All You Need Is… Time

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” –Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is among the richest men in the world. Warren can buy pretty much anything he wants to, and more than most other people could ever dream of. Yet he seems to be frugal, not a big spender. But there’s one thing that even Warren Buffett cannot buy, and that is time.

Time for me is also in short supply. Working in the days and then exercising, reading and blogging at night also makes you wish you had a few more hours every day. Like Warren, I also think time is the most precious thing. One thing that I have changed lately is my presence on Twitter. Right now, I haven’t been active on Twitter at all for a few months. It just takes to much of my attention and energy. That’s why I decided, at least for now, to take a Twitter break. No tweets, no retweets, nothing.

So, let’s see what old Warren has to say about time. Here’s a brief transcript from a Charlie Rose interview.

Warren Buffett: I mean I can buy anything I want basically, but I can’t buy time.

Charlie Rose: And so to to have time is the most precious thing you can have?

Warren Buffett: Yes, I better be careful with it. There is no way I will be able to buy more time.

Charlie Rose: And living in Omaha makes that easy?

Warren Buffett: That makes it a lot easier. I, for 50 whatever, well for 54 years I spent five minutes going each way now. Just imagine that was a half an hour each way. You know. I know the words to a lot more songs and that’s about it.

Charlie Rose: It adds up. Doesn’t it?

Warren Buffett: It really adds up. Now if you’re doing an hour a day difference coming and going that’s two and a half percent of the person’s work week. That means 40 years you’re talking about a year.

Source: YouTube – Wisdom From Warren Buffett (2017)

Words of Investing Wisdom

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” —Benjamin Franklin

Click here or image below to go to a full PDF of Value Investor Insight’s compilation Words of Investing Wisdom.

Reproduced below is the editor’s letter that you will also find in the beginning of the document above (see here).


While we certainly believe there are core principles upon which sound investments are made, it’s equally clear that, like snowflakes, no two investing strategies are exactly alike. Equally talented and accomplished investors can view the same investment opportunity in precisely opposite ways. That’s a central reason we launched Value Investor Insight four years ago (and SuperInvestor Insight two years ago), to help inform the ongoing development of our readers’ own unique investment strategies with the experience, wisdom and ideas of a wide variety of superior investors.

The differences in strategy and style among value investors are many: Some invest primarily in small-cap stocks while others stick to large-caps; some invest overseas while others stick to U.S. markets; some run concentrated portfolios while others are more diversified; some are activists while others never are; some are long only while others actively short. The list goes on.

At the same time, there are several fundamental characteristics that value investors tend to share as well. We’ve identified an even dozen:

» They tend to buy what’s out of favor rather than what’s popular.
» They focus on intrinsic company value and buy only when there is a substantial margin of safety, rather than trying to guess where the herd will go next.
» They understand and profit from reversion to the mean rather than projecting the recent past indefinitely into the future.
» They understand that beating the market requires a portfolio that looks different from the market.
» They focus on absolute returns, rather than outperforming a benchmark, and on avoiding permanent losses.
» They typically invest with a multi-year time horizon rather than focusing on the month or quarter ahead.
» They pride themselves on in-depth and proprietary analysis in search of “variant perceptions,” rather than acting on tips or relying on Wall Street analysts.
» They spend far more time reading things like business publications and financial reports than watching the ticker or television shows about the market.
» They focus more on analyzing and understanding micro factors, such as a company’s margins and future growth prospects, and less on trying to predict the direction of interest rates, commodity prices or the overall economy.
» They cast a wide net, seeking mispriced securities across industries and types and sizes of companies rather than accepting artificial limitations on market capitalization or other criteria.
» They make their own decisions and are willing to be held accountable for them, not seeking safety in what everyone else is buying or decision-making by committee.
» They admit their mistakes and seek constantly to learn from them.

It’s in this spirit of continuous learning that we offer this collection of wisdom from the pages of each of the 46 issues of Value Investor Insight, celebrating both the similarities and differences in how the best investors apply their craft.

John Heins

Whitney Tilson

Disclosure: I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company or individual mentioned in this article. I have no positions in any stocks mentioned.