Warren Buffett Quotes 1–30 of 119 Quotes

Warren Edward Buffett (born 30 August 1930) is an American investor and the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Below are 30 of 119 sourced Warren Buffett quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“I call investing the greatest business in the world … because you never have to swing. You stand at the plate, the pitcher throws you General Motors at 47! U.S. Steel at 39! and nobody calls a strike on you. There's no penalty except opportunity lost. All day you wait for the pitch you like; then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it.”

— Warren Buffett

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More on this quote: Interview in Forbes magazine (1 November 1974)
  • 1999 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, as quoted in The Tao of Warren Buffett by Mary Buffett and David Clark p. 145

“You're dealing with a lot of silly people in the marketplace; it's like a great big casino and everyone else is boozing. If you can stick with Pepsi, you should be O.K.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: On being dispassionate and patient in investments, in an interview in Forbes magazine (1 November 1974); he is contrasting soft-drinks to intoxicating beverages in this example; Buffett eventually became a major investor in Coca-Cola.

“Draw a circle around the businesses you understand and then eliminate those that fail to qualify on the basis of value, good management and limited exposure to hard times. … Buy into a company because you want to own it, not because you want the stock to go up. … People have been successful investors because they've stuck with successful companies. Sooner or later the market mirrors the business.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: Interview in Forbes magazine (1 November 1974)

“Love is the greatest advantage a parent can give.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: As quoted in "Should You Leave It All to the Children?" by Richard I. Kirkland Jr, in Fortune (29 September 1986)

“I'll tell you why I like the cigarette business. … It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It's addictive. And there's fantastic brand loyalty.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: As quoted in Barbarians at the Gate : The Fall of RJR Nabisco (1989), by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

“Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: Statement of January 1991, as quoted in Of Permanent Value: The Story of Warren Buffett (2007) by Andrew Kilpatrick

“Never count on making a good sale. Have the purchase price be so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: As quoted in Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist (1995), by Roger Lowenstein, p. 77

“I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: As quoted in Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist (1995), by Roger Lowenstein, p. 77

“It’s a game of a million inferences. There are a lot of things to draw inferences from — cards played and not played. These inferences tell you something about the probabilities. It's got to be the best intellectual exercise out there. You're seeing through new situations every ten minutes. Bridge is about weighing gain/loss ratios. You're doing calculations all the time.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: On the game of bridge, as quoted in Forbes (2 June 1997); also quoted in The Warren Buffett Portfolio: Mastering the Power of the Focus Investment Strategy (2000), p. 112

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“If you understood a business perfectly and the future of the business, you would need very little in the way of a margin of safety. So, the more vulnerable the business is, assuming you still want to invest in it, the larger margin of safety you'd need. If you're driving a truck across a bridge that says it holds 10,000 pounds and you've got a 9,800 pound vehicle, if the bridge is 6 inches above the crevice it covers, you may feel okay, but if it's over the Grand Canyon, you may feel you want a little larger margin of safety...”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: 1997 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, as quoted in Of Permanent Value : The Story of Warren Buffett, by Andrew Kilpatrick, Vol. 2 (2007), p. 1615

“Wall Street is the only place that people ride to work in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: As quoted in The Money Adventure (1998) by Egbert Sukop, p. 128

“Investors making purchases in an overheated market need to recognize that it may often take an extended period for the value of even an outstanding company to catch up with the price they paid.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: 1998 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, as quoted in The Essays of Warren Buffett : Lessons for Corporate America (1998), p. 92

“We don't get paid for activity, just for being right. As to how long we'll wait, we'll wait indefinitely.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: 1998 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, quoted in Wait: The Art and Science of Delay (2012) by Frank Partnoy, p. 177

“Success in investing doesn't correlate with I.Q. once you're above the level of 125. Once you have ordinary intelligence, what you need is the temperament to control the urges that get other people into trouble in investing.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: As quoted in Homespun Wisdom from the "Oracle of Omaha" by Amy Stone in BusinessWeek (5 June 1999)

“If I was running million today, or million for that matter, I'd be fully invested. Anyone who says that size does not hurt investment performance is selling. The highest rates of return I've ever achieved were in the 1950s. I killed the Dow. You ought to see the numbers. But I was investing peanuts then. It's a huge structural advantage not to have a lot of money. I think I could make you 50% a year on million. No, I know I could. I guarantee that.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: As quoted in "Wisdom from the 'Oracle of Omaha'" by Amy Stone in BusinessWeek (5 June 1999)

“We're more comfortable in that kind of business. It means we miss a lot of very big winners. But we wouldn't know how to pick them out anyway. It also means we have very few big losers - and that's quite helpful over time. We're perfectly willing to trade away a big payoff for a certain payoff.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: 1999 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, as quoted in "Why Won't Buffett Invest in Tech Stocks?" at Motley Fool (6 March 2000)

