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Warren Buffett Quotes


Inspirational Quotes by Warren Buffett

Warren Buffet Quotes about Bridge


“It’s a game of a million inferences. There are a lot of things to draw inferences from — cards played and not played. These inferences tell you something about the probabilities. It’s got to be the best intellectual exercise out there. You’re seeing through new situations every ten minutes. Bridge is about weighing gain/loss ratios. You’re doing calculations all the time.”

– Warren Buffett, On the game of bridge, as quoted in Forbes (2 June 1997); also quoted in The Warren Buffett Portfolio: Mastering the Power of the Focus Investment Strategy (2000), p. 112


“You know, if I’m playing bridge and a naked woman walks by, I don’t ever see her — don’t test me on that! … You know, I wouldn’t mind going to jail if I had the right three cell mates, so we could play bridge all the time. … It takes some investment to play it … I mean, you can not sit down and learn how to play it like most games. … There’s a lotta lessons in it … you have to look at all the facts. You have to draw inferences from what you’ve seen, what you’ve heard. You have to discard improper theories about what the hand had as more evidence comes in sometimes. You have to be open to a possible change of course if you get new information. You have to work with a partner, particularly on defense.”

– Warren Buffett, As quoted in “Bringing Back Bridge” at CBS News (16 February 2008)

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Warren Buffet Quotes about Capitalism & America


“The free market’s the best mechanism ever devised to put resources to their most efficient and productive use. … The government isn’t particularly good at that. But the market isn’t so good at making sure that the wealth that’s produced is being distributed fairly or wisely. Some of that wealth has to be plowed back into education, so that the next generation has a fair chance, and to maintain our infrastructure, and provide some sort of safety net for those who lose out in a market economy. And it just makes sense that those of us who’ve benefited most from the market should pay a bigger share. … When you get rid of the estate tax, you’re basically handing over command of the country’s resources to people who didn’t earn it. It’s like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the children of all the winners at the 2000 Games.”

– Warren Buffett, To Barack Obama, as quoted in The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006), Ch. 5


“I happen to have a talent for allocating capital. But my ability to use that talent is completely dependent on the society I was born into. If I’d been born into a tribe of hunters, this talent of mine would be pretty worthless. I can’t run very fast. I’m not particularly strong. I’d probably end up as some wild animal’s dinner.

But I was lucky enough to be born in a time and place where society values my talent, and gave me a good education to develop that talent, and set up the laws and the financial system to let me do what I love doing — and make a lot of money doing it. The least I can do is help pay for all that.”

– Warren Buffett, To Barack Obama, as quoted in The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006), Ch. 5


“My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest. Both my children and I won what I call the ovarian lottery. (For starters, the odds against my 1930 birth taking place in the U.S. were at least 30 to 1. My being male and white also removed huge obstacles that a majority of Americans then faced.) My luck was accentuated by my living in a market system that sometimes produces distorted results, though overall it serves our country well. I’ve worked in an economy that rewards someone who saves the lives of others on a battlefield with a medal, rewards a great teacher with thank-you notes from parents, but rewards those who can detect the mispricing of securities with sums reaching into the billions. In short, fate’s distribution of long straws is wildly capricious.

The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather gratitude. Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs. My pledge starts us down that course.”

– Warren Buffett, “My Philanthropic Pledge” at the The Giving Pledge (2010)

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Warren Buffet Quotes about Charity & Philanthropy


“The 400 of us pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”

– Warren Buffett, Speaking at a political fundraiser for Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York, as quoted in Henry Goldman, “Buffett, at Clinton Fund-Raiser, Says Congress Favors the Rich” in Bloomberg (27 June 2007)


“More than 99% of my wealth will go to philanthropy during my lifetime or at death. Measured by dollars, this commitment is large. In a comparative sense, though, many individuals give more to others every day.

Millions of people who regularly contribute to churches, schools, and other organizations thereby relinquish the use of funds that would otherwise benefit their own families. The dollars these people drop into a collection plate or give to United Way mean forgone movies, dinners out, or other personal pleasures. In contrast, my family and I will give up nothing we need or want by fulfilling this 99% pledge.

