The Or­a­cle of Omaha laid bare

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television - Be­com­ing War­ren Buf­fett,

This ex­cel­lent doc­u­men­tary fo­cuses on one of the most sin­gu­lar char­ac­ters of our time: bil­lion­aire in­vestor War­ren Buf­fett.

You don’t need to be in­ter­ested in the ins and outs of value in­vest­ing to en­joy this 80-minute HBO pro­duc­tion (but it prob­a­bly helps). Its sub­ject mat­ter will not be new, how­ever, to those ob­ses­sive Buf­fett-watchers who pounce on his an­nual let­ter (re­leased just last week), or those who read Alice Schroeder’s ex­cel­lent bi­og­ra­phy The Snow­ball, pub­lished in 2008.

In 2009, The New York Times re­ported that Buf­fett — the “Or­a­cle of Omaha” — had cooled on Schroeder af­ter see­ing his some­times com­pli­cated per­sonal life laid out in black and white. So it is cu­ri­ous that he agreed to be in­volved with this doc­u­men­tary and, by ex­ten­sion, to per­mit the in­volve­ment of his chil­dren, as­so­ciates such as Char­lie Munger and friends in­clud­ing fel­low bil­lion­aire Bill Gates.

Of course there are things you can cap­ture in a doc­u­men­tary that you can’t in a book, such as the 86-year-old driv­ing to work, stop­ping at the McDon­ald’s drive-in, and dis­cussing at length the cri­te­ria for spend­ing be­tween $2.95 and $3.17.

The other thought that oc­curs is how im­por­tant the re­la­tion­ship with his busi­ness part­ner Munger has been. In Buf­fett’s words, Munger fa­mously en­cour­aged him to start buy­ing “won­der­ful com­pa­nies at fair prices rather than fair com­pa­nies at won­der­ful prices”, a turn­ing point in his in­vest­ing ca­reer.

The doc­u­men­tary also leaves the some­what sad im­pres­sion of a man who sought to build a moat around his in­vest­ments, but in do­ing so, in his late wife Susie’s words, built some­thing of a moat around him­self. Show­case. Sun­day, 8.30pm,

Bil­lion­aire in­vestor War­ren Buf­fett is the sub­ject of a fas­ci­nat­ing doc­u­men­tary

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