Views of Government and Wall Street
- This time Congress should listen to the slim accountants. The logic behind their thinking is simple:
- If options aren’t a form of compensation, what are they?
- If compensation isn’t an expense, what is it?
- And if expenses shouldn’t go into the calculation of earnings, where in the world should they go?
- First, many in Wall Street – a community in which quality control is not prized – will sell investors anything they will buy.
- 2000 Letter to Shareholders
- An irresistible footnote: in 1971, pension fund managers invested a record 122% of net funds available in equities – at full prices they couldn’t buy enough of them. In 1974, after the bottom had fallen out, they committed a then record low of 21% to stocks.
- 1978 Chairman’s Letter to Shareholders
- When returns on capital are ordinary, an earn-more-by-putting-up-more record is no great managerial achievement. You can get the same result personally while operating from your rocking chair. just quadruple the capital you commit to a savings account and you will quadruple your earnings. You would hardly expect hosannas for that particular accomplishment. Yet, retirement announcements regularly sing the praises of CEOs who have, say, quadrupled earnings of their widget company during their reign – with no one examining whether this gain was attributable simply to many years of retained earnings and the workings of compound interest.
- 1985 Chairman’s Letter to Shareholders
- Wall Street is the only place that people ride to work in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.
- The Stock Market is designed to transfer money from the Active to the Patient.
- Managers thinking about accounting issues should never forget one of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite riddles: `How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg?’ The answer: `Four, because calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg’.
- Just as work expands to fill available time, corporate projects or acquisitions will materialize to soak up available funds… any business craving of the leader, however foolish, will be quickly supported by detailed rate-of-return and strategic studies prepared by his troops
- Working with people who cause your stomach to churn seems much like marrying for money – probably a bad idea under any circumstances, but absolute madness if you are already rich.
- One of the ironies of the stock market is the emphasis on activity. Brokers, using terms such as “marketability” and “liquidity,” sing the praises of companies with high share turnover… but investors should understand that what is good for the croupier is not good for the customer. A hyperactive stock market is the pick pocket of enterprise.
- The speed at which a business success is recognized, furthermore, is not that important as long as the company’s intrinsic value is increasing at a satisfactory rate. In fact, delayed recognition can be an advantage: It may give us the chance to buy more of a good thing at a bargain price.
- The managers at fault periodically report on the lesson they have learned from the latest disappointment. They then usually seek out future lessons.
- I am out of step with present conditions. When the game is no longer played your way, it is only human to say the new approach is all wrong, bound to lead to trouble, and so on. On one point, however, I am clear. I will not abandon a previous approach whose logic I understand ( although I find it difficult to apply ) even though it may mean foregoing large, and apparently easy, profits to embrace an approach which I don’t fully understand, have not practiced successfully, and which possibly could lead to substantial permanent loss of capital.
- in a letter to his partners in the stock market frenzy of 1969.Template:Cite fix
- I just don’t see anything available that gives any reasonable hope of delivering such a good year and I have no desire to grope around, hoping to ‘get lucky’ with other people’s money. I am not attuned to this market environment, and I don’t want to spoil a decent record by trying to play a game I don’t understand just so I can go out a hero.
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- It’s class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn’t be.
- CNN Interview, May 25 2005, in arguing the need to raise taxes on the rich.
- There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.
- New York Times, November 26, 2006.
- It’s got to be the best intellectual exercise out there. You’re seeing through new situations every ten minutes…In the stock market you don’t base your decisions on what the market is doing, but on what you think is rational….Bridge is about weighing gain/loss ratios. You’re doing calculations all the time.
- Forbes. June 2, 1997.
- The approach and strategies are very similar in that you gather all the information you can and then keep adding to that base of information as things develop. You do whatever the probabilities indicated based on the knowledge that you have at that time, but you are always willing to modify your behavior or your approach as you get new information. In bridge, you behave in a way that gets the best from your partner. And in business, you behave in the way that gets the best from your managers and your employees.
- I wouldn’t mind going to jail if I had three cellmates who played bridge.
- I’ll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It’s addictive. And there’s fantastic brand loyalty.
- A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought.
- Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.
- I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.
- I am quite serious when I say that I do not believe