Last Saturday, May 3rd, Berkshire Hathaway held in Omaha its annual shareholder meeting, attended by over 30,000 shareholders. The most expected part of that weekend is the Q&A session of the meeting, in which Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger answer to dozens of questions.
The meeting is neither televised, nor recorded or streamed. However, the financial website Motley Fool has done a terrific job publishing a transcript of the session. Find the link here and allow yourself at least a couple of hours to read through it (the Q&A session takes hours itself!). I strongly encourage the reading. As a teaser, find below some of the gems:
“No CEO looks at proxy statements and comes away thinking that I should be paid less.” Warren Buffett.
“We can’t earn same return on capital with over $300 billion market cap. Archimedes said he could move the world with a long enough lever. I wish I had his lever” Buffett
“If you are in any social organization, if you keep belching at the dinner table, you’ll be eating in the kitchen” Buffett (on Boards of Directors)
“Cash or available credit is like oxygen: you don’t notice it 99.9% of the time, but when absent, it’s the only thing you notice” Buffett
“By the standards of the rest, we over-trust. […] because we carefully selected people who should be over-trusted” Charlie Munger
“There’s something about owning a brand to educate yourself about things you might do in the future.” Buffett
“At the beginning, we knew nothing. We were stupid. If there’s any secret to Berkshire, it’s that we’re pretty good at ignorance removal.” Munger
“… if you think you understand, you’re not paying attention.” Munger
“There’s changes going on with all our businesses. We want managers to think about change, what’s going to be needed for the future” Buffett
“Being realistic when realizing your own shortcomings is important.” Buffett (on the circle of competence)
“There’s a point you start getting inverse correlation between wealth and quality of life” Buffett
“I think America made a huge mistake by letting the public school systems go to hell…” Munger
(on home mortgage market) “you had the biggest bunch of thieves & idiots running things, I’m not trusting private industry in this field” Munger
“The net utility from finance majors has been negative.” Buffett
Some other readings I recommend in relation to this post:
- Warren Buffett’s letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Find them here. I wrote some post commenting last years’ letters, find them here: 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
- One of Warren Buffett’s biographies, of which I wrote a review here: “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life“, by Alice Schroeder.
- My experience at the annual shareholder meeting in 2011.