A review of Becoming Warren Buffett: the documentary

A review of Becoming Warren Buffett: the documentary

Warren Buffett

While the HBO documentary, ‘Becoming Warren Buffett’, is not a movie, the main characters are larger than life, and this true story is in some ways stranger than fiction.

While the HBO documentary, ‘Becoming Warren Buffett’, is not a movie, the main characters are larger than life, and this true story is in some ways stranger than fiction. Just imagine that the richest man in the world spends his whole life from the age of seven, accumulating money. This is so he can give it away to make the whole world a better place for everyone, even the poorest and most disadvantaged of people across the globe.

To all those parents with teenage children, reading this review, can I suggest that you should spend some quality family time watching this documentary together. For any teenager trying to fathom what they want to do with their life, how they can make a difference to the world or how they can be financially successful, Warren Buffett should be their mentor. For some of the documentary, Warren is talking with a group of high school students, telling of his experiences and I am sure all teenagers will identify with what he tells them and the questions they ask.

For teenagers, whether they are extremely focused or are struggling to find their way, this documentary should allow them to identify with the trials and tribulations of this man’s teenage years. Here we have Warren as a teenager, creating and running his own businesses while at the same time, he didn’t want to go to college, he wasn’t managing socially or as he puts it, having much luck with the girls. But succeed he did, and in the end, he got the girl – a woman who in her own right is just as amazing as Warren. To cap it all off, Warren Buffet becomes best friends with Bill and Melinda Gates, and together they are determined to fight the social injustices of today.

Now I am sure every teenager will see Bill Gates as a hero figure, and if Bill Gates formed such a close personal friendship with Warren, I am sure they will sit up and listen to the wonderful advice Warren has to offer. His advice is not just about making money, it’s about being a good person, being true to yourself and choosing a career where going to work will be a pleasure every day for the rest of your working life. It is interesting that both Warren and Bill were asked to write one word for success and they simultaneously wrote ‘FOCUS’. Time to get your children to focus.

Not only can this documentary benefit your children, but it can also help you. During the documentary, Warrant lists a number of things that have made his investing so successful. While I don’t want to give spoilers, I will tell you the first two pieces of advice.

His first is that you must start early to enjoy the real benefits of compounding interest. He quotes Albert Einstein as saying, compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world. For us lesser folks this means saving and investing a regular amount from the day we start working. The second piece of advice is to follow Ben Graham’s two rules of investing – “Rule 1, Never lose money and Rule 2 – Never forget Rule 1.”

I have read and reviewed the autobiography of Warren Buffett, called Snowball. For those who may find this very long book a struggle, now you can experience much of the book’s sentiment by watching this documentary.

For the serious investor, he talks about how he chose the companies he invested in. I think we can all learn from this when selecting the next share we want to buy.

Both he and his wife, Suzie had a lifetime determination to fight social injustice and should be an inspiration to us all. While they are recognised as being two of the great philanthropists of our time, they were doing this work, hands on, back in the early days of the American Civil Rights movement when it was not fashionable. They just knew it was the right thing to do. Making money was not the priority. The priority was to have money to make the world a better place. This documentary should be a testament to how we can better manage money, living simpler and maybe more fulfilling lives.

I have watched this documentary three times, and I still find it fascinating.


This review was written by Glenis Phillips, SF Fin


Disclaimer: Financial Mappers does not have an Australian Financial Services License, does not offer financial planning advice and does not recommend financial products.

I am a founding board member of Plencore Wealth Ltd and Plencore Online Pty Ltd. I am the designer of the product Financial Mappers and Financial Mappers PRO, cloud based modelling software for Personal Finance. This software is sold on the web site www.financialmappers.com.au.I am an educator, investor and expert in both personal finance and mathematical modelling and the author of 'Map Your Finances'.I have both a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investments and a Diploma in Financial Advising from the Securities Institute of Australia. I also have a Financial Analysis Certificate, by Distance Learning from University of Technology, Sydney. I am a Senior Fellow and Senior Mentor of FINSIA.

1 Comment

  1. Mk Pads 2 years ago

    uhm what was the biggest turn of warren buffett in the documentary? what was like his biggest downfall or is there any?

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