Becoming Warren Buffett (2017) Movie Script

Woman: And now one of the most
respected investors in America
is going to tell you
about his secrets.
Man: "Warren Buffett."
It's the sound of money.
$9.2 billion...
Woman 2: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett,
the second richest man
in America.
Man 2:
He's estimated to be worth about $62 billion.
That makes him
the richest man in the world.
Woman 3: You know,
Buffett is not exactly what you might expect.
Woman 4:
Even though he's in the money business,
he doesn't even own
a calculator or a computer.
Man 3:
He takes the long view,
and it's made him billions,
many billions.
Man 4:
Maybe you can beat the house,
but I don't think you can beat
Warren Buffett.
Man 5: Buffett filed his first
tax return at 13 years old.
But he's no average
billionaire, Tom.
No, he certainly isn't, Matt.
Woman 5:
He's a $44 billion average Joe.
Man 7:
Warren Buffett has an approach
that doesn't make him very popular
with his fellow billionaires.
Man 8: Warren Buffett,
the boy from Nebraska
who grew up to become
the Wizard of Omaha.
Man 9: What was it about him
that allowed him to become
the richest man in the world?
How did he do it?
Warren: 70 years ago,
I was in high school.
Almost a third as long
as the country has been around.
And when I was
in high school,
I really only had
two things on my mind...
girls and cars.
and I wasn't doing very well with girls,
so we'll talk
about cars.
But lets just imagine
that when we finish,
I'm going to let each one of you
pick out the car of your choice.
Sounds good, doesn't it?
Pick it out,
any color, you name it,
it'll be tied up with a bow,
and it'll be at your house tomorrow.
And you say,
"Well, what's the catch?"
And the catch is...
that it's the only car you're
going to get in your lifetime.
Now what are you going to do,
knowing that that's the only car
you're ever going to have
and you love that car?
You're going to take care of
it like you cannot believe.
Now what I'd like to suggest
is that you're not going to get
only one car in your lifetime,
but you're gonna get
one body and one mind,
and that's all
you're going to get.
And that body and mind
feels terrific now,
but it has
to last you a lifetime.
I'm on the way
to the office.
It's all
of a five-minute drive.
Been doing it...
for 54 years.
One of the good things
about this five-minute drive
is that on the way there's a McDonald's,
so I'll pick up something.
Woman on speaker: Good morning,
thank you for choosing McDonald's.
Go ahead and order
whenever you're ready.
I'll have a Sausage McMuffin
with egg and cheese.
Woman: Anything else?
That's it, thank you.
Warren: Yeah,
and I tell my wife as I shave in the morning,
I say either $2.61,
$2.95, or $3.17,
and she puts that amount
in a little cup by me here
and that determines
which of three breakfasts I get.
Hi. 2.95.
Okay, 2.95.
There's the two.
How you doing, sir!
Hey, great!
You're on "Candid Camera"!
I see. Hello, everybody!
When I'm not feeling quite so prosperous,
I might go with a 2.61,
which is two sausage patties,
and then I put 'em together
and pour myself a Coke.
Hi, how are you?
Hi. I've been good.
3.17 is a bacon, egg,
and cheese biscuit,
but the market's
down this morning,
so I think I'll pass up the
3.17 and go with the 2.95.
I like numbers.
It started before
I could remember.
It just felt good,
working with numbers.
I was always playing around with
numbers in one-way or another.
And it was fun to have
a bunch of guys over
and have them betting on which
marble would reach the drain first.
I had a lot
of energy as a kid.
I... I was inquisitive,
and I was the youngest one
always in the class,
'cause I'd skip.
I've always been competitive.
I liked to read
more than most kids.
I really like
to read a lot.
My Aunt Edie gave me
a copy of "The World Almanac"
and that was heaven to me.
And I can still tell you that Omaha's
population was 214,006 in 1930.
Some numbers
just kind of stick with you.
And very early,
probably when I was seven or so,
I took this book out
of the Benson Library
called "A Thousand Ways
to Make a $1,000."
And one of the ways
in this book
was having
penny weighing machines.
And I sat and calculated
how much it would cost
to buy the first
weighing machine,
and then how long
it would take for the profit
from that one to buy another one,
and I would sit there
and create these
compound interest tables
to figure out how long
it would take me to have
a weighing machine
for every person in the world.
I had everybody in the country
weighing themselves ten times a day,
and me just sitting there like John
D. Rockefeller of weighing machines.
The allowance when I was a
little boy was a nickel a week,
but I liked the idea of having a little
more than a nickel a week to work with,
and I went
into business very early.
I started selling Coca-Cola
door to door.
I sold gum door to door.
I sold
"Saturday Evening Post,"
"Liberty" magazine,
"Ladies Home Journal," you name it.
I think I enjoyed the game
almost right from the start.
But I like being my own boss.
That's one thing I liked
about delivering papers.
I could arrange
the route I wanted.
Nobody was bothering me
at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning.
I was delivering
500 papers a day,
and I made a penny a paper,
but in terms of compounding,
that penny's turned
into something else.
Einstein is reputed to have said
that "Compound interest
is the eighth wonder of the world"
or something like that,
and it goes back to that story you probably
learned when you were in grade school
where somebody did
something for the king,
and the king said,
"What can I do for you?"
And he said,
"Well, lets take a chessboard
"and put one kernel of wheat
on the first square
"and then double it
on the second
and double it on the third."
And the king readily agreed to it,
and by the time he figured out
what two to the 64th
amounted to,
he was giving away
the entire kingdom.
So it's a pretty simple concept,
but over time,
it accomplishes
extraordinary things.
Berkshire is an amazing company.
Fourth largest company
in the "Fortune" 500.
He is the only person
who has ever, from scratch,
built a company that is in the
top 10 of the Fortune 500.
Woman: Berkshire Hathaway.
Fine, thank you.
Warren: Well,
Berkshire is a holding company of sorts.
It owns a large number
of separate businesses
that operate
independently of each other
and, to a great extent,
from the parent company, Berkshire Hathaway.
All right, well,
we're going to get more from you in a second.
Warren: So we have maybe 70,
maybe 80 businesses,
and we ask them
to behave in a way
that doesn't hurt
our reputation
at Berkshire Hathaway,
but they run their own lives.
Other people do most of the decorating in
the office, so various things come in.
when I moved in in 1962...
you can see this...
I went down
to the South Omaha Library,
and I think for a dollar,
I got seven copies
of old "New York Times"
from big times like
the Panic of 1907.
This is one...
1929 obviously.
But I wanted
to put on the walls
days of extreme panic
in Wall Street,
just as a reminder that anything
can happen in this world.
I mean it...
it's instructive art
you can call it.
I was born in 1930
here in Omaha, Nebraska,
during the stock market crash.
My dad lost his job in 1931,
a year after I was born.
He was a stock salesman,
and he had what little savings
he had in the bank,
and so he started
his own company.
He worked right through
the depression.
Bertie Buffett:
He had an investment company,
and as an adult
when I looked back,
I thought, "Wow, did that ever
take a lot of nerve."
Sometimes we'd
go down there on Sunday,
and we could play
with the adding machine.
My brother and I tended
to play the games together.
And I remember
at one point he said to me,
"I'm going to be a millionaire by the
time I'm... 30," or something like that.
