Wednesday, December 30, 2009

BRK and Simple Living

I want to say first off, sorry for not posting yesterday. I was busy preparing this huge rant you. Hope this makes up for the lack of reading material yesterday...

This just goes to show you, Wisdom never appears were you think it will. It always turns up in the most unexpected places, that is part of it's charm. For me wisdom appeared on a cold night in Michigan City which is one of the many far reaching suburbs of Chicago. I was in Chicago staying with a friend who lived in a wonderful farmhouse and was married to a International Stockbroker who also had a house 20 minutes from hers. On certain weekends they both got there visitation with their children from their respective exes. On these weeks due to the space in the house I would stay at his house in Michigan City.

On the night in question I was looking through a stack of books on the coffee table and ran across a book I had seen at the book store countless times but had not looked at; Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by: Roger Lowenstein

I picked it up and thought I would read the introduction and see what this guy is up to. I had no idea when I picked up that tome that my life would change, my paradigm shift, at that moment. I did not read the whole thing cover to cover or anything like that, but I the seed of change was planted from that moment on. I did read the introduction and the first chapter. I began to see Warren for something beyond what I had originally thought.

Here was this man, a man who was he richest (and sometimes 2nd richest) man in the WORLD. A man who grew up dreaming, and thinking of nothing but making money. A man who was too teach me and make me see more clearly the idea of a simple life. It took me by more of surprise than I could have ever expected. I left Chicago on a train on Christmas day to head to New Orleans for New Years and then onto Florida, where two things would happen. I would spend the winter on the beach and I would read and re-read the book that shifted my paradigm yet again, I am self-admitted paradigm hopper if such a think exist.

In a classic round about, ranting fashion this leads me to my review for this months issue of Harpers! January 2010, and what a wild year I think it is going to be. The article was a piece by: Mattathais Schwartz, The Church of Warren Buffett. The title sets the mood for the rest of the article, it is set at the Berkshire Hathaway Share Holders Meeting. For most people in the investment industry this is their Mecca.

I think the key quote that made me need to write a "review" for this article. This was attributed to Marsha (no last name given),"When you grow up poor," she told me, "all you want is enough money so you don't have to worry. Money is freedom. Someone helps you, you got to pay it forward." This quote lays forth the spirit of Buffett's philosophy that I want to live by. I grew up poor and this quote hits home with me. I understand the freedom she speaks of and it the kind of freedom I want.

I am struck really by the day to day life of Mr. Buffett he lives simple, stoic, almost monk like in his pursuit of a pure form of capitalism that almost no one else can achieve and frankly most other people can not even grasp in their mind's eye. This is the exact kind of routine that I want in my life.

I do not want to be the next Warren Buffett, for one thing I do not think it is possible for anyone to be "the next". I would however like to use him as somewhat of a model for life though. The article states "What Buffett had done was sit in a room and think." and unfortunately Mr. Schartz also makes the correct assessment that, "Like most drudge work, thinking a undertaking that Americans would rather sub-contract to someone else." I wish that statement was not true but for most of the public I think it is.

I try not to think that way or associate with people that do. I instead would like to focus on the positive thoughts on the matter that come from the mind of the master himself, "Inactivity strikes us as intelligent behavior." He spends most of the day in a small room at his desk reading, and when he is not busy reading he is playing bridge online. That sounds like a pretty great way to live to me.

R.J. Meurer says of Warren and I agree "He's in the business of thinking the unthinkable" I think this a great description of him. He sits in silent meditation for hours at a time trying to come up with that next good idea, the next investment.

As Shai Dardashti says, "The answer is cutting away the noise." and Warren does this to the extreme which is what is needed to achieve his level of success in the way he has chosen to do it. Shai is a follower of Mr. Buffett's way of life he says of his work ethic "There's no one yelling or screaming. I set here, go through stuff, absorb information, and try to com up with three or four good ideas a year." That sounds like an amazing way to work and live to me. I must start right away on this way of life, this way of thinking, shifting into this paradigm.

I am going to end this rant and call it a night, but I do want to leave you with two quotes which I find comforting in the age we live in. I would like to get both of these framed and hang in my future office. The first one is by Sherri Gregory, another Buffett follower she says "He chooses not to complicate his life with things, with stuff."

The other is by the master himself,"We don't have to be smarter than the rest. We have to be more disciplined than the rest."

I think if you enjoy Mr. Buffett and his way of looking at life you should go out and buy the new issue of Harpers to be able to read the article for yourself and pleased offer your opinion on his ideas here. I will be ranting about him in the future also, and I am always on the lookout for new posts ideas.


Don Lee on December 31, 2009 at 7:01 AM said...

Really good post.

Brandon Eden on January 6, 2010 at 12:14 AM said...

Indeed, a great post. Definitely gives me some stuff to ponder

Nancy on October 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM said...

Well it was worth waiting. Thank you for such great article.

Carmen on October 22, 2012 at 11:50 AM said...

Thank you for another great article.

Ivette on October 22, 2012 at 11:52 AM said...

Great Content!!!! Love it.

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