Our Favorite Lines from Warren Buffett’s Annual Letter

February 25, 2017

Warren Buffett’s annual must-read letter to shareholders was released this weekend.

I consider it a mini-course in investing, with a strong side of humor – mentioning topics like colonoscopies, the Old Testament, and stockyards.

You can read it here.

But here are a few of my favorite Buffett-isms from this year’s missive. They’re all direct quotes from the letter:

 
  • Every decade or so, dark clouds will fill the economic skies, and they will briefly rain gold. When downpours of that sort occur, it’s imperative that we rush outdoors carrying washtubs, not teaspoons. And that we will do.
  • I’ll repeat what I’ve both said in the past and expect to say in future years: Babies born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.
  • My suggestion: Before even discussing repurchases, a CEO and his or her Board should stand, join hands and in unison declare, “What is smart at one price is stupid at another.”
  • If there were ever to be another Ajit and you could swap me for him, don’t hesitate. Make the trade!
  • As Charlie says, it’s great to have a manager with a 160 IQ – unless he thinks it’s 180.
  • We like to make hay while the sun sets, knowing that it will surely rise again.
  • When it comes to wind energy, Iowa is the Saudi Arabia of America.
  • In a couple of instances, I stumbled in assessing either the fidelity or ability of incumbent managers or ones I later put in place. I will commit more errors; you can count on that. Fortunately, Charlie – never bashful – is around to say “no” to my worst ideas.
  • Be aware, though, that it’s the growth of the Berkshire forest that counts. It would be foolish to focus over-intently on any single tree.
  • It is true that we own some stocks that I have no intention of selling for as far as the eye can see (and we’re talking 20/20 vision).
  • What is easy with millions, struggles with billions (sob!)
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