Moreover, this pledge does not leave me contributing the most precious asset, which is time. Many people, including — I’m proud to say — my three children, give extensively of their own time
and talents to help others. Gifts of this kind often prove far more valuable than money.”

– Warren Buffett, “My Philanthropic Pledge” at the The Giving Pledge (2010)

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Warren Buffet Quotes about Finance & Investing


“I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”

– Warren Buffett, In a panel discussion after the premier of the 2008 documentary I.O.U.S.A.. Panel at the Premier, 0:05:42ff., DVD extras, I.O.U.S.A. (2008)


“Stocks are the things to own over time. Productivity will increase and stocks will increase with it. There are only a few things you can do wrong. One is to buy or sell at the wrong time. Paying high fees is the other way to get killed. The best way to avoid both of these is to buy a low-cost index fund, and buy it over time. Be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy, but don’t think you can outsmart the market. “If a cross-section of American industry is going to do well over time, then why try to pick the little beauties and think you can do better? Very few people should be active investors.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 684). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“One day Herb Wolf said to me, ‘Warren , if you’re looking for a gold needle in a haystack of gold, it’s not better to find the gold needle.’ I had this thing that the more obscure something was, the better I liked it. I thought it was a treasure hunt. Herb got me out of that way of thinking.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 221). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“During these seventeen years, the size of the economy grew fivefold. The sales of the Fortune five hundred companies grew more than fivefold. * Yet, during these seventeen years, the stock market went exactly nowhere.” He backed up a step or two. “What you’re doing when you invest is deferring consumption and laying money out now to get more money back at a later time. And there are really only two questions. One is how much you’re going to get back, and the other is when.”

“Now, Aesop was not much of a finance major, because he said something like , ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’ But he doesn’t say when.” Interest rates— the cost of borrowing—Buffett explained, are the price of “when.” They are to finance as gravity is to physics. As interest rates vary, the value of all financial assets— houses, stocks, bonds— changes, as if the price of birds had fluctuated. “And that’s why sometimes a bird in the hand is better than two birds in the bush and sometimes two in the bush are better than one in the hand.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 14). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“I call investing the greatest business in the world…because you never have to swing. You stand at the plate, the pitcher throws you General Motors at 47! U.S. Steel at 39! and nobody calls a strike on you. There’s no penalty except opportunity lost. All day you wait for the pitch you like; then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it.”

– Warren Buffett, Interview in Forbes magazine (1 November 1974)


“There were two thousand auto companies: the most important invention, probably, of the first half of the twentieth century. It had an enormous impact on people’s lives. If you had seen at the time of the first cars how this country would develop in connection with autos, you would have said, ‘This is the place I must be.’ But of the two thousand companies, as of a few years ago, only three car companies survived. 21 And, at one time or another, all three were selling for less than book value, which is the amount of money that had been put into the companies and left there. So autos had an enormous impact on America, but in the opposite direction on investors.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 15). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“You’re dealing with a lot of silly people in the marketplace; it’s like a great big casino and everyone else is boozing. If you can stick with Pepsi, you should be O.K.”

– Warren Buffett, On being dispassionate and patient in investments, in an interview in Forbes magazine (1 November 1974)


“Draw a circle around the businesses you understand and then eliminate those that fail to qualify on the basis of value, good management and limited exposure to hard times. … Buy into a company because you want to own it, not because you want the stock to go up. … People have been successful investors because they’ve stuck with successful companies. Sooner or later the market mirrors the business.”

– Warren Buffett, Interview in Forbes magazine (1 November 1974)


“It’s wonderful to promote new industries, because they are very promotable. It’s very hard to promote investment in a mundane product. It’s much easier to promote an esoteric product, even particularly one with losses, because there’s no quantitative guideline.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 16). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“Never count on making a good sale. Have the purchase price be so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results.”