It was totally outside of anything
my family had experienced,
but he just was
unusual that way.
Doris Buffett:
Well, I was the oldest,
and then my brother
and then my sister.
And my father would go
to New York periodically
to check on businesses,
stocks, and things like that,
and he'd come back,
he'd always have a costume
for each of us,
and Warren loved it.
He was very good-natured.
He was quiet.
It was hard to tell
he was a genius at that point,
but I mean,
who was looking?
The first books I read on investment
were actually
in my dad's office.
Pretty soon, I read
all the books in the office
and read some of them
more than once.
My dad had
various nicknames for me.
He'd call me
"Fireball" sometimes,
because I'd start
little businesses.
He didn't care
about money at all.
He believed very much
in having an inner scorecard
and never worry about what other
people are thinking about you.
You know, just... just...
if you know why you're doing what
you're doing, that's good enough.
I admired everything
about him to the extent
that I was absorbing lessons
from him without knowing it.
And the idea that all lives have
equal value is something that
all three of his children
felt since I can remember.
My dad at one point
ran for congress
when I was 12 or so.
It was
a very republican household.
I campaigned for him.
My sisters campaigned for him.
The whole family did.
My mother was
very, very bright,
and she was very gregarious.
She was a good campaigner for my dad.
She had a lot of ambition,
and I think
my brother Warren got a lot
of his extreme competitiveness
from my mother, actually.
She was brilliant at math.
You know, I guess
they still had these things
where you crank them
and things added up,
and she could add it in her head
faster than the machine could do it.
She was
absolutely amazing in that.
Warren: She was very dutiful
about taking care of the kids,
but you didn't get
the same feeling of... of love.
It was there, but it just... it didn't
come out the same way as with my dad.
Howard Buffett, Sr. on radio:
In the nation, the only permanent way
to prosperity is
a balanced budget.
Unless that goal
is achieved,
all post-war plans will collapse
like Hitler's conquest.
Man on radio: You have heard
Congressman Howard L.H. Buffett,
a Republican member
of the House of Representatives
from Nebraska
speaking on the...
When I was about 12 or 13,
we moved to Washington,
my family, and I was mad.
I was having fun in Omaha,
and I lost all my friends,
and now I moved to a town
where they were all strange,
and so I was very,
very unhappy.
At school,
I just lost interest.
I took pleasure
in tormenting my teachers.
At that time for example,
AT&T was the stock
that all teachers owned
for their retirement,
and I decided that it would
drive my teachers a little crazy
if I went and short the stock,
because when you go short a stock,
you're betting
that it will go down.
So I shorted
10 shares of AT&T,
and then brought
the confirmation to school
and showed these teachers
I was shorting the stock.
They found me
a big pain in the neck,
but they did think I knew
a lot about stocks.
And then at home,
my mother would have terrific headaches,
and you didn't want to be around her
when she was having the headaches,
and she would... she would lash out more.
She would never do it in public.
Doris: Well,
I think we were terrified of her.
When I'd wake up
in the morning,
I'd listen to hear her voice.
I could tell by her voice
if it was going to be
a terrible day or not.
Warren: When she got difficult,
the three children felt it.
When I was at the low point, sort of,
I decided that I would run away.
So I talked two other guys
into running away with me.
We went out,
and we start hitchhiking...
and then we got picked up
by the highway patrol
and that scared
the hell out of us.
It's very interesting. My dad never
really gave me hell about doing this,
but he finally said,
"You know,"
he said,
"you can do better than this."
And just saying that,
I mean, I...
I felt like I was
letting him down, basically.
So in all ways,
he was teaching me.
Never taught
by telling me things,
he just taught by example.
He had unlimited confidence in me,
even when I screwed up,
and that takes you
a long, long way.
The best gift
I was ever given
was to have the father
that I had when I was born.
I didn't want to go to college.
I was 16 when I got out of high school
and I was buying stocks.
I mean,
I actually was having a pretty good time
and I didn't see that really was much
to be gained by going to college,
but my dad
kind of jollied me into it.
He had a roommate who was a friend of mine,
and the roommate said
it would just drive him crazy,
because he studied
all the time,
and Warren would come in
15 minutes before the exam
and just ace his way
through it.
Warren: I finished in three years,
'cause I had enough credits,
and I was in a hurry.
I wanted to get out.
When I got out of the University of Nebraska,
I applied
to Harvard Business school.
They told me I was to get
interviewed in a place near Chicago.
I got there,
and he interviewed me for about 10 minutes,
and he said, "Forget it."
"You're not going
to Harvard."
And so now I'm thinking,
"What do I tell my dad?
Oh, this is terrible."
And it turned out to be
the best thing
that ever happened to me.
Later that summer,
I was looking
through a catalog
and in the catalog, it had these
names of people that were teaching,
and one was Graham
and another was Dodd.
I had read this book
by the two of them,
so I wrote him a letter
in mid-August,
and I said,
"Dear Professor Dodd,"
I said, "I thought
you guys were dead."
"But, now that I found out
that you're alive
and teaching at Columbia,
I would really like to come."
And he admitted me.
So, you know what?
That... it just shows,
you never can tell.
Man: Gentlemen,
Professor Graham.
Ben was this incredible teacher.
I mean he... he was a natural,
and he drew us all in.
Are Wall Street professionals...
they more accurate in the shorter
term than the long term forecast?
Well, our studies indicate that you have
your choice between tossing coins...
and taking the consensus
of expert opinions,
and the results are just
about the same in each case.
It was like learning baseball
from a fellow
who's batting .400.
It really... it shaped
my professional life.
There are two rules of
investing according to Warren,
and he learned this
from Ben Graham.
Rule number one,
never lose money.
Rule number two,
never forget rule number one.
Ben Graham basically coined
the term "value investing."
He believed
in careful scrutiny
of a company's
financial statements,
and that if you bought value,
it would eventually prove out.
A few years ago,
I went to Amazon,
and sure enough,
they had this manual there,
so while reliving my youth...
other guys were going to Amazon
and probably buying
old "Playboys" or something,
but I bought old
Moody's manuals instead,
and when I got out of school,
I started selling stocks,
I was 20 years old at the time,
looked about 16,
and acted about 12,
so I was not the most impressive
salesperson anybody ever met.
But what I would do was I went
through, page by page,
looking for possibly
undervalued stocks.
Peter Kunhardt: Is this like going
through an old family album?
When I got out of business
school at Columbia,
I developed pretty decent
skills in terms of business,
but I hadn't really come to
terms with the world exactly.
What were you like around girls back then?
Bad. I was... I was sort of out of the
swing of things there for a while.
I went to my 60th reunion,
and there was a girl there.
I took her out one time to the
Uptown Theater in Washington,
and I asked her whether she
remembered what movie we saw,
and she said,
"No, I don't remember that."
And then she said,
"But I do remember one thing."
And like an idiot,
I said, "What was that?"
And she said, "Well,
you picked me up in a hearse."
And it was true
that I owned
a half-interest in a hearse
while I was in high school,
which was not
the smoothest thing that...
or coolest,
as they would say now...
that you could...
you could do on a date.
There were two turning
points in my life.
Once when
I came out of the womb,
and once when I met
Susie, basically.
She was the girl, yep.
But it took her
a little longer
to figure out
I was the boy.
