> Warren Buffett Blog: July 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

Buffett quote on opportunities

Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Seize your moment and make it count

Big opportunities in life have to be seized. 

We don’t do very many things, but when we get the chance to do something that’s right and big, we’ve got to do it. And even to do it in a small scale is just as big a mistake almost as not doing it at all. You’ve really got to grab them when they come, because you’re not going to get 500 great opportunities.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Greg Abel could be next CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett is likely to appoint Greg Abel to be the chief executive of his multinational conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway according to Barrons Magazine.

Abel, the 53-year-old head of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, has a greater chance than 64-year-old Ajit Jain who runs Berkshire's reinsurance business, with his age and experience.

Abel has been the CEO of the group of electric utilities and two natural gas pipelines since Buffett bought it in 2000. Both Abel and Jain were singled out in the annual letter by Berkshire vice chairman Charlie Munger.
Barron's also reported Buffett will appoint his son Howard to be Berkshire's non-executive chairman.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friend with people better than yourself says Warren Buffett

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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Warren Buffett on value of life and mind

In Warren Buffett's biography “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life,” describes an incident where Buffett asked students to imagine if a genie came to him at age 16 and offered the car of his dreams. But the catch was that it would also be the last car Buffett could ever own. The car would have to last a lifetime, and to make sure that happened, he said, “I would read the manual about five times. I would always keep it garaged. If there was the least little dent or scratch, I’d have it fixed right away because I wouldn’t want it rusting. I would baby that car, because it would have to last a lifetime.”

Then Buffett related the fable back to the students: “That’s exactly the position you are in concerning your mind and body. You only get one mind and one body. And it’s got to last a lifetime. Now, it’s very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don’t take care of that mind and that body, they’ll be a wreck 40 years later, just like the car would be.

“It’s what you do right now, today, that determines how your mind and body will operate 10, 20, and 30 years from now.”

Monday, July 20, 2015

Warren Buffett did not buy Greek island

Warren Buffett didn’t buy a Greek island, not for 15 million euros or any other price.

His office said Monday that reports from Greece that Buffett and Italian real estate agent Alessandro Proto together purchased the island of St. Thomas, southwest of Athens, are incorrect.

The newspaper Proto Thema reported the sale, and various news agencies repeated it, including the Athens-Macedonian News Agency and a Newsweek website.

The story said several uninhabited Greek islands are for sale, and St. Thomas would be suitable for building a resort or for some other private use. Greece’s financial problems supposedly are creating real estate bargains.

Stories quoted Proto’s company, Proto Enterprises, as saying that Buffett and Proto acquired the island, in the Saronic Gulf near the port of Piraeus, on Thursday. It’s a 45-minute ferry ride from Athens.

Asked by The World-Herald if the report was correct, Buffett’s office in Omaha said, "No."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Warren Buffett sells his old car for 20 times the book value

The 2006 Cadillac with only 20,000 miles on the odometer, was buzzing through Illinois, USA on the way from Omaha to New York City, with no license plates.

An Illinois police officer spotted it and pulled it over.

“I know we’re driving without plates, but this is the story,” the driver explained. He had bought the car from Warren Buffett for $122,500 in a charity auction and had just picked it up in Omaha. He showed the bill of sale and the title, transferred from Buffett to him, and Buffett’s signature on the dashboard.

“It was too late to get temporary plates,” the car buyer told me in a telephone interview. He spoke on the condition that he not be identified. “So we just drove it back to New York.”

The officer called for backup. Soon two policemen approached the formerly Buffett-owned Cadillac.

“Did you actually get to meet Mr. Buffett?” one asked, according to the buyer’s recollection.

“Yes, he was very generous with his time,” the driver said. “He spent over an hour with us at his office.”

“Does Warren think the economy’s going to be OK?” the officer asked.

“Yes, he seems to think things are going OK.”

The two officers smiled and nodded.

“OK, we’ll give you a warning, and thank you very much.”

It was a pleasant finale to a trip that “exceeded our wildest expectations,” said the mystery car buyer, a New York City money manager who built his career by following Buffett’s investment ideas.

