Timeless quotes

Timeless Quotes

It is a good thing for an educated man to read books of quotations. 

– Winston Churchill.

Albert Einstein

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.”

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

“For an idea which, at first, does not seem absurd, there is no hope.”

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”


Ben Franklin


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

“He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees.”

“What you would seem to be, be really.”

“As Pride increases, Fortune declines.”

“Industry, Perseverance, & Frugality, make Fortune yield.”

“To-morrow I’ll reform, the fool does say; To-day itself’s too late; – the wise did yesterday.”

“Promises may get thee friends, but non-performance will turn them into enemies.”

“Enjoy the present hour, be mindful of the past; And neither fear nor wish the approaches of the last.”

“What signifies knowing the Names, if you know not the Natures of Things?”

“Well done, is twice done.”

“There are three Things extreamly hard; Steel, a Diamond and to know one’s self.”

“O Lazy bones! Dost thou think God would have given thee arms and legs, if he had not design’d thou should’st use them?”

“He’s a Fool that cannot conceal his Wisdom.”

“No gains without pains.”


“Beware of little Expenses: a small Leak will sink a great Ship.”

“Pay what you owe, and you’ll know what is your own.”

“Be always ashamed to catch thyself idle.”

“If you would keep your secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.”

“Many have been ruined by buying good pennysworths.”

“He that lieth down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas.”

“A Slip of the Foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the Tongue you may never get over.”

“He that waits upon fortune, is never sure of dinner. ”

“Would you live with ease, do what you ought, and not what you please.”

“People who are wrapped up in themselves make small packages.”

“Would you persuade, speak of Interest, not of Reason.”

“Do good to thy Friend to keep him, to thy Enemy to gain him.”

“The first Degree of Folly, is to conceit one’s self wise; the second to profess it; the third to despise Counsel.”

“You may delay, but Time will not.”

“Lost time is never found again.”

“Take this remark from Richard, poor and lame, Whate’er’s begun in Anger, ends in Shame.”

“All things are easy to Industry, all things difficult to Sloth.”

“He that cannot obey, cannot command.”

“If you would reap Praise you must sow the Seeds, gentle Words and useful Deeds.”

“Haste makes Waste.”

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

“If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher’s stone.”

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

“At a great penny worth, pause a while.”

“Ignorance leads Men into a party, and Shame keeps them from getting out again.”

“He that pays for work before it’s done, has but a pennyworth for two pence.”

“Anger is never without Reason, but seldom with a good One.”

“Thou can’st not joke an enemy into a friend, but thou may’st a friend into an enemy.”

“He that falls in love with himself, will have no rivals.”

“Patience in Market, is worth Pounds in a year.”

“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”

“Virtue & Happiness are Mother and Daughter.”

“Buy what thou hast no need of, and e’er long thou shalt sell they necessaries.”

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.”

“He that speaks much, is much mistaken.”

“Since thou art not sure of a Minute, throw not away an Hour.”

“’Tis easier to suppress the first Desire, than to satisfy all that follow it.”

“He that pursues two hares at once, does not catch one lets t’other go.”

“The sleeping Fox catches no poultry. Up! up!”

“If your Riches are yours, why don’t you take them to t’other World?”

“What more valuable than Gold? Diamonds. Than Diamonds? Virtue.”

“Great Estates may venture more; Little Boats must keep near Shore.”

“’Tis easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.”

“Blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

“Diligence overcomes Difficulties, Sloth makes them.”

“Neglect mending a small Fault, and ‘twill soon be a great One.”

“Proclaim not all though knowest, or all though owest.”

“A Change of Fortune hurts a wise Man no more than a Change of the Moon.”

“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.”

“Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that’s the Stuff Life is made of.”

“Silence is not always a Sign of Wisdom, but Babbling is ever a Folly.”

“A long Life may not be good enough, but a good Life is long enough.”

“For Age and Want save while you may; No morning Sun lasts a whole day.”

“Don’t think so much of your own Cunning, as to forget other Men’s; a Cunning Man is overmatched by a cunning Man and a Half.”

“You may give a Man an Office, but you cannot give him Discretion.”

