“I was lucky to have the right heroes. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be. The qualities of the one you admire are the traits that you, with a little practice, can make your own, and that, if practiced, will become habit forming,” famous investor Warren Buffett once claimed. In fact, he often says that the best thing he ever did was choose the right heroes; namely, his father, investor Benjamin Graham, and his partner Charlie Munger.
Buffett is always quick to say that his first hero was his father, Howard Buffett. Howard owned his own brokerage, which enabled Buffett’s debut into the world of stocks. He would hang around the office, adjust the stock prices on the board, and the young Buffett visited the New York Stock Exchange by age 10 and by age 11 he owned his own stock, though in someone else’s name since he was too young.
Buffett’s also expressed his gratitude for his father guiding him in the right direction— after moving to Washing DC so that his father could serve in the Senate, he began stealing and running away, but he says he got through that phase simply because he had the right heroes.
Benjamin Graham is considered the father of value investing, a strategy whose framework is still followed by Buffett today, and Buffett actually enrolled in Columbia Business School so that he could study under Graham. He credits Graham as being the second most influential person in his life, right behind his father.
Not only did Buffett receive his “sound intellectual investment framework” from Graham, he got a little bit of life advice as well— Graham always said, “I wish every day to do something foolish, something creative, and something generous,” a mantra that Buffett is still trying to follow today.
If you’re familiar with Buffett’s advice on being like those you admire, you’ve probably heard him speak highly about his unofficial partner, Charlie Munger. Buffett met Munger before he ever began his journey with Berkshire Hathaway, and by keeping his company Buffett believes he has been able to better himself.
“Charlie and I didn’t meet until 1959… We’ve been partners ever since. He is very strong-minded, but we’ve never had an argument that whole time. I’ve never been let down. It must be a terrible feeling to be let down by a hero,” Buffett once said about his partner.