Susie Buffett:
I was going to be
his youngest sister's roommate
at Northwestern.
So I walk into their house,
he was sitting in this chair,
and he made
some sarcastic quip.
So I made one back.
I thought, "Who is this jerk?"
And that's how we met, yes.
Listen, Warren is smarter
than you even know.
His brain is going
all the time.
And my dad said to me,
"Now you have
to understand about him...
"you're not going to have
discussions with him
"like you would
most normal people,
but he has
a heart of gold."
He was just
totally enamored of her,
and why not?
And she of him.
She'd sit on his lap all the time,
and he'd stroke her hair.
It was softening him.
Susie was
really kind, considerate,
and she was
the balancing force.
Warren: I just got very,
very, very lucky.
But I was
a lopsided person,
and it took a while,
but she just stood there
with a little watering can
and just nourished me along
and... and changed me.
Somebody once said
that the chains of habit
are too light to be felt until
they're too heavy to be broken.
I had been terrified
of public speaking.
I couldn't do it.
I'd throw up.
And I knew if I didn't cure it then,
I'd never cure it.
And so I saw an ad in the paper
for the Dale Carnegie Course,
which worked on developing your
ability to speak in public,
and I went down there.
Dale Carnegie:
Be sincere.
A good smile
has the same effect
as a puppy's tail.
When a puppy wags...
They made us do all these crazy things
to get out of ourselves,
and so we stood on tables
and did all kinds of things.
If I hadn't had done that...
my whole life
would have been different.
So in my office
you will not see
the degree I got from the
University of Nebraska.
You will not see the Masters degree
I got from Columbia University,
but you'll see
the little award certificate
I got
from the Dale Carnegie Course.
As a matter of fact,
every week,
the instructor
would give a pencil
to whoever had done the most with
what we'd learned the week before.
And so in the fourth
or fifth week,
I proposed to her mother,
and she said yes.
And so that week,
I won the pencil,
I also got engaged,
and it was
an incredible week.
The wedding date was kind of interesting,
because I couldn't see
anything without my glasses,
and I was
so nervous that I...
I just decided
to take off my glasses
and I wouldn't be able to see
all those people out there.
She was 19 when we got
married and I was 21...
but she was so much more mature than I was.
There was no comparison.
She was a better person
than I was...
but when you get married,
it's not a question of saying,
"I'm going to put
a 14% factor in for humor,
and 17% for intellect,
and 22% for looks."
It doesn't work that way.
I knew it was the right decision, and...
and it was.
You could live anywhere in the world.
Why do you choose
Omaha, Nebraska?
Yeah, I love it, and I...
you know, I was...
born about a mile from here
and, you know,
I've never had a bad
experience in Omaha.
Well, Omaha and Nebraska
are home to me.
Everything about it
seems like home.
It's a pace,
it's relationships.
There's a lot of continuity.
There's a lot of community.
There's a lot
of friendship.
It's a very solid place
and friendly place
in which to grow up in,
in which to conduct a business.
When I came back
to Omaha in early 1956,
I had no idea
what I was going to do.
A few months after I came back,
some members of the family said,
"What should we do
with our money?"
And I said, "Well,
I'm not going back
"in the business
of selling stocks,
but if you would like
to join me in a partnership,"
I said,
"I'll be glad to do it."
So within a couple of months
after coming back,
I set up
the first partnership.
I wrote
all the checks individually.
I filed
11 income-tax returns.
I took delivery on stocks for
all these different companies.
I was a one-man band there for six years.
Sandy Gottesman: Warren would sit
upstairs in his little office there,
and I would bring up
the name of a company,
and most of the time he knew
much more than I did
about the company.
He'd know how many shares
were outstanding.
He'd know the capitalization.
He'd know the earnings.
It was absolutely incredible.
I mean when Warren said something,
it meant a heck of a lot,
and I think all of us paid
a lot of attention to Warren
when he took a definite
stand on something.
Charlie Munger:
When I first met Warren back in 1959,
I recognized immediately
that he was
a very intelligent person.
For the last four
or five years,
the stock market
has been booming along
and presumably
forecasting better business,
which has really
not materialized,
so maybe the stock market
is really correcting
a previous incorrect
forecast this time
rather than making
a new correct one.
He made a lot of money
buying thinly traded securities
that were incredibly
cheap statistically.
Warren was, at that time,
dealing with small companies,
and his investments often were
to buy a company
that you could figure was
a discarded cigar butt,
but it had
one more smoke in it,
and he wanted
to buy at the right time
to be able to benefit
from the one smoke.
The first partnership
started with $105,100.
I put up the 100,
and the other people put up the 105,000.
And then at the start of 1962,
I moved to Kiewit Plaza.
And by the time I moved
to Kiewit Plaza,
we had $7 million invested,
and a fair amount
was profits.
I was then renting a house.
I never owned a house to that point.
And then two years later,
I bought the house
I live in today in 1958.
We had three children,
Susie and I.
And we had 'em young,
which was I think was
a very good thing.
My daughter Susie
was born here.
I named her Susie just like that,
as soon as I looked at her,
because she looked
just like her mother,
And she was a cinch.
And then Howie was, you know,
this absolute bundle of energy...
which made things
very difficult
for big Susie
for a while.
Peter again reverted back
to Susie's personality,
and he was an easy child.
Howard Buffett: Well,
I would describe my childhood as normal,
but who knows
what normal is?
People often think,
"Well, Warren Buffett was
this famous rich guy."
He was not famous,
and he wasn't rich
when we were growing up.
What I saw first and foremost,
day in and day out,
was consistency.
Every day we hear the garage
door close in the house
and then like clockwork,
my dad would come in the door,
"I'm home!" and we'd
all eat dinner together,
which I think surprises
a lot of people.
Susie Buffett, Jr. : My dad,
he used to rock me to sleep at night
and sing "Over the Rainbow,"
so I have
this insanely sentimental
attachment to that song.
I've always had a really close
relationship with him.
I've got three very different kids,
and they've got
a common heart,
which they got
from their mother.
She did most
of the work by far
of bringing up
the children,
which is probably
a good thing.
They have more
of her qualities than mine,
which I would...
I would recommend.
Well, my mom was
the biggest part
of my life growing up...
even though I got disciplined
on a regular basis
and she was usually
the one doing it,
she was still
my best friend.
She was somebody
who would help anybody,
I mean,
whether she knew 'em or didn't know 'em
or maybe even didn't agree with them,
she would still help them.
She was incredibly empathetic,
and she was interested
in every person individually.
She never cared about money
or business at all.
I mean he would go around saying,
"I'm going to be the
richest man in the world."
And I think, well,
it's like somebody says,
"I play music,
and I'm gonna be Mozart."
I don't know.
How does anyone know...
How does anyone know?
You know?
So that was okay.
I don't really care about that.
I would say that Susie led Warren
toward changing
his political views.
He grew up
as a young Republican,
his father was
a Republican congressman,
but Susie saw things
in different ways.
She was the catalyst.
Freedom, freedom, freedom!
Louder, louder,
louder, louder, louder!
Freedom, freedom...
What do we want now?
When the children were growing up,
I was very involved
in civil rights.
I was immersed in it, and I think
that's what made Warren a Democrat.
He would go with me
to hear speakers.
