52 Must Read Quotes from Legendary Investor – Warren Buffett


Warren Buffett is without question the most successful investor of our time (and possibly of all time).  His savvy deal making abilities coupled with his creative and cheerful personality allowed him to achieve success like no other.

While searching the web for the comments he’s made through the years, I found many insightful comments that truly show off Mr. Buffett’s knowledge so I want to share 52 of these with you below!  Let me know what you think!

  1. A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought.
  2. Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.
  3. I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.
  4. I am quite serious when I say that I do not believe there are, on the whole earth besides, so many intensified bores as in these United States. No man can form an adequate idea of the real meaning of the word, without coming here.
  5. I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.
  6. I don’t have a problem with guilt about money. The way I see it is that my money represents an enormous number of claim checks on society. It’s like I have these little pieces of paper that I can turn into consumption. If I wanted to, I could hire 10,000 people to do nothing but paint my picture every day for the rest of my life. And the GNP would go up. But the utility of the product would be zilch, and I would be keeping those 10,000 people from doing AIDS research, or teaching, or nursing. I don’t do that though. I don’t use very many of those claim checks. There’s nothing material I want very much. And I’m going to give virtually all of those claim checks to charity when my wife and I die.
  7. I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.
  8. I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.
  9. If a business does well, the stock eventually follows.
  10. If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.
  11. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.
  12. In the business world, the rear view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.
  13. Investors making purchases in an overheated market need to recognize that it may often take an extended period for the value of even an outstanding company to catch up with the price they paid.
  14. It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
  15. 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.
  16. It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.
  17. I’ve reluctantly discarded the notion of my continuing to manage the portfolio after my death – abandoning my hope to give new meaning to the term ‘thinking outside the box.’
  18. Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.
  19. Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.
  20. Long ago, Sir Isaac Newton gave us three laws of motion, which were the work of genius. But Sir Isaac’s talents didn’t extend to investing: He lost a bundle in the South Sea Bubble, explaining later, ‘I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men.’ If he had not been traumatized by this loss, Sir Isaac might well have gone on to discover the Fourth Law of Motion: For investors as a whole, returns decrease as motion increases
  21. Most people get interested in stocks when everyone else is. The time to get interested is when no one else is. You can’t buy what is popular and do well.
  22. Never count on making a good sale. Have the purchase price be so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results.
  23. Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.
  24. Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.
  25. Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.
  26. Our favorite holding period is forever.
  27. Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
  28. Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.
  29. Risk is a part of God’s game, alike for men and nations.
  30. Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.
  31. Wall Street is the only place that people ride to work in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.
  32. The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.
  33. The investor of today does not profit from yesterday’s growth.
  34. The line separating investment and speculation, which is never bright and clear, becomes blurred still further when most market participants have recently enjoyed triumphs. Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money. After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of Cinderella at the ball. They know that overstaying the festivities — that is, continuing to speculate in companies that have gigantic valuations relative to the cash they are likely to generate in the future — will eventually bring on pumpkins and mice. But they nevertheless hate to miss a single minute of what is one helluva party. Therefore, the giddy participants all plan to leave just seconds before midnight. There’s a problem, though: They are dancing in a room in which the clocks have no hands.
  35. The only time to buy these is on a day with no “y” in it.
  36. The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is. For to a degree, people read the press to inform themselves-and the better the teacher, the better the student body.
  37. There are all kinds of businesses that Charlie and I don’t understand, but that doesn’t cause us to stay up at night. It just means we go on to the next one, and that’s what the individual investor should do.
  38. There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.
  39. Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre.
  40. Value is what you get.
  41. We believe that according the name ‘investors’ to institutions that trade actively is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a ‘romantic.’
  42. We don’t get paid for activity, just for being right. As to how long we’ll wait, we’ll wait indefinitely.
  43. We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds.
  44. We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.
  45. We’ve long felt that the only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune tellers look good. Even now, Charlie and I continue to believe that short-term market forecasts are poison and should be kept locked up in a safe place, away from children and also from grown-ups who behave in the market like children.
  46. When a management team with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.
  47. Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.
  48. Why not invest your assets in the companies you really like? As Mae West said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful”.
  49. Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.
  50. You do things when the opportunities come along. I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.
  51. You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.
  52. Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business

His savvy deal making abilities coupled with his creative and cheerful personality allowed him to achieve stock market success like no other.  So it’s really no luck that he’s named the wealthiest man of 2008 and hope that you’ve learned something from these quotes.  Which one is your favorite?  Personally, I really like #30 – Never lose money!

