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Happy 90th Warren! 9 Inspiring Quotes Celebrating Buffett’s Birthday

What does it take to become one of the wealthiest people on earth? Here are some words of wisdom from Warren Buffett that shine a light on his route to success.
by Eugene Yiga | Sep 8 2020

August 30th marked the 90th birthday of legendary investor Warren Buffett. To celebrate the occasion, Blinkist paired nine of his best quotes with nine Blinks from our library to learn more about the principles that have made Buffett one of the richest and most generous people in the world and how we can adopt some of his rules for life.

“There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning.”

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year it’s that life is fragile. So rather than wasting time with what doesn’t make you come alive, do work that matters. Buffett’s advice is to stop taking jobs because you think they’ll look good on your resume. “Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?” he once quipped. Instead, find opportunities that will push you to grow, much like he’s been doing ever since he began his entrepreneurial ventures – from selling lost golf balls back to their owners to delivering newspapers around town – in his early teens.

Start turning your life around today with Dominick Cartuccio’s Design Your Future.

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”

Even though he first visited the New York Stock Exchange when he was only ten and made his first profit buying and selling stocks a year later, Buffett doesn’t know everything, nor does he claim to. Instead, the “Sage of Omaha” only invests in companies he understands, unlike so many traders who get caught up in hype by believing that they can somehow beat the system. (Did someone say Bitcoin?) Similarly, if you want to succeed in your endeavors, it helps to be aware of your limitations. By staying humble enough to admit what you don’t know, you’ll open the door to learn what you need.

Inject a little humility into how you see the world with David McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart.

“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

As a child of the Great Depression, Buffett knows the true value of money. “Price is what you pay, value is what you get,” he once said. Indeed, he based his investment approach on the teachings of economist Benjamin Graham, a pioneer in the field who was also Buffett’s mentor and professor at Columbia Business School. While most people inevitably get caught up in the stock market bubbles because they falsely believe that “this time is different”, Buffett has courage in his convictions. Yes, it’s difficult to go against what everyone else thinks, but the results speak for themselves.

Go against the grain and get smart about investing with Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor.

“The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.”

Although he’s incredibly successful today, Buffett doesn’t have a perfect track record. He’s made mistakes, just like everyone else. What sets him apart is his ability to cut his losses and move on when necessary—something that’s possible thanks to a level of emotional maturity that comes with experience over time. If anything, when the world feels like it’s getting more chaotic every day, there’s greater value in learning to pause. It’s only by slowing down enough to be present with our emotions that we can start taking the right action to get our lives on a better path.

Learn from the Stoics and find a sense of calm with Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key.

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

When life feels like it’s falling apart, it’s easy to focus only on the present. But our lives are the way they are today because of our actions in the past. This means that we can build a better future by what we do today. It’s about thinking of what matters in the long term and not just what feels good right now. In fact, the only reason Buffett was able to make his first land purchase before the age of fifteen was by diligently saving everything he earned, rather than spending it the way a typical teenager would. Similarly, by thinking about the broader consequences of your actions, you can move beyond immediate concerns and have a bigger impact on your life.

Play the long game with Jim Brumm’s Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

Nowadays, life feels busier than ever before. But this isn’t what life is about! So instead of trying to do more and more things that other people expect, say no to what doesn’t make sense for your life. For example, Buffett has turned down many investment opportunities, not just because they aren’t what he believes in but because they aren’t what he wants to focus on. Like him, you need to say no to what doesn’t serve you. Yes, this will mean missing out sometimes, but it will also leave you with more time, money, and energy for the things you value most.

Prioritize what serves you with The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight.

“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.”

Saying no to what doesn’t matter and saying yes to what does also applies to your relationships. It’s about understanding that the people you spend time with have a huge impact on how you think and act. Buffett, for example, has been good friends with Bill Gates for many years and the two often play bridge together. But just because you can’t hang out with a billionaire doesn’t mean you can’t build relationships that bring out the best in you. Indeed, even at a time when hanging out in person isn’t always possible, you can still connect with other people in a way that benefits you both.

Make engaging conversation like a pro with Debra Fine’s The Fine Art of Small Talk.

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

Although he’s one of the richest people alive, Buffett hasn’t changed his lifestyle as much as one would expect. He still does his own taxes and lives in the same modest house he purchased for $31,500 back in 1957. This is in stark contrast to many people who feel the need to impress others through outward signs of success. But rather than spend money you don’t have buying things you don’t need to make impressions that don’t last on people who don’t care, focus on building a reputation based on your true character. That will last far longer than anything else.

Banish fears about how you’re perceived with Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton.

“If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”

In 2006, after the death of his wife, Buffett committed to giving away 85% of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He’s also spoken out against tax benefits for the rich and other ways in which we need to address the inequalities in our world. But just because you don’t have his kind of wealth doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to give. Even if you can’t give money, you can be generous in other ways, whether it’s through your actions or your words. Given all the division in the world, a little compassion will go a long way.

Put yourself in other people’s shoes with Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.

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