earns twenty percent on that capital—twenty million—ideally, it would be able to earn twenty percent on a hundred twenty million the following year and on a hundred forty-four million the following year and so on. You could keep redeploying capital at [those] same returns over time. But there are very, very, very few businesses like that … we can move that money around from those businesses to buy more businesses.”

This was about as clear a lesson on business and investing as he would ever give. It explained why Berkshire was structured as it was. It explained why he was always looking for new businesses to buy, and what he was planning to do with Clayton Homes. He expected to invest part of Berkshire’s extra capital in Clayton so that it could survive, take market share away from its bankrupt competitors, and buy and service their portfolios of loans.16

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 606). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“I have this complicated procedure I go through every morning,” Buffett said, “which is to look in the mirror and decide what I’m going to do. And I feel at that point, everybody’s had their say.”17 The next CEO would have to be a superb leader—and yet oversized egos need not apply for the job.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 607). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

He went back to San Francisco for the following two weekends. Then, just before Susie was going to leave the hospital and go home, he flew down to Georgia and spoke to a group of students at Georgia Tech. He didn’t talk about business much, but he invoked many of his familiar themes. He told them the fable of the genie, and he talked about philanthropy. He said the best investment they could make in life was in themselves. He told them about his hero Ben Graham and said to choose their heroes carefully, because heroes matter in your life. He told them to work for people they admired.

They asked him what had been his greatest success and greatest failure. He didn’t tell them about his business mistakes of omission this time. Instead he said:

“Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.

“I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and they get hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.

“That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life. The trouble with love is that you can’t buy it. You can buy sex. You can buy testimonial dinners. You can buy pamphlets that say how wonderful you are. But the only way to get love is to be lovable. It’s very irritating if you have a lot of money. You’d like to think you could write a check: I’ll buy a million dollars’ worth of love. But it doesn’t work that way. The more you give love away, the more you get.”*

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 618-619). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Munger’s favorite construct was to invoke Carl Jacobi: “Invert, always invert.”

Turn a situation or problem upside down. Look at it backward. What’s in it for the other guy? What happens if all our plans go wrong? Where don’t we want to go, and how do you get there? Instead of looking for success, make a list of how to fail instead—through sloth, envy, resentment, self-pity, entitlement, all the mental habits of self-defeat. Avoid these qualities and you will succeed. Tell me where I’m going to die, that is, so I don’t go there.*

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 625). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

To those who felt the life of a CEO was not what it used to be, Buffett talked about “the ninety-eighth floor” in terms a CEO could understand. People who were looking down from the top at everybody else had to keep things in perspective. So what if they got knocked down a few pegs or lost some of their money? Those who still had their family, their health, and a chance to do something useful for the world should try to count their blessings, not their curses.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 629). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“If you go from the first floor to the hundredth floor of a building and then go back to the ninety-eighth, you’ll feel worse than if you’ve just gone from the first to the second, you know. But you’ve got to fight that feeling, because you’re still on the ninety-eighth floor.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 629). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Warren had long loved his wife as an ideal. She had been the “grounding person who was his connection to the outside world” as well as the “glue that held the family together.”2 After her death, he was never able to look at Susie’s photograph without crying. But he did not lapse into a years-long depression, or commit suicide, as Susie had suggested he might. Instead he mourned. For about two months, he seemed deeply depressed. And then, as most people do, he gradually returned to living his life.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 652). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The man who was, at the time, the second richest person on earth was giving away his money without leaving a trace of himself behind. He had spent all his life rolling up the snowball as if it were an extension of himself; yet he would establish no Warren Buffett Foundation, no Buffett hospital wing, no college or university endowment or building with his name on it. To donate the money without naming something after himself, without controlling personally how it would be spent—to put the money in the coffers of another foundation that he had selected for its competence and efficiency, rather than creating a whole new empire—upended every convention of giving. No major donor had ever done such a thing before. “It was a historic moment in the field of philanthropy globally,” said Doug Bauer of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “It’s set a bar, a touchstone, for others.”18

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 661). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Buffett had indeed learned through experience that “when in doubt keep holding”; he said, “I’ve made most of my money sitting on my ass.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 678). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“Stocks are the things to own over time. Productivity will increase and stocks will increase with it. There are only a few things you can do wrong. One is to buy or sell at the wrong time. Paying high fees is the other way to get killed. The best way to avoid both of these is to buy a low-cost index fund, and buy it over time. Be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy, but don’t think you can outsmart the market. “If a cross-section of American industry is going to do well over time, then why try to pick the little beauties and think you can do better? Very few people should be active investors.”