Warren: I remember that speech
that Martin Luther King gave.
That was one of the most inspiring
speeches I... I've ever heard.
I come to say to you
this afternoon...
Warren: Took me right out of my seat.
My wife was with me.
We both had
the same experience.
Martin Luther King: It will not be long.
It was interesting, he...
in that speech, he talked about
truth forever on the scaffold,
long forever on the throne,
but that scaffold sways the future.
Well, he was going
to be dead in six months,
but that scaffold
did sway the future.
My wife was
more active than I was,
but I was 100%
with her mentally.
I was just working a little
more on my own investments.
But it didn't make a difference
what we were gonna do
with the money
after we made it.
I thought I would pile
it up over the years
then she would unpile it
in terms of running a...
one very large foundation.
And I was particularly good
at compounding money,
and therefore society
would benefit by waiting.
I was genetically blessed
with certain wiring
that's very useful in a
highly-developed market system
where there's lots
of chips on the table,
and you know, I happen
to be good at that game.
Ted Williams wrote a book
called "The Science of Hitting,"
and in it he had a picture
of himself at bat
and the strike zone broken
into, I think, 77 squares.
And he said,
if he waited for the pitch
that was really in his sweet spot,
he would bat .400
and if he had to swing at
something on the lower corner,
he would
probably bat .235.
And in investing,
I'm in a no-called strike business,
which is the best business
you can be in.
I can look at a thousand
different companies,
and I don't have to be right on every
one of them or even 50 of 'em...
so I can pick the ball
I want to hit.
And the trick in investing is just to sit
there and watch pitch after pitch to go by
and wait for the one
right in your sweet spot.
And the people that are yelling,
"Swing, you bum"? Ignore 'em.
There's a temptation
for people to act
far too frequently in stocks,
simply because
they're so liquid.
Over the years
you develop a lot of filters,
and I do know what I call
my circle of competence,
so I-I... I stay
within that circle,
and I don't worry about things
that are outside that circle.
Defining what your game is,
where you're going to have an
edge is enormously important.
I bought the first shares
of Berkshire in 1962,
and it was
a northern textile business
destined to become
extinct eventually,
and it was a statistically cheap
stock in a terrible business.
Berkshire Hathaway
was closing mills
and as they closed mills,
it would free up some capital,
and then they would
repurchase shares,
so I bought
some stock with the idea
that there would be another
tender offer at some point,
and we would sell the stock
at a modest profit.
And at one point,
the management asked me at what
price we would tender our stock,
and I said, "$11.50."
And the tender offer
came out a few months later,
and it was
at $11 and 3/8ths,
which was an eighth
of a point cheaper.
And that made me very mad,
so I just started
buying more stock.
I just felt that I'd been
double-crossed by the management.
And in May of 1965,
I bought enough so we
controlled the company,
and we changed
the management.
It was a pretty silly way
to behave,
as Warren has recounted
in retrospect.
One of the reasons
Warren is successful
is he's brutal
in appraising his own past.
He wants to identify misthinkings
and avoid them in the future,
but it was an accident that
he chose Berkshire Hathaway.
If the chairman hadn't tried
to cheat him out of an eighth,
there wouldn't have been any
Buffett- Berkshire Hathaway history.
Warren: If you're emotional about investment,
you're not going to do well.
You may have all these
feelings about the stock.
The stock has
no feelings about you.
Looking back, it's interesting,
that tender offer...
I didn't realize it, but it... it happened
about five days after my dad had died
and whether that had affected me or not,
I don't know.
Kunhardt: Do you remember your last
conversation with your father?
Yeah, but I don't want
to talk about it.
I think it just sobered him and hurt him,
Warren soldiers on.
Both Warren and I
could look at our fathers
and see what they did right
and what they did wrong.
Warren's father was a real
old-fashioned right-wing ideologue.
And his father was
so intense about it,
that Warren just decided
that it was mistake...
it cabbaged up your head
to be that much an ideologue,
so he loved his father,
but he didn't want to become
that much of a true believer in...
in anything.
My politics became more overt
after my dad died.
Civil rights
changed my views.
You know, in 1776
Thomas Jefferson wrote,
"All men are created equal,"
and then when they wrote the Constitution,
they all of a sudden
decided that, no,
it was just 3/5ths of a person
if you were black.
I mean, that struck me
as kind of crazy.
Susie: I was talking to him one
day about some racial issue,
and he said to me,
"Wait till women discover
they're the slaves
of the world."
Now how many men
were cognizant of that,
and even women then?
The initial example is really my mother.
She came from a generation
where the main function
of the wife
was to help
her husband in the job.
And my sisters are
fully as smart as I am.
They got better personalities
than I had,
but they got the message
a million different ways
that their future
was limited,
and I got the message
that the sky is the limit
and it wasn't due to a lack of
love or anything of the sort.
It just...
it was the culture.
On the other hand,
you can look
at the flip side of that
and say it's quite encouraging,
because if you look at what
this country accomplished
only using half of its talent,
just think of the potential
for the future.
I'm enormously bullish
on America over the future
and part of the reason
is that we,
by some rather
stupid decisions,
essentially put half our
talent on the sidelines.
Loomis: Warren is probably the most
rational person I've ever met.
Charlie Munger
would be a close rival.
And Charlie became a man
that Warren
depended on heavily
and I think his first
in the discarded-
cigar-butt era
convinced him that it was not
exactly where he wanted to be.
He made so much money for so long
doing what he'd been taught
by Ben Graham,
which he'd buy
these very cheap stocks.
If they were cheap enough,
he didn't care it was
a lousy company
and a lousy management.
He knew he was going to make money anyway,
just because of the cheapness.
Charlie Munger has had a big impact on me
in moving me toward looking for
wonderful companies at fair prices
rather than fair companies
at wonderful prices.
That was enormously important, because it
enabled Berkshire to scale up in a way
that would have been
impossible to do otherwise.
Man: What are the key indicators
you'd look for within companies
before making an investment?
Well, I look for something that
does give them a moat around it.
We have a company called See's
Candies out on the west coast.
See's Candies
Boxed Chocolates.
If you give a box of See's
chocolates to your girlfriend
on the first date
and she kisses you?
We own you.
You know? I mean we...
we can raise
the price tomorrow.
I mean,
you'll buy the same box.
You're not gonna
fool around with success,
so the key there
is the response.
You do not want to get home
on Valentine's Day
and say to your wife
or your sweetheart...
preferably they're
the same person...
you don't say, "Here, honey,
I took the low bid."
It doesn't work.
Price is...
to a degree, is immaterial.
If you've got
an economic castle,
people are gonna come and wanna
take that castle away from you.
You better have
a strong moat.
You better have a knight in the
castle that knows what he's doing.
You're not buying an asset,
you're buying a name,
you're buying a brand,
you're buying
a real franchise here,
and Charlie was more responsible
for that than anybody.
We were mental partners
right from the moment we met.
Woman: I wanna know,
going back 50 years,
what it was like
when you first met Warren.
Well, I thought
he was a prodigy...
and I got a lot
of criticism.
My wife said,
"Why are you paying such enormous respect
"to that young man
with a crew cut
who won't eat vegetables?"
He's ungodly smart.
He's got a much broader
intellect than I do,
and he's magnificent
at being able
to condense important ideas
into just a very few words.
