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Warren Buffett, the legendary investor, has been a prominent figure in the financial world for over a decade. His annual shareholders meeting of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Nebraska is a highly anticipated event that draws tens of thousands of investors. In May, the author attended this event and had the opportunity to learn more about Buffett’s upbringing and lifestyle. He connected with David Clark, an author of Berkshire-related titles and a native Nebraskan, who provided insights into Buffett’s life in Omaha.

During a visit to Happy Hollow Country Club in Omaha, the author met Clark for lunch. They discussed Buffett’s habits, including his preference for Cherry Cokes over alcohol and vegetables. Clark pointed out that the annual shareholders meeting had become a gathering place for billionaires, millionaires, and aspiring wealthy individuals. The meeting serves as a window into Buffett’s world, attracting visitors to Omaha for a chance to experience his favorite spots, such as the steakhouse Gorat’s.

As the author embarked on a tour of Omaha with Clark, he got a glimpse of Buffett’s roots in the city. Clark, who grew up in Omaha and was friends with the Buffetts, shared his memories of Buffett as a family friend and a model train enthusiast. The tour highlighted the modest suburban lifestyle of Omaha residents, including prominent families who had invested early in Berkshire Hathaway and become billionaires. Despite their wealth, many residents chose to stay in Omaha and maintain relationships with old friends.

The tour also showcased Buffett’s impact on local businesses, such as the Nebraska Furniture Mart, which he acquired from Rose Blumkin on a handshake agreement. Clark shared stories of Mrs. B’s generosity and predicted that Clark would return to Omaha after his move to San Francisco. Buffett’s influence extended to schools in Omaha, where he was rumored to have provided generous grants for renovations. Despite his wealth and success, Buffett remained true to his hometown values of integrity, humility, and generosity.

Buffett’s understated lifestyle was evident in the Omaha community, as Clark pointed out during their visit to various landmarks associated with Berkshire Hathaway. The author observed the quiet and unwavering commitment of Omaha residents to their roots and the local economy. Buffett’s influence on the financial world was contrasted with his down-to-earth demeanor, reflecting the values of loyalty, hard work, and frugality instilled by his Midwestern upbringing. The author’s experience in Omaha provided a deeper understanding of Buffett’s character and the enduring legacy of his hometown.

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