“He that doth what he should not, shall feel what he would not.”

“He is a Governor that governs his Passions, and he a Servant that serves them.”

“Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure.”

“Suspicion may be no fault, but showing it may be a great one.”

“A good Example is the best Sermon.”

“Wise Men learn by others’ harms; Fools by their own.”

“Laziness travels so slowly that Poverty soon overtakes him.”

“He that by the Plough would thrive, himself must either hold or drive.”

“Life with Fools consists in Drinking; with the wise Man, living’s Thinking.”

“The second Vice is Lying; the first is running in Debt.”

“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”

“The honest Man takes Pains, and then enjoys Pleasures; the knave takes Pleasure, and then suffers Pains.”

“To be proud of Knowledge, is to be blind with Light.”

“Get what you can, and what you get hold; ‘tis the Stone that will turn all your Lead into Gold.”

“An honest Man will receive neither Money nor Praise that is not his due.”

“Men take more pains to mask than mend.”

“To be proud of Virtue, is to poison yourself with the Antidote.”

“One To-day is worth two To-morrows.”

“Idleness is theDead Sea, that swallows all Virtues: Be active in Business, that Temptation may miss her Aim; the Bird that sits, is easily shot.”


Ben Graham


“If you are shopping for common stocks, choose them the way you would buy groceries, not the way you would buy perfume.”

“Individuals who cannot master their emotions are ill-suited to profit from the investment process.”

“The underlying principles of sound investment should not alter from decade to decade, but the application of these principles must be adapted to significant changes in the financial mechanisms and climate.”

“Obvious prospects for physical growth in a business do not translate into obvious profits for investors.”

“The investor’s chief problem – and even his worst enemy – is likely to be himself.”

“Finance has a fascination for many bright young people with limited means. They would like to be both intelligent and enterprising in the placement of their savings, even though investment income is much less important to them than their salaries. This attitude is all to the good. There is a great advantage for the young capitalist to begin his financial education and experience early. If he is going to operate as an aggressive investor he is certain to make some mistakes and to take some losses. Youth can stand these disappointments and profit by them. We urge the beginner in security buying not to waste his efforts and his money in trying to beat the market. Let him study security values and initially test out his judgment on price versus value with the smallest possible sums.”

“Most businesses change in character and quality over the years, sometimes for the better, perhaps more often for the worse. The investor need not watch his companies’ performance like a hawk; but he should give it a good, hard look from time to time.”

“Basically, price fluctuations have only one significant meaning for the true investor. They provide him with an opportunity to buy wisely when prices fall sharply and to sell wisely when they advance a great deal. At other times he will do better if he forgets about the stock market and pays attention to his dividend returns and to the operating results of his companies.”

“The most realistic distinction between the investor and the speculator is found in their attitude toward stock-market movements. The speculator’s primary interest lies in anticipating and profiting from market fluctuations. The investor’s primary interest lies in acquiring and holding suitable securities at suitable prices. Market movements are important to him in a practical sense, because they alternately create low price levels at which he would be wise to buy and high price levels at which he certainly should refrain from buying and probably would be wise to sell.”

“It is far from certain that the typical investor should regularly hold off buying until low market levels appear, because this may involve a long wait, very likely the loss of income, and the possible missing of investment opportunities. On the whole it may be better for the investor to do his stock buying whenever he has money to put in stocks, except when the general market level is much higher than can be justified by well-established standards of value. If he wants to be shrewd he can look for the ever-present bargain opportunities in individual securities.”

“The risk of paying too high a price for good-quality stocks – while a real one – is not the chief hazard confronting the average buyer of securities. Observation over many years has taught us that the chief losses to investors come from the purchase of low-quality securities at times of favorable business conditions. The purchasers view the current good earnings as equivalent to “earning power” and assume that prosperity is synonymous with safety.”

“Even with a margin [of safety] in the investor’s favor, an individual security may work out badly. For the margin guarantees only that he has a better chance for profit than for loss – not that loss is impossible. But as the number of such commitments is increased the more certain does it become that the aggregate of the profits will exceed the aggregate of the losses.”