If you're not interested
in the economic scene right now,
you're mentally dead.
Charlie has no tact.
Woman: All right,
let's talk a little bit about bankers.
Charlie, on Friday,
compared them to heroin addicts.
Yeah, well,
that's colorful Charlie,
but I would not
have chosen that.
I once wrote of him
that when
they handed out humility,
he didn't get
his fair share.
The ideal way to run a
headquarters is to have one man,
preferably over 80,
sitting in an office
by himself.
Anything else
is pure frippery.
He's always honest in what he tells me,
so I... I listen to him.
We never had an argument.
We just...
We just kinda
roll with it easily.
Suppose Warren doesn't wanna do
something that I would've done,
and suppose that happens four
times over 40 years or something.
What the hell difference
does it make to me?
Net, the record is
working out is fine.
Both of us know that we've
done better by having ethics.
Warren's not interested
in making money
by cheating people.
Warren's opinions
of Wall Street
investment bankers
would not endear him
to their mothers.
He feels that they're,
for the most part,
not out for their clients.
They're out for their own
business interests.
Warren: In the late 1960s,
there were just a flood
of accounting
shenanigans and mergers
built upon false accounting
and misleading people.
It was a time
when a lot of charlatans
were prevailing in Wall Street
and were being applauded
by Wall Street.
I understood what
the game was about,
but I didn't want
to play in it,
so I closed down the
partnership at the end of 1969,
and I took on the title of
Chairman for Berkshire Hathaway.
Munger: Well, I think
the modern Berkshire
is pretty much
all a reflection of Warren.
I have constructed
a business that fits me.
It's kind of crazy
to spend your life painting
if you're painting a subject
you don't want to look at.
I've gotten to paint
my own painting in business
on an unlimited
canvas in a way.
It's a different
sort of place.
I work with a great
group of people
that make my life very easy
and that take good care of me.
Come. Okay.
We have 25 people
in the office,
and if you go back, it's the exact same 25,
the exact same ones.
We don't have any
committees at Berkshire.
We don't have
a public relations department.
We don't have investor relations.
We don't have a general council.
We don't have
a human relations department.
We just don't go for anything that
people do just as a matter of form.
It's exactly the life I like,
and it's not work to me.
It's just a form
of play, basically.
Oh, I...
I like things quiet.
I shut the door,
actually, at the office,
'cause I don't want to hear
anybody talking outside.
Woman on TV:
Broad distinctions between his views
and the belt-tightening
And I still probably spend
five or six hours
a day reading.
Woman on TV:
...look at what's trending today.
Our quick round-up...
Howard: Well,
what's amazing is the stuff he remembers.
It's like a little computer,
you know?
I keep thinking the hard drive will
run out of space, but it doesn't.
Melinda Gates:
He's one of the smartest people we know.
So I was at a couple
of the family dinners
at the Gates house
where Mary, Bill's mom,
was trying to convince him
to come out
to the family place
at Hood Canal
to meet Warren Buffett,
and he was resisting
because he was
really busy with Microsoft.
And finally he said, "Mom,
okay, I'll come for lunch."
Bill Gates:
So the two of us flew out there
somewhat reluctantly,
'cause you know,
buying and selling stocks...
which is how I thought of Warren...
wasn't of particular interest to me
and didn't seem like value added.
It turned out
that was completely wrong.
We knew that day that
we'd be very close friends.
In fact, we just couldn't
get enough of each other.
Shortly after I met Bill Gates,
Bill's dad asked each of us to
write down on a piece of paper
one word that would best describe
what had helped us the most.
Bill and I, without any
collaboration at all,
each wrote the word "focus."
Well, focus has always been a
strong part of my personality.
If I get interested in something,
I get really interested.
If I get interested in a new subject,
I want to read about it,
I want to talk about it, and I want to
meet people that are involved in it.
We both love to work hard.
You know, neither of us
like frivolous things.
You know he doesn't know
much about cooking,
or art, or...
a huge range of things.
I can't tell you the color of the
walls in my bedroom or my living room.
We're on a satellite phone.
I don't have a mind that relates
to the physical universe well.
Warren checking the DOW.
But the business universe I...
I think I understand reasonably well.
Warren's ability to size
up people and businesses,
it's a pretty magical thing.
He is the best at that,
anybody we know.
We... we should all try to be
20% as... as good at that.
I like to sit and think,
and I spend
a lot of time doing that.
And sometimes it's
pretty unproductive but...
but I find it enjoyable
to think about...
particularly about...
about business
or investment problems.
They're easy.
It's the human problems
that are the tough ones.
Sometimes there aren't any good
answers with human problems.
There's... there's almost always
a good answer with money.
He was sort of a genius.
I think sometimes
geniuses are,
by default,
lonely and isolated.
He was not
really well adjusted.
He was just this funny...
I mean,
humorous guy who maybe had a moat around him,
because he was afraid
and he didn't know anyone
that he wanted to let in.
And to this day,
I mean, I don't know...
Well, nobody
knows him like I do,
and probably any wife
would say that, but...
He's a loner in a sense.
And it's difficult to connect
on an emotional level,
because I think that that's not
his basic mode of operation.
He was there... physically,
but he was upstairs
reading all the time.
I always told my mother
we have to talk in sound bytes.
I learned that early on,
that if you start going into some long thing,
unless you've explained to him ahead of
time that it's going to be a long thing
and you need him to hang in there,
you lose him.
You lose him
to whatever giant thought
he has in his head at the time
that he was probably thinking
about before you came in
and really wants
to get back to.
He's not like the rest of us.
I don't think my dad ever
took anybody for granted,
but you are
a little bit blind, I think,
sometimes to what other people
might be doing behind the scenes,
and my dad's gotten
a little bit of a pass.
Warren can't find the light switch,
and it's probably my fault.
One time, years ago
when the kids were little,
I was feeling really sick.
I had the flu,
so I lay down on the bed,
and I said to Warren,
"Will you get me a pan?
Or something from the kitchen.
I may not get to the bathroom.
I feel so sick."
He said, "Okay."
So he trottles down to the kitchen,
and I hear this bang,
bip, boom, bang!
And he comes up,
and he brings me a colander.
I looked at it, and I said, "Look,
honey, this has holes in it."
"Oh, oh, okay."
So he ran down,
all this banging
and everything.
And he comes up and he puts the
colander on a cookie sheet.
Physical proximity to Warren doesn't
always mean that he's there with you.
He's so cerebral, you see?
That's why I learned
to have my own life.
We were
two parallel lines and...
but very connected when
he was open to connecting.
Susie Jr.: I did make a joke at one point.
I said, you know,
we could make
a tape of Mom yelling,
"Bye, Warren,
I'll be back later!"
And then have the door slam,
and he would just think she was here.
I don't think he knew what she
was doing most of the time.
Once Howie and I
were both gone,
as we've gotten older, she started
to see the writing on the wall here
and just started
trying to figure out
how she could
at least have some more,
as she called it,
a room of her own.
The worst mistakes involve
not understanding other people
as well as you might.
Well, she left Omaha in 1977,
and there really isn't much
to say about that.
It was devastating for him,
and I came home,
because I-I... I can't say
I was mad at her exactly,
but I kept thinking,
"How can you leave him?
He's so...
he can't function by himself."
