I made the trip to Omaha recently to glean investing wisdom from two of the greatest investors of all-time — Warren Buffett and his second-in-command, Charlie Munger — but I left with much more. Here are 13 of the most memorable life lessons fromBerkshire Hathaway’s 2015 annual meeting.
1. On diets
Buffett said: “I am one-quarter Coca-Cola (KO). … if I had eaten broccoli and Brussels sprouts, I don’t think I would have lived as long.” Buffett added, “I don’t see a lot of smiles on the faces of people at Whole Foods (WFM).”
Both Buffett and Munger spent the majority of the meeting chowing down on See’s Candies and drinking Coke — though Buffett did mix in some pineapple juice for his voice. Say what you will about their diets — Buffett is 84, and Munger is 91. Maybe they cracked the code: Do what makes you happy.
2. On predicting the future
Buffett made it clear that Berkshire will “never made an acquisition based on macro factors.” This is because “we know we don’t know.”
Worrying about interest rates and the global economy is stressful, and you have no control over macroeconomic events. Just do as Buffett and Munger do: focus on what you can predict and control.
3. On taking risk
Buffett explained that he and Munger missed some opportunities early on and that they could have “pushed harder.” Munger replied: “It’s obviously true. If we’d used the leverage that some others did, Berkshire would have been much bigger … but we would have been sweating at night. It’s crazy to sweat at night.”
To which Buffett added slyly, “Over financial things.”
4. On finding the right people
When asked about Berkshire Hathaway’s investment managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, Munger said: “We want people where … every aspect about their personality makes you want to be around them. … Trust first, ability second.”
Surround yourself with people whom you want to be around and whom you can trust — sound advice.
5. On reputations
When asked how Berkshire Hathaway has built its culture, Munger suggested that it’s about “behaving well as you go through life.” Buffett added, “Over time, you get the reputation you deserve. … I believe the same is true for companies.”
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