– Warren Buffett, As quoted in Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist (1995), by Roger Lowenstein, p. 77


“If you understood a business perfectly and the future of the business, you would need very little in the way of a margin of safety. So, the more vulnerable the business is, assuming you still want to invest in it, the larger margin of safety you’d need. If you’re driving a truck across a bridge that says it holds 10,000 pounds and you’ve got a 9,800 pound vehicle, if the bridge is 6 inches above the crevice it covers, you may feel okay, but if it’s over the Grand Canyon, you may feel you want a little larger margin of safety…”

– Warren Buffett, Of Permanent Value : The Story of Warren Buffett, by Andrew Kilpatrick, Vol. 2 (2007), p. 1615


“Investors making purchases in an overheated market need to recognize that it may often take an extended period for the value of even an outstanding company to catch up with the price they paid.”

– Warren Buffett, 1998 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, as quoted in The Essays of Warren Buffett : Lessons for Corporate America (1998), p. 92


“Success in investing doesn’t correlate with I.Q. once you’re above the level of 25. Once you have ordinary intelligence, what you need is the temperament to control the urges that get other people into trouble in investing.”

– Warren Buffett, As quoted in Homespun Wisdom from the “Oracle of Omaha” by Amy Stone in BusinessWeek (5 June 1999)


“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.”

– Warren Buffett, As quoted in “Wisdom from the ‘Oracle of Omaha'” by Amy Stone in BusinessWeek (5 June 1999)


“We have tried occasionally to buy toads at bargain prices with results that have been chronicled in past reports. Clearly our kisses fell flat. We have done well with a couple of princes — but they were princes when purchased. At least our kisses didn’t turn them into toads. And, finally, we have occasionally been quite successful in purchasing fractional interests in easily-identifiable princes at toad-like prices.”

– Warren Buffett, 1981 Chairman’s Letter


“Over the years, Charlie [Munger, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman] and I have observed many accounting-based frauds of staggering size. Few of the perpetrators have been punished; many have not even been censured. It has been far safer to steal large sums with pen than small sums with a gun.”

– Warren Buffett, 1988 Chairman’s Letter


“After 25 years of buying and supervising a great variety of businesses, Charlie and I have not learned how to solve difficult business problems. What we have learned is to avoid them. To the extent we have been successful, it is because we concentrated on identifying one-foot hurdles that we could step over because we acquired any ability to clear seven-footers.”

– Warren Buffett, 1989 Chairman’s Letter


“The most common cause of low prices is pessimism — some times pervasive, some times specific to a company or industry. We want to do business in such an environment, not because we like pessimism but because we like the prices it produces. It’s optimism that is the enemy of the rational buyer.”

– Warren Buffett, 1990 Chairman’s Letter


“We’ve long felt that the only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune tellers look good. Even now, Charlie and I continue to believe that short-term market forecasts are poison and should be kept locked up in a safe place, away from children and also from grown-ups who behave in the market like children.”

– Warren Buffett, 1992 Chairman’s Letter


“The strategy we’ve adopted precludes our following standard diversification dogma. Many pundits would therefore say the strategy must be riskier than that employed by more conventional investors. We disagree. We believe that a policy of portfolio concentration may well decrease risk if it raises, as it should, both the intensity with which an investor thinks about a business and the comfort-level he must feel with its economic characteristics before buying into it. In stating this opinion, we define risk, using dictionary terms, as “the possibility of loss or injury.”

– Warren Buffett, 1993 Chairman’s Letter


“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.”

– Warren Buffett, 1997 Chairman’s Letter


“But now for the final exam: If you expect to be a net saver during the next five years, should you hope for a higher or lower stock market during that period? Many investors get this one wrong. Even though they are going to be net buyers of stocks for many years to come, they are elated when stock prices rise and depressed when they fall. In effect, they rejoice because prices have risen for the “hamburgers” they will soon be buying. This reaction makes no sense. Only those who will be sellers of equities in the near future should be happy at seeing stocks rise. Prospective purchasers should much prefer sinking prices.”

– Warren Buffett, 1997 Chairman’s Letter


“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.”

