You Got to Admire the Ability to Say Whatever

Buffett comment this week:

They are not new lessons. Never owe any money you can’t pay tomorrow morning. Never let the markets dictate your actions. Always be in a position to play your own game. Never take on more risks than you can handle. But all of those were old lessons, unfortunately. Even though I didn’t see it coming, those lessons which are timeless allowed us to in effect profit from it rather than suffer from it. Good businesses, good management, plenty of liquidity, always having a loaded gun; if you play by those principles you will do fine no matter what happens. And you don’t ever know what’s going to happen.

He knows how to spin a yarn. It’s almost like he has become Jason Bourne — an amnesiac on the loose.

17 thoughts on “You Got to Admire the Ability to Say Whatever

  1. Without gov’t bailouts, Buffett would have been toast. I guess you can say he’s smart for understanding the “too big to fail” concept, but what kind of sick individual places those kind of bets?

  2. Michael

    Despite your criticisms of Mr Buffett, would you agree that there’s a lot to be admired about a man who started with next to nothing and become one of the richest men in the world?


  3. Yes, it’s worth admiring his patience. He says “I’m greedy, but long term greedy”. That’s exactly the mindset you need to succeed in trend following.

  4. Ash, the point is the contradiction, not whether he is greedy or not.

    Buffett did not start with next to nothing.

  5. Michael –

    I guess it depends on what one means by ‘next to nothing’; I should have qualified what I wrote by adding ‘relative to his current wealth’.

    The point I was driving at is that his success is primarily the result of his own hard work and smart decisions. According to Wikipedia, in 1956 Buffett was worth $1.2 million when adjusted to 2009 dollars. To turn that into one of the largest fortunes anyone has ever accumulated is no mean feat!

    And on the topic of reasons to admire Buffett, his donations to charity are extremely laudable.


  6. Micahael –

    I don’t see Mr Buffett as a saint – his business decisions will produce losers as well as winners.

    But I don’t see him as Gordon Gekko either! He hasn’t broken the law, and he’s a man who will leave the world a better place as a result of his being here.


  7. Jeff, not sure why you post here. You don’t win me over in anything you say. In fact, everything learned in my adult life is diametrically opposed to your way of thinking, your way of logic. Not sure if you are even aware of this or not, but you clearly worship authority. I don’t.

    I also don’t think in all my years of having a blog up, have I seen someone use more logical fallacies in argument. It’s almost every word. That is bizarre to me. You should go read up on that, but you won’t.

    Your posts are only here as I want readers to see the wrong way to think. Do you find it interesting that no great trend follower that I have ever spent time with … doesn’t think or approach the world like you?

  8. Michael

    You are an authority, and it should be clear by now that I don’t worship you! 🙂

    I don’t worship authority at all. If I did, I wouldn’t disagree constantly with decisions by people like politicians and judges. But I’m also critical of other people’s critical thinking, which perhaps leads you to believe I see the world through rose tinted spectacles. Let me assure you I don’t.

    And believe it or not, I do agree with much of what you write!


  9. Michael – agreed, his recent pronouncements have been hogwash and a clear attempt to rewrite recent history.

    But before dismissing his entire career, it’s well worth picking out the one thing he has that we trend followers need in abundance: patience, and the ability to stick to a strategy through all its ups and down.

  10. Ash, when the fall of 08 happened…patience is not what got him through. That’s rewriting history.

  11. Very true, he’s lost a lot of credibility recently, especially as he was caught out being heavily short puts just before the crash. I just rather like his “long term greedy” quote, even though his recent behaviour now makes him a poor example of how to implement it.

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