Book Summary: The Snowball by Alice Schroeder

The Snowball by Alice Schroeder Book Cover

The Snowball is a biography of Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Written by Alice Schroeder, the book provides an in-depth look at Buffett’s life, his investment strategies, and his approach to business. The book is divided into 20 chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of Buffett’s life and career.

The book begins with an introduction to Warren Buffett, his background, and his rise to fame. Buffett was born in 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska, and grew up in a middle-class family. He showed an early interest in business and investing, and by the age of 10, he was already investing in stocks. Buffett attended the University of Nebraska and later received an MBA from Columbia University. He started his career as a stockbroker and eventually became a successful investor, founding the company that would eventually become Berkshire Hathaway.

Chapter 2: The Early Years

The second chapter focuses on Buffett’s early years, including his childhood and his education. Buffett’s father was a congressman and his mother was a homemaker, and they instilled in him a strong work ethic and a love of reading. Buffett was also influenced by his grandfather, who was a successful businessman and investor.

Chapter 3: The Investment Philosophy

In the third chapter, the book delves into Buffett’s investment philosophy, which is based on the idea of value investing. Buffett looks for undervalued companies that have strong fundamentals and are selling for a discount. He also emphasizes the importance of long-term investing and avoiding speculation.

Chapter 4: The Acquisition of Berkshire Hathaway

The fourth chapter tells the story of how Buffett acquired Berkshire Hathaway, a struggling textile company. Buffett saw potential in the company and bought it in 1965, eventually transforming it into a diversified conglomerate with holdings in insurance, manufacturing, and other industries.

Chapter 5: The Partnership with Charlie Munger

The fifth chapter introduces Charlie Munger, Buffett’s longtime partner and the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Munger is known for his unique approach to investing and his ability to think critically about business and the world.

Chapter 6: The Pivot to Insurance

The sixth chapter focuses on how Buffett pivoted Berkshire Hathaway from a struggling textile company to a successful insurance company. Buffett realized that insurance was a lucrative business and began acquiring insurance companies in the 1970s.

Chapter 7: The Growth of Berkshire Hathaway

The seventh chapter details the growth of Berkshire Hathaway, including its acquisition of companies such as See’s Candies, The Nebraska Furniture Mart, and The Buffalo News. Buffett also began investing in other companies, including Coca-Cola and American Express.

Chapter 8: The Shareholder Letters

The eighth chapter discusses Buffett’s annual shareholder letters, which have become famous for their insightful commentary on business and investing. Buffett uses the letters to communicate with shareholders and to provide his thoughts on the state of the economy and the markets.

Chapter 9: The Billion Dollar Gift

The ninth chapter tells the story of how Buffett decided to give away his fortune, including his $31 billion gift to the Gates Foundation. Buffett believes that philanthropy is an important part of his life and has made it a priority to give back.

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Chapter 10: The 2008 Financial Crisis

The tenth chapter focuses on how Berkshire Hathaway weathered the 2008 financial crisis, which was a difficult time for many companies. Buffett’s approach to investing and his focus on long-term value helped him navigate the crisis successfully.

Chapter 11: The Legacy

The eleventh chapter looks at Buffett’s legacy, including his impact on the investment world and his influence on other investors. Buffett has become a legendary figure in the world of investing and is widely respected for his knowledge and his approach to business.

Chapter 12: The Personal Life

The twelfth chapter delves into Buffett’s personal life, including his marriage to Susan Buffett and his family. Buffett is known for his down-to-earth personality and his commitment to his family.

Chapter 13: The Final Chapter

The thirteenth chapter serves as a conclusion to the book, summarizing Buffett’s life and career and his impact on the world of business and investing. Buffett’s approach to investing and his focus on long-term value have made him one of the most successful investors of all time.


The Snowball is a comprehensive biography of Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors of all time. The book provides an in-depth look at Buffett’s life, his investment strategies, and his approach to business. Buffett’s story is inspiring and provides valuable lessons for anyone interested in investing or business. Overall, The Snowball is a must-read for anyone looking to learn more about Warren Buffett and his incredible journey.

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