Buffett was born in 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska, the second of three children and only son of U.S. Representative Howard Buffett, a fierce critic of the interventionist New Deal domestic and foreign policy, and his wife Leila (née Stahl). Buffett began his education at Rose Hill Elementary School in Omaha. In 1942, his father was elected to the first of four terms in the United States Congress, and after moving with his family to Washington, D.C., Warren finished elementary school, attended Alice Deal Junior High School, and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1947, where his senior yearbook picture reads: “likes math; a future stockbroker”.
Even as a child, Buffett displayed an interest in making and saving money. He went door to door selling chewing gum, Coca-Cola, or weekly magazines. For a while, he worked in his grandfather’s grocery store. While still in high school he was successful in making money by delivering newspapers, selling golfballs and stamps, and detailing cars, among other means. Filing his first income tax return in 1944, Buffett took a deduction for the use of his bicycle and watch on his paper route. In 1945, in his sophomore year of high school, Buffett and a friend spent to purchase a used pinball machine, which they placed in the local barber shop. Within months, they owned several machines in different barber shops.
Buffett’s interest in the stock market and investing also dated to his childhood, to the days he spent in the customers’ lounge of a regional stock brokerage near the office of his father’s own brokerage company. On a trip to New York City at the age of ten, he made a point to visit the New York Stock Exchange. At the age of 11, he bought three shares of Cities Service Preferred for himself, and three for his sister. While in high school he invested in a business owned by his father and bought a farm worked by a tenant farmer.
Buffett entered college as a freshman in 1947 at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He studied there for two years and joined the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. In the year 1950, when he entered his junior year, he transferred to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where at the age of nineteen, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. After the completion of his undergraduate studies, Buffett enrolled at Columbia Business School after learning that Benjamin Graham (author of “The Intelligent Investor” — one of his favorite books on investing) and David Dodd, two well-known securities analysts, taught there. He earned a Master of Science in economics from Columbia in 1951. Buffett also attended the New York Institute of Finance. In Buffett’s own words:
” I’m 15 percent Fisher and 85 percent Benjamin Graham.
The basic ideas of investing are to look at stocks as business, use the market’s fluctuations to your advantage, and seek a margin of safety. That’s what Ben Graham taught us. A hundred years from now they will still be the cornerstones of investing.