Buffett had bought a new Cadillac and donated his old one to Girls Inc., a program for young women, for an online auction in March, promising to hand over the keys to the buyer in person.

The money manager didn’t need the car but wanted to meet Buffett and thank him for his investment philosophy, his philanthropy and his emphasis on ethical business practices. He has attended Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholder meetings for nearly 25 years, sometimes with his sons, ages 19 and 22.

This time, he brought his wife, his sons and his mother along for the late-afternoon appointment with Buffett, chairman and chief executive of Berkshire.

Buffett gave them a tour of company headquarters and then invited them into his corner office.

“He talked with my sons about choosing a career and how important long-term friendships are,” the man said. “We didn’t talk a lot about investments per se. We talked about the importance of having a positive outlook and enjoying what you’re doing.”

Inside the office, “the phone never rang the whole time we were there. He was never interrupted. I said, ‘Is it always this quiet?’ And he said, ‘Basically, yes.’ ”

Buffett took them downstairs to hand over the keys. The man started up the Cadillac and saw that the gas gauge was down one-quarter.

“Warren, for $122,500 I do expect a full tank of gas,” he said. They all laughed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cuba to import BYD autos of Warren Buffett

Chinese auto and battery company BYD Ltd. said Cuba plans to buy 719 of its vehicles for tourists to rent, once the rush begins as the United States re-establishes diplomatic relations.

BYD, partly owned by Berkshire, says its sedans and SUVs will make up Cuba’s largest auto rental fleet. The country’s streets are known for their vintage American autos, preserved since the 1953-1959 revolution that resulted in a Communist government.

BYD said in a press release that it sent some vehicles to an exposition in Havana last November. The Cuban government also has purchased 40 BYD passenger cars.

“Chinese tourists are flocking to Cuban beaches, leisure resorts and golf courses, and their visits to this old socialist ally are expected to increase even more,” BYD said.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Warren Buffett donates almost $3 billion to charity

Warren Buffett has just donated more than $2.8 billion to charity.

He made the donation by transfering 20.64 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares. The announcement was made on the company’s website. Each year in the last few have been stratospheric, including another $2.8 billion in 2014 , and $2.6 billion in 2013. 

As in the past, the major recipients are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, plus foundations set up by Buffett family members, including the Susan Thompson Buffett, Sherwood, Howard G. Buffett and NoVo Foundations. Mr. Buffett has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth, and his lifetime giving now tops $25.5 billion. He and Bill Gates created the Giving Pledge to encourage the world’s wealthiest people to donate a substantial portion of their fortunes to charity.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Warren Buffett of Saudi Arabia to donate $32 billion to charity

Saudi Arabia's version of Warren Buffett and billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world's richest people, announced that he will donate all of his wealth of $32 billion to charity over the coming years.

The money will go to the Saudi prince's organization called Alwaleed Philanthropies to work in the fields of "intercultural understanding" and supporting communities in need, he said in a statement. Programs will include promoting health, eradicating disease, bringing electricity to remote villages, building orphanages and schools, as well as "empowering women."

"Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, which I embarked upon more than three decades ago and is an intrinsic part of my Islamic faith," he said in the statement, which came during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims are encouraged to give charity and help the needy.

The prince built his wealth through seed money from his father and smart investments. Kingdom Holding owns stakes in hotels like The Four Seasons, Fairmont and Raffles, as well as companies such as News Corp., Citigroup, Twitter and Apple.

Alwaleed joins other billionaires who have made similar pledges in recent years, such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Bloomberg. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ordinary things can bring extraordinary results

"It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results." - Warren Buffett

Monday, July 6, 2015

I work in a job I love and you should too

I get to work in a job that I love, but I have always worked at a job that I loved. I loved it just as much when I thought it was a big deal to make $1,000. You really should take a job that if you were independently wealthy that would be the job you would take. You will learn something, you will be excited about, and you will jump out of bed. You can’t miss. When you get out of here take a job you love, not a job you think will look good on your resume. You ought to find something you like.