Seldom are people like Warren Buffett born. Worth just about $114.75 in 1942 to owning The Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) and being worth a whopping $64.2 billion today, was a fun-filled road with all the ups and downs for the World’s 3rd richest billionaire.
It would be an understatement to call Warren a visionary. In fact, he envisioned what most of us would never at the very young age of 10, that he would be a very millionaire by the time he was 35.
Name: Warren Buffet
Date of Birth: 30th August 1930
Net Worth: $64.2 Billion as of August 2015
When he started off his career after education, he went through quite a struggle though he was very intelligent. Soon after, he was picking stocks that others were ignoring and his stocks went going up. He was devouring every annual report and remembered the balance sheets in his mind and he would know even after 3 years if the stocks got cheap and if he should buy them. During the first 5 years he was in business, between 1957-1961, the Dow Jones rose by 74% while Buffett’s investment had gone up 250%. In 1961 at the age of 30 he reached Millionaire status.
Although most of his life has been public, there are some interesting less known facts we found here:
1. Warren is known to exemplify the virtues of modesty, thrift and plain-spokenness that he learned from his childhood in Omaha, Nebraska, US.
2. Warren considers himself lucky, to be born in the Americas at his time to a supporting family, going to public school and having a father who supported him in his ideas of whatever he wanted to become. Later in life, he continued that demeanor with his kids.
3. Buffett started selling chewing gum and only allowed them to buy the entire pack instead of individual sticks. This strategy of waiting to reap rewards is even evident in his business principles today. He believes that very few practice the discipline of saying NO to something they are uncomfortable with in lieu of fast profits.
4. Warren liked numbers and he had a very amazing photographic memory and ability to recall and compute those numbers as required to see how they fit into the big picture. When he was 8-9 he knew he was going to make money in stocks and he used to keep charts on all kinds of stocks and he had memorized the population of different countries from the World Almanac his aunt bought him.
5. While in 10th grade, Warren Buffet accumulated $2000 from delivering newspapers and spent $1200 of his earning to purchase a 40-acre farm in Nebraska. He hired a farmer to work the farm. This is something he practiced even later when he chose to buy only those ailing companies, where he could trust the owners to manage the operations.
6. Buffett bought his first stock of three shares of Cities Service Preferred at $38 apiece, in 1942 when he was only 11 years old. He learned a big lesson for a beginning when he sold them off too early as he saw the stocks dipping and the same rose to $200 a share after his selling it at a marginal increase. He understood that he should trust his instincts and not be influenced by what people around him did. He follows this till date in his financial involvements to such great extent that his company only has an entry strategy of NO EXIT.
7. Warren was so informed and read so much that when at 19 he was not selected in Harvard, he chose wisely, to go to Columbia to study, where his financial idol, Benjamin Graham, taught. Graham’s principles of speculating value of a company and buying stocks greedily when people fear was a lesson that made him rich and his choices respected.
8. When he first formed the company after his education at Columbia, he had difficulties convincing more people to buy from him and he went to Dale Carnegie’s classes to learn public speaking and tune his presentation skills. Every year, people wait to hear him at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meet
9. During the days when the financial crisis was unveiling in 2008, he was viewed as the go to person, if you are in trouble, Warren Buffett can save you. The scenario has been recreated in the HBO movie ‘Too Big To Fail‘.
10. When asked what helped him more, his intelligence or his discipline, Warren Buffett quoted, “To be a Great Investor you don’t have to have a Terrific IQ. What you do need is the right temperament, you need to be able to detach yourself from the views of others. You need to be able to look at the facts about a business or an industry and evaluate a business unaffected by what people think. And that is very difficult for most people.”
11. On being asked in an interview of how he gets it right when it comes to investing in companies, he said, “Most people have a herd mentality which can develop into a delusional behavior. You have to come to your own conclusions based on the facts and if you don’t have enough facts to come to your own conclusions, you forget it and move to the next. The willingness to walk away from things is what is most needed.”
12. And when it comes to preparing for a career, he suggests, “Make a list and put down the things you like about your close friends and the qualities of those who you don’t like. Start focusing on the habits that you like and make it a part of your lives and change the qualities that you do not like. It’s enormously important to have people work with you in life, people will work with you if they like you. You choose what kind of human being you will be and others choose whether to associate with you or be led by you.”
13. Warren enjoys every day at the office as he never knows when it could be a big buy day. So that his respected decisions do not become trends and attract a lot of competition, he tries to invest quietly. He believes, “You have to learn to value businesses, you don’t have to be right on anything except one. There is no game like playing stocks, except you should not play too often.”
14. Being humorous, having a humble lifestyle and yet a shrewd business man within, he addressed a room full of students with an IQ of 160, to sell the extra 30 points to someone who needs it, as that’s all they need to be investors.
15. Though not technical, Warren Buffett’s daughter admitted in an interview that she hasn’t seen her father drink a sip of water, he survives on corn-on-the-cob, burgers and fries and cola. Even on his visit to China, he just survived on the McDonald’s coupons he had taken with him, his close friends say.
16. With such humility and such simple ways of life, the second richest man in the US, happily quotes “1% of my total wealth is enough for me and my family to lead a comfortable life, eating what we would like to eat and having a comfortable place to stay. The rest is of less use to us and more use to the world” and hence has donated most of his wealth for philanthropic activities through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and by building a foundation with a $1 Billion fund each for his children, so that they can decide what cause they would support and do the needful. His story is much more than a guiding light to break the belief of earning to leave a legacy.
Interestingly, we see a trend of him being more inclined to invest in the sectors he was associated with in his childhood – namely – newspapers (his investments in three newspapers including Washington Post and Omaha World-Herald), FMCG (based on his school days selling the chewing gums experience) and Investment (his aspiration to be a businessman at a very young age and his first stock purchase at 10).
The one who practices simplicity and humility, in spite of being rich and famous, is no less than a legend in our view. We salute this great man and his greatness and wish he lives to fulfill his desire of being the “oldest man there was”. Just a Medal of Freedom (from Obama) is not enough to honor him. He would need a lot of happy reformed people to fuel his smile.
We wish you to be more charismatic, healthy and amazing as always.
Happy Birthday, Warren Buffett!
The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.
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