Buffett Letter Eagerly Awaited

It's fitting that billionaire investor Warren Buffet is from Nebraska, a state known for the slogan, "The Good Life."

As an investor, businessman and philanthropist, Buffet's life has been first-class.

His influence on the business world is endless, and many will take heed once again when the plainspoken investment god releases his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders on Thursday.

Buffet, who was born in Omaha, Neb., will not only provide an update on how his holding company is performing, but is also expected to target a business or social issue. Buffett, also a storied philanthropist, announced last summer he plans to donate most of his Berkshire stock, worth about $48.5 billion, to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other charities.

Meanwhile, Buffet remains a savvy businessman. Berkshire Class A shares are the most expensive U.S. stock, having traded above $100,000 a share since last fall. Thus, his reach in the business world is vast.

Buffett inspired Google's founders to write an owners' manual before it first sold stock publicly in August 2004. And Dow Jones sampled a quote from Buffett in its 2003 annual report to support the company's policy of charging for access to content on the Wall Street Journal's Web site.

Berkshire, which holds major investments in companies such as Coca-Cola and Wells Fargo , also owns jewelry and candy companies, restaurants, natural gas and corporate jet firms.