Lessons from Warren Buffett - XIV... - Views on News from Equitymaster

Helping You Build Wealth With Honest Research
Since 1996. Try Now

  • MyStocks

MEMBER'S LOGINX

     
Login Failure
   
     
   
     
 
 
 
(Please do not use this option on a public machine)
 
     
 
 
 
  Sign Up | Forgot Password?  

Lessons from Warren Buffett - XIV...

Oct 19, 2007

In the previous article in the series, we discussed the master's 1989 letter and got to know his views on growth rates in a finite world and the mischief being played by investment bankers and promoters in order to justify a rather 'difficult to service' fund raising.

As the years have gone by, we have noticed that the master's letters have become lengthier and have come packed with even more investment wisdom. This has however, made it difficult to incorporate all the wisdom from one particular year in a single article. Thus henceforth, in cases where we feel necessary, we might divide the letter from the same year into two or maybe even three different articles. The letter for the year 1989 is we feel, one of such letters and hence, the following few paragraphs contain some additional investment wisdom from the 1989 letter.

EV Stocks: Which is Tanushree's Top Pick?

In a section titled 'Mistakes of the First Twenty-five Years', the master has reviewed some of the major investment related mistakes that he has made in the twenty-five years preceding the year 1989. Let us go through those and try our best to avoid them if similar situations play themselves out before us:

"It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price. Charlie (Buffett's business partner) understood this early; I was a slow learner. But now, when buying companies or common stocks, we look for first-class businesses accompanied by first-class managements."

"Good jockeys will do well on good horses, but not on broken-down nags. The same managers employed in a business with good economic characteristics would have achieved fine records. But they were never going to make any progress while running in quicksand."

It should be worth pointing out that in the early years of his career, the master bought into businesses based on statistical cheapness rather than qualitative cheapness. While he experienced success using this approach, the difficult time faced by the textile business made him realize the virtue of a good business i.e. businesses with worthwhile returns and profit margins and run by exceptional people. According to him, while one may make decent profits in an ordinary business purchased at very low prices, lot of time may elapse before such profits can be made. Hence, he feels that it is always better to stick with wonderful company at a fair price, as according to him, time is the friend of a good business and an enemy of a bad business.

"Easy does it. After 25 years of buying and supervising a great variety of businesses, Charlie and I have not learned how to solve difficult business problems. What we have learned is to avoid them. To the extent we have been successful, it is because we concentrated on identifying one-foot hurdles that we could step over rather than because we acquired any ability to clear seven-footers."

The master's reluctance to invest in tech stocks during the tech boom is legendary and perfectly sums up what he intends to convey from the above paragraph. Invest in companies whose businesses are within your circle of competence and keep it easy and simple. According to him, human beings have this perverse tendency of making easy things difficult and one must not fall into such a trap.

The list of mistakes has a few more important points, which we would discuss in the next article in the series.

Lessons from Warren Buffett Series - Previous article | Next article | All Articles
Try the Warren Buffett Quiz

Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Lessons from Warren Buffett - XIV...". Click here!

  

More Views on News

6 Popular Stocks that Turned into Penny Stocks (Views On News)

Nov 27, 2021

A look at popular stocks that crashed big time and never recovered, i.e. which went from 'Multibaggers to Multibeggers'.

ONGC to NMDC: Here are 5 Stocks Value Investors Should Closely Track (Views On News)

Nov 26, 2021

Before investing in value stocks, research the company and gain insight into why the market is discounting it.

Infosys vs TCS: Which is Better? (Views On News)

Nov 26, 2021

In the post pandemic era, the top two IT companies in India are fighting to capture the growing demand for IT.

Shriram Properties to Hit the Bourses on 8 December. Here's What You Should Know Before Applying (Views On News)

Dec 4, 2021

This will be the second public listing of a property firm after Macrotech Developers Rs 25 bn IPO in April.

Equitymaster's Smallcap Guru on How to Invest in Smallcap Stocks in 2022 and Beyond (Views On News)

Dec 4, 2021

Equitymaster's lead smallcap analyst on how smallcap companies performed this year, the biggest opportunities for them, and a lot more.

More Views on News

Most Popular

Infosys vs TCS: Which is Better? (Views On News)

Nov 26, 2021

In the post pandemic era, the top two IT companies in India are fighting to capture the growing demand for IT.

This Multibagger Stock Zooms 20% After Dolly Khanna Buys Stake (Views On News)

Nov 24, 2021

Shares of this edible oil company zoomed over 50% in three days after ace investor bought around 1% stake.

6 Popular Stocks that Turned into Penny Stocks (Views On News)

Nov 27, 2021

A look at popular stocks that crashed big time and never recovered, i.e. which went from 'Multibaggers to Multibeggers'.

India's Top 5 Monopoly Stocks to Watch Out for (Views On News)

Nov 30, 2021

These 5 companies dominate their sectors with a huge piece of the pie.

5 Indian Companies Embracing Blockchain Technology (Views On News)

Nov 23, 2021

Blockchain adoption in India was slow in the past. Now, the technology is being well received.

More

Become A Smarter Investor
In Just 5 Minutes

Multibagger Stock Guide 2022
Get our special report Multibagger Stocks Guide (2022 Edition) Now!
We will never sell or rent your email id.
Please read our Terms

S&P BSE SENSEX


Dec 6, 2021 09:07 AM

MARKET STATS