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"Disharmonies" between WEB and Alice Schroeder


MartinWhitman
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Warren really seems to be slightly annoyed... although he wanted to use Alice Schroeder to write down the "less flattering version" whenever there were two sides of the story.

 

After nearly having finished the book, I am a little disappointed not getting more information from the "business" point of view. The description of Buffett`s personal life was very interesting although I can understand that he is a bit pissed that this book is not as flattering as other biographies.

 

http://www.thestreet.com/print/story/10462206.html

"While Schroeder said she has not heard anything directly from Buffett about her book since its publication, she acknowledged others have told her Buffett was troubled by sections dealing with his personal life, notably the chapters on his first wife, Susan."

 

"We're not at war with each other, but he's distancing himself from me," Schroeder told the AP.

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I thought the book was quite good.  I also thought that the descriptions of some of the earlier business transcations were the best yet - i.e. Dempster, Sanborn Map, the Rockwood Deal. 

 

The descriptions of Susan's life were fine.  Buffett needs to realize that we are all human and many will identify with his/her experiences rather than be critical.  I for one did not think any less of him or his family due to the book.  For someone so worried about his reputation I am surprised he gave up editiorial control in the first place.  He could have easily written up a contract with Alice asking her to leave some of the stuff out.  Basically, he got the type of biography that would have been written about him after he was dead, while he was still alive.  And all it shows is that he and his family are basically decent people. 

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I'm sure Alice could have been much less flattering, especially wrt to Susan.

 

After nearly having finished the book, I am a little disappointed not getting more information from the "business" point of view.

 

I do believe she is going to write another book that will focus solely on Buffett's investment style.

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I've red some sections of the book, not all. I wasn't really interested to go as deep in Warren's personal life. However, in the chapters I've red, I don't remember to have found something shoking or something that has diminished my admiration to him. We're all humans.

 

 

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The descriptions of Susan's life were fine.  Buffett needs to realize that we are all human and many will identify with his/her experiences rather than be critical.  I for one did not think any less of him or his family due to the book.

 

I thought the portrayal in the book really humanized him.  I think a lot of people tend to think of Warren the investment god and stop there.  The personal parts of the book really show that he is an imperfect human being just like the rest of us.  I think Schroeder could have really done a hatchet job if she wanted to, but instead, portrayed his personal flaws in a mostly non-judgemental way.

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A book by Alice Schroeder on Buffett's investment style would be very interesting.

The attraction of Snowball, pre-publication, for me, was Schroeder as author,

as the person who wrote that brokerage report on Berkshire about 9 years ago.

Snowball turned out not to be the investment oriented book I was anticipating,

but it's perfectly fine as a biography.

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Other parts of the book have inaccuracies or allude to things that are not true, beyond what the media has talked about (the part about Schroeder maybe detailing certain things too much).

Some people likely had unclear recollections that Schroeder tried to piece together (where she likely created errors).

But I'm sure the majority of it lies on the personal side, she seemed to use a ton of facts and data to support the early investments.

 

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Guest JackRiver

I'm of the opinion that it has nothing to do with the book or its contents.  Alice has been a little overwhelming of late though.  That would seem to me the most likely reason.

 

Jack River

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  • 2 weeks later...

having read the book, i don't see any "disharmony"

 

rather, WEB having made himself available for the book, is less so, now that the book is done.  after all, he plucked her from smith barney, on the strength of her insurance writing. 

 

what would he have to do, sing a song with her at the AM?

 

(this personal stuff is amusing, but there ain't no there there.)

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After having finished the book I was very surprised Warren obviously seems to have problems telling people disappointing news, take the story with Allen Greenberg of the Buffett foundation whom Buffett only could indirectly say that the bulk of his wealth will go to Gates Foundation instead. Like zarley said earlier, nobody is perfect and even Warren has some deficits.

 

Whatever, if you put that into context on how he handles the things with Alice Schroeder (cancelling a meeting that took place regularly without further notice) I am pretty sure that Buffett is very disappointed with some aspects of the book and this is his form of saying it to AS.

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He told her to use the un-flattering view if there were two version of the same story and his was more flattering. 

 

I can't imagine him getting hugely bent out of shape unless she didn't follow some specific request or misconstrued something.  He just doesn't get bent out of shape very often it seems.

 

Didn't I read somewhere that it was out of her portrayal of Susie?

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Guest JackRiver

If reports are correct, Buffett read the book before publication.  It stands to reason that whatever has changed, and change need not be only for disharmonious reasons, is a result of something secondary to the contents of the book. 

 

We all have opinions.  I'm of the opinion that Alice was a bit over the top in promotions afterwards.  That she was talking a bit as if she was Buffett.  This would be fine if her comments were accurate with Buffett's true thoughts.  She went off the reservation a little bit and would only seem logical not to further advocate for that. 

 

A good example of her most recent rants is that of Buffett never advocating for dollar cost averaging.  Fact is, he has recommended people do that.  As an aside and what's interesting, he has been selective of when he does advocate for it.  If I'm correct, he wasn't as forceful in his comments when markets where on a tear, but becomes more talkative about it when markets have been declining.  Either way, he has suggested the average person should dollar cost average into a broad based index fund, and Alice has said he never has.  There are more examples like this that has been coming out of her mouth over the past few months that at some point I think Warren says, "no mas."

 

Or, he just decided to move on.  Simple as that.  I don't think it has to do with the contents of the book.

 

Yours

 

Jack River

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