This website is named after a street located in Omaha, Nebraska. An amazing place, Omaha is famous for being the home of Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest men. The headquarters of Berkshire Hathaway — and his house — just happen to be on “Farnam Street.” The name of this website is a homage to both Buffett and his business partner Charlie Munger.
While Buffett is famous for his investing acumen, he’s also full of sage wisdom on life and living.
In October 2009, while the housing crisis was still in full effect, his authorized biography The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life hit the shelves.
Here are some of his lessons on life and investing.
Three Early Lessons in Investing
Having bought three shares of Cities Service Preferred at the age of 11, Buffett learned a valuable lesson. After the stock plunged from $38.25 to $27 a share. His sister Doris reminded him daily on the way to school that her stock was going down. Buffett felt “terribly” responsible. When the stock recovered he sold with a slight $5 profit. Almost immediately after, Cities Service quickly soared to $202 a share.
This is an important one to keep in mind. If we place too much emphasis on what the world thinks, we end up with an outer scorecard.
This has implications if you’re a parent: What you put emphasis on matters.
Hang Around People Better Than You
After graduating from Columbia University, Buffett returned to Omaha to live with his parents. He spent part of that first summer fulfilling his obligation to the National Guard. While he wasn’t a natural, it sure beat going off to fight in Korea. Part of his duties in the guard required him to attend training camp in La Crosse, Wisconsin, for a few weeks. That experience taught him an incredible lesson that he’d carry forward for the rest of his life.
The Buffett Family Motto
As simple as it is powerful.
On Why he Wanted Money
Even when he was little he was always fixated on money. He wanted money. Why?
In July of 1952, Susie Buffett, having been married only a few months to Warren, went to Chicago with her parents and new in-laws for the Republican convention. The convention was covered on television for the first time in history. Warren, who stayed in Omaha, watched eagerly — “struck by the power of this medium to magnify and influence events.”
The front-runner was Senator Robert Taft, known as “Mr. Integrity.” He wanted three things: (1) small government; (2) pro-business; and (3) eradicate Communism. Taft’s friend and Warren’s father, Howard Buffett, was the head of his presidential campaign. Taft’s main opponent was the moderate and popular war hero General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
While it might have been the first convention covered by television it still lives in the history books as one of the most controversial Republican conventions. Eisenhower backers pushed through a controversial amendment to the rules that handed him the nomination on the first ballot. Taft and his supporters were, of course, outraged.
While reading about Buffett won’t make you as smart as he is, you might learn something in the process. Pick up a copy of The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life and give it a shot.
This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.
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