Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, is one of the most quotable people in the investing world. It seems like you simply can’t turn around without hearing someone spout something that he once said in an interview, in a meeting, or in one of his annual letters. While it might be easy to say that Buffett is overquoted or overvalued, there is some true genius in his quotes.
So, just on the off chance that you somehow missed them, here are 10 of Warren Buffett’s most famous quotes.
1. “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.”
It’s unclear when Buffett first said this, but it is one of his most quoted (and often mis-quoted) adages, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. Remember that you’re in the game to make money first, so don’t make decisions on a personal basis.
2. “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
This famous quote is actually straight from the words of famed value investor Benjamin Graham, one of Buffett’s mentors. The distinction between value and price is an important one in value investing, and one that many people struggle with.
3. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
It might seem like a small thing, but reputation is what people consider when you give advice and make decisions. For someone like Buffett, who is the head of a multi-billion dollar corporation, reputation is important.
4. “Be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”
The two parts to this help sum up how Buffett views investing: first, being cautious when others are spending like there’s no tomorrow; and second: take advantage of deals when you can.
5. “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
Warren Buffett is all about long term thinking, especially where his investments are concerned. In fact, he is often quoted that he purchases companies with the intent of holding them for at least five to ten years as that’s where true trends can be seen.
6. “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”
Buffett is a value investor, which means that he looks for strong companies which have great potential. He’s not interested in bargains at all, as they aren’t always worth the money.
7. “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”
There is a common misconception that stocks and investing comes with some inherent risk, but Buffett views things very differently; after all, if you invest with the right reasons in mind, then the risk is greatly minimized.
8. “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”
Buffett often attributes much of his success to the people he surrounds himself with; including Charlie Munger, the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.
9. “It’s only when the tide goes out that you discover who’s been swimming naked.”
This quote is from his 2001 shareholder letter, and is in reference to businessmen who take huge risks and cannot back up their words when the market is low.
10. “You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”
Buffett is a huge proponent of the idea that you should stick to what you’re good at, and become the best at those things. Everything else will follow. That specialization is what helped make him rich.