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The Wit and Wisdom of Warren Buffett

March 22, 2013 | About:

Carol Loomis of Fortune takes us through her archives of Buffett articles through the years. At the start of the their relationship Berkshire had a stock price of $22:

FORTUNE -- Fortune met Warren Buffett by accident in 1966. I was writing an investing article about another man, Alfred Winslow Jones, who wasn't famous at that moment, but was about to be because of the article. Jones was running something called a hedge fund, and Fortune's description of what that was and how Jones operated started a miniboom in the hedge fund business. Buffett Partnership Ltd. -- a sort of competitor of Jones's fund -- got a single line in the article. To my everlasting dismay, I misspelled Buffett, giving it only one "t."

A bit later, my husband, John Loomis, met Buffett and came home saying, "I think I have just met the smartest investor in the country." I'm sure my eyes rolled. But then I, too, got to know Warren (and his wonderful late first wife, Susie) and realized how impressive this largely unknown fellow was. The Loomises bought stock in his small company, Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA); we became good friends of the Buffetts; and ultimately I became the pro bono editor of his increasingly famous annual letter to shareholders.

Meanwhile, Fortune set off on a long-term course of covering Buffett. He got two paragraphs and a picture in a 1970 Fortune story called "Hard Times Come to the Hedge Funds" -- his fund was a rarity, having 13 straight years of profits -- and by 1977 we were running a 7,000-word piece by Buffett on "How Inflation Swindles the Equity Investor."

Now, 46 years after Fortune first met the man, we have a book, Tap Dancing to Work, that collects everything important we've done about him (and some lighter stuff too), with commentary written by me. All the articles mentioned above, from the A.W. Jones story on, are in it -- and that's just the start. In total, the book is a Buffett banquet.

What follows are some choice quotes from its pages and a selection of photographs that mark the passing of time, as Buffett grew into an investor/manager/philanthropist whose place in history is assured. One thing is certain: We are awfully glad to have been there as it happened.

A coda: In 1966, when Fortune first met Warren Buffett, Berkshire's stock (today's Class A) was $22. In early November, it was about $130,000.


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