Warren Buffett's Wisdom

Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns. — Warren Buffett

On investing

  • Rule No. 1: never lose money; rule No. 2: don't forget rule No. 1
  • Be greedy when others are fearful.
  • It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price
  • Honesty is a very expensive gift. Do not expect it from cheap people.
  • Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway. 
  • Only buy something that you'd be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years. 
  • Why not invest your assets in the companies you really like? As Mae West said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful
  • Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.
  • It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.
  • The more you trade, the more you underperform.
  • Price and value are not the same.
  • Bad things aren't obvious when times are good.
  • Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
  • Don't buy a stock just because everyone hates it.
  • Buy business that can be run by idiots.
On success
  • Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars
  • The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective
  • You do things when the opportunities come along. I've had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I've had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing
  • Can you really explain to a fish what it’s like to walk on land? One day on land is worth a thousand years of talking about it, and one day running a business has exactly the same kind of value
  • You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong
  • Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.
On helping others
  • If you’re in the luckiest 1% of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99%
  • I don’t have a problem with guilt about money. The way I see it is that my money represents an enormous number of claim checks on society. It’s 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.
  • It’s class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn't be
  • My family won’t receive huge amounts of my net worth. That doesn't mean they’ll get nothing. My children have already received some money from me and Susie and will receive more. I still believe in the philosophy – FORTUNE quoted me saying this 20 years ago – that a very rich person should leave his kids enough to do anything but not enough to do nothing

Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1

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