63 Brand-New Quotes From Warren Buffett

The tried and true "classic" Warren Buffett quotes are classics because they're great, timeless bits of investing wisdom. But sometimes they can also feel a bit too well worn. Following are 63 brand-new quotes from Buffett, fresh from the May 4 Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) shareholder meeting.

1. On playing table tennis with Ariel Hsing at Borsheims: "If you're courageous you'll show up with your paddle and you'll look like an idiot."

2. "If the market continues as it has in 2013, this will be the first five-year period that Berkshire has underperformed. ... It won't be a happy day, but it won't totally discourage us."

3. On what makes ISCAR great: "[They] never stop improving the product, never stop trying to make customers happy." 

4. Responding to a shareholder who thanked him for letting attendees in early from the cold and rain: "If we had a company that sold coats, we would have left you out there."

5. On his successor: "It would be rejected like a foreign tissue if we got the wrong person in there."

6. "Our board is devoted to Berkshire -- we don't pay them huge sums of money to keep them there."

7. On the H.J. Heinz (UNKNOWN: HNZ.DL  ) deal: "It was an absolutely fair deal; I didn't have to change anything in the term sheet or the governance arrangement."

8. "A 16-year-old will have more accidents than me, not because I'm a better driver, but because the 16-year-old is driving a lot more and is trying to impress the girl sitting next to him. That doesn't work for me anymore."

9. "Our ability to sell insurance at a price that's considerably lower than most of our competitors ... and at the same time earn a significant underwriting profit, suggests that our selection process is working quite well."

10. "[Charlie] sent me out to try [Twitter] out and see if anything bad happened to me."

11. To short-seller Doug Kass: "You haven't convinced me yet to sell the stock, Doug, but keep trying."

12. "If I had to bet whether corporate profits would be 10% of GDP ... I would say I think they're likely to trend downward, but GDP will also be growing, so it won't be any terrible thing."

13. On quantitative easing: "We really are in uncharted territory. I have a lot of faith in Bernanke -- if he's taking a risk, he's taking a risk in an area he knows."

14. Again on quantitative easing: "My guess is that the Fed wishes it had done some more to be inflationary ... the easiest way to run up nominal GDP is to inflate."

15. "Interest rates are to asset prices what gravity is to the apple. When there are low interest rates, there is a very low gravitational pull on asset prices."

16. "We never stretch for yield."

17. On building its commercial insurance business: "It's better to build than to buy if you can find the right people."

18. "Of our $49 billion, we haven't moved anything to Bitcoin yet."

19. "Berkshire is the 800 number when there's panic in the markets and for one reason or another people need extra capital."

20. "I would think that if you come to a day when the Dow has fallen 1,000 points for a few days ... those naked swimmers will call Berkshire, and Berkshire's reputation will become even more solidified for providing capital to sound deals."

21. On big investments: "Our competitive advantage is that we had no competitors."

22. On Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG  ) and its customers' loyalty: "Any company that gets its customers to tattoo ads on their chests can't be all bad."

23. "If I were starting out in the auto insurance business, I'd try to copy GEICO. It wouldn't work, but it'd give me the best chance."

24. "If you set fudge down in front of me, I'll eat it."

25. On using lists: "I never make lists. I can't recall ever making a list in my life ... maybe I'll start."

26. "Breaking [Berkshire] up would lead to a poor result both now and in the future."

27. On challenges to the U.S.: "Our system works, but if you ask me the No. 1 problem, it's that health care cost."

28. On advice he'd give to himself 50 years ago: "Find what turns you on." (He's referring to work. Get your mind out of the gutter!)

29. "Berkshire is an unusually rational place."

30. "We actually contracted the business by National Indemnity by around 80% when the business became less attractive. I'm not sure that any company under the pressure of quarterly earnings could have done something similar."

31. "If we do something stupid, it's because we do something stupid ... no external factors are pressing on us, and it's a great way to operate."

32. "We're not going to take 98 cents for something that's going to give us a probabilistic loss of a dollar."

33. "The Canadian banking system is very strong, but compared to Europe, and compared to our banks of 20 years ago, [U.S. banks are currently] very strong."

34. "We will have another bubble, but usually you don't get it the same way you got it before."

35. "There some parts of the game that we don't understand, so we don't play with them."

36. "We're not looking at the aspects of the stock; we're looking at the aspects of the business."

37. "We always look at them as businesses, whether we're buying the whole thing or 100 shares."

38. On how he picks stocks: "It's not because I calculate some precise P/E ratio or book value ratio, but because I have an idea of what the company will look like in five years, and that there's a discrepancy between price and value."

39. "I don't know how I'd build my portfolio if I were just doing it by the numbers." (To which Charlie Munger responded, "You'd do it poorly." Zing!)

40. On economic forecasts: "Why spend time talking about something you don't know anything about? People do it all the time, but why do it?"

41. On Bill Gross' "New Normal": "It doesn't make any difference to me what he thinks about the future."

42. "I have a general feeling that America will continue to work well."

43. "What you do know to a very high degree of certainty: That BNSF will be carrying more cargo 10 years from now."

44. "If [investors] try to time their purchases, they will do very well for their broker and not very well for themselves."

45. "The Intelligent Investor changed my life ... Graham's book gave me a bedrock philosophy on investing that made sense."

