Buffett is also a notable philanthropist, having pledged to give away 85% of his fortune to the Gates Foundation.
Buffett is often called the "Oracle of Omaha" or the "Sage Of Omaha and is noted for his adherence to the value investing philosophy and for his personal frugality despite his immense wealth.
Warren Buffett was born, 30 August, 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska, the only son of Howard Buffett and second of three children. He worked at his grandfather's grocery store. In 1943, Buffett filed his first income tax return, deducting his bicycle and his watch as a work expense for $35 for his work as newspaper delivery boy. After his father was elected to Congress, Buffett was educated at Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington DC. In 1945, in his freshman year of high school, Buffett and a friend spent $25 to purchase a used pinball machine, which they placed in a barber shop. Within months they owned three machines in different locations.
Buffett first enrolled at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1947-49. In 1950 he transferred to the University of Nebraska, where he received a B.S. in Economics.
Throughout the 1950s Buffett worked as an Investment Salesman, as a Securities Analyst and from 1956-1969 at Buffett Partnership Ltd, Omaha as a General Partner and from 1970 to the Present at Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
In 1953 Buffett married Susan Thompson and together they had three children Susan Alice. Howard Graham and Peter Andrew.
In 1957, Buffett had three partnerships operating the entire year. He purchased a five-bedroom stucco house in Omaha, where he still lives, for $31,500 . In 1959. Buffett had six partnerships operating and at this time he was introduced to Charlie Munger who is still today his partner and great friend. His empire continued to grow and in 1962, Buffett became a millionaire. In 1962 Buffett bought Berkshire Hathaway for well below the companies true valuation.
Despite his enormous earnings Buffett lived solely on his salary of $50,000 per year, and his outside investment income.
In 2006, Buffett announced in June that he gradually would give away 85% of his Berkshire holdings to five foundations in annual gifts of stock, starting in July 2006. The largest contribution would go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 2008, Buffett became the richest man in the world dethroning Bill Gates (Microsoft), worth $62 billion according to Forbes and $58 billion according to Yahoo. Bill Gates had been number one on the Forbes list for 13 consecutive years. However, at 11 March 2009, Bill Gates regained number one of the list according to Forbes magazine, with Buffett second. Their values had dropped to $40 billion and $37 billion respectively, Buffett having (according to Forbes) lost $25 billion in 12 months during 2008/2009.
After many years living apart, Buffett's wife Susan died in 2004, her closest friend Astrid Menks had cared for Buffet during the years of their living apart and subsequently Buffett and Menks married in 2006.
Despite his huge wealth Warren Buffett continues to live a relatively frugal lifestyle. He still lives in his original house, his offices are far from ostentatious, his 'wine cabinet' in his personal office is a fridge filled with cans of coca cola, and he dines out every day in the local Diner on T-bone steak and fries.
The most telling statement he made during the programme was "I have never used a computer or a calculator in my life."