The Moment Warren Buffett Became Famous

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget about the moments that “make” someone famous. My favorite high school teacher was always quick to remind me that Robert Frost’s iconic poetry like “Fire And Ice”, “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening”, or “The Road Not Taken” weren’t always part of the national consciousness. Even though he had been winning Pulitzer prizes and had become somewhat of a celebrity among eastern college students and academics, he didn’t really become a household name until he spoke at JFK’s inauguration and read “The Gift Outright.”

CNN, even though it had been gradually becoming a regional powerhouse in news coverage, did not gain the #1 spot until a baby fell fifty-five feet into the ground and delivered live coverage that satisfied the public craving for the news story. Walt Disney, who created a media empire that now competes with CNN for eyeballs although the target demographics are somewhat different, did not have his “make it big moment” until he launched Snow White And The Seven Dwarves.

In the case of Warren Buffett, he did not become a famous investor until he took over Salomon Brothers. Salomon had been the primary trader in dealing with government bond auctions, and engaged in corrupt practices that eventually had Solomon leveraged at a ratio of 37 to 1 (for comparison, Lehman was leveraged at a ratio of 30 to 1 at the time it collapsed). The firm was on the brink of bankruptcy, and Buffett had to step in to save it (he had an investment of nearly a billion of dollars in the financial trading firm).

It took me a while to finally locate the footage that launched Warren Buffett from rich guy in Omaha known among the cognoscenti into a financial celebrity known by the masses, but here it is.

Originally posted 2014-01-01 21:04:40.

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