Called the "Oracle of Omaha" he has amassed a substantial fortune, from astute investments through his company Berkshire Hathaway. Buffet holds 38% of Berkshire Hathaway, which gives him a paper value in the multi-billions. He is often ranked as the second-richest man on earth, surpassed only by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.
Buffet's core strategy is simple, he invests early in undervalued companies with low costs, low p/e ratios, and good growth potential for the long term. The identification of these companies is the tricky part. The actual value generated is more by the companies he owns than stock market investments, although his stock ownership in companies such as Coca Cola and Gillette[?] attracts more attention as does his dismissal of "hi-tech" companies. It should also be noted that his investments have on occassion been less successful.
He was born in Omaha, Nebraska the son of a stokebroker and Congressman. He was educated at the University of Nebraska (transferring there from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, University of Pennsylvania) and took a masters in economics at Columbia University, studying under Benjamin Graham[?]. He went on to work for Graham at Graham-Newman following his 'value investing' rules and for his father's banking business. Buffet returned to Omaha in 1957 and started his own investment partnership, by 1969 he had returned an average of almost 30% a year. One of his earliest investments was in American Express[?].
Among the companies he invested in was Berkshire Hathaway, a New Bedford textile company. Buffett sold his investment but kept the name and turned the shell of the company into a investment business, notably in the insurance field which generated a steady cash flow for futher investment. Berkshire Hathaway currently owns around forty companies that employ 150,000 people.
He married Susan Thompson in 1952, they separated in 1977 but remain married. She is a significant stock-holder in Berkshire Hathaway and a board member. Buffett lives with Astrid Menks while his wife resides in San Francisco. he has three children.
In terms of his personal life he is famously frugal. Through the Buffett Foundation he makes charitable donations, usually around $12 m a year in total. He has stated his intention to disburse 99% of his wealth after his death to good causes.
His main business aide is Charles Munger, once a lawyer with Munger, Tolles and Olson and now CEO of Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Wesco Financial and vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. It is believed he will succeed Buffett.