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 683-684). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

What people paid attention to was simply how rich he was. Indeed, as much as he wanted them to study his model, Buffett sometimes inadvertently discouraged it; he also wanted people to believe that he just tap-danced into work every day and had fun. But that would be the less flattering version. The truth is this.

When Warren was a little boy fingerprinting nuns and collecting bottle caps, he had no knowledge of what he would someday become. Yet as he rode his bike through Spring Valley, flinging papers day after day, and raced through the halls of The Westchester, pulse pounding, trying to make his deliveries on time, if you had asked him if he wanted to be the richest man on earth—with his whole heart, he would have said, Yes.

That passion had led him to study a universe of thousands of stocks. It made him burrow into libraries and basements for records nobody else troubled to get. He sat up nights studying hundreds of thousands of numbers that would glaze anyone else’s eyes. He read every word of several newspapers each morning and sucked down the Wall Street Journal like his morning Pepsi, then Coke. He dropped in on companies, spending hours talking about barrels with the woman who ran an outpost of Greif Bros. Cooperage or auto insurance with Lorimer Davidson. He read magazines like the Progressive Grocer to learn how to stock a meat department. He stuffed the backseat of his car with Moody’s Manuals and ledgers on his honeymoon. He spent months reading old newspapers dating back a century to learn the cycles of business, the history of Wall Street, the history of capitalism, the history of the modern corporation. He followed the world of politics intensely and recognized how it affected business. He analyzed economic statistics until he had a deep understanding of what they signified. Since childhood, he had read every biography he could find of people he admired, looking for the lessons he could learn from their lives. He attached himself to everyone who could help him and coattailed anyone he could find who was smart. He ruled out paying attention to almost anything but business—art, literature, science, travel, architecture—so that he could focus on his passion. He defined a circle of competence to avoid making mistakes. To limit risk he never used any significant amount of debt. He never stopped thinking about business: what made a good business, what made a bad business, how they competed, what made customers loyal to one versus another. He had an unusual way of turning problems around in his head, which gave him insights nobody else had. He developed a network of people who—for the sake of his friendship as well as his sagacity—not only helped him but also stayed out of his way when he wanted them to. In hard times or easy, he never stopped thinking about ways to make money. And all of this energy and intensity became the motor that powered his innate intelligence, temperament, and skills.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 702-703). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Warren Buffett was a timid man who shied from confrontation and needed people to cushion him from life’s rougher edges. His fears were personal, not financial; he was never timid when it came to money. His passionate yearning to be rich gave him the courage to ride his bicycle past the house with the awful dog and throw those last few newspapers in Spring Valley. It sent him to Columbia, seeking Ben Graham, after Harvard turned him down. It made him put one foot in front of the other, calling on people as a prescriptionist, while they rejected him over and over. It gave him the strength to return to Dale Carnegie after losing his courage the first time. It forced him through the decisions in the Salomon crisis to make his great withdrawal from the Bank of Reputation. It lent him the dignity to face years of almost intolerable criticism without counterattacking during the Internet bubble. He had spent his life contemplating, limiting, and avoiding risk, but in the end he was braver than he realized himself.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (pp. 703-704). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“The snowball just happens if you’re in the right kind of snow, and that’s what happened with me. I don’t just mean compounding money either. It’s in terms of understanding the world and what kind of friends you accumulate. You get to select over time, and you’ve got to be the kind of person that the snow wants to attach itself to. You’ve got to be your own wet snow, in effect. You’d better be picking up snow as you go along, because you’re not going to be getting back up to the top of the hill again. That’s the way life works.”

The snowball he had created so carefully was enormous by now. Yet his attitude toward it remained the same. However many birthdays lay ahead, he would always be astonished each time the calendar turned, and as long as he lived, he would never stop feeling like a sprout. For he wasn’t looking backward to the top of the hill. It was a big world, and he was just starting out.

Schroeder, Alice. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 705). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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