My Favorite Warren Buffett Sayings

I was reading through Mary Buffett & David Clark’s The Tao of Warren Buffett* this morning while waiting to get my oil changed. It’s a great little book that takes different sayings and thoughts from Warren Buffett and explains them. Anyway, here are a few of my favorites from the book:

No. 6

“It is impossible to unsign a contract, so do all your thinking before you sign.”

I love it! It reminds me of point number five from my post, Lessons From Hell.

No. 17

“You should look at stocks as small pieces of a business.”

As the book points out, when you buy a share of stock, you are actually buying a fractional interest in the business. Follow Buffett’s example before you buy a stock: multiply the share price by the number of shares outstanding and then ask yourself if that price would be a good deal or not if you were buying the entire business. If the answer is no then don’t buy the stocks. Good advice.

No. 35

“I look for businesses in which I think I can predict what they’re going to look like in ten to fifteen years’ time. Take Wrigley’s chewing gum. I don’t think th eInternet is going to change how people chew gum.”

I have nothing to add to that!

No. 38

“Read Ben Graham* and Phil Fisher
*, read annual reports, but don’t do equations with Greek letters in them.”

Buffett’s approach to investing is a combination of Ben Graham’s approach and Phil Fisher’s approach. Ben believed in buying at a low price and Phil said to buy great companies. Buffett likes both.

No. 40

“If principles become dated, they’re no longer principles.”

The author’s explain that Buffett figured out that Ben Graham’s approach of buying cheap companies regardless of their underlying economics, no longer worked because there were too many people doing it. So, Buffett had to alter his approach and began buying great companies that had a competitive advantage.

No. 65

“Wall Street makes its money on activity. You make your money on inactivity.”

I remember listening to a broker on the phone with her client, telling them that they need to sell a particular stock because it was up 25%. That was her only reason for wanting this client to sell. Oh, and yes, she made a commission on the transaction.

No. 79

“When you combine ignorance and borrowed money, the consequences can get interesting.”

Hmmm… Sounds kind of like this credit crisis, doesn’t it?

And last…

No. 84

“I buy stocks when the lemmings are headed the other way.”

Yes, it takes guts to buy stocks that everyone else is selling but it makes much more sense than buying the same stocks that everyone else is buying. Just be sure you know what you’re buying.

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2 thoughts on “My Favorite Warren Buffett Sayings”

  1. It is hard to think of a better quote than # 79. Leverage is great so long as things go your way. When they don’t, well, things get interesting…

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