Chapter 2. Lunch with Warren


Thanks for sending along the. . . link, which I had not seen. The next guy will probably name his company Buffett, Bernanke and Tavakoli.

 --Warren Buffett to Janet Tavakoli, August 27, 2007

The day was sunny and clear, and the flight from Chicago only takes a little over an hour. I wondered how a man with Warren Buffett's enormous wealth would behave. The late Howard Hughes suffered from paranoid schizophrenia attributed to brain damage suffered during self-piloted plane crashes. According to popular legend, he once roared: "I am not a paranoid deranged millionaire. Godammit. . . I'm a billionaire." A sense of humor is indispensable if one is insanely rich.

My flight got into Omaha two hours before my appointment. I wanted to be on time for lunch. When I told the cab driver the address, he looked confused. I assumed that every taxi driver in Omaha would know the location of Mr. Buffett's office, but I was wrong. He asked another cab driver for directions, and we were on our way. It was a short ride.

The taxi dropped me off at an unremarkable buff-colored office building. I opened the door and entered what appeared to be a hallway instead of a lobby. A lone security guard sat at a small desk. He seemed to be expecting me, telling me to go right on up to the 14th floor. An elevator was already on the ground floor, and there was no one else in the lobby. I rode up alone.

The elevator doors opened to a vacant hallway. As I stepped off the elevator, I was startled ...

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