Year 2007 is drawing to a close & our markets are entering into 5th year of the bull market. So, now is the time to look into retrospect, and have a close look at our investing triumphs & failures. And, what could be better than learning from the Master Stockpicker, Warren Buffett himself.
Here are some of his best quotes:
1. If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.
2. In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.
3. It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
4. It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.
5. It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.
6. Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.
7. Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.
8. 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.
9. Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.
10. When a management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.
11. Why not invest your assets in the companies you really like? As Mae West said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful”.
12. Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.
13. 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.
14. You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.
15. Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.
16. Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.
17. Our favorite holding period is forever.
18. Our favourite holding period is forever.
19. Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
20. Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.
21. Risk is a part of God’s game, alike for men and nations.
22. Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1
23. 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.
24. The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective. The first rule is not to lose. The second rule is not to forget the first rule.
25. The investor of today does not profit from yesterday’s growth.
26. The only time to buy these is on a day with no “y” in it.
27. The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is. For to a degree, people read the press to inform themselves-and the better the teacher, the better the student body.
28. Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre.
29. Value is what you get.
30. We believe that according the name ‘investors’ to institutions that trade actively is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a ‘romantic.’
31. We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds.
32. We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.
33. When a management team with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.
34. A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought.
35. Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.
36. I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.
37. I am quite serious when I say that I do not believe there are, on the whole earth besides, so many intensified bores as in these United States. No man can form an adequate idea of the real meaning of the word, without coming here.
38. I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.
39. I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.
40. I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.
41. If a business does well, the stock eventually follows.
…and here comes my favorite!
* There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.