– Warren Buffett, 2000 Chairman’s Letter


“But a pin lies in wait for every bubble. And when the two eventually meet, a new wave of investors learns some very old lessons: First, many in Wall Street — a community in which quality control is not prized — will sell investors anything they will buy. Second, speculation is most dangerous when it looks easiest.”

– Warren Buffett, 2000 Chairman’s Letter


“Long ago, Sir Isaac Newton gave us three laws of motion, which were the work of genius. But Sir Isaac’s talents didn’t extend to investing: He lost a bundle in the South Sea Bubble, explaining later, “I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men.” If he had not been traumatized by this loss, Sir Isaac might well have gone on to discover the Fourth Law of Motion: For investors as a whole, returns decrease as motion increases.”

– Warren Buffett, 2005 Chairman’s Letter


“The worst sort of business is one that grows rapidly, requires significant capital to engender the growth, and then earns little or no money. Think airlines. Here a durable competitive advantage has proven elusive ever since the days of the Wright Brothers. Indeed, if a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.”

– Warren Buffett, 2007 Chairman’s Letter

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Warren Buffet Quotes about Life


“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

– Warren Buffett, Statement of January 1991, as quoted in Of Permanent Value: The Story of Warren Buffett (2007) by Andrew Kilpatrick


“I learned that it pays to hang around with people better than you are , because you will float upward a little bit. And if you hang around with people that behave worse than you, pretty soon you’ll start sliding down the pole. It just works that way.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 140). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“I feel like I’m on my back, and there’s the Sistine Chapel, and I’m painting away. I like it when people say, ‘Gee, that’s a pretty good-looking painting.’ But it’s my painting, and when somebody says, ‘Why don’t you use more red instead of blue?’ Good-bye. It’s my painting . And I don’t care what they sell it for. The painting itself will never be finished. That’s one of the great things about it. 5 “The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard. I always pose it this way. I say: ‘Lookit. Would you rather be the world’s greatest lover, but have everyone think you’re the world’s worst lover? Or would you rather be the world’s worst lover but have everyone think you’re the world’s greatest lover?’ Now, that’s an interesting question. “Here’s another one. If the world couldn’t see your results, would you rather be thought of as the world’s greatest investor but in reality have the world’s worst record? Or be thought of as the world’s worst investor when you were actually the best? “In teaching your kids, I think the lesson they’re learning at a very, very early age is what their parents put the emphasis on. If all the emphasis is on what the world’s going to think about you, forgetting about how you really behave, you’ll wind up with an Outer Scorecard . Now, my dad: He was a hundred percent Inner Scorecard guy. “He was really a maverick. But he wasn’t a maverick for the sake of being a maverick. He just didn’t care what other people thought. My dad taught me how life should be lived. I’ve never seen anybody quite like him.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 30). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“My whole life flashed before my eyes, because I didn’t know what to do with the echo. They hadn’t prepared me for this. Paralyzed— my big moment.” Should he copy the other trumpet player’s mistake or embarrass him by contradicting what he’d played ? Warren was undone. The scene scalded itself permanently into his memory— except for what he did next. Years later, which course he followed— assuming he played any note at all— had become a blank. He had learned a lesson: It might seem easier to go through life as the echo— but only until the other guy plays a wrong note.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 52). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“How should society be ordered? He told them about the Ovarian Lottery. How do I find the right spouse? Marry up, he said. (He wasn’t talking about money.) How do I know what is right? Follow your Inner Scorecard. What should I do about a career? Find something you are passionate about. I only work with people I like. If you go to work every morning with your stomach churning, you’re in the wrong business. He told them about the genie. Treat your body like the only car you’ll ever own: Baby that car, garage it every night, buff every dent, and change its oil every week.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 701). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“I packed my little snowball very early, and if I had packed it ten years later, it would have been way different than where it stands on the hill right now. So I recommend to students that if you start out a little ahead of the game— it doesn’t have to be a lot, but it’s so much better than starting out behind the game. And credit cards really get you behind the game.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 700). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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Warren Buffet Quotes about Love & Parenting


“The purpose of life is to be loved by as many people as possible among those you want to have love you.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 701). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“Love is the greatest advantage a parent can give.”

