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Buffett vs. Scott – The Tale of the Tape

The season finale of The Office, already stuffed to the gills with prayers for view-errr, I mean, guest stars, recently added investment mogul Warren Buffett to the roster of famous people who will jockey for the resume jewel of managing northeastern Pennsylvania’s most famous branch office. The Sage of Omaha is as hallowed a name as there is in American business, but he’s known primarily as a savvy investor rather than a leader of men and women. So how would he stack up against the man he’d be replacing, veteran manager Michael Scott? Let’s go to the tale of the tape:

Professional Affiliation

Buffett: Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company valued at just over $186.7 billion as of May 13, 2011.
Scott: Dunder Mifflin, a mid-sized regional paper company recently purchased by a maker of printers.
Advantage: Scott, unless evidence emerges that a Chili’s in Omaha is the annual host of the Berkie Awards.


Buffett: Promised 83% of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Scott:  Promised to pay for college for 15 of “Scott’s Tots.”
Advantage: Buffett, who evidence suggests will be able to follow through on his vow.

Management memoirs

BuffettThe Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
ScottSomehow I Manage
Advantage: Scott. C’mon, it’s got a whole chapter on gum (even if it is just one sentence).


Buffett: Benjamin Graham, author of The Intelligent Investor, popularly considered the godfather of value investing.
Scott: Ed Truck, former Dunder Mifflin manager (deceased).
Advantage: Scott. Graham’s treatise may have revolutionized investing in the 20th century, but Truck was the frigging White Shadow.


BuffettTodd Combs, hedge fund manager currently tabbed as Buffett’s successor at Berkshire Hathaway
Scott: Dwight K. Schrute, assistant to the regional manager, beet farmer, hotelier.
Advantage: Scott, unless this Combs dude has also ever straight-up maced a guy in the office.

Interests in China

Buffett: Investments in PetroChina, BYD Auto
Scott: A topic where Michael managed to briefly out-smart Oscar.
Advantage: Buffett. It’s always nice to trump a know-it-all, but Berkshire’s earned something like 500% return there.

Screenplays produced

Buffett: None.
ScottThreat Level Midnight
Advantage: Agent Michael Scarn. 

On business

Buffett: “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”
Scott: “There are four kinds of business: tourism, food service, railroads, and sales.”
Advantage: Buffett. Sorry, Mike – I have an MBA, and I can tell you there are at least seven kinds of business.

On money

Buffett: “The way I see it is that my money represents an enormous number of claim checks on society. It is like I have these little pieces of paper that I can turn into consumption. If I wanted to, I could hire 10,000 people to do nothing but paint my picture every day for the rest of my life. And the GNP would go up. But the utility of the product would be zilch, and I would be keeping those 10,000 people from doing AIDS research, or teaching, or nursing. I don’t do that though. I don’t use very many of those claim checks. There’s nothing material I want very much. And I’m going to give virtually all of those claim checks to charity when my wife and I die.”
Scott:  “At the end of my life, when I’m sitting on my yacht, am I going to be thinking about much money I have? No. I’m going to be thinking about how many friends I have. And my children. And my comedy albums. I mean, I have a yacht so I obviously did pretty well money-wise.”
Advantage: Scott. He’s got the yacht, and Buffett doesn’t have those 10,000 portraits, so it’s really just about the math.
Home base

Buffett: Omaha, NE
Scott: Scranton, PA
Advantage: Push.

: In a stunning upset, the Pride of Scranton bests the Oracle. Business schools, take note: we have seen the face of leadership in America, and it is Michael Scott.

Categories: Business, History, TV
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