15/11/09 07:17 Filed in: underpaid
I have been reading The Snowball about Warren Buffett the investor. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Snowball-Warren-Buffett-Business-Life/dp/0747596492/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258270555&sr=8-1 The book is nearly a thousand pages long, and these are not small pages filled with large print! I'll allow myself to make a few observations even although I have not yet finished the book. The first thing that impresses about Buffett is just how single minded he is, just how hard he has worked. As the title alludes to, he works on the basis that compound interest means that a little money today, can become a lot of money in the future. However to make this work you need to make a lot of good decisions, and the more money you can add to the pot the greater the reward will be. It also becomes clear that although awkward and eccentric he is a fundamentally decent person, in fact he does not seem to be motivated by material wealth or particularly by status. He is motivated by being intellectually engaged and challenged, with the accumulation of capital simply a means of keeping score in some personal challenge. The second thing that comes across is that Buffett largely chose to live his life on the stage of professional work. That is what drove his vast fortune. And although clearly family were important to him, for much of his life he put career first and this had adverse effects that he came to regret greatly. Although I would like to be as successful at investing as Warren Buffett, I will never have access to the capital that he does. In order to make serious money investing, you need serious capital. But I am learning all the time, and the little snowball of my own stock of capital is growing steadily so I would hope to be able to make increasing returns on my capital over the years, though enough to retire on seems unlikely! And although I admire his single minded devotion to what he did, I am too much of a family person to ever want to make those sacrifices. At the end of the day it is for each of us to recognise where our priorities lie and try our best to reflect those in how we live our lives.