Wit & Wisdom

03/26/2004 12:00 am EST

Focus:

Finally, we leave you with a sampling of the wit and wisdom of the Oracle of Omaha, a humble billionaire who insists, "I buy expensive suits; they just look cheap on me." Wit has always been a part of Buffett's commentary. Here are some favorites.
    • Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing."
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    • "There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult."
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    • "The future is never clear; you pay a very high price in the stock market for a cheery consensus. Uncertainty actually is the friend of the buyer of long-term values."
    • "I don’t try to jump over seven-foot bars: I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over.”
    • “Like Wayne Gretzky says, go where the puck is going, not where it is.”
        • “If we find a company we like, the level of the market will not really impact our decisions. We will decide company by company. We spend essentially no time thinking about macroeconomic factors."
        • "It's an old principle. You don't have to make it back the way you lost it."
        • "You should invest in a business that even a fool can run, because some day a fool will."
        • "It’s far better to own a portion of the Hope diamond than 100% of a rhinestone."
              • "Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without the first, you really want them to be dumb and lazy.
              • "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."
              • "It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming naked."
              • "If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians."
              • “Our conclusion is that, with few exceptions, when management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for poor fundamental economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact."
              • "Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it."
              • "You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong."
              • "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."
              • "For some reason, people take their cues from price action rather than from values. What doesn’t work is when you start doing things that you don’t understand or because they worked last week for somebody else. The dumbest reason in the world to buy a stock is because it’s going up."
              • "Stocks are simple. All you do is buy shares in a great business for less than the business is intrinsically worth, with managers of the highest integrity and ability. Then own those shares forever."

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