– Warren Buffett, As quoted in “Should You Leave It All to the Children?” by Richard I. Kirkland Jr, in Fortune (29 September 1986)


“My dad, who was always supportive of me, said, ‘I know what you’re capable of. And I’m not asking you to perform one hundred percent, but you can either keep behaving this way or you can do something in relation to your potential. But if you don’t do it, you have to give up the paper routes .’ And that hit me. My dad was low-key, just sort of letting me know he was disappointed with me. And that killed me probably a lot more than his telling me I couldn’t do this or that, you know.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 80). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“When I was a kid,” Warren would later say, “I got all kinds of good things . I had the advantage of a home where people talked about interesting things, and I had intelligent parents and I went to decent schools. I don’t think I could have been raised with a better pair of parents. That was enormously important. I didn’t get money from my parents, and I really didn’t want it. But I was born at the right time and place. I won the ‘Ovarian Lottery.’

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 30). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“That’s when I met Sidney Weinberg , who was the most famous man on Wall Street. My dad had never met him. He had this little tiny firm out here in Omaha. But Mr. Weinberg let us in, maybe because a little kid was along or something. We talked for about thirty minutes.”

“As I went out, he put his arm around me and he said, ‘What stock do you like, Warren?’ “He’d forgotten it all the next day, but I remembered it forever.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 56). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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Warren Buffet Quotes about Wealth


“I don’t have a problem with guilt about money. The way I see it is that my money represents an enormous number of claim checks on society. It is like I have these little pieces of paper that I can turn into consumption. If I wanted to, I could hire 10,000 people to do nothing but paint my picture every day for the rest of my life. And the GNP would go up. But the utility of the product would be zilch, and I would be keeping those 10,000 people from doing AIDS research, or teaching, or nursing. I don’t do that though. I don’t use very many of those claim checks. There’s nothing material I want very much. And I’m going to give virtually all of those claim checks to charity when my wife and I die.”

– Warren Buffett, As quoted in Warren Buffett Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World’s Greatest Investor (1997) by Janet C. Lowe, pp. 165-166


“It could make me independent. Then I could do what I wanted to do with my life. And the biggest thing I wanted to do was work for myself. I didn’t want other people directing me. The idea of doing what I wanted to do every day was important to me.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 57). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“You’re not supposed to bet every race. I’d committed the worst sin, which is that you get behind and you think you’ve got to break even that day. The first rule is that nobody goes home after the first race, and the second rule is that you don’t have to make it back the way you lost it. That is so fundamental, you know.”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 99). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.


“Some material things make my life more enjoyable; many, however, would not. I like having an expensive private plane, but owning a half-dozen homes would be a burden. Too often, a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner. The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse, and long-standing friends.”

– Warren Buffett


“One time, we were waiting for an elevator. We were going to eat in the cafeteria down at the bottom of the Chanin Building at Forty-second and Lex. And Ben said to me, ‘Remember one thing, Warren: Money isn’t making that much difference in how you and I live. We’re both going down to the cafeteria for lunch and working every day and having a good time. So don’t worry too much about money, because it won’t make much difference in how you live.’ ”

– Warren Buffett, Schroeder, Alice (2008-09-29). The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (p. 165). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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Quotes about Warren Buffett


“Buffett had invited me to Omaha to discuss tax policy. More specifically, he wanted to know why Washington continued to cut taxes for people in his income bracket when the country was broke. … Buffett’s low rates were a consequence of the fact that, like most wealthy Americans, almost all his income came from dividends and capital gains, investment income that since 2003 has been taxed at only 15 percent. The receptionist’s salary, on the other hand, was taxed at almost twice that rate once FICA was included. From Buffett’s perspective, the discrepancy was unconscionable.”

– Barack Obama, in The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006), Ch. 5


“I asked Buffett how many of his fellow billionaires shared his views. He laughed.

