LESSON 9

When You Are Going to Eat an Elephant, Don’t Nibble

WHEN WARREN made the jumbo deal to buy North America’s second-biggest railroad in 2009, he called it an “all-in wager” on the U.S. economy. When that elephant-sized bet paid off big, one transportation industry analyst said, “It’s just good luck.” Those who study Warren would not chalk it up to mere good gambling fortune.5

Today’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) is the product of nearly 400 different railroad lines that merged or were acquired over the course of 160 years. When Warren goes big, he goes big. BNSF operates in 28 states and 2 Canadian provinces. It is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain, industrial goods, and low-sulfur coal that help feed, clothe, ...

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