46. On airline consolidations: "In some businesses you can have only two competitors, and they're still terrible businesses."

47. On Todd Combs' short-selling: "He was so successful with it that he stopped doing it."

48. To Doug Kass, on short-selling: "You don't have any competition from people who listen to us."

49. "There is no perfect mathematical formula for pricing a business."

50. "In stock markets it's an auction market, and crazy things can happen."

51. "I find it totally unproductive to discuss politics with people."

52. On the national debt: "This is not by far the country's toughest hour ... we'll do fine."

53. "Equities will do well over time -- you just have to avoid getting excited when other people are getting excited."

54. "Four or five times during their lifetimes, [investors will] see incredible opportunities probably in equity markets ... [they] have to have the mental fortitude to jump in when most are jumping out."

55. "There are a lot of track records that don't mean much."

56. "Our job when we hire people to manage money is to figure out if they're lucky coin flippers."

57. On insurance-business manager Ajit Jain: "If he came in at 1965 instead of 1985, we'd probably own the world."

58. "If Charlie and I were running $1 million now, we'd be looking into some very small things, some small discrepancies and certain situations. The opportunities are out there."

59. "I don't think we're remotely near a bubble now in terms of housing."

60. "When people get fearful, they get fearful en masse. Confidence comes back one at a time. When they get greedy, they get greedy en masse."

61. "When we see falling prices, we think it's an opportunity to buy."

62. "It would be a terrible mistake to put me in charge of social media at Berkshire Hathaway. And Charlie wouldn't be a good choice, either."

63. "More kids are ruined by the behavior of their parents than the size of their inheritance."

Is it too late to buy Berkshire?
Thanks in large part to Buffett's savvy, Berkshire Hathaway's book value per share has grown a mind-blowing 586,817% over the past 48 years. But with Buffett aging and Berkshire rapidly evolving, is this insurance conglomerate still a buy today? In The Motley Fool's premium report on the company, Berkshire expert Joe Magyer provides investors with key reasons to buy as well as important risks to watch out for. Click here now for instant access to Joe's take on Berkshire!


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  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2013, at 5:47 PM, Seanickson wrote:

    thanks for this great list. I wasn't able to make the trip to Omaha but thanks to you I didn't have to miss all the wisdom

  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2013, at 6:23 PM, topbeancounter wrote:

    This man is brilliant. A few confirmed my feelings, but all too few unfortunately.

    Good 'ol mid-western horse sense.

    I am printing out a set of these comments and hang them on the wall in my office.

    I record and listen to his CNBC visits several times before deleting them.

  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2013, at 6:42 PM, albinalbin wrote:

    The tried and true "classic" Warren Buffett quotes are classics because they're great, timeless bits of investing wisdom. Really?

    1. On playing table tennis with Ariel Hsing at Borsheims: "If you're courageous you'll show up with your paddle and you'll look like an idiot."

    5. On his successor: "It would be rejected like a foreign tissue if we got the wrong person in there.

    8. "A 16-year-old will have more accidents than me, not because I'm a better driver, but because the 16-year-old is driving a lot more and is trying to impress the girl sitting next to him. That doesn't work for me anymore."

    25. On using lists: "I never make lists. I can't recall ever making a list in my life ... maybe I'll start."

  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2013, at 6:49 PM, demodave wrote:

    That's a really amusing and thoughtful compilation. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for that! :)

  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2013, at 7:39 PM, VolBeast56 wrote:

    18. "Of our $49 billion, we haven't moved anything to Bitcoin yet."

    HAHAHAHA, I love this. The Bitcoiner's had a hissy fit after Buffet & Munger's comments

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2013, at 9:23 AM, MyPortfolioGuide wrote:

    Although I don't worship him like so many do...how can you not like some of these quotes?! Classic stuff from a sharp and accomplished mind.

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2013, at 11:33 PM, TerryHogan wrote:

    It's telling that although these are "new" quotes, most of them are basically variations on a theme that Buffett has been preaching for the past 30 years. I mean this isn't the first time he has praised "The Intelligent Investor". He has sticked to a successful method and it has worked wonders for him.

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2013, at 4:58 PM, PaFrogboss wrote:

    I'm sorry, but I'm really getting tired of the blind adoration some people heap on Warren Buffet quotes! What the heck is the meaning / use of --

    32. "We're not going to take 98 cents for something that's going to give us a probabilistic loss of a dollar."

    Maybe this is MBA-speak, but I would certainly accept any reasonable amount for an investment with a near- certain loss!

  • Report this Comment On May 20, 2013, at 2:41 PM, Peak2Trough wrote:

    I was there as well, here's a few gems I took away.

    64. Intrinsic value and book value have virtually no correlation. (Buffett)

    65. People who are good at math naturally look for math to explain investment decisions when often the competitive advantage is not revealed by mathematics. (Munger)

    66. Re: Fed policy, etc: Our current problems are quite confusing. In fact, if you aren't confused, you don't understand it very well. (Munger)

    67. Knowing the edge of your own competence is very advantageous. If you think you know more than you do, you won't do very well. This is particularly true in matrimony. (Munger)

    68. Re: Buffett's charitable gifts: [The money] has a lot more utility in the hands of other people than it does in my safe deposit box. (Buffett)

    Also, it's fair to point out re: 41 above, Charlie Munger's quote was, "I agree with Bill Gross."

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