The comment is only about Snowball and the character it exhibited.
Buffett has enthralled many commentators, students, celebrities, and investors. According to Snowball, this may partially come from his keen on preaching his thoughts and sharing. For those who tried to read him or copy him including me, we often find his sophistication lies in some of the simplest principles.
1. Personal development – true value
A vain child like me, sometimes when I express my thinking or making a decision, I feel the uneasy heartbeats in my chamber. This happens when my actions deviate from my morals. Buffett has repetitively illustrated the concept of personal true value – his iconic inner scorecard in another word. Through time, I find the true value concept engrains deeper and is beyond mere talking. True value means an absolute defence of principles and fearless upholding of honesty and integrity. It is to text “I will be 1 hour late” when “I am 1 hour late” rather than saying “5 minutes late”. It is to defend on the promised budget when facing countless temptation in the world (something I am still improving).
In the book, Buffett reflected an occasion when he and the Gates travelled to Sanxia in China (Sanxia, the “Three Gorges”, is a beautiful area on part of Yangtze river. On the Sanxia bay, there are many boat trackers (as called Qianfu) who pull the boats upward when the boats are sailing upstream. (Their existence had contributed greatly to the scenery and history of Sanxia Dam). Buffett reflected that there might be a Bill Gates among them, but they did not have the same opportunities as what Gates had. He came to realise and emphasised the importance of philanthropy and giving back. People like Gates, have merited from a certain system and run faster in accumulating intellectual capital than others. They stand on top of the social pyramid. It is their duty to help the people who are at the bottom. Different people are surrounded by different social dynamics. The point here, at least for me, is to reflect the simple concept of parity and returning of wealth.
3. Long term and simple investment, in fortune, people, and life
A man’s fortune lies in his family. It also reminded me an anecdote of Socrates. He walked in a market and said, “how many things I don’t need!”
Source: Snowball, Wikipedia, China Scenic, the Guardian, YouTube
Re-edit (11/10/2017): I also found this NYT link helpful to assess the behind-scene making of Snowball.