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Posts Tagged ‘Alice Schroeder’

And the Truth is, you are neither right nor wrong because people agree with you.  You’re right because your facts and reasoning are right.  In the end, that’s what counts.
 -–  Warren Buffett
(As quoted in: “The Snowball” by Alice Schroeder)
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The ideal business is one that earns very high returns on capital and that keeps using lots of capital at those high returns.  That business is a compounding machine.
   –  Warren Buffett
(As quoted in: “The Snowball” by Alice Schroeder)
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You absolutely never want to be in a position where tomorrow morning you have to depend on the kindness of strangers in the financial world.
  —  Warren Buffett
(as quoted in “The Snowball” by Alice Schroeder)
[…Unless you’re a “too big to fail” bank and the stranger is the American Taxpayer.  —  KMAB]
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Stocks are things to own over time.  Productivity will increase and stocks will increase with it.  There are only few things you can do wrong.  One is to buy or sell at the wrong time.  Paying high fees is the other way to get killed.  The best way to avoid both of these is to buy a low-cost index fund, and buy it over time.  Be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy, but don’t think you can outsmart the market.
  —  Warren Buffett
(as quoted in “The Snowball” by Alice Schroeder)
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The snowball just happens if you’re in the right kind of snow, and that’s what happened with me.  I don’t just mean compounding money either.  It’s in terms of understanding the world and what kind of friends you accumulate.  You get to select over time, and you’ve got to be the kind of person that the snow wants to attach itself to.  You’ve got to be your own wet snow, in effect.  You’d better be picking up snow as you go along, because you’re not going to be getting back up to the top of the hill again.  That’s the way life works.
  —  Warren Buffett
(as quoted in “The Snowball” by Alice Schroeder)
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There were only three ways the stock market could keep rising at ten percent or more a year.  One was if interest rates fell and remained below historic levels.  The second was if the share of the economy that went to investors, as opposed to employees and government and other things, rose above its already historically high level.  Or, he said, the economy could start growing faster than normal.  He called it “wishful thinking” to use optimistic assumptions like these.
  —  Alice Schroeder
From her book:  “The Snowball: Warren Buffet And The Business Of Life
[The above is part of a speech Warren Buffet gave at a conference in 1999, where he describes the economy in the middle of the dot-com boom.  It was, in fact, though not intended as such, a prediction of the dot-bomb bust.  Interestingly, the first two suggestions are exactly the course being used by the government today to try to get us out of the current housing depression – job recession.  We have kept the interest rates at an historically low level for almost two years and we have extended the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans.  It still seems to me, that it is “wishful thinking” this will get us out of our current financial quandary.  And I note that Warren Buffet was against extending the tax cuts.  —  KMAB]
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Last night I finished reading another of the $2 books I keep picking up at my local used bookstore (Half-Priced Books).  This was not one of the ones I was planning to take with me to Baltimore for my (now) aborted detail, but it was picked up shortly after I wasn’t able to go.
The book is titled: “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life“, and was written by Alice Schroeder (2008©).  The author spent several years with Mr. Buffett and seems to have had fairly unlimited access to his time and records in order to create this work.  And, it is a “work”, as it’s over 800 pages!   Having cautioned any readers about the volume of the tome, I’ll now state categorically it is well worth the time invested in reading it (pun intended).
If you know anything about Warren Buffett, it’s probably that he is one of the ten richest men in the world.  You may also have heard something about his personal philanthropy – he will be giving away tens of billions of dollars over the next decade.  How does such a man come to be so wealthy?  What “tricks” did he use?  And why does he now plan to give it away?  The answers appear to be he earned it by saving, investing, and having an incredible amount of focus and intensity; and, he plans to give it all away because he can.
That’s all you will really get out the book…  A personality, a philosophy and a lifestyle, but almost no tips of the trade or inside knowledge of how to make “smart” investments.  Sadly (or maybe not), this is what I was hoping to get from reading the book.  Buffett’s suggestion if you want to learn how to invest: read Benjamin Graham’s books.  After all, that’s what he (Buffett) did.  Again, having said the book is not what I hoped for – or expected – it turns out to be a terrific biography about a truly historical figure.  The book covers most of the 20th century and is almost a history book in itself.
I found the book to be extremely well written and I will even go so far as to admit I cried when Mr. Buffett’s wife passed away.  Highly recommended!
Last night I watched “On Golden Pond” with Hil.  We are both Katherine Hepburn fans and we have both seen this movie multiple times, but probably not in the last ten years or so.  Anyway, the movie co-stars Henry Fonda in his final movie role and for which he received an Oscar for Best Actor.   The movie is about an elderly couple trying to come to terms with family issues (cantankerous father and insecure daughter) as they also are trying to come to terms with their own mortality.  I believe it was nominated for ten Oscars and it won three.  I highly recommend it – for the actors, the cinematography and the story – all brilliant!
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