A Simple, Unassuming Man WhoJust Happens To Be The World’sMost Successful Investor
Who Forbes’ readers think should be thenext USA president
HEN YOU STEP
into the lobby of 1440 Kiewit Plaza, Omaha, aguard quickly approaches you and politely, but firmly, asks if he canhelp. The reason is that a few floors above are the offices of BerkshireHathaway, the US$115 billion dollar company controlled by Warren Buffett.Without an invitation, this is as far as you will get.
With just 15.8 employees (the 0.8 represents a part-timer) Berkshire Hathawayoversees investments in 27 public companies ranging from American Express toZenith National Insurance. It also has full ownership of 65 private companiesranging from Acme Building Brands to XTRA.
Warren Buffett is acknowledged by investorsaround the world as the world’s best investor.
Suppose someone had the good sense to invest $10,000 inone of Buffett’s original partnerships back in 1956 whenthey first started. And suppose that when the partnershipsterminated in 1969, this person reinvested the proceeds inBerkshire Hathaway. Today that person would be worthover $280 million—after all taxes and expenses.
But there is much more to Warren Buffett. His integrity and no-compromiseapproach to government and business follies has given him an increasingly high profile in the press. Recent articles on and by Buffett include:
Avoiding a Mega-Catastrophe
The WarrenBuffett You Don’t Know
Buffett: The Oracle of Everything
The clarity of his thinking led to 25 percent of Forbes readers voting for him asthe next USA president.Warren Buffett is a friendly, talkative person who likes to explain his ideasusing stories. This is the reason why over 15,000 people crowd into the annualmeetings of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha — to hear him explain his investingideas using “down-home” yarns.Despite this easy-going appearance, he is a person of definite action. When hecomes across something of value, he acts very quickly.For example, each year in the annual report he invites owners of companies for sale to contact him. In the report he lists criteria that need to be satisfied bythese companies. In the 2003 report he ended with the preference that such businesses lie in the $5-20 billion range.