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The Snowball

Warren Buffett is one of the most unusual people the world has ever seen. Consistently in contention for the world’s richest person, Buffett has made his money strictly by investing in the markets. That stands in contrast to everyone else on the Forbes list of wealthiest individuals, all of whom got there by either founding a company or inheriting family fortunes.

I recently finished the book “The Snowball,” a biography of Buffett by Alice Schroeder. The title represents how Buffett thinks about compounding interest. In his metaphor, money is much like a small snowball in the hands of a child. As that child rolls the ball around in the snow, it gets bigger and bigger, picking up more snowflakes along the way. He uniquely frames financial decisions not around the thought process of “Can I afford this thing?” but rather “Will my use/enjoyment of this thing be greater than this money will be worth in 10 years?”

Buffett has long disapproved of transferring generational wealth, instead preferring for his kids and grandkids to make their own way. In that vein, he has pledged 99% of his wealth to charity upon his death, largely through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

If you’re interested in Buffett’s life, both personal and business, and philosophy, this is a great book to pick up.

Photo by Jeremiah Higgins on Unsplash