“Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.”
“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”
“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”
“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”
“Cash combined with courage in a time of crisis is priceless.”
- Buffett has always been frugal with money, and only pays himself a small wage. In 2008, it was still only $100,000, despite the fact that he is worth $US62 billion.
- He lives in the same house he bought for $31,000 in 1958, which is now worth $700,000.
- He does not carry a mobile phone, does not have a computer in his office and drives his own car, a Cadillac.
- Most nights Buffett eats hamburger or pork chops for dinner.
- Every year he auctions himself off for charity, with the winner receiving a lunch and free advice (although they’re not allowed to ask what he’s investing in). In 2008, a Chinese businessman, Zhao Danyang, paid more than $2 million for the right to dine with Buffett. The venue? A steakhouse in New York.
What is most curious about Warren Buffett, though, is that he refuses to live the life of a billionaire. He still uses his father’s plain wooden desk to sit behind in his office. He’s framed a certificate from the Dale Carnegie course that he completed in 1952, which now sits above his sofa, and the rest of his office is full of photographs of family and friends, which clearly illustrates that his life is far more than just dollars and profits.
Together the sums of these various parts show that Buffett is a billionaire with a difference. They also show that his philosophy appears to be one of humility rather than ego.
But what Buffett really wants to show is that you can achieve success in an honest way, without resorting to dirty tricks. In fact, his motivation all these years has been to prove that you can be successful and still be honest and decent. “Balzac said that behind every great fortune lies a crime,” explains Buffett in his biography. “That’s not true at Berkshire.”