With an estimated fortune of $46 billion, Warren Buffett can buy pretty much anything he wants. Unlike many of his fellow billionaires, however, the country's second-richest man has no interest in expensive symbols of wealth.
Buffett, who famously still lives in the modest Omaha house he bought for $31,500 in 1958 and drives a Cadillac he bought "about 6 or 7" years ago, said his idea of a perfect day involves being alone with no interruptions so he can read and think.
Flipping through his nearly empty appointment book, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO told CNBC Squawk Box co-host Becky Quick his money does buy him one thing he values very much: his freedom. For him, freedom is the key to a happy life.
Reading plays a big role in that happy life. Buffett said he starts every morning by reading two of the five daily newspapers he devours each day, starting with the Omaha World-Herald. (His company bought it late last year, even though he's said the newspaper industry faces a "terrible" future.)
Buffett often jokes that he reads corporate annual reports with the same intensity that other men reserve for Playboy magazine.
Buffett told Becky he has a "disgusting pile" of books by his chair. "I just keep going at them and I never get tired of reading." Most of those books are non-fiction. He especially likes biographies.
While Buffett prefers reading printed words on paper, he's also a big fan of the Internet because it provides instant access to the sometimes obscure information he uses to make investment decisions. "The amount of time that it's freed up for other things is just incredible."
His one luxury is a time-saving private jet, "the only thing that I do that costs a lot of money." Even though he loves the plane, he would pay even more to give up his jet but keep the Internet. "I would gladly pay half my net worth just to have that kind of information available to me. They haven't figured out how to charge me what it's worth. That's one of the problems they've got."
Instead, he's gradually donating most of that enormous net worth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other charities, while making sure he has a few billions left for books ... and other necessities.
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