Why Ben Graham wouldn’t hire Warren Buffett

If you read anything at all about investing, pretty soon you will hear about Ben Graham, father of value investing and teacher of Warren Buffett.

Young Warren Buffett got an A+ in Graham’s class at Columbia Business School, and would later work for Graham.  But when he first asked Graham for a job, in fact offered to work for free, Graham (born Grossbaum) wouldn’t hire Buffett.  Why?  The story in Buffett’s own words:

I’d never heard that one before.  It’s in:

Later, Graham would hire Buffett, and he got to wear the signature gray jacket that absorbed ink stains from writing down rows of figures.

I found this book more compelling than I expected.  By the time Buffett was in tenth grade he owned a forty acre farm in Nebraska he’d bought with paper route money.  You can read an interesting interview with author Alice Schroeder here:

Miguel: Give us advice to becoming better communicators.

Alice: Well…this is not anything profound. But you see that he uses very short parables, stories, and analogies. He chooses key words that resonate with people —that will stick in their heads, like Aesop’s fables, and fairytale imagery. He’s good at conjuring up pictures in people’s minds that trigger archetypal thinking. It enables him to very quickly make a point … without having to expend a lot of verbiage.

He’s also conscientious about weaving humor into his material. He’s naturally witty, but he’s aware that humor is enjoyable and disarming if you’re trying to teach something.

And here’s Michael Lewis reviewing the book.

Ben Graham by the way ultimately got kinda bored of investing and retired to California where he had a relationship with his late son’s girlfriend.

A great detail:



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