Good Michael Lewis piece on Warren Buffett in the guise of a review of Alice Schroeder’s biography of Buffett. A snippet:
There has never really been a bad time in the last fifty years to be Warren Buffett, but just now would seem to be less favorable than most. If Buffett still measures his life by the book value per share of Berkshire Hathaway, then for the first time in forty years he must feel like a wasting asset. His share price is still off more than 40 percent from its highs, underperforming even the S&P 500. He railed against derivatives as weapons of mass destruction, and now turns out to have been sitting on a $68 billion pile of credit default swaps and exotic put options on various stock market indexes. And having vowed never again to become entangled in a big Wall Street investment bank, he has gone and sunk $10 billion into Goldman Sachs, a virtual re-enactment of his investment in Salomon Brothers–cash for reputation. The difference this time is that he has gotten himself a sweeter deal than not merely ordinary shareholders, but also the U.S. Treasury.
On the surface at least, he seems like a guy who has spent the last few years ignoring all of his own best advice.