The first time I saw Warren Buffett was on a BBC 1 television program, and he caught my interest, when the commentator introduced him as one of the richest men in the world. It was not the money that interested me, but the idea of a messiah of the financial world walking around Omaha performing miracles, by multiplying other people’s money. His highest profit making company turns water into cola to biblical proportions. Anyone who does that has my respect!
Ever since I started my charity for the blind and cataract sufferers, and my cat sanctuary, I have been interested in generating money.
The one thing striking about Warren is that he is a down to earth, decent, upright sort of person. Everyone in his home town of Omaha has something nice to say about him, because he has not only made himself rich, but all the people he knows rich as well. I obviously have a deep respect and admiration for people like that who can help others change their lives for the better.
After seeing the program, my next stop was a visit to my local library in the most expeditious manner possible to see if I could find any books about him, and sure enough, in the business section there was one book.
After reading every sentence, paragraph, and chapter, I was not any closer to finding out his secret to becoming a millionaire. However, I did realise that Warren Buffet and I have one characteristic in common. Neither of us likes to spend money. He does not spend money because he has loads of it, and I do not spend because I do not have any.
The result is that I get my books from thrift stores, Oxfam, and the local library, which sometimes results in me lagging behind in the latest stock market trends or business principles.
Most of these business ideas have existed for over a hundred years, so I figured it must be worth learning some of them. After all, I am a Brit and I have to take pride in the fact that we gave America the teachings of Adam Smith who was a true Scott and well known for being thrifty.
I Got the Book!
Last week, as a part of my self-imposed education to become more thrifty like Warren, I was walking around a boot fair, and came across a large box of books on finance and money making ideas which included a book called Buffettology. Whilst looking at the sad box, it occurred to me that someone must have already tried this approach and failed miserably. The poor person probably ditched the lot in a desperate attempt to save his life. Alternatively, perhaps, he became a millionaire, and thought that he no longer needed the books. Either way, the future was written inextricably leading to the purchase of the box.
I was familiar with the name Buffett so the book caught my interest. Even more exciting, was that the seller also had a vintage Texas Instrument BA-35 Calculator, in its original box! I had read somewhere that a business analyst calculator is the sort of thing young Warren would use for calculating all the compound interest he earns on the billions he has saved up over the years.
I wonder what it must feel like to have so much money that every day it earns millions of dollars in interest alone! At this point, surely one should kickback with a couple of colas and live off the interest accumulating on a daily basis. However, personal development speakers would say that, that kind of thinking would be incorrect and due to my poverty-stricken British upbringing because a true entrepreneur would continue looking for more ways to make even more money. It is a scientifically valid fact that one should never be content, if one wants to become rich.
Back to the stall, my dilemma was how I was going to pay for these items. I like Warren also believe I should not have to pay when I am buying. Of course, when I am selling it is a different matter. In UK, we have a television program called The Apprentice, where Sir Alan Sugar always reminds us, on a weekly basis, never to pay the asking price. Hence, I decided to use my haggling skills, or negotiating as known in the corporate boardrooms.
After 30 minutes of heated negotiating, the stall keeper lost his patience with me and decided to give them to me free, just to get me away from his stall. However, I felt quite bad about that and decided to pay him a £5.00 note for the items. After all, I am always looking for a win-win situation, and it is a bad bargain if nobody wins... as mentioned in the film Wall Street.
Is the book any good?
I would have to say yes. It explains all the concepts very clearly; the chapters are set out logically, each building on the previous.
I would highly recommend it. Even if you are not into stocks and shares it contains excellent sound advice on managing money, and is most certainly worth getting for this alone.
Does it work?
I am sure it works for many people; there is simply no way to predict the stock market for everyone as it is not something that any one person can anticipate.
“It is a zero sum game – one person wins, one person loses. Money itself is never destroyed or created; it simply transfers from one perception to another. Like magic.”
The only difference between the two people is how well they did their homework.
Anyone learning to see how the banking system works, inflation, investment advice, and money management in general will do well reading this book because it does explain some very interesting principles in finance and banking that are very important and worth knowing. I am very glad I read it. I wish I had read it when I was younger, I would have been a millionaire by now...
On a serious note though, in the process of reading the book my respect for Warren has grown. We could certainly do with someone like him in UK. I am sure that if he lived in UK the Queen would award him a Knighthood instantly without any deliberations.
If I win the NS & I Premium Bonds, I will most certainly be looking to visit Omaha to meet my idol. However, it will be economy class.
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