Friday, November 28, 2008

Warren Buffett and Women: Case Closed

In August, I wrote:

Warren Buffett prefers being interviewed by women. I can't think of a time that Buffett has sat down for a major television interview by a male. It's the same with major magazine articles, always women. When Buffett wanted research coverage for Berkshire Hatahway in the late 1990's, he turned to a female.

His latest favorite at CNBC appears to be Becky Quick. Quick travelled with Buffett to Asia. When it comes to print, Janet Lowe at Fortune has been his long time choice for interviews. For the research report in the 1990's he called upon Alice Schroeder. And, now, when he has decided to give additional access for a biography, he gave that access to a woman. The same Alice Schroeder he cooperated with for the research report.
I followed this up with a comment in September:

...word is out that another Buffett biography is due out in January 2009. Same modus operandi, Buffett co-operating with a woman. This time Janet Tavakoli.
Tavakoli wrote me earlier this week and said that if Buffett gave her preferential treatment it wasn't because of her gender.

I responded to Tavakoli that I wanted to make it clear that I was not questioning the competency of the women he chooses to work with, but that I continued to believe that he preferred working with women rather than men, when it comes to public type appearances.

So here's the latest (and hopefully final) installment in this saga. I have just started reading the great biography of Buffett by Schroeder (She gets Buffett to open up to a remarkable degree) and this is what I found on pages 178-9:

The more time he spent with Susie [Buffett's first wife]and her family, the more they influenced him

"Warren," said Doc Thompson [Buffett's father-in-law], who handed down advice with the authority of the Sermon on the Mount, "always surround yourself with women. They're more loyal and they work harder. His son-in-law hardly needed to be told that.
I rest my case.

Note: In an email exchange, Tavakoli notes that Buffett has been interviewed by Charlie Rose and Brian Sullivan. I can't comment about the Sullivan interview(s) as I have never seen them, and, for that matter, never seen any Sullivan interview. However, as far as Rose goes. His show is among my favorites, but he is the most gentle interviewer on television, which probably does more to prove my point than anything.

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