THEY definitely don’t make business books like they used to. In this “innovation economy,” even supposedly staid publishing houses try to outdo each other by coming out with one innovative book after the other.
Here’s one for the books (pun intended): John Wiley & Sons has come out just this year with, believe it or not, a “comic strip biography” on the “superhero of finance,” Warren Buffet, who has been ranked second on the list of the world’s wealthiest people. Now, you cannot get a more conservative personality than Buffet but his awesome rise from paperboy to billionaire is a story that equals the super deeds of comic book superheroes. Thus, “Warren Buffet: An Illustrated Biography of the World’s Most Successful Investor” by Ayano Morio is a book that merits serious reading by “wanna-be” stock pickers and investors and anyone who is serious about getting ahead in life.
Translation not Lost
This unique book is actually a translation by Mark Schreiber from the hugely successful Japanese edition by Ayano Morio. Morio studied oil painting at Musashino Art University where she made a debut as a cartoonist in 1982 in a monthly comic magazine. She is known for her non-fiction cartoons and published biographies of unique characters in Japanese history and the financial world.
The book, in a glowing golden book cover, faithfully follows Buffet’s life story, which has been chronicled in so many previously published books, but sticks to the basic story plot. The first page starts with a cute rendition of Buffet as a wailing infant (try to imagine this) in 1929 and provides a sketch of his family background and young entrepreneurial ventures that eventually led the young Buffet to a path of “billionaire-hood.”
Rules for Success
The book covers how Buffet met his own superhero, Benjamin Graham, and his initial forays into the investment world as an adult, including the sensational Salomon Brothers fiasco. Of course, the intricate ramifications of Buffet’s investment decisions and their consequences are not dealt with in the book unlike in other text heavy Buffet biographies. But the nice thing is, the book does synthesize in seven simple statements Buffet’s rules for success. Each rule is generously illustrated in the book and provides good benchmark information for new Buffet fans and novice investors.
To learn from Buffet’s success and be able to apply some of the lessons to one’s own career and life do require some serious thinking. In this regard, the book tends to oversimplify a complicated career and the workings of Buffet’s brilliant mind. Stock market investing is not exactly a simple task and it needs sharp insights on Buffet’s investing style to be able to fully benefit from his experiences. Thus, while the book is highly entertaining and readable, it behooves the reader, if this is the first book on Buffet he has read, to continue on to reading other books, not necessarily biographies, on Buffet.
This illustrated biography though is a good source of life lessons for anyone wanting to rise up from hardships or mediocrity to a level of success that others may just dream about. Well, isn’t this why superheroes were created in the first place? With this book, count Buffet in as one of the newest members of the “league of extraordinary gentlemen.”
Author: Regina Galang Reyes. First published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer March 16, 2005.
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