Motivational speaker Tony Robbins decided to ask billionaire Warren Buffett “What made you the wealthiest man in the world?”
The author of Awaken the Giant Within told entrepreneur Lewis Howes in an episode of his famous podcast The School of Greatness that he asked Warren Buffet, the third richest person in the world, what made him one of the world’s wealthiest people. His answer was simple: living in the United States for the opportunities, having good genes, which is why he lived a long time and compound interest [when the interest earned on investments earns interest itself], Business Insider reported.
Warren Buffett added a considerable amount of money to his net worth of US$62.5 billion after his 50th birthday, so when he celebrated half a century at the helm of his empire Berkshire Hathaway, his annual letter was probably this year’s most awaited piece of paper. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett’s friend and Berkshire Hathaway board member said in a blog post that he has read all 50 of the Oracle of Omaha’s letters, but opined that “this is the most important one he has even written.”
The founder of Microsoft admitted that what struck him for the first time in Buffett’s 50th letter was “the value of experience.” Although people usually search for the investor’s valuable financial lessons in the pages he writes diligently every year, this letter transcends class lessons and teaches those who want to listen about the type of people who work at Berkshire. “They [employees] stay in place for decades, often past the normal retirement age” and they are given flexibility and the chance to do only what they like, Gates pointed out. People who work at Berkshire “know that Warren [Buffett] will stick with them” because this is how the investor breeds the world’s best business managers.
“Forget what you know about buying fair businesses at wonderful prices; instead, buy wonderful businesses at fair prices,” Buffett said in his 50th annual letter. He acknowledged his mistakes and helped his readers understand how he has or has not overcome them and did not shy away from criticizing CEOs who “seem blind to an elementary reality: the intrinsic value of the shares you give in an acquisition must not be greater than the intrinsic value of the business you receive.” He promised readers that, long after he’s gone, “Berkshire’s CEO and Board will carefully make intrinsic value calculations before issuing shares in any acquisitions” and warned that people cannot get rich “trading a hundred-dollar bill for eight tens.”
Warren Buffett’s 50th annual letter contains loads of guidance, recommendations and history and, even if it is longer than any other letter he has written so far, its pages represent the ABC, dos and don’ts that every investor, stock-picker and businessman should know. “A CEO’s behaviour has a huge impact on managers down the line: If it’s clear to them that shareholders’ interests are paramount to him, they will, with few exceptions, also embrace the way of thinking.”