So my mother...
she'd asked a bunch of her friends
to sort of look in on him,
and Astrid was one of them.
Susie: So I called Astrid.
I said, "Astrid,
"will you take Warren...
make him some soup?
"Go over there
and look after him,
because he's not
gonna make it."
And it took him a while to figure it out,
but he figured it out.
I said, "I'm not leaving you,
because I'll be wherever you
want me when you want me."
My mom moved to San Francisco,
and I think one of the reasons it
was important for her to leave Omaha
was because she just felt like she was
kinda trapped in this environment,
that everybody knew
who she was,
that she couldn't have
her own identity.
Peter: He knew that there was
something she needed to do
and that she really recognized
that the money gave us all and her
a choice in a lot of ways that
a lot of people didn't have.
Munger: There was a time
Warren was getting criticized.
Here was this very, very rich man
who was getting richer every year,
and really wasn't giving
a lot of money away,
and there was terrific
criticism by some people,
which Warren never said
anything about.
The biggest thing in making money is time.
You don't have to be particularly smart,
you just have to be patient.
Susie didn't want
to wait as much as I did,
but she never quite appreciated
compounding like I did.
That is a disagreement we have.
I run a foundation now.
I think we should be
giving more money away,
but I understand
why we don't...
because it's... business.
To me the crux of it is,
that it wasn't the money itself.
You can see that
in the way he lives.
I mean, he doesn't buy
huge paintings
or build big houses
or anything like that.
It's all mental with him,
and the money is his scorecard.
And he used to say to me,
"Everybody can read
what I read.
It's a level playing field."
And he loves that,
because he's competitive.
And he's sitting there
all by himself in his office,
reading these things
that everybody else can read,
but he loves the idea
that he's gonna win. Ha!
I'll tell you how you do it.
Have you ever seen a juggler
juggle 25 milk bottles?
How did
he ever get to do that?
The answer is he started with one bottle,
then two, then three
and just kept doing it,
and pretty soon he was at 25,
and that's the way we did it.
So, basically,
we started out with cash
and ended up buying
a bunch of businesses,
including insurance companies.
Loomis: Insurance is, in itself,
a profitable business,
but it has
the additional advantage
of creating something
that's called "float."
Float is the money
that hangs around Berkshire
while a claim is waiting
to be paid.
And Warren turned out
to have a extraordinary ability
to use the money
thrown off by the float
to buy companies that fed
the growth of Berkshire.
Man: In 1983,
Mrs. B cashed in on her business
by selling control
for $55 million
to a company owned
by investor Warren Buffett.
Warren was quite an expert about newspapers.
He got interested
in the "Post,"
because he recognized it
as a greatly
undervalued company.
Kay Graham:
He had to write me a letter.
"Dear Ms. Graham,
I've just bought 5% of your company,
"and I mean you no harm,
"and I think
it's a great company.
"I know it's Graham owned
and Graham run,
and that's fine with me."
And I thought, "Whoa,
this guy's really terrific."
He used to come to board meetings
with about 20 annual reports
and he would take me
through these annual reports.
It was like going to business
school with Warren Buffett.
Kay Graham did introduce Warren
to the world of Washington,
entirely different group than
he had ever dealt with before.
It was clear that working with Kay
gave him a different kind of confidence,
and he was the star.
Everyone wants to hear
what Warren Buffett
has to say.
The Oracle of Omaha
building his image
and having some fun.
Man 2:
Berkshire shares have increased
more than
2,000% in value.
Man 3: One of the largest market
capitalizations in the world,
and it could grow
a lot larger
since Warren Buffett shows
no sign of slowing down.
Woman 2:
So how did he do it?
By investing in what he
knows and understands...
good old-fashioned American
brands like Coca-Cola,
Fruit of the Loom,
and Dairy Queen.
What inspired you?
This inspired me!
Buy what you like, is that what it is?
Yeah absolutely.
Today, the Coca-Cola
Company will sell
almost two billion
eight-ounce servings
of one form or another
of Coca Cola products.
Now if you get an extra penny a day,
a penny a serving,
that's $20 million a day,
that's $7.3 billion a year
from one penny more.
When you own Coca Cola,
you own a little piece
of the minds of billions
and billions of people.
That is really good.
Who's got the most $100 bills these days?
his name is Warren Buffett in this country,
and he has just displaced
his friend Bill Gates
as the richest businessman
in the world.
And the purpose of Wednesday's
meeting was to discuss
Buffett's company,
Berkshire Hathaway's plan
to purchase railroad giant
Burlington Northern,
valued at $26 billion. This would be
Buffett's largest acquisition ever.
Munger: He's created Berkshire
from virtually nothing
into hundreds of billions
of dollars of market cap.
Nobody else has
a record like that.
He wanted to have an outstanding reputation
that he'd never really upset the
apple cart when he bought a business,
that he kept
the management in place.
He was establishing
a reputation
that paid off later in life.
It's been building and building
ever since I've known him.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation,
then it takes
five minutes to lose it.
When Warren made his investment in Salomon,
I was one of the people,
along with many, many others,
who were quite amazed,
because he had taken
a very critical tone in talking about
investment bankers and about their greed.
And here he was
investing in one,
Salomon Brothers,
that was known to be a member of the club.
Warren and Charlie were on the board,
and Charlie couldn't stand
what was going on there
and didn't like
the culture at all.
And shortly after they got involved,
the thing exploded.
In 1991 on a terrible day in August,
I got a call,
and the two top officers of Salomon
were on the other end,
and they said that...
that... "We have problem."
This is "NBC Nightly News."
Good evening.
It is the kind of scandal
that rocks Wall Street
and raises questions,
questions about the integrity
of our financial institutions.
Man: The giant securities firm of
Salomon Brothers under investigation
for improper trading
of treasury bonds.
Man 2:
Salomon admitted it exceeded the limit
of trading
in government bonds,
once by buying bonds
in the name of a customer
who didn't even know
about the deal.
Salomon Brothers is under investigation
by the Treasury Department,
the Federal Reserve, the SEC,
and the Justice Department.
But more important than
the fate of the firm itself
is the impact
their actions could have
on the public trust
and on the credibility
of the American
market worldwide.
The company owed $150 billion.
It owed more money
than any other private company
in the United States
at the time.
And that night I met with the man that
ran the Federal Reserve of New York,
who was the sheriff
in effect, and I said, you know,
"I've never really owed
very much money before."
I said,
"I've got a little mortgage on a house,
but 150 billion is
a little staggering."
And I was hoping he would say,
"Well, don't worry, Warren.
We'll give you
a few weeks to breathe."
And he... he said to me,
"Prepare for any eventuality."
Woman: Earlier today,
the US Treasury Department
announced it had suspended
Salomon Brothers
from participating
in the auction of new issues.
It was one more jolt
for a scandal-scarred
Wall Street.
The Fed was in effect saying,
"You're an evil force,
and we don't want you trading our bonds."
It was a huge turning point
for Warren.
And he believed that,
at that particular point,
his reputation
was on the line.
Warren had 24 hours to make up his mind
as to whether he was going
to go forward or just bow out.
And I think at that point, Salomon
Brothers could have gone into bankruptcy.
And Warren stepped up
and took responsibility.
Okay. I'm Warren Buffett.
I was... elected...