“Investment is most intelligent when it is most businesslike. It is amazing to see how many capable businessmen try to operate on Wall Street with complete disregard of all the sound principles through which they have gained success in their own undertakings. Yet every corporate security may best be viewed, in the first instance, as an ownership interest in, or a claim against, a specific business enterprise. And if a person sets out to make profits from security purchases and sales, he is embarking on a business venture of his own, which must be run in accordance with accepted business principles if it is to have a chance of success.”

“Do not try to make “business profits” out of securities – that is, returns in excess of normal interest and dividend income – unless you know as much about security values as you would need to know about the value of merchandise that you proposed to manufacture or deal in.”

Do not let anyone else run your business, unless (1) you can supervise his performance with adequate care and comprehension or (2) you have unusually strong reasons for placing implicit confidence in his integrity and ability. For the investor this rule should determine the conditions under which he will permit someone else to decide what is done with his money.”

“Operations for profit should be based not on optimism but on arithmetic.”

“Have the courage of your knowledge and experience. If you have formed a conclusion from the facts and if you know your judgment is sound, act on it – even though others may hesitate or differ. You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.”

“In the world of securities, courage becomes the supreme virtue after adequate knowledge and a tested judgment are at hand.”

“To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks.”


Charlie Munger


“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up.”

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.”

“Choose clients as you would friends.”

“The best armour of 0ld age is a well-spent life preceding it.”

“When you borrow a man’s car, always return it with a tank of gas.”

“If only I had the influence with my wife and children that I have in some other quarters!”

“Take a simple idea and take it seriously.”

“In business we often find that the winning system goes almost ridiculously far in maximizing and or minimizing one or a few variables — like the discount warehouses of Costco.”

“Don’t do cocaine. Don’t race trains. And avoid AIDS situations.”

“We look for a horse with one chance in two of winning and which pays you three to one.”

“You’re looking for a mispriced gamble. That’s what investing is. And you have to know enough to know whether the gamble is mispriced. That’s value investing.”

“It takes character to sit there with all that cash and do nothing. I didn’t get to where I am by going after mediocre opportunities.”

“A great business at a fair price is superior to a fair business at a great price.”

“All intelligent investing is value investing — acquiring more than you are paying for.”

“You must value the business in order to value you the stock.”

“No wise pilot, no matter how great his talent and experience, fails to use his checklist.”

“There are worse situations than drowning in cash and sitting, sitting, sitting. I remember when I wasn’t awash in cash — and I don’t want to go back.”

“…it never ceases to amaze me to see how much territory can be grasped if one merely masters and consistently uses all the obvious and easily learned principles.”

“Once you get into debt, it’s hell to get out. Don’t let credit card debt carry over. You can’t get ahead paying eighteen percent.”

“If you always tell people why, they’ll understand it better, they’ll consider it more important, and they’ll be more likely to comply.”

“Spend less than you make; always be saving something. Put it into a tax-deferred account. Over time, it will begin to amount to something. This is such a no-brainer.”

“You don’t have to be brilliant, only a little bit wiser than the other guys, on average, for a long, long time.”

“Three rules for a career: 1) Don’t sell anything you wouldn’t buy yourself; 2) Don’t work for anyone you don’t respect and admire; and 3) Work only with people you enjoy.”

“I won’t bet $100 against house odds between now and the grave.”

“I try to get rid of people who always confidently answer questions about which they don’t have any real knowledge.”

“…being an effective teacher is a high calling.”

“I believe in the discipline of mastering the best that other people have ever figured out. I don’t believe in just sitting down and trying to dream it all up yourself. Nobody’s that smart…”

“Without numerical fluency, in the part of life most of us inhibit, you are like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.”

“In my life there are not that many questions I can’t properly deal with using my $40 adding machine and dog-eared compound interest table.”