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Calvin December 10, 2008 at 9:23 am

He’s definitely a great communicator. Most people who own shares of Berkshire look forward to his annual shareholder letter I bet (although you can probably find it online somewhere even if you don’t have at least $100k for a share!)

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J.MacAuslan June 7, 2012 at 9:43 pm

You can read ‘em all at BerkshireHathaway.com — at least, all since 1977 or so.

Also, you can buy “baby Berky” shares for $100 or less.

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Mike December 10, 2008 at 9:40 am

I’ve always liked #8.

I also like one I heard in his interview in October with Charlie Rose: “Never trust geeks bearing formulas.”

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Calvin December 10, 2008 at 11:06 am

Oh I forgot to mention, I love the last one! Truly it’s perfect for the automakers right? :)

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Blujeanmomma December 10, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I am a big fan of Warren Buffett. I wish that he would be asked to advise this country on financial matters.

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Joe December 11, 2008 at 2:45 am

46 amd 47 are duplicates

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Heidi December 11, 2008 at 6:47 am

I like “Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” Definitely one of my favorites.

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MoneyNing December 11, 2008 at 11:25 am

Joe: You are absolutely right and thanks for pointing it out! I changed it with another good one. Actually, it’s one of my favorites now :) Remember to re-read #47 and thanks again for letting me know!

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Sam December 11, 2008 at 2:59 pm

31 & 47 are dupes. Other than that, great list. I wish the luckiest 1% took his advice and helped out.

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MoneyNing December 11, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Sam: I think I got it now :) Thanks for letting me know!

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Bill M December 14, 2008 at 6:59 am

My favorite Buffet Quote.

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

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Dividends4Life December 15, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Excellent read! There is a lot of wisdom packed into those quotes.

Best Wishes,
D4L

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Elias @ FinancePuzzle December 21, 2008 at 5:53 am

Excellent list, it doesn’t get any better than this…I try to make a point of reading one quote a day

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Ray January 14, 2009 at 10:14 am

In the past I have admired Warren for his “business buying” skills. This year he proved to be a great trader. Check out what he did with BNI [Burlington Northern] puts. As always Warren is an ispiration to us all.

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Matt Keegan January 27, 2009 at 12:19 pm

“Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote” is priceless. Oftentimes, people surround themselves with like minded folks, the same sort of people who won’t refute what you have to say or what you believe.

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BFM June 5, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I like #28 and #49. I have a favorite stock which takes up more than 60% of my porfolio. When you have faith in that one company, I believe you should invest more in it.

Thanks for this post! Great job!

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Tony February 1, 2011 at 5:36 am

Agreed. I have 50% in one. It is hard to find a good business at reasonable price. I wish I bought more in retrospect.

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J.MacAuslan June 7, 2012 at 9:34 pm

So do I: Berkshire-Hathaway. (The class-B shares are entirely affordable, and you still get his annual letter. Win-win!)

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Vivien June 9, 2009 at 7:38 am

Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

It’s my best. It applies not only to investing but also to life as a whole.

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Guma Mike June 10, 2009 at 11:34 am

This guy is really intilligent. No wonder the guy has enmassed all that wealth. Me iam in uganda and one of the things i would like to achieve in my life is to meet Warren Buffet face to face.

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cash January 9, 2010 at 8:31 am

Great person! I think each of us must read this and study how to …

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Christina March 5, 2010 at 4:45 am

Wow…words of wisdom I could say. The reason perhaps he is what he is now…

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Freddy March 29, 2010 at 7:09 am

I really like “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” It makes us feel that everything is possible and easy if you know what you do. Risk is only for mediocres..

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mindy April 16, 2010 at 10:33 am

#42 is the best and i take it to mean don’t rush in for the sake of rushing in. The timing must be right.

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Fred June 11, 2010 at 3:32 am

“Value is what you get” nowadays there are many investor who buy stock simply based on its price, not its value. If we look stock based on the value, we could make more on long term than based on price..

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Christian Ephraim June 28, 2010 at 3:54 am

Wow! what a man and a gift to many nations.. I love all his quotes and He’s my mentor…

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john August 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Buffett is the wisdom in person.
Amazing quotes.

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Capitalist Nigger September 2, 2010 at 5:25 am

This man is a Legend, why isnt Obama Administration making use of his speciality.

