Warren Buffett’s Five Secrets of Success
By David Garfinkel
As the world’s richest investor (and second-richest person after Bill Gates), Warren Buffett attracts a lot of attention for his stock-market savvy. Unfortunately, most people in business do not have the time, the skill or the money to follow in his financial footsteps.
But just about anyone could learn and profit from Buffett’s business skills and philosophy. He’s unusually open about how he runs his business and lives his life.
Buffett’s business philosophy and his own persona have been achieved by his adherence to five not-so-secret secrets.
Secret #1: Know your strengths and weaknesses; admit your likes and dislikes.
“I was wired at birth to allocate capital and lucky enough to have people around me early on—my parents and teachers and Susie [his late wife]—who helped me make the most of it,” Buffett told Carol Loomis of Fortune magazine in the June 25 issue.
He started his investment business in 1956 when “seven people wanted me to invest their money for them.” He admitted that at the time “I did not have a plan.” He let the market—at that time, those seven people—specify his career path and lead him in the direction of his strengths.
His major weakness? Inability to put up with bureaucracy, and inefficiency. So he runs his $141 billion company with fewer than 20 employees at its Omaha, Neb. headquarters.
Buffett is famous for his few and simple likes. Hamburgers—he drives himself to McDonald’s for meals—steak, Cherry Coke, ice cream and playing bridge. He’s fond of one luxury in life—private jets—and owns a Gulfstream IV-SP.
But he disdains other common rich-guy luxuries: boats, mansions (he still lives in the Omaha, Neb. house he bought in 1958 for $31,500), fancy cars and pretense in general.
He’s not big on technology. He doesn’t have a computer in his office and only uses a cell phone when he travels.