WARREN BUFFETT: The Good Guy of Wall Street by Andrew Kilpatrick

WARREN BUFFETT: The Good Guy of Wall Street

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If diligence alone could yield a revealing portrait, Kilpatrick's biography of Warren Buffett--arguably the world's most astute, honest, and successful investor--would he a tenstrike. Unfortunately, the author, a business reporter for the Birmingham Post-Herald, was unable to obtain assistance from his subject. The result is a compilation that's drawn mainly from the public record and secondary sources, and that pays detailed tribute to the fiscal achievements of Buffett (who parlayed $10,000 into a personal fortune exceeding $4 billion) without ever bringing him to life. Which is not to say that Kilpatrick's briefing on Buffett's talent for making money the old-fashioned way--i.e., by earning it--is without redeeming value. Indeed, the author makes a very good job of tracking the Nebraska native's career on and off Wall Street. Kilpatrick provides a coherent rundown on how Buffett (who turns 62 this year) made his fiefdom (a.k.a. Berkshire Hathaway) the most expensive listing on the New York Stock Exchange, thanks to sizable, shrewdly timed commitments in America Express, Capital Cities/ABC, Coca-Cola, Gillette, Wells Fargo, and other immensely rewarding issues. Covered as well are his risk-averse subject's precious few errors--e.g., a substantive stake in scandal-ridden Salomon Inc. Glossed over, though, is the fact that Buffet does not shy from using his considerable clout to make sweet deals for himself and his company's investors. Nor does Kilpatrick dwell on Buffet's nontraditional style--notable, among other matters, for a live-in mistress and cordial relations with a wife from whom he is separated but not divorced. So: a valentine to an allocator of capital who, by almost all accounts, is a credit to his demanding profession.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1992
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Donald Fine