Wise quotes series - I

"The line separating investment and speculation, which is never bright and clear, becomes blurred still further when most market participants have recently enjoyed triumphs.

Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money. After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of Cinderella at the ball. They know that overstaying the festivities -- that is, continuing to speculate in companies that have gigantic valuations relative to the cash they are likely to generate in the future -- will eventually bring on pumpkins and mice. But they nevertheless hate to miss a single minute of what is one helluva party.

Therefore, the giddy participants all plan to leave just seconds before midnight. There's a problem, though: They are dancing in a room in which the clocks have no hands."

- Berkshire Hathaway 2000 Chairman's Letter


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"The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage."
(The moat that we always talked about.)
--Warren Buffett, Fortune magazine, 11/22/99


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"The most common cause of low prices is pessimism - some times pervasive, some times specific to a company or industry. We want to do business in such an environment, not because we like pessimism but because we like the prices it produces. It's optimism that is the enemy of the rational buyer."




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"Time is the enemy of the poor business and the friend of the great business. If you have a business that's earning 20%-25% on equity, time is your friend. But time is your enemy if your money is in a low return business."
(Why park your cash in somewhere with low return wasting opportunity cost?)

--Warren Buffett, 1998 Berkshire Annual Meeting


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"Only those who will be sellers of equities in the near future should be happy at seeing stocks rise. Prospective purchasers should much prefer sinking prices."
(This I will take with a bigger pinch of salt. We need to know why prices sink in the first place.)

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Lastly... a video on Warren Buffett's advice for young people:



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