Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Warren Buffett - How to Be a Success

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There will be a short speech in this MBA talk, and then there will be a question and answer session. It is important to think about your future. Everyone graduating has the ability to make a lot of money and to succeed. However in order to succeed, more is needed than intellect and energy. You also need integrity. Without integrity, intellect and energy doesn't matter too much.

Think for a moment that you had the right to buy 10% of one of your classmates for the rest of their lifetime. Are you going to give them an IQ test or pick the one with the best grades? Probably not. If you thought about this for an hour, you would probably invest in the person who has the type of leadership qualities, the type of person who has the ability to get other people to do what they want. By the same token, if you had to go short on one of your classmates, then you would also look for qualities like dishonesty and cutting corners.

As you reflect on those qualities, you will notice that they are all qualities that are achievable. They are not forbidden to other people. There aren't any negative qualities that you have to have. They are all simply habitual. Habits are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to cast off. When you are young, you can choose to have any habits that you want. Look around at the people that you admire and try to develop patterns of behavior like them. Benjamin Franklin did this and Benjamin Graham did it as well.

Warren Buffett is not a macro guy. But you can borrow money in Japan at 1%. You would think that you could make money if you can borrow money at 1%. However, he is having trouble finding anything. It is hard to make a lot as an investor if the business you are interested in doesn't make a large return on equity. However, you could take the cigar butt approach to investing. If you are looking for a free puff, then you can purchase a lousy business at a discount. Time is the friend of the wonderful business and the enemy of the lousy business. Japan had an incredible market without a lot of incredible businesses.

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