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Island Investing

Riffs, rants, and the upside of investing from way off Wall Street


My Favorite Quotes from the Berkshire Meeting

I’m back from the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting this weekend in Omaha, and will be putting out some notes in my next letter to investors later this week. Sign up here. Here are what I thought were the best quotes from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger this year:

1. “I would make Paul Volcker look like a sissy.” Charlie on financial reform.

2. “If you give people unlimited credit, they will go plumb crazy. And they did.” Charlie on reform again.

3. “It would be both unfair and stupid. I don’t think the government would be that crazy.” Charlie on reform that would require posting collateral on existing derivative contracts.

4. “I don’t know how this movie ends. And generally I don’t go to movies like that.” Warren on the debt crisis in Greece and whether he is looking for opportunities in Europe.

5. “There are plenty of CEOs I’d like to see gone in America, but Lloyd Blankfein is not one of them.” Charlie on the head of Goldman Sachs.

6. “I knew enough to lend them money but not enough to buy the equity.” Warren on buying debt, not shares, in Harley Davidson during the financial crisis.

7. “We celebrate wealth only when it is fairly won.” Charlie on excessive compensation.

8. “We are deliberately seeking big losses in a single year. We want to be so rich that the loss is just a blip long-term.” Charlie on Berkshire’s reinsurance business.

9. “Trend is not destiny.” Warren.

10. “The politicians are not behaving better as the newspapers are getting weaker.” Charlie on one of the side effects of a declining newspaper industry.

11. “I developed more courage once I learned I could handle hardship. Maybe you should get your feet wet in failure.” Charlie to an investor nervous about the economic outlook.

12. “That is a stunningly stupid idea.” Charlie on the economics of ethanol.