Warren Buffett distills investment success into three words — “margin of safety” — and tells investors to take one of two approaches: either focus on value or buy an index fund. Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha,” has been steadfastly giving such advice for decades, through calm and choppy markets alike. In fact, 20 years ago I hosted Buffett and Charlie Munger, his Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A, +0.05% BRK.B, +0.04% partner, for two days of debate that was recorded in my book, “The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America.” At the time, Buffett’s investing style was out of fashion. Critics said the Oracle had lost his touch, misunderstanding the go-go “new economy” and its “game-changing” technology. But Buffett foresaw exceedingly high stock prices — which soon proved correct. Moreover, two decades later his value-based investing style has not only survived, but thrived, due in large part to three pivotal components: margin of safety, focus on exceptionally valuable companies, those already run successfully, rather than turn around prospects, and know your limits and avoid investment targets outside what Buffet dubs your “circle of competence.” A margin of safety involves buying a stock at a low price compared to the value obtained. But don’t go to extremes; it’s better to buy a great business at a fair price than a fair business at a great price, Munger has famously quipped. You want to focus on companies that already run successfully. Buffet calls this focused investing. This concentration on stocks that have the highest probability of beating the market over the long term. Non-exit businesses are those commanding competitive advantages that deter rivals and withstand technological onslaughts for years, such as barriers to entry or brand strength. Buffett calls these features “moats,” like medieval defenses fortifying castles. Such quality businesses are desirable when run by people you like, trust and admire — individuals you’d be happy to have your child marry, Buffett advises. Finally, know your limits and avoid investment targets outside what Buffett dubs your “circle of competence.” So if you cannot make required judgments — about value, moats, and managers — then invest through low-fee index funds. Doing so beats the after-cost results most professionals deliver. As they say in poker, “If you’ve been in the game 30 minutes and don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.” Buffett implores you: Don’t be the patsy. Investing in any of the asset classes requires certain core principles to follow. Find a mentor who has been in the asset class you love with at least 20+ years of experience and learn from him. His real-world knowledge will teach you far more than reading it. You don’t have to experience an event to gain wisdom. Listen and learn.
I’m sure I’m only one of many people who feel as if they’re drowning in a sea of email. There are countless tips on how to manage your inbox if you’re on the receiving end and how to write better emails if you’re on the sending end. Yet still, sometimes emails simply go unanswered. I’ll admit I’m guilty of the nonresponse, especially when my emails start piling up after a few days away. This isn’t very hopeful if your day-to-day involves a lot of emailing — especially if it’s critical that you get a response. Thankfully, the folks at Boomerang, a plug-in for scheduling emails, did a little study to see if the language people use to close their emails has any effect on the response rate. “We looked at closings in over 350,000 email threads,” data scientist Brendan Greenley wrote on the Boomerang blog. “And found that certain email closings deliver higher response rates.” The author lists of closings on e-mails and asked which were the most effective in getting replies. “Emails that closed with a variation of thank you got significantly more responses than emails ending with other popular closings,” Greenley writes. Here are the exact numbers: Emails that ended in Thanks in advance had a 65.7 percent response rate. Of emails that ended in Thanks, 63 percent got responses. The third most effective closing was Thank you with a 57.9 percent response rate. Across the board, Boomerang found that sign-offs that included some sort of expression of gratitude had a 36 percent relative increase in average response rate. Also, keep in mind that ending your e-mail with regards or best is one of the worst ways to end your e-mails. How you present yourself is important. First impressions are captured in a person’s mind, and depending upon the impression, the person may not express any further interest. The best approach is an attitude of gratitude in all situations. It doesn’t mean you don’t get angry, or sad when its justified, however if you consistently give an image of unprofessionalism then don’t be surprised if you don’t receive the results you want in work and or life. Everything worthwhile is uphill and how you present your view of the journey can impact the people around you.
Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles above
For this week, I’ve included THE WINNING MENTALITY – Powerful Motivation 2017 from the Be Inspired YouTube channel.
“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs 28:26 MSG