Giving It All Away: The Doris Buffett Story
By award-winning reporter and columnist Michael Zitz
a foreword by Warren Buffett
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A starred review and kudos in Publishers Weekly "... a lively inspirational read."
Alice Schroeder, author of "The Snowball", says "Doris has lived an unusual life and the
book is an interesting read."
From Kirkus: "The author offers moving examples of Doris' philanthropy...This is a readable portrait
of a remarkable individual."
Richmond Times-Dispatch says this is "...a stirring and profoundly moving story."
Doris Buffett's biography made a BIG impression at the annual Berkshire
Hathaway Shareholder's meeting in Omaha.
Doris Buffett and author Michael Zitz sign books inside The Griffin
At 82 years young, Doris, big sister of billionaire Warren, was on a mission.
When she inherited millions in Berkshire Hathaway stock from a family trust in 1996, instead of clinging to it like a security
blanket, she dedicated the rest of her life to giving it away—all of it—mostly to individuals in trouble through
no fault of their own. She gave away well over $100 million of her own money. She said she wanted to give it all away; that
she wanted the last check she wrote to bounce due to “insufficient funds.”
She began the Sunshine
Lady Foundation, helping battered women, sick children, and at-risk kids who otherwise would never have had the chance to
go to college. She also funded college programs for prison inmates, lowering recidivism. And she did it through “retail
philanthropy,” often making personal phone calls to those who needed help, one by one.
The book, written
with her full cooperation, begins with her growing up as the primary target of an abusive mother’s rage, goes on to
talk about her having to watch every penny to take care of her family as a young wife and mother, and how, years after becoming
one of the first investors in an early Warren partnership and making a fortune, she found herself $2 million in debt and almost
lost her home in the 1987 stock market crash. It’s a life of many trials from which she only gained greater strength
and more magnanimity, a life in which she had been estranged from her three children and endured four horrific marriages and
So much bad luck and pain would harden most hearts, and Doris suffered through bouts of depression.
Yet, she kept her heart open, focusing on the needs of others.
While the Buffett name has not meant a life of ease for
Doris, it created a sense, not only of responsibility, but of urgency to help others, and to get involved in a very personal
way. She’d been knocked down repeatedly, only to get up, brush herself off, and go on. So there was no greater joy for
her than knowing she had given someone else a hand up.
About the author:
Michael Zitz is an award-winning newspaper reporter and columnist for The
Free Lance-Star, a Virginia daily. He has known Doris Buffett since 1992, before she started to do philanthropic work with
her Sunshine Lady Foundation. He studied journalism at the University of Arizona, the American University and Florida Southern
College. He lives in Fredericksburg, Va.
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About the Publisher:
For over thirty years, The
Permanent Press has committed itself to publishing works of social and literary merit and has, over the years, gained a reputation
as one of the finest independent presses in America.
Since its inception, individual authors and titles have gained
over 50 literary honors, including the American Book Award, Small Press Book Awards, and New American Writing Awards. They
have also been National Book Award, Edgar Award, and Hammett Prize finalists.