Lessons from Lunch with Warren Buffett

Warren BuffetGuy Spier, one of the investors who helped pay the $650,100 winning eBay bid to have lunch with Warren Buffet, shared some of the lessons he learned from the greatest investor in the world in a recent Time article. While you may not be able to afford to pay more than $3,600 a minute for advice from the Sage of Omaha, you can still learn vicariously by reading some of Buffet’s enduring lessons on investing and on life.

Do the Right Thing Even if it’s Hard

Buffet has become one of the richest men in the world while never sacrificing the highest ethical standards. “People will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional,” said Buffet.

Listen to Yourself, Not the Crowd
Buffet learned at an early age from his father that it is important to listen to yourself rather than seek the affirmation of others. Although he was heavily criticized for not investing with the crowd in technology and Internet stocks in the late '90s, he stuck to what he believed and turned out to be right. During the lunch he asked his guests, “Would you rather be considered the best lover in the world and know privately that you're the worst — or would you prefer to know privately that you're the best lover in the world, but be considered the worst?"

The Numbers Don’t Lie
Buffet said that he limits contact with the managers of businesses that he invests in, choosing rather to examine the company’s financial records. By relying on the numbers he is able to focus on neutral information and prevent outside noise from affecting his decisions.

Stick to Your Knitting
Buffett shared was that he only focuses on his “circle of competence” when considering investments. As a result, when he finally makes an investment, he has no doubt that he is right.

Enjoy Life
Buffet wrote in Berkshire’s annual report that he “tap dances to work.” It is evident that he loves what he does and does everything with great passion and excitement. By the way, according to Spier, Buffet doesn’t say no to dessert.

Be Generous
Buffet’s greatest legacy may be his generosity. He has committed to giving the great majority of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the proceeds from his annual lunch go to the Glide foundation to help the poor. I believe that Buffet’s affinity for contributing to the greater good is a major key to his success.

Guy Spier wrote that his time with Buffet “was worth every dime,” and it turns out he may have underpaid. The winning bid by Zhao Danyang for next year’s lunch was $2.1 million.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

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77 comments:

August 17, 2008 at 1:12 PM JM said...

Hi Charles Sipe,

It is always thought provoking whatever Warren says. Do the right thing even if it's hard is such a good advice. Warren is a great investor, great personality, good human being and fantastic tutor for a willing student.

Thanks for posting this. Hoping to see more article on Warren on your blog.

Best wishes,

Janak Merchant

June 21, 2010 at 11:54 AM Jackie said...

Abundance comes from a mindset. Warren developed that mindset- the rich mindset, A winner's attitude..He lived according to the spiritual law and That made him richest and successful and the happiest(rarely seen with rich)

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