The first authorized biography of master investor Warren Buffett, who swooped in with $5 billion for a sizable chunk of Goldman Sachs early this week, is due out Monday. Even if only Wall Streeters who got laid off this week buy the book, it'll be a blockbuster.
"The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life," is written by Alice Schroeder, a former Morgan Stanley insurance analyst, who said she spent 2,000 hours with Buffett, amassing 300 hours of recorded interviews, over five years.
One suprise, she says, is what the man was like behind the gold-plated mask:
"The surprise was his vulnerability," Schroeder said in a Reuters interview, describing what Buffett was like in the months after his wife passed away in 2003. "Seeing him weep and suffer and be in real emotional pain — when I would see him always answer the phone, 'never better,' until this happened — was the biggest surprise."
His self-doubt, she said, "never relates to his business judgment, but it relates to whether people like him or not, how he's being perceived. He is sensitive to criticism from other people, which he seems to have internalized."