“IYou need a different checklist and different mental models for different companies. I can never make it easy by saying, ‘Here are three things.’ You have to derive it yourself to ingrain it in your head for the rest of your life.”I
“IWe both insist on a lot of time being available almost every day to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. We read and think. So Warren and I do more reading and thinking and less doing than most people in business. We do that because we like that kind of a life. But we’ve turned that quirk into a positive outcome for ourselves.”
“The way to win is to work, work, work, work and hope to have a few insights… And you’re probably not going to be smart enough to find thousands in a lifetime. And when you get a few, you really load up. It’s just that simple.”
“Darwin probably changed my life because I’m a biography nut, and when I found out the way he always paid extra attention to the disconfirming evidence and all these little psychological tricks. I also found out that he wasn’t very smart by the ordinary standards of human acuity, yet there he is buried in Westminster Abbey. That’s not where I’m going, I’ll tell you.”
Michel de Montaigne
“I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


“The great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”


Seth Klarman


“As value investors, our business is to buy bargains that financial market theory says do not exist. We’ve delivered great returns to our clients for a quarter century—a dollar invested at inception in our largest fund is now worth over 94 dollars, a 20% net compound return. We have achieved this not by incurring high risk as financial theory would suggest, but by deliberately avoiding or hedging the risks that we identified.”

“To achieve long-term success over many financial market and economic cycles, observing a few rules is not enough. Too many things change too quickly in the investment world for that approach to succeed. It is necessary instead to understand the rationale behind the rules in order to appreciate why they work when they do and don’t when they don’t.”

“Rather than ratchet up risk, our approach has been to hold cash in the absence of opportunity, accepting a minor diminution in expected return where, and only where, thehistoric returns have been particularly out sized for the risk. There was never any logic, for example, behind the consensus industry annual return targets of 20% or more on bankrupt bonds or private investments. At times, an expected 15-18% return is ample, given thequalify of the underlying assets, the conservative nature of the assumptions made, and thelimited spectrum of things that can go wrong. Other times, even a projected 25-30% returnmight be inadequate, where the quality of the assets is suspect, the return is earned in arisky and unhedged currency, and the downside risk is larger than usual. The quality of management must be factored in. The expected duration of an investment may also play arole; a short-dated investment earning inadequate return is over soon, and one can move onto better opportunity. Long duration mistakes are the gifts that keep on taking, locking youin to low returns, or significant capital losses if you exit early.”

“Here’s how to know if you have the makeup to be an investor. How would you handle the following situation? Let’s say you own a Procter & Gamble in your portfolio and the stock price goes down by half. Do you like it better? If it falls in half, do you reinvest dividends? Do you take cash out of savings to buy more? If you have the confidence to do that, then you’re an investor. If you don’t, you’re not an investor, you’re a speculator, and you shouldn’t be in the stock market in the first place.”

“We believe that while investors need to focus great attention on the fundamentals, they must simultaneously answer the question: What’s your edge? To succeed in today’sovercrowded environment, investors need an edge, an advantage over the competition, tohelp them allocate their scarce time. Since most everyone has access to complete and accurate databases, powerful computers, and well-trained analytical talent, these resource provide less and less of a competitive edge; they are necessary but not sufficient. Youcannot have an edge doing what everyone else is doing; to add value you must stand apart from the crowd. And when you do, you benefit from watching the competition at work.”

“The overwhelming majority of people are comfortable with consensus, but successful investors tend to have a contrarian bent. Successful investors like stocks better when they’re going down. When you go to a department store or a supermarket, you like to buy merchandise on sale, but it doesn’t work that way in the stock market. In the stock market, people panic when stocks are going down, so they like them less when they should like them more. When prices go down, you shouldn’t panic, but it’s hard to control your emotions when you’re overextended, when you see your net worth drop in half and you worry that you won’t have enough money to pay for your kids’ college.”

“Investing in bargain-priced securities provides a “margin of safety”-room for error, imprecision, bad luck, or the vicissitudes of the economy and stock market.”

“Speculative approaches-which pay little or no attention to downside risk- are especially popular in rising markets.”

“It is easy to confuse genius with a bull market.”

