Value Investing

25 Pages of the Best Value Investing Quotes (PAGE WILL LOAD SLOWLY)



“We like our current shareholders and don’t want to entice anyone to become one.  It would help current shareholders to hear our CEOs [of the Berkshireoperating subsidiaries], but we promised them they could spend 100% of their time on their business.  We place no impediments on them running their businesses.  Many have expressed to me how happy they are that they don’t have to spend 25% of time on activities they didn’t like.”

Short Sale


“It’s dangerous to short stocks.”


“Being short and seeing a promoter take the stock up is very irritating. It’s not worth it to have that much irritation in your life.”

“It would be one of the most irritating experiences in the world to do a lot of work to uncover a fraud and then at have it go from X to 3X and at h the crooks happily partying with your money while you’re meeting margin calls. Why would you want to go within hailing distance of that? [Laughter]“


“size will hurt returns. Look at Berkshire Hathaway – the last five things Warren  has done have generated returns that are splendid by historical standards, but now give him $100 billion in assets and measure outcomes across all of it, it doesn’t look so good. We can only buy big positions, and the only time we can get big positions is during a horrible period of decline or stasis. That really doesn’t happen very often.”

“All large aggregations of capital eventually find it hell on earth to grow and thus find a lower rate of return.”

” It took us months of buying all the Coke stock we could to accumulate $1 billion worth — equal to 7% of the company. It’s very hard to accumulate major positions.”

Social Mobility:


“if the same family were always on the bottom, then you’d have big resentments. But if DuPonts go down and Pampered Chef up, [that’s good]. That much churn makes people think the system is fairer. Buffett: We don’t like churn now, but we liked it more 30-40 years ago.”



Social Security:


“…Social Security is amazing how we’ve run it. It’s inflation protected. It’s easy to sneer at it, but it’s one of the most successful government programs ever. It’s low cost and encourages work. People say if you never change the revenue base, it’ll run out of money. But if 10 years from now, the country is 30-40% richer, why not use a higher percentage of GDP to pay people? Young people benefit too – the money is paid to people who might be moving in with them. (Laughter) Everybody’s going to get older, but also richer, so why wouldn’t you spend a higher percentage of GDP on them? Why is that so unthinkable? I’ll tell you what’s unthinkable: that so many people are that stupid! (Laughter)…”

“Regarding the demographic trend called Baby Boomers, it’s peanuts compared to the trend of economic growth.  Over the last century, [our] GNP is up seven times.  This was not caused by Baby Boomers, but by the general success of capitalism and the march of technology.  Those trends were so favorable that little blips in the birth rate were not that significant.  We can keep social peace as long as GNP rises 3% annually – this can pay for spending by politicians.  If we ever got to stasis [no growth], then with all the promises, you’d get real tensions between the generations.  The Baby Boomers would exacerbate it, but the real cause would be lack of growth.

I think the Republicans are out of their cotton-pickin’ minds to be taking on this issue at thistime. The thought that more of our GDP will be going to the elderly over time is not anathema to me. Social Security is very successful. Apart from disability – a small part – there’s almost no fraud; it’s hard to fake being dead. (Laughter) It rewards work, it’s low cost. It’s one of the most successful government programs ever. For the current administration, which needs to face down North Koreaand Iran, deal with Iraq, etc., to waste political capital on this twaddle…

“Of course if we don’t change anything, Social Security will run low on funds. But if we grow, then it’s child’s play to [deal with this problem]. And it’s crazy to think we’d freeze the amount we’d pay to the elderly. Social Security is a low -overhead, efficient program.”


“[What was] … worked out in the course of about o­ne year between Pascal and Fermat… is not that hard to learn.  What is hard is to get so you use it routinely almost everyday of your life. The Fermat/Pascal system is dramatically consonant with the way that the world works. And it’s fundamental truth. So you simply have to have the technique….At HarvardBusinessSchool, the great quantitative thing that bonds the first ? year class together is what they call decision tree theory. All they do is take high school algebra and apply it to real life problems. And the students love it. They’re amazed to find that high school algebra works in life….By and large, as it works out, people can’t naturally and automatically do this. If you understand elementary psychology, the reason they can’t is really quite simple: The basic neural network of the brain is there through broad genetic and cultural evolution. And it’s not Fermat/Pascal. It uses a very crude, shortcut ? type of approximation. It’s got elements of Fermat/Pascal in it. However, it’s not good.So you have to learn in a very usable way this very elementary math and use it routinely in life ? just the way if you want to become a golfer, you can’t use the natural swing that broad evolution gave you. You have to learn to have a certain grip and swing in a different way to realize your full potential as a golfer.  If you don’t get this elementary, but mildly unnatural, mathematics of elementary probability into your repertoire, then you go through a long life like a o­ne?legged man in an ass?kicking contest. You’re giving a huge advantage to everybody else.”


“I’m not sure that I can even pronounce the Poisson distribution. But I know what a Gaussian or normal distribution looks like and I know that events and huge aspects of reality end up distributed that way. So I can do a rough calculation.  But if you ask me to work out something involving a Gaussian distribution to ten decimal points, I can’t sit down and do the math. I’m like a poker player who’s learned to play pretty well without mastering Pascal. And by the way, that works well

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