For most people – Warren Buffett is synonymous with investing and business. However, what you may not know is that the man has a subtle sense of wit and humour (often at the expense of Charlie Munger). I have often found myself highly amused by some of quips.
(1) “When I call Charlie with an idea and he says ‘That is really a dumb idea,’ that means we should put 100% of our net worth into it. If he says, ‘That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,’ then you should put 50% of your net worth into it. Only if he says, ‘I’m going to have you committed,’ does it mean he really doesn’t like the idea.”
(2) When Jack Welch made a comment to the Financial Times about age saying “There is nothing worse than seeing an old, chairman sitting in the seat”, Buffett faxed him the following: ” Jack, we don’t tolerate this sort of talk at Berkshire, I keep Charlie on stage”.
(3) A shareholder posed the question: “It seems in both of your companies, your success is driven by yourselves and your leadership skills. What will happen when you’re gone?”. Buffett responded saying ” Your assumption is wrong. I will keep working until about five years after I die, and I’ve given the directors a Ouija board so they can keep in touch”
(4) “Last year we met at Aksarben Coliseum, and both our staff and the crowd were delighted with the venue. There was only one crisis: The night before the meeting. I lost my voice, thereby fulfilling Charlie’s wildest fantasy. He was crushed when I showed up the next morning with my speech restored.
(5) “In apparel, Fruit of the loom increased unit sales by 10 million dozen or 14% with shipments of intimate apparel for women and girls growing 31%. Charlie, who is far more knowledgeable than I am on this subject, assures me that women are not wearing more underwear.”
(6) Munger: Most people will see declining returns [due to inflation]. One of the great defenses if you’re worried about inflation is not to have a lot of silly needs in your life – if you don’t need a lot of material goods.
Buffett: Charlie, we’re selling a lot of material goods in the other room, so keep quiet
(7) “I have a brother who’s on the ethanol board of Nebraska and if he becomes richer than me, I’ll reconsider my views on ethanol” (When asked about investing in Ethanol)
(8) Munger: You do not want your first-grade school teacher to be fornicating on the floor or drinking booze in the classroom; similarly you do not want your stock exchange to be setting the wrong moral example. I am appalled.
Buffett: I wish I’d gone to first grade where he did
(9) “We make more money 10 years from now. But of that $60 million, we make $55 million in the three weeks before Christmas. And our company song is: What a friend we have in Jesus.”(Describing See’s Candy)
(10) When Munger did not provide his usual comment, Buffett held a hand-held mirror up to Munger’s face and announced – “He’s breathing, folks, he’s breathing.”