“By holding expensive securities with low prospective returns, people choose to risk actualloss. We prefer the risk of lost opportunity to that of lost capital, and agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment espoused by respected value investor Jean-Marie Eveillard, when he said,”I would rather lose half our shareholders…than lose half our shareholder’s money…”

“For most investments, much can go wrong, including numerous factors beyond aninvestor’s control: the economy, the markets, interest rates, the dollar, war, politics, tax rates, new technology, labor problems, competition, litigation, natural disasters, fraud,dilution, accounting gimmicks, and corporate mismanagement. Some but not all of theserisks can be hedged, often only imprecisely and always at some cost. Other factors areunder an investor’s control, but are not always controlled: discipline; consistency; remainingwithin your circle of competence; matched duration of client capital with underlyinginvestments; prudent diversification; reacting rationally to news or market developments and of course, not overpaying”

“While it might seem that anyone can be a value investor, the essential characteristics of this type of investor-patience, discipline, and risk aversion-may well be genetically determined.”

“In short, we believe market efficiency is a fine academic theory that is unlikely ever to bear meaningful resemblance to the real world of investing.”

“I know of no long-time practitioner who regrets adhering to a value philosophy; few investors who embrace the fundamental principles ever abandon this investment approach for another.”

“While formulas such as the classic “net working capital” test are necessary to support an investment analysis, value investing is not a paint-by-numbers exercise. Skepticism and judgment are always required.”

“Valuation is an art, not a science. Because the value of a business depends on numerous variables, it can typically be assessed only within a range.”

“The stock market is the story of cycles and of the human behavior that is responsible for overreactions in both directions.”

“Investors should always keep in mind that the most important metric is not the returns achieved but the returns weighed against the risks incurred. Ultimately, nothing should be more important to investors than the ability to sleep soundly at night.”

“Markets are inefficient because of human nature – innate, deep-rooted, permanent. Peopledon’t consciously choose to invest with emotion – they simply can’t help it”

“So if the entire country became securities analysts, memorized Benjamin Graham’s Intelligent Investor and regularly attended Warren Buffett’s shareholder meetings, most  people would, nevertheless, find themselves irresistibly drawn to hot initial public offerings,momentum strategies and investment fads…People would, in short, still be attracted toshort-term, get rich quick schemes.”

“Everybody these days is a just-in-time investor. People say, ‘I’m going to leave my money in the market as long as possible, and then pull it out of the market just before I have to write the tuition check.’ But I think we’re seeing that the day you need to pull it out of the market, the market might be down 50 percent. It’s critical not to be greedy. Avoid leverage and don’t invest money that you can’t stand to lose.”“We continue to adhere to a common-sense view of risk – how much we can lose and the probability of losing it. While this perspective may seem over simplisticor even hopelessly outdated, we believe it provides a vital clarity about the true risks in investing.”

“Is or past success the result of skill or luck? Is it replicable, or merely a lengthy run of good fortune? We are confident that our success has not been the result of a favorable spin of a roulette wheel or a timely roll of the dice. It has been truncated, not heightened, risk. Our gains over the years have been earned, banked, redeployed into the next advantageousinvestment, and thereby compounded, again and again. With sound investment principles, acommitted and dedicated investment organization, a healthy and vigilant awareness of what can go wrong, and a strong sell discipline, investing is more akin to a high-yielding, periodically volatile, and non-guaranteed bank account than a game of chance. Can gains be lost? Of course they can, through laziness, sloppiness or hubris. Buck such a reversal is hardly inevitable, especially when one is aware of these risks. We work assiduously to maintain our gains, emphasizing as always the preservation of capital and, only when attractive opportunities become available, its enhancement.”

“While you know that our investments often stand apart from those of the crowd, you may not be aware of how deeply this contrarianism permeates our activities. Our investments can be remarkably contrary; we regularly search the “new low” list for investment ideas,while shunning names on the “new high” list. We purchase what the crowd is dumping. Wetypically buy stocks in the face of Wall Street “sell” recommendations, and reduce positions in their “buys” We eagerly assess financially distressed companies for opportunity while theworld experiences revulsion. For us, analytically complex, litigious, stigmatized, and shunned situations bought at the right price form the backbone of a limited risk portfolio of opportunity.”

