While the HBO documentary, ‘Becoming Warren Buffett‘, is not a movie, the main characters are larger than life and this true story is in some ways is stranger than fiction. Just imagine the richest man in the world, spending his whole life from the age of seven, accumulating money so he can give it away to make the whole world a better place for everyone, even the poorest and most disadvantaged of people across the globe.
To all those parents with teenage children, reading this review, can I suggest that you should spend some quality family time watching this documentary together? For any teenager, trying to fathom what they want to do with their life, how they can make a difference in the world or how they can be financially successful, Warren Buffett should be their mentor. For some of the documentary, Warren is talking with a group of high school students, telling of his experiences and I am sure all teenagers will identify with what he tells them and the questions they ask.
For teenagers, whether they are extremely focused or are struggling to find their way, this documentary should allow them to identify with the trials and tribulations of this man’s teenage years. Here we have Warren as a teenager creating and running his own businesses while at the same time, he didn’t want to go to college, he wasn’t managing socially or as he puts it, having much luck with the girls. But succeed he did, and in the end, he got the girl – a women who in her own right is just as amazing as Warren. To cap it all off Warren Buffet becomes best friends with Bill and Melinda Gates and together they are determined to fight the social injustices of today. Now I am sure every teenager will see Bill Gates as a hero figure and if Bill Gates formed such a close personal friendship with Warren I am sure they will sit up and listen to the wonderful advice Warren has to offer. His advice is not just about making money, it’s about being a good person, being true to yourself and choosing a career where going to work will be a pleasure every day for the rest of your working life. It is interesting that both Warren and Bill were asked to write one word for success they simultaneously wrote the word ‘FOCUS’. Time to get your children to focus.
Forget the children for now and focus on how this documentary may help you. During the documentary, Warran lists a number of things that have made his investing so successful. While I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of this documentary, I will tell you the first two pieces of advice.
His first is that you must start early to enjoy the real benefits of compounding interest. He quotes, Albert Einstein as saying, compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world. For us lesser folks this means saving and investing a regular amount from the day we start working. The second piece of advice is to follow Ben Graham’s two rules of investing – “Rule 1, Never lose money and Rule 2 – Never forget Rule 1.”
I have read and reviewed the autobiography of Warren Buffett, called Snowball. For those who may find this very long book, a struggle, now you can experience much of the book’s sentiment by watching this documentary.
For the serious investor, he talks about how he chooses the companies he invested in. I think we can all learn from this when selecting the next share we want to buy.
Both he and his wife, Suzie had a lifetime determination to fight social injustice and should be an inspiration to us all. While they are recognized as being one of the great philanthropists of our time, they were doing this work, hands-on, back in the early days of the American Civil Rights movement when it was not fashionable. They just knew it was the right thing to do. Making money was not the priority. The priority was to have money to make the world a better place.
This documentary should be a testament to how we can better manage money, living simpler and maybe more fulfilling lives.
I have watched this documentary three times and I still find it fascinating.
Glenis Phillips, SF Fin – Good Financial Reads