Interim Chairman
of Salomon, Inc.
a few hours ago at a board
of directors meeting.
Why was it necessary for you to step in
and what is your mandate
of leadership?
I think that
it was necessary to step in
because I would do
whatever was needed,
dig out any bit of information
about what's happened in the past,
and I would do everything
I could to make sure
that things
exactly right in the future.
Man 2: Mr. Buffett,
are you satisfied that...
I had to convince the Treasury
that what was done in the past
was awful and stupid,
and they had every right to be furious at us,
but this firm
employed 8,000 people,
and it was going
to go out of business
unless they let us
continue, basically.
Warren believed that there was
a too-big-to-fail scenario.
The term was not used then,
but he believed that Salomon
was too big to fail.
And if Salomon went down,
it would take other important
parts of Wall Street with it.
We had this death knell from the Treasury,
so I called the Treasury.
Nick Brady was
the Secretary.
I'm pleading for my life.
And I'm sure my voice was
cracking and everything else,
and I said, "Nick,
this is the most important day of my life."
And I really did feel that it was
going to be a colossal disaster.
He wasn't sure
I was right at all...
in fact,
he probably thought I was wrong...
but he knew that I felt
what I was saying.
So, the Treasury
modified its order,
and in effect, of course,
it was quite an endorsement.
It was huge.
It saved Salomon.
Nick Brady went with Warren,
because he trusted him.
It shows how having a good reputation
is really helpful in life.
I thank you for the opportunity
to appear
before this subcommittee.
I would like to start
by apologizing
for the acts that
have brought us here.
A nation has a right to expect
its rules and laws to be obeyed,
but I also have asked
every Salomon employee
to be his or her
own compliance officer.
After they first obey all rules,
I then want employees
to ask themselves
whether they are willing
to have any contemplated act
appear the next day
on the front page
of their local paper
to be read by their spouses,
children, and friends.
If they follow this test,
they need not fear
my other message to them:
Lose money for the firm,
and I will be understanding.
Lose a shred of reputation
for the firm,
and I will be ruthless.
I welcome your questions.
It's been 50 years
since I formally took control
of Berkshire Hathaway,
and, step by step,
we've created something
that is kind of what I dreamt
we might create over time,
but it took a lot
of time to do it.
Never seemed like we were making
that much progress on any one day,
but compound interest works.
When you think back 50 years ago
when you founded
this company,
did you ever imagine it would be the
fifth-largest company in the world?
No, I...
I didn't, but if I was thinking about it,
I wouldn't have thought
in terms of being the fifth,
or the fourth,
or the third.
You would've wanted
number one.
Oh! I mean, if you're gonna dream,
you might as well dream.
...two, three.
Bill Gates wins.
Bill Gates wins.
Warren: Well,
a Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting is
partly a fun festival.
It's sort of a Mardi Gras
for people
to come every year.
It's a chance for us
to have a lot of fun
and meet the people that have
entrusted us with their money.
Munger: Well, we used to have
just 30 people in a cafeteria,
and now we have
this huge public spectacle.
Celebration is part of making
a group of people
work well together.
It's a celebration.
We are glad
You're here
at our meeting
Be sure to check out
our wares
We'll sell you See's Candy
and Dilly Bars
And insurance
for all of your cars
For its buy, buy,
buy all you see
At the Berkshire show!
All right! Woo!
He truly loves
to do what he does.
Love you, Warren!
Aw, yeah.
I think investors who own Berkshire Hathaway,
they see themselves
as a part of a community.
One, two, three.
There are more long-term holders
of Berkshire than any company.
People consider it a religion.
Okay, right here.
They don't buy it with the idea
they're gonna sell it
next week.
I think most of them buying it with the
intent of holding it for their lifetime,
just like they'd buy a farm
or buy an apartment house.
At Berkshire, everybody gets
the same information
from the comprehensive
annual report.
We don't meet
with the analysts.
I'm not interested in what an
analyst thinks about Berkshire.
I'm interested in what the owners
of Berkshire think about Berkshire.
He came out of a private partnership
where people he knew
were trusting him.
And he had his relatives
in the partnership,
and they were not rich.
And as it got bigger,
he started treating
everybody else the way
he treated his relatives.
In terms of our feeling
toward the people
who are shareholders,
we regard them
as our partners.
They're not some
faceless group of people.
And that's why at the annual meeting,
I love seeing 40,000 of them.
It gives real meaning to what
we're doing every day.
Let's try.
If you know...
Susie like I know Susie
Oh, oh, oh, what a gal
We just have a lot of love
and respect for each other.
And that's never changed.
Oh, oh... Susie:
I don't go to most things in Omaha,
because I think
Astrid lives there with him,
and that's for her to do.
And then we do
all kinds of things.
Susie Jr.
: Strange as it may seem to people,
I always think,
you know, "Who cares?
"If it's working between the
people who are directly involved,
who cares
what anyone thinks?"
And my mother and Astrid
were very close, you know.
They really,
really loved each other,
and I think that my mother
was glad that she was there,
'cause she...
she loved my dad.
She wanted him
taken care of and happy,
and there's
no one better than Astrid.
She's just... she loves my dad.
She wouldn't care if he had one cent.
...back where you belong
Well, Astrid has lived
with me for a long time.
She's done wonders for me.
It worked well,
but I don't think it'll work
for lots of other people
Susie and I loved each other,
we admired each other,
and we were totally in sync
with what the other was doing,
but we were
two different individuals.
Susie: The first time Warren
came out to San Francisco...
we took a walk,
and he looked around,
and he doesn't...
he's not very visual.
He was looking around,
and he said,
"This really is...
this is your city."
I am so drawn to color,
light, form, and nature,
that he thought
it was a good place for me.
Over the years I've developed
a better understanding
of human nature.
I can learn a lot about
investments out of a book,
but I don't think you can learn
as much about human beings.
You really need
some experiences,
and I'm wiser in that respect
than I was 40 or 50 years ago,
even though
I can't rattle off numbers
the same way
I used to be able to.
Well, I think that what we do
reflects who we are,
and that's true for everybody
in this room.
And if you do the work I do,
you meet the best
human beings in the world.
People who
have made a choice
not to make money,
but to serve other human beings.
I think it's the best kind
of life anyone could have.
I was with her in Arizona at this "Fortune"
Most Powerful Women's Conference,
and she told me she had
a biopsy the day before,
and I didn't really think
much of it.
Then we got home,
and the biopsy results were not good.
It was stage four
oral cancer.
I was on my way to a board meeting in India,
and I remember
saying to her,
"I'll see you
when I get back."
And she rarely cried,
and she just
started crying and said,
"No, you need to stay here,
and you need to come out
for the operation."
Susie Jr.:
So we were all there,
and the day she was
going into the surgery,
that morning,
my dad...
It's funny, he...
there's some of it he just can't...
you know, he just can't...
the thought of something happening
to her was just, for him...
you know,
was just the worst thing that could happen.
She knew it was going to be really difficult.
She knew the recovery
was going to be brutal,
so I think that she had
that surgery for others.
It was...
quite a big surgery.
She couldn't talk,
she couldn't swallow, she couldn't eat.
But she came out,
and I really was with her
for the next
four months or so.
And my dad came out
every weekend.
And in a few months
she was doing better.