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Ryan @ Planting Dollars November 14, 2010 at 3:48 pm

More wisdom on this page of quotes than in most books! Nice comprehensive list.

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Mark December 8, 2010 at 10:14 am

I consider myself a huge Buffett fan and I was not even aware of many of these quotes.

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Patrick December 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Another buffet quote, “never ask a barber if you need a haircut.” I really like that one.

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hchen February 11, 2011 at 10:26 am

i recently read “how might warren buffett invest in real estate”, it was very interesting, gave me some good perspective on how warren would invest in real estate

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Otile Sam February 18, 2011 at 6:26 am

What a great mind, personality and worth!
Mr. Warren’s quotations solve live major questions of buying and selling, America is blessed to have somebody like you, may God grand you more years to live.

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Otile Sam February 18, 2011 at 6:29 am

What a great mind, personality and worth!
Mr. Warren’s quotations solve life major questions of buying and selling, America is blessed to have somebody like you, may God grand you more years to live.

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SACHIN March 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I LIKED THE 30TH ONE ,,, AS IM ALSO ONE OF THE INVESTOR IN INDIAN STOCK MKT FROM LAST 6 YEARS PRESETNALY MINE AGE IS 21 BUT WOULD BE LIKE TO LEARN SOME WAT THINGS FROM SIR,,,,,,,,IT MINE HEARTLY PLEASURE AND WISH IF I COULD MEET HIM THANXXXXXXXX

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Debbie King March 16, 2011 at 10:44 am

I have read about Mr Buffett and his achievements due to he owns the company where my husband works here in Wakarusa Indiana . I have to say this man is a genius and reminds me so much of my grandfather that has past away. I am very impressed by all that he has achieved and has built in his years. I have always been told if you want to make money find someone who has done this, And Pay attention : ) If Mr Buffett ever would like a good place to donate any of his monies to have him contact me I know of several good churches that could use it to help others : )

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Jack Li April 2, 2011 at 6:15 pm

A fan of Buffet.
Great thoughts of investing, help me a lot.

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Amooti George April 7, 2011 at 2:30 am

..quote 15..nice

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arun May 2, 2011 at 11:54 pm

warren buffet is great man who plays life very well some times i will be like him mark my words definetely

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Bok Gregorio May 8, 2011 at 1:57 am

I like Warren Buffet, being rich is so natural with him. I like Quote No. 3, this only shows that a strong mindset is required for us to be rich. It’s like what you think, what you believed in is what you become.

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JR June 11, 2011 at 5:43 am

He also has a great one: “If its raining gold grab a bucket not a thimble”

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Krishnamurthy Bairy July 9, 2011 at 2:42 am

Here’s another good one…

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”

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Hemang Bavishi August 16, 2011 at 12:22 am

I like “I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.”..

It is fantastic and gives us tremendous level of confidence.

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Pyrra September 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm

the best thing about these quotes is that they sound even better when taken out of context.
the guy deserves a place in the Westminster Abbey.

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emil November 7, 2011 at 6:04 am

another of buffett’s:

It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong.

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Roland January 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Thank you these quotes saved a mans life today. Now I know I have made the best investment of all, it’s in the friends and family I have, and I may not die rich but at least I’ll die with friends and love, and that’s worth a lifetime; thanks again. BTW I like number 11! too bad most don’t see it like that because the world could be a much better place.

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Jay of NC February 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Wow, Enjoyed these of what he says. From the Days of Selling Newspapers in Omaha to The Pinnicle of Life’s Highest. Reminds me of Days, Yes Selling Papers myself In Lincoln, Nebraska as a small Child when my Dad was stationed at LAFB. JJ, Ret (Twice) US Army.

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Darshana February 27, 2012 at 1:51 am

I fully agree,
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’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.

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Krishna Rao March 20, 2012 at 4:46 am

#8 is the one that always holds true.

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J.MacAuslan June 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Good grief, the best one is obviously Mae West’s! This not only reminds that there is more to life than money (well, there’s at least ONE thing more to life than money, if we’re focusing on her ;-) . It also reminds us that someone can be a first-rate investor, a first-rate writer, and a person who knows something of both culture and wit.

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J.MacAuslan June 7, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Are you sure about #4? I don’t recall reading that from him previously, and the style doesn’t seem like his.

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Mahesh pandey August 19, 2012 at 12:49 am

I agree we should start investing as soon as possible and make it our habit. Warren have started investing when he was just 13 and he feels it was too late.

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