When Warren Buffett speaks it appears as though an old sage is speaking. And yet he is so fond of talking about his fallibility. During his first
Berkshire Hathaway (BH) was formed in 1954 in
In his usual style, Buffett drove up to
Unfortunately, what Buffett got at the end of the heroic act was a lousy business. This is how Buffett remembers what happened next in his 2010 letter to shareholders, “The dumbest thing I could have done was to pursue “opportunities” to improve and expand the existing textile operation – so for years that’s exactly what I did. And then, in a final burst of brilliance, I went out and bought another textile company. Aaaaaaargh! Eventually I came to my senses, heading first into insurance and then into other industries.” No wonder when MBA students at
Elephant-Rider model we looked at earlier tells us that our decisions are mostly governed by the Elephant side of our thinking. And the Elephant is emotional. And when emotion takes over, the tiny Rider which is the rational side of our thinking has no chance of influencing the decision. This Warren Buffett story illustrates how weak the Rider is even if you have the best Rider in the world.
Source: The Snowball, by Alice Shroeder (Chapter 27, Folly).