Warren Buffett is an American icon, but an enigma, of sorts, also. Investors, stockbrokers, analysts, and students of finance have studied the strategies of Mr. Buffett for decades, and more often than not, they are left with more questions than answers. Buffett was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1930. His father, Howard Buffett, was an accomplished stockbroker and Congressman, and is primarily responsible for fostering Warren's love for number crunching and capitalism. In the archives of history, he will simply be remembered as "the greatest stock market investor of modern times." .
At an early age in life, Buffett began to develop an affinity toward the art of investing. As a matter of fact, he was only eleven years old when he purchased his first shares of Cities Service Preferred. At $38 per share, these shares became the first baby steps in the life of who would eventually become America's second wealthiest individual. As a teenager, Buffett turned his investing interests toward real estate. Buffett purchased some Nebraska farmland, and turned around to lease it out to a tenant farmer. That investment calmed his investment fever down until he became a senior at the University of Nebraska. It was there that Buffett was introduced to a book that would become the catalyst for his sparking his true entrepreneurial spirit. "The Intelligent Investor", by Benjamin Graham, taught Buffett to "ignore the trends that sweep Wall Street and instead hunt for stocks that trade far below their actual value." Buffett was a mathematical wizard, and the intense analysis of corporate balance sheets required by this method appealed to him.
Once Buffett had graduated the University of Nebraska, he attempted to pursue a graduate degree at Harvard Business School, but this dream was quickly thwarted when he was denied admission. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was this turn of events that led Buffett to study with Benjamin Graham at Colombia University in New York.