The Snowball by Alice Schroeder Bloomsbury, HK$157 In 2007, some Wall Street Journal employees hoped Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett would buy the newspaper in the cause of quality journalism. He didn't, Alice Schroeder concludes, because 'his investing was tightly focused on simple businesses that were as close to immortal as possible'. In this doorstopper of a biography, updated to include the recent credit crisis, she makes the most of her access to 'The Oracle of Omaha' to show readers how a boy who amused himself by calculating the life span of hymn composers would become the world's richest man known for such advice as 'When in doubt keep holding'. Schroeder, a former Wall Street analyst and Morgan Stanley managing director, details, sometimes more closely than necessary, the private and public aspects of one of the world's most successful investors. Confident as he is in business, she writes, Buffett is otherwise a 'timid man' who avoids confrontation. Throughout the deals, the friendships, the mistakes, problems with his children and more, Buffett comes across as someone who wants to teach as much as achieve success.