Patience was the order of the day. When I wanted to get up and walk around I reminded myself that that man and the people in that room were willing to sit, listen, and wrestle with the questions, large and small, for whatever wisdom and understanding could be gleaned. What better company could I get this Saturday morning?
I try to think about what I learned, in no particular order.
- Warren in slow motion, circling more slowly, though just as widely, as he did before b he honed in on his ultimate point. At first, I took that it as a deficit but I actually gained from glimpses into his inner logic. In slow motion. I’ll have to rewatch parts of it.
- He revealed a lot in the old-time stories he told and wanted Charlie to recount some of his own stories. It appears Charlie’s personality and way of confronting bs was a great attraction to Buffett, considering Warren’s more peaceable personality. I’m sure he learned a lot about how to deal with difficult people and situations under Charlie’s tutelage.
- He handled Calpers masterfully. Long meandering Colombo-ing until he gently skewered them with their hidden agenda – even to them – and their arrogance. But face them down, directly, he did. How many people do you know that could do that, in public, so directly, so well?
- The firehorse/arbitrage thing. Funny how he wanted credit for it. Competitive. Something to think about.
- He wanted shareholders to know that he had constructed Berkshire Hathaway to withstand anything short of nuclear war.
- As for the state of the world—why discuss it? There are crazy people in the world and there is nothing you can do about it except go about your business as best you can. Focus what you can do something about.
- Disraeli may be right, but some anecdotes are valuable.
- He is using his position with grace, relating as much about his thinking as he can for the people it will matter to.
- Ajit’s biggest concerns are that insurance will be held liable for losses due to acts of sabotage and war.
- Greg is able.
- I appreciated his using images of the big aha!, the gestalts of perception. Seeing something a particular way and not being able to see that it may be something different than it appears. That he had pictures of this tells me that these experiences are central to his creativity/success. His realization that he had been looking at stocks completely wrong until he read Chapter 8 was an aha! moment. I postulate that it’s still possible to look at stocks that way even after reading chapter 8, if you haven’t the requisite experience to receive that information. Or in my case, forget and start reading Saul’s board.
I’m struck by how lucky I was to have met Buffett in the mid-90’s and to have been exposed to Charlie then, too. Knowing nothing about stocks, et al, it was a great time to learn from those masters. They were active in the media and there was a lot of video. The AOL board was just beginning and there were amazing people to be found there. Charlie’s reading lists were making the rounds and it was possible to pick up some pieces of Charlie’s lattice-work of concepts that makes investing part of worldly wisdom. And to learn how important worldly wisdom is beyond investing.
It was a great learning experience to watch the internet bubble build and burst as I read, MacKay’s, Extraordinary Popular Delusions, for the first time.
The pandemic interrupted and made small my world. I didn’t see Charlie and Warren so often on TV, or not at all. I got fomo reading the Saul board.
Happy to be reminded of what Warren and Charlie stand for as far as investing is concerned and am reminded to re-read The Intelligent Investor and some of the books that I wasn’t ready for, at the time.
If nothing else, seeing Warren and Charlie, together, with Becky, and the crowd milling around in the buying area, hearing about See’s Candy and visiting Clayton Homes, learning about Benjamin Moore paint—even via the internet, reminds me, again, of the importance of what I learned from Warren and Charlie and all the people that make this thing possible. Love and gratitude. Old and slow, but well-loved.
Patience. Things change, but principles endure.