Giving It All Away: The Doris Buffett Story

By award-winning reporter and columnist Michael Zitz
With a foreword by Warren Buffett

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Praise for the book:

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 bookshop. 


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 divorces.

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.

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