8 Life Lessons to be Learned from Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is famous for his strategic investing and for heading mega-conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway. He is often looked to for advice with business and investing, but under his wise exterior, he’s just a person. While there is plenty to be learned from Buffett for your career, leadership, and of course investing, there are some general life lessons Buffett can teach you, too.

1) Don’t give up.

An important lesson for anyone, Buffett learned this early on in his career with Berkshire. The firm originally specialized in the textiles that lined men’s suits, and unfortunately, it was a failing company. Buffett saw different potential and with a lot of patience and perseverance was able to create a huge conglomerate, which today is the fourth most successful business in the country. 

2) There’s more to life than money.

It may seem strange that the second wealthiest man in the world can teach you that there’s more to life than money, but it’s true! Buffett has kept his $100,000 salary for most of his career with Berkshire, and still resides in his modest home in Omaha, Nebraska which he purchased in 1958 for $31,500.

“If there is a place that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and you do what you love doing, you will do fine. You’re rich if you are working around people you like.”

3) Healthy hobbies are important.

Buffett spends arguably a little too much time each week playing bridge, spends a ton of time reading, and enjoys playing the ukulele— plus, he’s CEO of one of the largest companies in the country. If he has time to have healthy hobbies, you probably do too.

4) And so are healthy relationships.

Warren Buffett often says that the best thing he ever did was choose the right heroes, as he believes that you pick up the behavior of the people you surround yourself with.

“Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be.”

5) Communication is key.

Actually, communication is the one skill Buffett believes everyone should try to learn. He says that communication, depending on how comfortable with it you are, is either going to be an asset or a liability for the rest of your life. He used to be terrified of it— he signed up for a public speaking course twice before following through— but eventually he conquered that fear, and it’s safe to say we should all be glad he did.

6) Cut down on meetings.

Buffett prides himself on being able to keep his schedule wide open, and a lot of that is due to his “less is more” attitude when it comes to meetings. He knows that scheduling meetings with all of his subsidiary managers and shareholders would take an enormous amount of time, and a lot of it might be a waste, so Buffett tries to cover a lot of bases in his annual shareholder letter. It’s a solid idea, and more and more CEO’s are starting to do the same with their companies.

7) Resist the urge to jump on the bandwagon.

“Be fearful when others are greedy, be greedy when others are fearful,” is one of the most famous Buffett quotes there are.

He is famous for investing in what he knows, whatever lies in his circle of competence, but steering clear of the bandwagon. Stocks like Facebook, whose popularity could be fleeting yet profitable, is a risk that Buffett wouldn’t be willing to take.

8) Your reputation is important.

Buffett has put a lot of effort into keeping his own reputation and Berkshire’s in pristine shape; because of that, Berkshire is held in high regards and that can open up more business opportunities and better deals in general.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

4 Comments

  1. Hello Mr.Buffett…
    All eight are so true. (1) Never give up…I think I always keep going on trying because I don’t give up, I don’t know when to quit…(2)Money…some people believe that money is everything and although it does play an important role in our lives you can’t take it with you so…(3) Hobbies…my 3-year old Son is my newest best way to spend my time, and sharing my hobbies racing, fishing, and many others is #1 to me. I play percussions and He is learning the Drums. He has bongos, Conga, and a real 5-piece drum set (5pc Ludwig Jr.set)…(4)Relationships…Heros although there are many, my Hero is a true friend that I grew up racing with since age 9. He is a well known famous racer. My friend is Ricky Johnson, and is looked up to by, and is a Hero to many. My #1 Hero is the Lord Jesus Christ, and He is always hanging out with me. He is the main influence in my life…(5)Communication…that’s funny I took two public speaking courses in college as well. I hated it the first time, but found that by talking about something I enjoyed, racing, the second course I think I got an “A”… (6)Meetings…I have none right now. I am trying to start a Foundation to help people with Disaster relief, but right now it’s just me myself and I so… (7)Bandwagons… mine is not with stocks but with people and with life in general. I don’t like the “”hey that’s the cool thing to do, you have to do that so you can be cool”””. NO, sorry cool is being REAL, being truthful and true to your Word, and that kind of goes with #8… (8) Reputation…You are your reputation. Your word and your actions are who you are , and that is your Reputation, good or bad it is what it is. I recently had a friend buy me some tickets for MonsterJam, actually for last night. The tickets were for my Son and myself. My friend was buying 44 tickets as a group so everyone’s sitting together, and was putting it on his charge card and we all would pay him back. Another friend asked me if I could get 4 tickets for him his wife and his 2 kids so they could join in. My friend purchased all the tickets 2 weeks ago again for the MonsterTrucks last night. Earlier this last week my other friend tells me he can’t make it, but doesn’t say I’ll pay for the tickets anyway, instead just no I can’t make it. I said ok that’s cool, but now I had to pay my other friend $144 for the 4 tickets because I gave my word. The real bummer was I tweaked my back and I didn’t even get to go myself to the Event last night. I was more bummed for not being able to take my Son, but I am paying my friend for all the tickets because that’s my Word…
    Thank You for Your time Mr. Buffett…
    GodBless…
    Mike Gomez…

  2. I wrote a version of the “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” on an application today for Puget Sound Energy. I love Warren’s quotes with a passion. If someone could elaborate more to me about what Warren means when he talks about buying securities and he mentions they should perform above average in a bear market or neutral market and normal performance in a bull market?? If it is too much trouble or an inconvenience please be assured what is provided has been exponentially helpful. Thank you sincerely for the time and help provided to enable a poor man to have a hero like Warren Buffett.

    • Hi Forest! Thanks for commenting!! To help, you can define a bear market as a bad market (when the stock market is down and securities are falling) while a bull market is when things are looking good. So what Buffett means is that you want a stock that is going to be able to withstand the inevitable fall of the market and still be profitable. If you have a company that can withstand a bad market, then you’ve got a good company. After all, every company does well during a bull market, when things are looking up. Hope that helps!

  3. Had the opportunity to see Charlie Rose last evening and for the first time watch you talking. Would have love to have meet you 25 years ago. I like to travel and also like to know that time is very important to you. Keeping a clean calendar is also my style for years , very early in life learn to say no when other peoples wanted to use my time. I am not rich and think may never be did’t have the right
    teachers . On my 3 age I don’t think I cut do to much now, but love been free. Will love to read some of those letters, one of my favored thing to do is sewing that is my hobby. Work for a while on Textiles on the 70 at Textiles Bond in Bloomfield NJ , at the lab where I learn so much and my love for Textiles was
    immense is still is. May God keep you in good health and spirit. Noelia Smith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *