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The Best Interest » Warren Buffett’s Best Wisdom – 19 Quotes for Warren’s Birthday

Warren Buffett’s Best Wisdom – 19 Quotes for Warren’s Birthday

Warren Buffett turned 93 years old last week, so friend-of-the-blog Kyle wrote in:

Could be an interesting article to reference and break down his most memorable pieces of advice


Call Me Stan…for Buffett

Did you know that stan is a slang term for “an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity.” Apparently, the etymology is “half stalker, half fan,” and a reference to this (very R-rated) Eminem song, “Stan.”

I’m certainly a zealous Buffett fan. The word “Buffett” appears in 45 unique articles on The Best Interest. This is article #46. Call me Stan.

Yes – Buffett and Eminem in the same article. Welcome to The Best Interest.

Buffett’s Best

Happy birthday, Warren! You’ve provided countless hours of education to me and inspired much of my work here. In honor of your longevity, here are my favorite Buffett-isms, and a quick blurb explaining why they’re so, so good…

Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.

Count your blessings and thank your forefathers. And if you’re especially gracious, plant trees for tomorrow’s generations. I’m here in part because of Warren’s trees, and I’m planting a few saplings myself.

The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.

Habits are scarily powerful. Barely noticeable at first…and unbreakable in the long run. Choose your habits carefully.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

A classic. Especially in today’s social media world. Reputation-building is a slow practice of consistent good actions while avoiding one-time-and-you’re-dead landmines.

In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.

Monday morning quarterbacking is annoying because of course the rearview mirror is clear. It’s so easy to see.

But if you want to make a real difference in the world, grow your skill of peering out through the foggy future windshield. It’s really hard.

Quick plug for one of my all-time favorite articles: The Madness of Forecasting.

Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.

A fundamental truth that changed my investing perspective as a ~25-year old. Market volatility is your friend. And like any good friendship, it can/should be additive to your life.

Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.

What does this have to do with money? Nothing. Nada. Zero.

I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.

Good for investing. Good for life. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds.

Yes, it’s easy to say this when you’re worth $100 billion. Much harder if you’re only making minimum wage. But I know there’s truth there.

I feel it every day. I enjoy my daily process immensely.

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.

Another classic. People misbehave in this world constantly. They might not pay the price today or tomorrow. But eventually, the tide always goes out.

You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.

Much of life is a “negative art,” or an “art of subtraction.”

It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.

Similar to Jim Rohn’s “average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” quote.

My friend groups, from both high school and college, have talked about this before. The quotes are true for us. We’re glad to have each other because we’ve made each other better people.

[Source below: “You Just Go”]

Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre.

“Company” as in business? Or “company” as in people in your presence?


Wonderful businesses and people produce fantastic results over time.

It’s insane to risk what you have and need for what you don’t have and don’t need.

It’s like when Elsa in Indiana Jones gets greedy and reaches for the Holy Grail.

She risked what she had and needed (her life) for what she didn’t have and didn’t need (the grail).

In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.

I use this quote once a week with clients with fears of the stock market. I totally get those fears. But this quote always helps provide perspective.

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.

Another classic. Good for investors, but also good for simple daily spending. Don’t conflate price with value.

Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

Know when to quit.

It’s hard. Nobody wants to be labeled “a quitter.” But it’s better than drowning in a boat that could never be saved.

Predicting rain doesn’t count. Building arks does.

Don’t tell me. Show me.

The best thing I did was to choose the right heroes.

Similar to the quote above about surrounding yourself with good people. Be careful who you idolize. I think “stanning” for Warren is a solid pick.

If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.

Money is just a tool, a means to an end. For most humans, that “end” is somehow related to interpersonal relationships in their lives.

Thanks for the good time and good quotes, Warren. Here’s to 93 more years.

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