“I’ll tell you, not very many,” he said. “They have this idea that it’s ‘their money’ and they deserve to keep every penny of it. What they don’t factor in is all the public investment that lets us live the way we do.” … It may be surprising to some to hear the world’s foremost capitalist talk in this way, but Buffett’s views aren’t necessarily a sign of a soft heart. Rather, they reflect an understanding that how well we respond to globalization won’t be just a matter of identifying the right policies. It will also have to do with a change in spirit, a willingness to put our common interests and the interests of future generations ahead of short-term expediency.”

– Barack Obama, in The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006), Ch. 5


“Buffett does not believe that it is wise to bequeath great wealth and plans to give most of his money to his charitable foundation.”

– Richard I. Kirkland


“Buffett’s views aren’t necessarily a sign of a soft heart. Rather, they reflect an understanding that how well we respond to globalization won’t be just a matter of identifying the right policies. It will also have to do with a change in spirit, a willingness to put our common interests and the interests of future generations ahead of short-term expediency.”

– Barack Obama


“When it comes to investing, nothing is more important than the ability to think rationally for oneself — and Buffett is unsurpassed on this front.”

– Guy Spier


“I would much rather see a Plan C that really attacks costs, and I think that’s what the American public wants to see.

Boy, if he doesn’t give capitalism a good name, who does?”

– Benjamin C. Bradlee, remarking on Buffet’s honesty and philanthropy, in a television documentary on Buffet on The Biography Channel (2006)


“Buffett does not believe that it is wise to bequeath great wealth and plans to give most of his money to his charitable foundation. … Buffett is not cutting his children out of his fortune because they are wastrels or wantons or refuse to go into the family business — the traditional reasons rich parents withhold money. Says he: “My kids are going to carve out their own place in this world, and they know I’m for them whatever they want to do.” But he believes that setting up his heirs with “a lifetime supply of food stamps just because they came out of the right womb” can be “harmful” for them and is “an antisocial act.” To him the perfect amount to leave children is “enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.” For a college graduate, Buffett reckons “a few hundred thousand dollars” sounds about right.”

– Richard I. Kirkland Jr., “Should You Leave It All to the Children?”, Fortune (29 September 1986)


“Buffett believes the most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect. A successful investor doesn’t focus on being with or against the crowd.”

“The stock market will swing up and down. But in good times and bad, Buffett stays focused on his goals.”

– Stephanie Loiacono, in “Rules That Warren Buffett Lives By” at Yahoo Finance (23 February 2010)


“Buffett is the most successful investor in history, yet he has reached that pinnacle while also being supremely ethical. As remarkable for his philanthropy as for his stock-picking, he’s giving the bulk of his billions to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; likewise, the fee for our lunch would go to the Glide Foundation, which helps the poor and homeless. Lunch with Buffett, we figured, would be a good way to give to charity, but it would also be the ultimate capitalist master class — a chance to see up close what makes the Sage of Omaha tick and to learn from his wisdom. … Buffett has made a point of doing business with integrity — and of working only with people who share his values. As we learned, he credits his father with teaching him early on to rely on his own sense of what’s right, rather than looking for affirmation from others. … When it comes to investing, nothing is more important than the ability to think rationally for oneself — and Buffett is unsurpassed on this front. In the late ’90s, he was criticized for his refusal to invest in booming tech and Internet stocks — a decision that was vindicated when the bubble burst. Buffett has made a fine art of keeping this kind of distracting noise at bay: he said he even limits his contact with managers of businesses in which he invests, preferring to assess their companies’ financial records — a more neutral source of information. Equally vital to his success, Buffett said he focuses only on investments that lie well within his “circle of competence.” As a result, he confided, whenever he makes an investment, he has no doubt at all that he’s right.

For most people, attaining the intellectual clarity and emotional detachment that investing requires is tough. But Buffett, for all his affability, is shrewd about disengaging himself to avoid any unnecessary distractions that might impair his judgment. People often try to convince him to meet with them so they can pitch investments to him, he said, but he sees through their many ruses — not least their flattery — and is comfortable saying no far more often than he says yes.”

– Guy Spier, in “My $650,100 Lunch with Warren Buffett” in TIME (30 June 2008)

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