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Collection: Warren Buffett - #315 'Phil Fisher'



Mr. Buffett, Mr. Munger, I’m Tim Medley from Jackson, Mississippi.

Recently Mr. Philip Fisher died.

At this meeting many years ago, you, Mr. Buffett, mentioned your fondness for chapters 8 and 20 of “The Intelligent Investor,” the first edition of “Security Analysis,” and you said, “Phil Fisher’s first two books.”

And you Mr. Munger, have also been complimentary of Mr. Fisher’s writings and investment approach.

I wonder if the two of you would tell us of your experiences with Mr. Fisher, the circumstances of your meeting, et cetera.

And did his writings, or your discussions with him, start you thinking about the idea of the great business, or the franchise company, or was it simply an affirmation of thoughts which you had already begun to have? And anything else you would like to say about Mr. Fisher.


Yeah, Phil Fisher was a great man. He died maybe a month ago, or thereabouts, and well into his 90s.

His first book, and I believe it was “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits,” it was written in 1958. And the second book was written a few years later, those two books were terrific books.

And as with Ben Graham, you could really get it all by reading the books. I met Phil Fisher just once, and it was great. I enjoyed it, I loved it. He was nice to me.

But similarly, actually, to my experiences with Ben Graham, I worked for him, I took his class and everything else — it was in the books.

I mean, they were such good writers, and their thoughts were so clear, that you didn’t need to meet them personally. I enjoyed meeting them personally, obviously. But they got it across in words.

And the only time I met Phil was some time after that 1962 book, or whatever it was, ’61 or ’62. And I was in San Francisco, I think it was in the Russ Building, I may be wrong on that. And I just went there.

I used to do that all the time when I was younger. I’d go to New York, and I’d just drop in on all kinds of people. And I guess they thought because I was from Omaha that, you know, one time and they’d be rid of me. So — (Laughs)

And I would usually get in to see them. And Phil — I did that with Phil. And he was extraordinarily nice to me. But it wasn’t that I gained new ideas though, however, by meeting him, because I’d already read it in his books.

And Charlie actually, I met Charlie in 1959, and Charlie was sort of preaching the Fisher doctrine, also, to me. Little different form, but his ideas paralleled those of Phil. So I was sort of getting it from both sides. It made a lot of sense to me. I don’t know what Charlie’s experiences were with Phil.


Well, I always like it when somebody who’s attractive to me, agrees with me. And therefore, I’ve got very fond memories of Phil Fisher.

The basic idea of that it was hard to find good stocks, and it was hard to find good investments, and that you wanted to be in good investments. And therefore, you just find a few of them that you knew a lot about, and concentrate on those, it seemed to me such an obviously good idea.

And indeed, it’s proved to be an obviously good idea. Yet, 98 percent of the investing world doesn’t follow it. That’s been good for us. It’s been good for you.


We’ll go to number 6, please.


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