The 7 Most Eye-Popping Quotes From Warren Buffett

The Oracle of Omaha doesn't bite his tongue -- and his Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letter lays it all out.

Mar 13, 2014 at 7:00AM

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-B) (NYSE:BRK-A) shareholder letter is out -- and with $58 billion and 83 years to his name, the Oracle of Omaha has a lot to say. Here are the seven juiciest quotes from Buffett's wise words.

1. "After all, you could always own an index fund and be assured of S&P results."
Warren Buffett is usually first in line to point out the stupidity of most market minions, but his comparing of himself to the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) or one of its many index funds is laughable. In the past 20 years, Berkshire Hathaway stock is up 1,000%, smoking the S&P's returns.

BRK.A Chart

2. "No one likes to buy auto insurance. But almost everyone likes to drive."

Some businesses are built on desires -- Berkshire Hathaway's Geico is built on necessities. Its auto insurance offerings are what people need at a price they can afford, and Berkshire Hathaway knows it. Its massive market share has helped create a nearly impenetrable competitive moat, while the "little gecko continues to tell Americans how Geico can save them important money."

3. "Both companies [NV Energy and H. J. Heinz] fit us well and will be prospering a century from now."

Nv Energy Inc

Source: NV Energy, Inc.

Sure, his nickname's the Oracle of Omaha, but can Buffett really see into the future a century from now? In the case of his $18 billion spent to acquire NV Energy (NYSE:NVE) and Heinz, he certainly things so.

4. "The [employment] increase ... included one person at our Omaha home office."


Source: "Power lunch, Berkshire-style."

Last year, Berkshire Hathaway added 42,283 new employees to its ranks to hit a record total of 330,745. That's equivalent to the population of St. Louis or Honolulu. But in his obsession with shareholder value creation, that massive increase included only one hire at HQ. And just in case you were worried about fancy new Omaha offices, Buffett adds that the "gang still fits comfortably on one floor."

5. "A bull market is like sex. It feels best just before it ends."


Source: Wikimedia Commons, lngfbruno. Wall Street Bull. 

OK, so technically emerging-market mastermind Barton Biggs said it first, but Buffett quoted him in his letter to shareholders to make an important point: Timing is everything. Paying too much for anything is a bad idea, and "know-nothing" investors often invest everything when stocks are soaring too high. In a not-so-subtle allusion to his sexual simile, Buffett notes that "satisfactory results" are the most any wise investor should hope for.

6. "Come by bus; leave by private jet. Live a little."


Source: Gulfstream G550/GV.

While Buffett enjoys a five-minute commute in his Cadillac DTS, that doesn't stop him from promoting Berkshire-owned private-jet company NetJets for his shareholder conference attendees.

7. "Could anyone really believe the earth was going to swallow up the incredible productive assets and unlimited human ingenuity existing in America?"
In case you're wondering, it's a rhetorical question. Buffett asked this in dismay as millions sold their stocks in 2008 -- but Buffett held faithfully on. And in just half a decade, the Oracle of Omaha was proved right. From a peak just before 2008, shares are up around 35% -- and have kept up solidly with the S&P 500's (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) returns over the same period.

BRK.A Chart

Get the best of Buffett's letters
Warren Buffett's latest shareholder letter is full of wisdom. He's made billions through his investing-and he wants you to be able to invest like him. Through years of letters, Buffett has offered up investing tips to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Now you can tap into the best of Warren Buffett's wisdom in a new special compilation report from The Motley Fool. Click here now for a free copy of this invaluable report.

Justin Loiseau owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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