Warren’s World: Investment and Life Advice From The Oracle of Omaha

Image for post
Image for post
Look, Ma — It’s Warren Buffett!

Warren Buffett came to Boston this week to chat with the formidable Linda Henry, who interviewed the Oracle of Omaha for over an hour. It was my first time seeing him in action and I was blown away by his wisdom, humility and (at 89) perspicacious insight. Here were a few of my takeaways from this amazing event.

What keeps you going? Genuine enthusiasm and optimism for the future. You never know when something interesting is going to come along. The canvas in front of me is unlimited and the painting is never finished. The secret to good health is to be full of joy and happiness every day.

Partnerships? I have always surrounded myself with people who are better than me and that I don’t want to disappoint. That’s true in business and with family. As Churchill said, “We shape our houses (i.e., surroundings) and then they shape you.”

Investment philosophy? I subscribe to Ted Williams’ philosophy on hitting. You simply wait for the perfect pitch. You don’t have to invest at any moment. Keep your powder dry. The best time to buy is when people are most discouraged.

Choosing entrepreneurs to back? I want to invest in people who are in love with their own business. They work their tails off and get up early every morning because of their passion, not to make somebody in Omaha rich.

Career advice? Pick a job that you would do if you didn’t need a job. Do something that you would do even if they didn’t pay you. The number one investment you can make is in yourself — particularly in improving your verbal and written communication skills. I still keep my Dale Carnegie certificate in my office.

Harvard Business School? My application was rejected but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I went home and read Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor and when I learned that he taught at Columbia, I enrolled there.

Views on US economy? I am incredibly long on the US. I won the Ovarian Lottery. We simply have a superior system that unleashes human capital. That translates into unsurpassed output and productivity. The luckiest person in the history of the planet is being born in America today.

View on US politics? If you take three Warren Buffett lifetimes you’re within a few years of Thomas Jefferson. We have survived far worse. The US President serves as educator in chief. They need to explain our system and values and the impact of the shifts that occur from globalization, free trade, and technology.

Taxes? Referred to his NY Times editorial, “Stop Coddling the Super Rich”. It is simply not just that I should have the lowest tax rate in my office.

Favorite Song?

THANK YOU to Linda Henry and HubWeek for organizing this extraordinary session, hosted at Fenway Park.

Former entrepreneur turned VC @Flybridge, teach @HBS, author of Entering StartUpLand and Mastering the VC Game

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store