Michael Lewis at The New Republic reviews Alice Schroeder’s biography, ‘The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life’

TNR:

There is now a long shelf of books about Warren Buffett, but this is the first time he has gone to any trouble to add to it. Reportedly Buffett now regrets his decision–he has apparently put some fresh distance between himself and his official biographer. If so, it’s not hard to see why. Alice Schroeder is a former Morgan Stanley research analyst, able to understand and to explain Buffett’s money-making, but she declined to confine herself to the business at hand. She has sought to describe Buffett’s psychological landscape as clearly as his financial one. For the reader, the results are pretty terrific–there are not a lot of 838-page narratives that leave you wanting more–but for Buffett they are no doubt upsetting.

Over his long and admirable career, the famous billionaire has been shockingly honest about who he is and what he does. Now along comes this first-time author who insists on seeing his pleasant honesty and raising it, painfully. Even worse: she’s a woman! Buffett has a long and happy history of admitting attractive, intelligent women into his life, which Schroeder describes without mentioning how neatly she fits into the pattern. These women have invariably felt the need to shelter and to protect their man, and to subordinate their own needs to his–until now. Buffett should have known better: you should never completely trust a writer. Especially if she is any good.

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