2008 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting: Detailed Notes

Reflections on Value Investing has posted some notes from the recent Berkshire Hathaway meeting. Below are some quotes that I noticed.

I started investing when I was 11. I believe in reading everything in sight. I wandered for 8 yrs with technical analysis. I read Intelligent Investor, chapters 8 and 20 I recommend, and if you absorb it you won’t be a lemming.

Our job is not to select great managers, our job is to retain them.

In business school the amount of time spent teaching option pricing is total nonsense. You only need 2 courses, how to value a business and how to think about stock market fluctuations.

We never want to trade reputation for money.

There is a lot I wouldn’t buy even if best management in world, as it doesn’t make much difference in a bad business.

We want a company with durable advantage, which we understand, can trust management, at a good price.

If I were working with small sums of money, it would open up thousands of possibilities. We found very mispriced bonds. We found them in Korea a few years ago. You made big returns but had to be small size. I wouldn’t be in currencies with small amount of money. I had a friend who used to buy tax liens. I’d look in small stocks or specialized bonds.

Several times I have had 75% of my non-Berkshire net worth in a situation. You will see things where it would be a mistake not to act. You won’t see them often, and the press and your friends won’t be talking about them.

We have lower due diligence expenses than anyone in America. I know of a place that pays over US$200m to its accountants every year, and I know we are safer because we think like engineers – we want margins of reliability.

A brand is a promise.

We waste a lot of time, but we waste it on things we want to waste it on.

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