Berkshire Hathaway
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By DeliLama
January 6, 2004

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 "I am only 22 and look forward to many more years of successful investing. I have read a ton of books of stocks by people such as Peter Lynch and also Security Analysis and am finally looking into reading financial statements ( I know I am doing things a little backword) any advice on books i should read on this topic?"

Simple Answer

If you really want to learn how to read financial statements, get a copy of Wiley GAAP or other reference book and simply start going through financial statements of companies (start with small companies). When you run into something you don't know, look it up. If you can't get a good answer there, ask questions wherever you can. Call up the company and talk to investor relations. Always be on the lookout for good places to learn stuff.

Very Long Unrelated Rambling Which May be Entirely Useless to You

In my opinion, the most important investment a 22 year old can make is in their knowledge/education/experience. Which books you should read depends entirely on which direction you want to go. You're young, the world is big. You have an enormous number of choices. But in any case, as a future knowledge worker in the information age, you should be prepared to continue learning through your entire life. By coincidence, I've been in industry for 22 years and most of what I've learned came after college. In my opinion, you begin dying the day you stop learning.

If you choose a career you enjoy, it's far easier to continue learning over long time periods. You'll be wealthier both because it's more fun and because you'll end up being more productive. In my opinion, you can only build on strength and not weakness, which is the opposite of the American educational system approach which believes everyone should learn everything. Instead of trying to do everything, try to avoid having to do things you do badly and try to focus on doing things you do well.

Another area for a 22 year old to focus on is in establishing good habits. Time is the greatest ally of those with good habits and the worst enemy of those with bad habits. Nearly everyone underestimates the immense power of time. Every good habit you adopt and every bad habit your lose will make a huge difference in your life.

Live below your means. Money in reserve represents financial power to cushion the bumpy road through life. It also allows you to send your money to work every day instead of having to do it all by yourself. Far more than a million dollars will flow through your hands during your lifetime, so you will be responsible for allocating that much capital. Allocate it wisely. The biggest cause of poor people in rich countries is their own behavior.

Most of the decisions you make in your life don't matter. A few of them, however, are vital. Which ones are important depends entirely on your values, which only you can determine. Routinely ask yourself this one question, "What's the most important thing I can do right now?"

And never forget the lesson it took John D. Rockefeller a lifetime to learn: life can be fun.


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