“I wouldn't mind going to jail if I had three cellmates who played bridge. … The approach and strategies [of bridge and stock investing] are very similar. In the stock market you do not base your decisions on what the market is doing, but on what you think is rational. With bridge, you need to adhere to a disciplined bidding system. While there is no one best system, there is one that works best for you. Once you choose a system, you need to stick with it.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: Quoted in The Warren Buffett Portfolio: Mastering the Power of the Focus Investment Strategy (2000), p. 112, and Think, Act, and Invest Like Warren Buffett: The Winning Strategy to Help You Achieve Your Financial and Life Goals (2012), p. 22

“If you invested in a very low cost index fund — where you don’t put the money in at one time, but average in over 10 years — you’ll do better than 90% of people who start investing at the same time.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (2004), as quoted at The Buffett

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“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: As quoted in Corporate Survival: The Critical Importance of Sustainability Risk Management (2005) by Dan Robert Anderson, p. 138

“You couldn't advance in a finance department in this country unless you taught that the world was flat.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: As quoted in "The Heresy That Made Them Rich" by Joseph Nocera, in The New York Times (29 October 2005)

“The free market’s the best mechanism ever devised to put resources to their most efficient and productive use. … The government isn’t particularly good at that. But the market isn’t so good at making sure that the wealth that’s produced is being distributed fairly or wisely. Some of that wealth has to be plowed back into education, so that the next generation has a fair chance, and to maintain our infrastructure, and provide some sort of safety net for those who lose out in a market economy. And it just makes sense that those of us who’ve benefited most from the market should pay a bigger share. … When you get rid of the estate tax, you’re basically handing over command of the country’s resources to people who didn’t earn it. It’s like choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the children of all the winners at the 2000 Games.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: To Barack Obama, as quoted in The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006), Ch. 5

“I happen to have a talent for allocating capital. But my ability to use that talent is completely dependent on the society I was born into. If I’d been born into a tribe of hunters, this talent of mine would be pretty worthless. I can’t run very fast. I’m not particularly strong. I’d probably end up as some wild animal’s dinner. But I was lucky enough to be born in a time and place where society values my talent, and gave me a good education to develop that talent, and set up the laws and the financial system to let me do what I love doing — and make a lot of money doing it. The least I can do is help pay for all that.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: To Barack Obama, as quoted in The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006), Ch. 5

“The 400 of us pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you're in the luckiest 1 percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: Speaking at a political fundraiser for Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York, as quoted in Henry Goldman, "Buffett, at Clinton Fund-Raiser, Says Congress Favors the Rich" in Bloomberg (27 June 2007)

“You know, if I'm playing bridge and a naked woman walks by, I don't ever see her — don't test me on that! … You know, I wouldn't mind going to jail if I had the right three cell mates, so we could play bridge all the time. … It takes some investment to play it … I mean, you cannot sit down and learn how to play it like most games. … There's a lotta lessons in it … you have to look at all the facts. You have to draw inferences from what you've seen, what you've heard. You have to discard improper theories about what the hand had as more evidence comes in sometimes. You have to be open to a possible change of course if you get new information. You have to work with a partner, particularly on defense.”

— Warren Buffett

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Quote source: As quoted in "Bringing Back Bridge" at CBS News (16 February 2008)

“People will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional.”

— Warren Buffett

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Buffet, Warren. “Warren Buffett Quotes: 1–30 of 119 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Warren-Buffett-quotes.html#27

Quote source: As quoted in "My 0,100 Lunch with Warren Buffett" by Guy Spier, in TIME (30 June 2008)

“You want to be greedy when others are fearful. You want to be fearful when others are greedy. It's that simple. … They're pretty fearful. In fact, in my adult lifetime, I don't think I've ever seen people as fearful economically as they are right now.”

— Warren Buffett

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Buffet, Warren. “Warren Buffett Quotes: 1–30 of 119 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Warren-Buffett-quotes.html#28

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Buffet, Warren. “Warren Buffett Quotes: 1–30 of 119 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Warren-Buffett-quotes.html#28

Quote source: Interview with Charlie Rose, on PBS (1 October 2008), also reported in "Warren Buffett: I Haven't Seen As Much Economic Fear In My Adult Lifetime - Charlie Rose Interview" at CNBC (1 October 2008)

“I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”

— Warren Buffett

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Buffet, Warren. “Warren Buffett Quotes: 1–30 of 119 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Warren-Buffett-quotes.html#29

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Buffet, Warren (2021, August 5) Warren Buffett Quotes: 1–30 of 119 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Warren-Buffett-quotes.html#29

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Buffet, Warren. “Warren Buffett Quotes: 1–30 of 119 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Warren-Buffett-quotes.html#29

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Buffet, Warren. “Warren Buffett Quotes: 1–30 of 119 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Warren-Buffett-quotes.html#29

Quote source: In a panel discussion after the premier of the 2008 documentary I.O.U.S.A.. Panel at the Premier, 0:05:42ff., DVD extras, I.O.U.S.A. (2008)

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