She and my dad had gone
to Cody, Wyoming,
which they did every year
with a bunch of friends.
And my dad called. This was,
I don't know, 8:00 at night or something,
and he said,
"Something happened to Mom.
I'm in an ambulance.
You need to come."
Howard: I actually thought
something had happened to my dad.
I don't know why I thought that,
but I... I guess I thought
my mom had
had this recovery,
it was successful,
and why would anything happen to her?
It was horrible.
And a total shock.
You know, she'd been fine.
She'd been fine.
They went off to Cody,
she was fine,
and they were having dinner,
and you know,
she didn't feel well after dinner,
and... she had the stroke.
We went into the hospital room,
and my dad was sitting there.
He'd been sitting there
all night, holding her hand.
I was so proud of him,
because when
it came down to it,
he knew what
he was supposed to do,
and he did it,
which was nothing.
So my dad went to sleep,
and I sat with her.
And I just kept
putting my hand on her heart
to see if she was
breathing, and...
At one point, you know,
I didn't feel anything,
so I went out,
I got the nurse,
and I said,
"Can you come in here?"
And she said,
"No, she's gone."
So, I have to say one
of the worst moments of my life
was waking my dad up
to tell him that.
It's a very strange thing, love.
You can't get rid of it.
If you try to give it out,
you get more back.
If you try to hang onto it,
you lose it.
really put me together.
She believed in me.
she put me together.
And I would not only have turned out
to be the person I turned out to be,
but I would not have...
I actually wouldn't have been as successful
in business without that, and...
she made me more
of a whole person.
Peter: He went dark,
essentially, quiet and inward
for a certain amount
of time.
You know, my dad is
a solitary guy,
and he had lived, essentially,
a solitary life in a lot of ways.
I think it came down
to him figuring out
how he was gonna
get through this tunnel
and get out the other side.
In my head
at the time, I thought,
"God, I don't know
if he'll ever get out of bed."
But he did.
I'm Patty Stonesifer,
the CEO of the Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation.
And we appreciate
you coming today,
especially since I sent a very
vague and very late notice
to ask you to come to a
conversation with Bill and Melinda
on the future on philanthropy.
So, lets get on with it.
I have the pleasure
of introducing a good man
whose great decision is going to
change the world, Warren Buffett.
A remarkable decision tonight
from one of the richest men
in the world.
Warren Buffett says
he is giving away most of
his fortune away to charity.
Buffett has pledged to give away
the bulk of his fortune
to the Bill and Melinda Gates
and giving more
than 15% of his money
to foundations started by his three
children and his late wife, Susan.
Man 2: One global health activist
called what Buffett did today
one of the most remarkably selfless
acts that history will ever record.
That's a better hand than I get
at a Berkshire Hathaway meeting.
I'd like to thank you
for coming.
It... it's a great day for me.
It's a great day for my family.
My wife Susie and I had planned
that whatever I made
would go back to society,
and, originally, I thought
she would outlive me
and that she'd make
a big decision on it.
But since her death,
I had to rethink
the best way to get
the money into society
and have it used
in the most effective way,
and I had a solution
staring me in the face.
It was completely out of the blue.
I mean amazing.
The largest single gift
ever given was
what he gave away that day.
I'd like to ask the people
representing those...
various foundations
to come out.
The first three letters are
easy to sign, I just sign "Dad."
When he wrote the letter to us,
he put something
in that letter
that was
incredibly important to me,
which was exactly how
our foundation behaves,
which is,
if you're gonna try to bat a thousand,
you won't do very many things
that are important.
But if you're willing to
basically strike out a few times,
you can really change
something big.
Warren: Well,
I feel terrific about the fact
that my three children
each run a separate foundation
that combines
their special interests,
whether it's early education
or whether it's farming in areas
where people's techniques for using
small plots of land could use
a lot of improvement.
All kinds of ways...
vaccines, you name it.
More powerful than Buffett's gift
is the message he's sending
to other wealthy Americans,
that those who have
the least in this world
should benefit from
those who have the most.
Warren: In my entire lifetime,
everything that I've spent
will be quite a bit less
than one percent
of everything I've made.
The other 99% plus
will go to others,
because it has
no utility to me.
So, it's silly for me
to not transfer that utility
to people who can use it.
It's doing me no good.
Susie Jr.:
I am so proud of what we do.
I almost cry
at every board meeting,
because I just think
she would be so proud.
And that is my biggest job,
in my opinion,
is to make sure
that every penny gets spent
the way she would
want it spent.
Susie: Whoever you are in this life,
you don't want to think
you wasted a lot
of your energy, love,
and time
on something useless.
I always thought I'd marry a minister,
a doctor, or somebody
out doing
some valuable service
to human beings.
And the fact that I married somebody
who makes just piles of money
is really the antithesis
of what I ever thought,
but I know what he is,
and... he is...
There's no finer human being
than who he is.
The truth is that I'm here
in my position
as a matter of luck.
How are you doing, Grandpa?
Hey, Grandpa!
When I was born in 1930,
the odds were probably 40:1 against
me being born in the United States.
I did win the ovarian lottery on that
first day, and on top of that, I was male.
Put that down
as another 50/50 shot
and now the odds are 80:1 against being
born a male in the United States,
and it was enormously
important in my whole life.
To think that that makes me
superior to anyone else
as a human being is just...
I can't follow that line of reasoning.
Okay, good luck.
I think I was lucky to have been
standing alongside Warren Buffett
while he was
becoming Warren Buffett.
He has developed over the years.
He's broadened.
His values extend
through all of his life.
He wants to lead a life
that he and his father,
if his father was still living,
would say was a good one.
I think he's going to end up in the
history books a hundred years from now.
I'm not sure what role
he's going to be assigned.
Will he be famous
for what he did as an investor
or as a philanthropist?
But Warren said that his ambition
in life is to be a teacher.
The world is a great movie to watch,
but you don't want
to sleepwalk through life.
The important thing to do
is to look for the job
you would take
if you didn't need a job
and life is wonderful then.
I mean, you'll jump out
of bed in the morning
because you're really
looking forward to the day.
I have...
for over 60 years,
I've been able
to tap dance to work
just 'cause I'm doing
what I love doing and...
and I just feel
very, very lucky.
Okay, class dismissed.
Do you fear death?
No, I don't.
I've had a terrific life.
I feel... you know, it's gonna happen,
and I have no idea
what happens after it.
I'm an agnostic, so I...
you know, it may be
terribly interesting.
It may not be interesting
at all. We'll find out.
But physically,
I'm pretty well depreciated.
I'm getting down
to salvage value.
But it really doesn't make
any difference at all.
It doesn't interfere with my work.
It doesn't interfere with my happiness.
It doesn't interfere
with my thinking.
I don't feel any diminution
in my enjoyment of life
or enthusiasm
for life at all.
In fact, in a sense,
the game that I'm in
gets more interesting
all the time.
It's a competitive game.
It's a big game,
and I enjoyed
the game a lot.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land
that I heard of
Once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams
That you dare to dream
Really do come true
One day I'll wish
upon a star
And wake up where
the clouds
Are far behind me
Where troubles melt
Like lemon drops
Oh, way above
The chimney tops
That's where
You'll find me
Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh, why can't I?
Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh, why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds
fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh, why
Can't I?
Good night, Susan.