Wisdom of Warren Buffett

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I’m constantly having to learn new things.  For example, it’s only recently that I thought about the difference between being smart and possessing wisdom. It was brought to the fore again when, on holiday, I tested the power of the wifi by going to Youtube to play something – anything.  Youtube’s  algorithm suggested I watch an interview with Warren that I hadn’t seen before.  So I did.


He was asked about the keys to success.  He did not jump to technical knowledge, high IQ, obsessive focus, ability to pass exams, wit or being good with money.

No, for him the key lies in good relationships, following simple easy-to-understand principles, being a principled person and investing in yourself.

I have been around universities and the City a lot, and met many smart people, but few wise ones.  Smart ones are often quick-witted, know lots of facts, have a sound grasp of a discipline, erudite and can pass exams/write academic papers/analyse companies.

Wisdom is more about good judgement in putting together experience and knowledge. Good judgement requires first perception of what is really important to humans, to penetrate to the core of happiness.

To then create habits of thinking that are based on precepts of decency, honour, love, respect, truth, common sense, balancing self-interest with the common good.  In short, to develop good character.

To then use those principles in endeavour, whether that be in medicine, social care, running companies or investing.

And finally to find contentment in knowing that there is much to admire, love and value that is outside the realm of what some would call “success”, from the beauty of the mountain to the joy of family to a sense of purpose and accomplishment however small in the eyes of the world.

Enough of my ideas – here is my transcript of Buffett’s answers:

(From “Warren Buffett shares advice on becoming successful” Yahoo FinanceYahoo Finance Editor-In-Chief Andy Serwer interviewing)

Q: Warren, how would you define true success?

A: Well, I’ve said many times that if you get to be 65 or 70 and later and the people you want to have love you actually do love you, you’re a success. I’ve never seen anybody that reaches that age – I’m not taking about somebody in extreme poverty or pain or something – I’ve never seen anybody, that if they have a lot of people that love them that is other than happy.

And I’ve seen some very, very wealthy people that they give testimonial [unclear] to, and they name schools after and everything, and nobody loves ‘em. The kids would say “he’s in the attic, in the attic” if anyone came.

Q: What are say three pieces of advice to people looking to succeed in business?

A: Well, by far the best investment you can make is in yourself. For ex

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