“It is crucial to have a strategy in place before problems hit, precisely because no one can accurately predict the future direction of the stock market or economy. Value investing, the strategy of buying stocks at an appreciable discount from the value of the underlying businesses, is one strategy that provides a road map to successfully navigate not only through good times but also through turmoil. Buying at a discount creates a margin of safety for the investor—room for imprecision, error, bad luck or the vicissitudes of volatile markets and economies. Following a value approach won’t be easy for everyone, especially in today’s media-dominated, short-term oriented markets, in that it requires deep reservoirs of patience and discipline. Yet it is the only truly risk averse strategy in a world where nearly all of us are, or should be, risk averse.”

Warren Buffett

“Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget Rule No. 1.”

“A very rich person should leave his kids enough to do anything, but not enough so they can do nothing.”

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

“Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.”

“The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.”

“You do things when the opportunities come along. I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.”

“Can you really explain to a fish what it’s like to walk on land? One day on land is worth a thousand years of talking about it, and one day running a business has exactly the same kind of value.”

“You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”

“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

“Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”

“We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”

“Risk is a part of God’s game, alike for men and nations.”

“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”

“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.’”

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”

“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”

“Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.”

“Our favorite holding period is forever.”

“I don’t look to jump over seven-foot bars; I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over.”

“If a business does well, the stock eventually follows.”

“Why not invest your assets in the companies you really like? As Mae West said, ‘Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.’”

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

“Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.”

“Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre.”

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”

“Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.”

“There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”

“If you are in a poker game and after 20 minutes you don’t know who the patsy is, then you’re the patsy.”

Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.”

“The rich invest in time, the poor invest in money.”

“Beware of geeks bearing formulas.”

“Without passion, you don’t have energy. Without energy, you have nothing.”

“I get to do what I like to do every single day of the year.”

“I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on assumption they could close the market the next day and not re-open it for five years.”

“If past history was all that is needed to play the game of money, the richest people would be librarians.”

“The investor of today does not profit from yesterday’s growth.”

“The smarter the journalists are, the better off the society is to a degree. People read the press to inform themselves; and the better the teacher, the better the student body.”

“We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds.”

“Focus on your customers and lead your people as though their lives depend on your success.”

“I have no idea on timing. It’s easier to tell what will happen than when it will happen. I would say that what is going on in terms of trade policy is going to have very important consequences.”

“Cash never makes us happy. It’s better to have the money burning a hole in Berkshire’s pocket than resting comfortably in someone else’s.”

“Never invest in a business you can’t understand.”

Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction.”

“We’ve used derivatives for many, many years. I don’t think derivatives are evil, per se, I think they are dangerous. …So we use lots of things daily that are dangerous, but we generally pay some attention to how they’re used.  We tell the cars how fast they can go.”

“Only when you combine sound intellect with emotional discipline do you get rational behavior.”

“I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.”

“Every day, in countless ways, the competitive position of each of our businesses grows either weaker or stronger. If we are delighting customers, eliminating unnecessary costs and improving our products and services, we gain strength. But if we treat customers with indifference or tolerate bloat, our businesses will wither. On a daily basis, the effects of our actions are imperceptible; cumulatively, though, their consequences are enormous.”

“When our long-term competitive position improves as a result of these almost unnoticeable actions, we describe the phenomenon as “widening the moat.” And doing that is essential if we are to have the kind of business we want a decade or two from now. We always, of course, hope to earn more money in the short-term. But when the short-term and long-term conflict, widening the moat must take precedence.”

“A good managerial record is far more a function of what business boat you get into than it is of how effectively you row (that intelligence and effort help considerably, of course, in any business, good or bad). Should you find yourself in a chronically-leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”

“If you can’t tell whose side someone is on, they are not on yours.”

“But we do know that the less the prudence with which others conduct their affairs, the greater the prudence with which we should conduct our own affairs.”

“An investor cannot obtain superior profits from stocks by simply committing to a specific investment category or style. He can earn them only by carefully evaluating facts and continuously exercising discipline. Investing in arbitrage situations, per se, is no better a strategy than selecting a portfolio by throwing darts.”

“We don’t need a daily quote on our 100% position in See’s or H.H. Brown to validate our well-being. Why, then, should we need a quote on our 7% interest in Coke?”

“I certainly would not wish to own an equal part of every business in town. Why, then, should Berkshire take a different tack when dealing with the larger universe of public companies?”

