Warren Buffett, fully Warren Edward Buffett, aka Oracle of Omaha

Warren
Buffett, fully Warren Edward Buffett, aka Oracle of Omaha
1930

American Businessman, Investor and Philanthropist, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Author Quotes

Making money isn’t the backbone of our guiding purpose; making money is the by-product of our guiding purpose. "If you’re doing something you love, you’re more likely to put your all into it, and that generally equates to making money.

Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money. After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of Cinderella at the ball.

Our second advantage relates to the allocation of the money our businesses earn. After meeting the needs of those businesses, we have very substantial sums left over. Most companies limit themselves to reinvesting funds within the industry in which they have been operating. That often restricts them, however, to a "universe" for capital allocation that is both tiny and quite inferior to what is available in the wider world. Competition for the few opportunities that are available tends to become fierce. The seller has the upper hand, as a girl might if she were the only female at a party attended by many boys. That lopsided situation would be great for the girl, but terrible for the boys.

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

The attitude of our managers vividly contrasts with that of the young man who married a tycoon's only child, a decidedly homely and dull lass. Relieved, the father called in his new son- in-law after the wedding and began to discuss the future: Son, you're the boy I always wanted and never had. Here's a stock certificate for 50% of the company. You're my equal partner from now on.' Thanks, dad.' Now, what would you like to run? How about sales?' I'm afraid I couldn't sell water to a man crawling in the Sahara.' Well then, how about heading human relations?' I really don't care for people.' No problem, we have lots of other spots in the business. What would you like to do?' Actually, nothing appeals to me. Why don't you just buy me out?

The less prudence with which others conduct their affairs, the greater the prudence with which we should conduct our own affairs.

If Corporate America is serious about reforming itself, CEO pay remains the acid test... The results aren't encouraging.

If you're an investor, you're looking on what the asset is going to do, if you're a speculator, you're commonly focusing on what the price of the object is going to do, and that's not our game.

In the long run managements stressing accounting appearance over economic substance usually achieve little of either.

It seems to me she varied from the standard approach of securities analysts.

It's only when the tide goes out that you discover who's been swimming naked.

Managers thinking about accounting issues should never forget one of Abraham Lincoln's favorite riddles: `How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg?' The answer: `Four, because calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg'.

Now it's $200 billion. If we don't change the course, the rest of the world could own $15 trillion of us. That's pretty substantial. That's equal to the value of all American stock.

Our stay-put behavior reflects our view that the stock market serves as a relocation center at which money is moved from the active to the patient.

Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

The basic ideas of investing are to look at stocks as business, use the market's fluctuations to your advantage, and seek a margin of safety. That's what Ben Graham taught us. A hundred years from now they will still be the cornerstones of investing.

The line separating investment and speculation, which is never bright and clear, becomes blurred still further when most market participants have recently enjoyed triumphs. Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money. After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of Cinderella at the ball. They know that overstaying the festivities — that is, continuing to speculate in companies that have gigantic valuations relative to the cash they are likely to generate in the future — will eventually bring on pumpkins and mice. But they nevertheless hate to miss a single minute of what is one helluva party. Therefore, the giddy participants all plan to leave just seconds before midnight. There’s a problem, though: They are dancing in a room in which the clocks have no hands.

If I was running $1 million today, or $10 million for that matter, I'd be fully invested. Anyone who says that size does not hurt investment performance is selling. The highest rates of return I've ever achieved were in the 1950s. I killed the Dow. You ought to see the numbers. But I was investing peanuts then. It's a huge structural advantage not to have a lot of money. I think I could make you 50% a year on $1 million. No, I know I could. I guarantee that.

In a bull market, one must avoid the error of the preening duck that quacks boastfully after a torrential rainstorm, thinking that its paddling skills have caused it to rise in the world. A right-thinking duck would instead compare its position after the downpour to that of the other ducks on the pond.

Instead, we try to apply Aesop's 2,600-year-old equation to opportunities in which we have reasonable confidence as to how many birds are in the bush and when they will emerge (a formulation that my grandsons would probably update to "A girl in a convertible is worth five in the phonebook.").

It was the ability to use the stock of Berkshire in a way that benefited the General Re shareholders without hurting the Berkshire shareholders,

It's simply to say that managers and investors alike must understand that accounting numbers are the beginning, not the end, of business valuation.

Many stock options in the corporate world have worked in exactly that fashion: they have gained in value simply because management retained earnings, not because it did well with the capital in its hands.

Occasionally, a man must rise above principles.

Over that time we've been happy with that investment but I've got to tell you I'm happier today. It's a dream deal.

Author Picture
First Name
Warren
Last Name
Buffett, fully Warren Edward Buffett, aka Oracle of Omaha
Birth Date
1930
Bio

American Businessman, Investor and Philanthropist, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway