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Authorized Warren Buffett biography due September 29

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The long-awaited authorized biography of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the first written with his cooperation, is scheduled for release on September 29, the publisher said on Monday.

U.S. Investor Warren Buffett listens to a question during a news conference in Madrid May 21, 2008. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

The 976-page book is being written by former Morgan Stanley insurance analyst Alice Schroeder, and is titled “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life,” publisher Bantam Dell Publishing Group said.

Schroeder first met Buffett while working as an analyst, and covered Buffett’s insurance and investment company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

According to the publisher, Schroeder has spent “thousands of hours” with Buffett, talking about his life and career, and winning broad access to his files and friends.

The book had been scheduled for a May release in conjunction with Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting, but was delayed.

Its title comes from a reported comment by Buffett: “Life is like a snowball. The really important thing is finding wet snow and a really long hill.”

Schroeder’s book earlier had the title “The Snowball: How Warren Buffett Collected Friends, Wisdom and Wealth.”

Buffett has transformed Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire since 1965 into a roughly $179 billion conglomerate with at least 76 companies selling such things as car insurance, ice cream, paint and underwear, and investing in stocks.

Forbes magazine in March called Buffett the world’s richest person, worth about $62 billion. Buffett is giving away most of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities.

Bantam Dell, a division of Bertelsmann AG unit Random House Inc, said the biography’s cover price is $35, a tiny fraction of the cost of buying one Berkshire share. In afternoon trading, Berkshire’s Class A shares were up $2,350 at $118,100, while its Class B shares were up $87 at $3,935.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, editing by Gerald E. McCormick