“Neither we nor most business managers would dream of feverishly trading highly-profitable subsidiaries because a small move in the Federal Reserve’s discount rate was predicted or because some Wall Street pundit had reversed his views on the market. Why, then, should we behave differently with our minority positions in wonderful businesses?”

“I would rather be certain of a good result than hopeful of a great one.”

“Buy into, at a rational price, an easily-understandable business whose earnings are virtually certain to be materially higher fiver, ten and twenty years from now. If you aren’t willing to own a stock for ten years, don’t even think about owning it for ten minutes.”

“Over the years, a number of very smart people have learned the hard way that a long string of impressive numbers multiplied by a single zero always equals zero. That is not an equation whose effects I would like to experience personally, and I would like even less to be responsible for imposing its penalties upon others.”

“In a business selling a commodity-type product, it’s impossible to be a lot smarter than your dumbest competitor.”

“Said the pro: ‘Practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent.”

“If something’s not worth doing at all, it’s not worth doing well.”

“In the long run, managements stressing accounting appearance over economic substance usually achieve little of either.”

“We look for businesses earning good returns on equity while employing little or no debt.”

“In our investing, we search for situations in which both approaches give us the same answer.”
(The two approaches are: buying on “faith” in the management’s ability, a strong incentive system, and a satisfactory record versus an “analysis” approach where you analyze the numbers.)

“Our economic well-being is determined by their earnings, not their dividends.”

“Accounting numbers are the beginning, not the end, of business valuation.”

“Thus our first lesson: businesses logically are worth far more than net tangible assets when they can be expected to produce earnings on such assets considerably in excess of market rates of return. The capitalized value of this excess return is economic Goodwill.”

“See’s achieved their 25% after tax on net tangible assets not though the fair market value of the inventories, receivables or fixed assets; but through a combination of intangible assets, particularly a pervasive favorable reputation with consumers based upon countless pleasant experiences they have had with both product and personnel.”

“Owner’s Earnings = reported earnings + depreciation, depletion, amortization, and certain other non-cash charges such as Company N’s items – the average annual amount of capitalized expenditures for plant and equipment, etc. that the business requires to maintain its competitive position and unit volume.”

“Managers and owners need to remember, however, that accounting is but an aid to business thinking, never a substitute for it.”

“The percentage change in book value in any given year is likely to be reasonably close to that year’s change in intrinsic value… In all cases, what is clear is that book value is meaningless as an indicator of intrinsic value.”

“These are the goals we would have were we managing a family partnership, and we believe they make equal sense for the manager of a public company. In a partnership, fairness requires that partnership interests be valued equitably when partners enter or exit; in a public company, fairness prevails when market price and intrinsic value are in sync.”

“Common yardsticks such as dividend yield, the ratio of price to earnings or to book value, and even growth rates have nothing to do with valuation except to the extent they provide clues to the amount and timing of cash flows into and from the business.”

“What needs to be reported is data – whether GAAP, non-GAAP, or extra-GAAP – that helps financially-literate readers answer three key questions: (1) Approximately how much is the company worth? (2) What is the likelihood that it can meet its future obligations? And (3) How good a job are its managers doing, given the hand they have been dealt?”

“Managers thinking about accounting issues should never forget one of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite riddles: “How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg?” The answer: “Four, because calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.” It behooves managers to remember that Abe’s right even if an auditor is willing to certify that the tail is a leg.”

“Imagine the cost to us, then, if we had let a fear of unknowns cause us to defer or alter the deployment of capital. Indeed, we have usually made our best purchases when apprehensions about some macro event were at a peak. Fear is the foe of the faddist, but the friend of the fundamentalist.”

“Fear may recede with time, but the danger won’t – the war against terrorism can never be won. The best the nation can achieve is a long succession of stalemates. There can be no checkmate against hydra-headed foes.”

“Predicting rain doesn’t count; building arcs does.”

Winston Churchill

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

“Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.”

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”

“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”

“Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.”

“The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself.”

“War is mainly a catalog of blunders.”

“True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.”

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

“A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.”

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”