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By Alice Schroeder
Oct. 27, 2009
832 pages

‘The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life’

Although the media track him constantly, Buffett himself has never told his full life story. His reality is private, especially by celebrity standards. Indeed, while the homespun persona that the public sees is true as far as it goes, it goes only so far. Warren Buffett is an array of paradoxes. He set out to prove that nice guys can finish first. Over the years he treated his investors as partners, acted as their steward, and championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, and speaker. At the same time, he became the world’s richest man, all from the modest Omaha headquarters of his company Berkshire Hathaway. None of this fits the term “simple.”

Never before has Buffett spent countless hours responding to a writer’s questions, talking, giving complete access to his wife, children, friends and business associates — opening his files, recalling his childhood. It was an act of courage, as “The Snowball” makes immensely clear. Being human, his own life, like most lives, has been a mix of strengths and frailties. Yet notable though his wealth may be, Buffett’s legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth; it will be his principles and ideas that have enriched people’s lives. This book tells you why Warren Buffett is the most fascinating American success story of our time. ♦

By John Doerr
April 24, 2018
320 pages

‘Measure What Matters’

In the fall of 1999, John Doerr met with the founders of a start-up to whom he’d just given $12.5 million, the
biggest investment of his career. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy
and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. For Google to change the world (or even to survive), Page and Brin had to learn how to make tough choices on priorities while keeping their team on track. They’d have to know when to pull the plug on losing propositions, to fail fast. And they needed timely, relevant data to track their progress — to measure what mattered.

Doerr taught them about a proven approach to operating excellence: Objectives and Key Results. Wherever the process was faithfully practiced, it worked. In this goal-setting system, objectives define what we seek to achieve; key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame. Everyone’s goals, from entry level to CEO, are transparent to the entire organization.

In “Measure What Matters,” Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organizations. This book will help a new generation of leaders capture the same magic. ♦

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