Warren Buffett: The Oracle of Omaha

Warren Buffett (b. 1930) is an American investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Main shareholder and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, he is one of the richest men in the world, ranked in the top ten of the world's fortunes, according to Forbes magazine. Despite this, Buffett stands out for his austerity in his personal life. In 2007, Time magazine included him among the 100 most influential people in the world. Several books have been written about his investment and management style, such as "The Tao of Warren Buffett" and "Warren Buffett and The Interpretation of Financial Statements", both by Mary Buffett and David Clark. 

Here are 10 pieces of advice found in Buffett’s books, TV appearances, and other types of publication: 

1. Make the most of what you know, that's where the wealth is. 

If you focus on what's yours, on what makes you unique, you'll probably make a difference and have a chance to earn nice profits. If, on the other hand, you are more focused on your weaknesses, you will probably never excel at anything. As Dan Sullivan said: "If you spend a lot of time working on weaknesses, you end up with a lot of strong weaknesses.

2. Some things take time, regardless of talent or effort. 

The harvest, regardless of the farmer's talent or the effort put into the planting process, is not harvested the day after planting. Some things need to take root until you see them blossom. Everything that is worthwhile requires a maturation process for it to have stability and solidity. What is raised on mud materials, sooner or later, ends up falling down. Too much force on the machine ends up burning the engine.

3. It is not possible to make good business with a bad person. 

In one of the scenes from the 1993 movie Indecent Proposal, directed by Adrian Lyne, and starring Robert Redford, Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson, the lead actors, it is said, "I guess if you make a deal with the devil, sooner or later you have to pay for it." It tends to happen that way, in life and in business. The devil has no principles or scruples. Loyalty is not his best virtue. He uses others strictly according to his interests, and when they no longer serve him, he uses them like a throwaway Kleenex. We must be careful not to fall into the temptation of taking the quick shortcut; we must anticipate events before it is too late.

4. It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about it, you will do things differently. 

This is quite straightforward. Building a brand is not a matter of two days. You don't build a brand through one-off successes, but through consistency and coherence over time. And that takes years. A reputable company is one that has earned a reputation for delivering what it promises. It has credibility, and customers know where it stands. However, when trust, the variable on which reputation is built, is betrayed, restoring it may be difficult. Building a house takes time; tearing it down takes a matter of seconds.

5. We will know who was swimming naked when the tide goes out. 

Things are not always what they seem, and even less so in good economic times, when it seems that everything in the garden is rosy. There is a positive side to crises: they clean up the market and reveal who is and who is not so good, separating the wheat from the chaff.  The most prepared survive and improve their brand; the rest simply disappear. Many people say "I have closed my business because of the economic crisis", but few say "I am doing well because of economic growth". Curious symmetry, isn't it? We have an amazing facility to justify successes in terms of personal factors, and failures, in terms of external or third-party causes.

6. Time is the friend of good business and the enemy of mediocre business. 

Haste has never been a good advisor. And that is precisely the sin that many people commit: they do not look for solutions, but for miracles. For example: "learn perfect Spanish in 10 days", "become a leader in two weekends" or "learn to negotiate with our online course". It doesn't work like that. This is reminiscent of the anecdote of two friends who meet after a long time. One of them had done very well in life, and the other asks him: "Hey, Charles, how did you manage to do all this? To which Charles replies, "By working hard." And the other one concludes: "Man, that's how anyone can do it". We look for pills we can swallow to solve our problems: the happiness pill, the leadership pill or the motivation pill. There is bad news about this: there is no such pill. Any process of change and personal improvement requires determination, will and patience.

7. It is much better to buy a fantastic company at a fair price than a normal company at a fantastic price. 

There is no better investment than quality. Quality always ends up making a place for itself in the market. You have to go for the quality. It has always been said that cheap is expensive. And that's usually true. But that requires knowing how to look at the long term and not be fooled by the suffocating short term. Quality is a philosophy of life that manifests itself in professionalism, rigor, commitment and customer orientation, among other factors, and it usually pays off. On the contrary, getting carried away by the latest fashion or by the voices that mark the present is not usually the most appropriate thing to do.

8. It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to achieve extraordinary results. 

But it is necessary to do certain things repeated day after day, and without missing a single appointment; and we repeat: none. Consistency is what allows us to conquer those goals we long for. Everyone practices habits that define successful people, the problem is that they are punctual and non-recurring actions. For example, you have committed yourself to go jogging after work without failing a single day. You started well, with enthusiasm and enthusiasm. You even bought new running shoes. But a day comes when you're tired, it's cold, it's drizzling in the street... And on top of that, Liverpool is playing a Champions League match. And you miss. And you miss another day. And then another one. And so on until you give up. Running is equivalent to dieting, learning Spanish or French, going to the gym, ballroom dancing or anything else you can think of.

9. Someone rests in the shade today because years ago someone planted the tree. 

One of the greatest injustices in life is to say: "I have achieved this without anyone's help". Because it is impossible to reach any summit without the help and support of third parties, be it economic, emotional, intellectual or any other kind of support. Sometimes, we even receive support from other people without being fully aware of it or without wanting to be. On the other hand, human history is the result of all the advances made by countless people over the centuries. If we travel from one continent to another by plane, if we talk to our partner by cell phone at a distance or if we send a report by e-mail, it is thanks to the contribution of past generations. We are not isolated from each other. Realizing this leads to generosity, to sharing part of what one knows, has or has at one's disposal to contribute to this chain. What is not shared is lost. It is shared knowledge that moves the world forward. 

10. Be fearful when others are greedy; be greedy when others are fearful. 

This is nothing other than acting in a sensu contrario manner. A Latin maxim says: Ubi multitudo, ubi malum, that is, where the multitude is, there is evil. What the majority thinks is not always wrong, but people who make a difference usually stand out from the crowd, follow their own instinct, and do not allow themselves to be influenced by the currents of opinion that represent the popular feeling, the general opinion, the standard. The philosopher Bertrand Russell said: "The fact that an opinion is shared by many people does not mean that it is not wrong". Shakespeare said the same in one of his plays: "The ignorant because they are many, do not cease to be ignorant".

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