- Book: The Snowball – Warren Buffet and the Business of Life
- Author: Alice Schroeder
So I started reading “The Snowball” – the biography of Warren Buffet. I could not get past Chapter 1, page 4. Warren gives his biographer the following direction “Whenever my version is different from somebody else’s, Alice, use the less flattering version.” In today’s world of “everybody gets a trophy” it is easy to believe your own press clippings. It is easy to see yourself through the prism of your admirers.
I struggle with the idea that newspapers are going by the wayside. If I search the internet or facebook to get my news, I am going to go to the sites that have provided information in the past. But how do I get an opposing view? Where do I get information about topics that I have never thought about before? Where do we learn about new things?
With apologies to the early adopters and cutting edge engineers, 20 years ago, the idea of electric cars for the mass market was a pipe dream. 50 years ago mass market electric cars were pure fantasy. If I told you that Tesla released its first car in 2008 – would that surprise you? The point is that if you did not know to look for news about electric cars, how would you know about Tesla in 2007?
When I read the Wall Street Journal, I am interested in the articles that are directly related to my industry and the work I do every day. I am also interested in the alternative views and the topics I DO NOT think about every day.
When Warren Buffet said to “use the less flattering version” I think he was sincere in his desire to have a realistic portrait of himself. I also think that comment was a reflection of how he looks at life and business. You simply cannot be a well-rounded adult if you are only hearing from your friends and listening to their praise.
We should consider Warren’s advice – listen to the unflattering version. Just like when I read the fashion section of the paper. You might learn something you never knew existed. When did skinny suit pants come back into fashion??!!?? Talk about unflattering!