Warren Buffett on Sex
The Motley Fool is sending a team of analysts to Omaha to deliver real-time coverage of "Woodstock for Capitalists" -- the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Follow along with their insights, notes, and videos at www.berkshire.fool.com. In the meantime, enjoy this classic Berkshire article straight from the Foolish archives!
Besides being the world's greatest investor, Berkshire Hathaway's (NYS: BRK.A) (NYS: BRK.B) Warren Buffett is a Michelangelo when it comes to drawing analogies. He is a master at distilling complex concepts into humorous one-liners that we can understand. And we tend to trust him because he only speaks about, and invests in, what he knows. He develops decades-long relationships with portfolio holdings including Coca-Cola (NYS: KO) , Wells Fargo (NYS: WFC) , and American Express (NYS: AXP) ; while he's been known to sneak a peek at companies outside his circle of competence, you'll never see him stray to Google or Cisco.
What does all this have to do with sex, you ask? Well, we already know that Buffett tends to stick to stuff he understands in and out. We also know that his analogies frequently involve sex. Ahem. You can connect the dots yourself. To help you, here are our favorite Warren Buffett thoughts on sex!
Buffett's advice seems to be to start early -- and we ain't talkin' retirement planning:
On being active: "It's nice to have a lot of money, but you know, you don't want to keep it around forever. I prefer buying things. Otherwise, it's a little like saving sex for your old age."
On career advice: "A few months ago I was talking to another MBA student, a very talented man, about 30 years old from a great school with a great resume. I asked him what he wanted to do for his career, and he replied that he wanted to go into a particular field, but thought he should work for McKinsey for a few years first to add to his resume. To me that's like saving sex for your old age. It makes no sense."
On loving your job: "You want to have a passion for what you are doing. You don't want to wait until 80 to have sex."
All this bedroom talk may have you wondering whether Buffett is straying too far outside his primary circle of competence. Not to worry:
On ninja-like focus: "You know, if I'm playing bridge and a naked woman walks by, I don't ever see her."
On due diligence: "Other guys read Playboy, I read annual reports."
On over-diversification: "If you have a harem of 40 women, you never get to know any of them very well."
Of course, maybe we're underestimating how large his circle is:
On internal yardsticks: "Would you prefer to be the greatest lover in the world and known as the worst, or would you prefer to be the worst lover and known as the greatest?"
Sometimes opportunity knocks. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may:
On investing in 1973: "I feel like an oversexed guy on a desert island. I can't find anything to buy."
On investing in 1974: "I feel like an oversexed man in a harem. This is the time to start investing."
An indecent proposal:
On selling your business to Berkshire vs. private equity: "You can sell it to Berkshire, and we'll put it in the Metropolitan Museum; it'll have a wing all by itself; it'll be there forever. Or you can sell it to some porn shop operator, and he'll take the painting and he'll make the boobs a little bigger and he'll stick it up in the window, and some other guy will come along in a raincoat, and he'll buy it.''
Buy and hold
" ain't dead:
On becoming a true investor: "We believe that according the name 'investors' to institutions that trade actively is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a 'romantic.'"
Some insights into the current economic situation that make us wonder which of these he's tried:
On the first stimulus package: "[It was like] half a tablet of Viagra and then having also a bunch of candy mixed in -- it doesn't have really quite the wallop."
Solicited to buy Bear Stearns, and asked if he wanted more information (from the Kate Kelly book Street Fighters): "It was sort of like having a woman standing in front of you who had taken half her clothes off and then asked whether she should continue, [Buffett] thought. Just as he'd want the woman to finish the job, he was certainly curious to hear what was happening that weekend with the embattled Bear."
On the speed of economic recovery: "You can't produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant. It just doesn't work that way."
Buffett knew a girl who knew a guy who knew a credit default swap:
On financially transmitted diseases: "Derivatives are like sex. It's not who we're sleeping with, it's who they're sleeping with that's the problem."
We showed you ours -- now show us yours (Buffett quotes in the comments section, that is).
At the time this
article was published Morgan Housel owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Anand Chokkavelu owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Cisco, Wells Fargo, and warrants on Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola, Berkshire Hathaway, Cisco Systems, and Google. The Fool owns shares of and has created a covered strangle position in Wells Fargo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Coca-Cola, Berkshire Hathaway, Wells Fargo, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a write covered strangle position in American Express. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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