A subtle art of living a life.
Reading Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, I found it quite remarkable. There are lot of goood stories in the book, but one very simple paradigm stood out to me.
Warren did not do anything extremely complicated, he just got really-really good at doing one thing better than everyone else, he did it every day, and he did it on his terms.
In a world filled with noise, egos, social media, and uncertainty, this book was a wonderful reminder that it is possible, no, it is necessary, to live the way you want to. One has to set his own standards and stick to them, no matter what the world wants, and then over time, it pays back with dividends.
There were four pillars to Warren’s way which stood out to me, and those were the kinds of things I would like to live by.
(1) He built the company on his own terms.
Warren got to work from home, on his schedule, doing the thing that he loved. He spent most of his time reading financial reports and analyzing companies. He only invested when he was certain the price was right, and he only communicated to his LPs once a year, and without disclosing too much detail.
He knew what made him tick, and what he needed to be most productive in his way, and he made the world bend over backwards to enable that.
(2) He did not seek public approval or recognition.
Time and time again in the book you hear of people on Wall St. and other places underestimating Warren because nobody knew who he was, or how wealthy he was. This wasn’t a detriment, instead it gave him power.
Warren was only keeping one scorecard, his own. His own performance mattered, and nothing else did. Ironically, over time, that gave him all the approval and recognition one could desire.
(3) Warren was honest.
Warren was confident in his performance, but respectful of people around him. Even though he consistently beat the market, to be extra careful, he made sure to always remind his investors that markets were unstable, and he was likely to lose all their money.
It doesn’t sound like he lied or cheated to get ahead, he just did his best work, empowered people around him to do the same, and gave them the tools to do their best.
There is a story in the book about a time when SEC came to question him. They read all the files and interviewed all the people, and they couldn’t understand why such a wealthy man was treating people right and not trying to screw anyone in the process. It was inconceivable to the SEC that an honest person could be running a business.
(4) He did not focus on money
Buffett’s business was structured entirely on the basis of finding great under-priced deals and then helping those business grow beyond their realized potential. Not only was he seeking a good deal in business, he was also extremely cheap in his personal life, only buying what he really needed, no frills. As a result, he always had money available for when a good deal came around.
I found his story fascinating, and inspiring. If a Billionaire could work from home, on his own terms, pay no attention to media or competition, be down to earth and yet exceptionally helpful to others, all while building a company worth about $800B as of today, there is no reason why any of us shouldn’t do it.
It does not take a genius, or some great foresight, or information only available to few. All it takes is an internal compass on how to go about your day, and some conviction that doing so will eventually yield the desired outcome.
So simple, so good. I would encourage you to read the book for yourself.
I keep a short list of books that I find memorable on my website. If you liked this note, then you might like some of the other books I’ve got listed there.
Lastly, this is mostly an AI newsletter, so here’s some AI for you.
Midjourney prompt that generated Warren Buffett was this:
/imagine warren buffett disney style flat pastel