Could you share two or three influences on you — those kinds of people, educators, who have shaped your thinking on life and on investing? Thank you.
Well, I think the biggest educator — certainly in my case — initially was my father. I think probably Charlie would say the same thing.
And I think— it’s very, very, very important who you marry, and I’ve been lucky there, and those are great teachers.
And, of course, I had Ben Graham. I had Dave Dodd. I’ve learned from all kinds of people who have written books over the years. I’ve just devoured those and picking up things here and there.
Charlie learned a lot from Ben Franklin, obviously. (Laughter)
Many people think Ben Franklin learned a lot from Charlie but — (laughter) — we both learned a few things from my grandfather at the grocery store.
But your parents — I tell the students, you know, the most important job you have, you know, is being the teacher to your children.
I mean, you’re the ultimate teacher. You’re this big — great big thing. You provide warmth and food and everything else, and they’re learning about the world, and they’re not going to change a lot of that when they get into graduate school or sometime.
So it’s — and you don’t get any rewind button. You don’t get to do it twice. So you have to do your best as a teacher, and you teach by what you do, not by what you say, with these young things.
And by the time they’ve got to a place where they’re entering a formal school, they probably learned more from you than they’re ever going to learn from anybody else.
Well, I would argue that differing people learn in differing ways.
With me, I was put together by nature to learn from reading. If some guy’s talking to me, he’s telling me something I don’t know, I don’t want to know, I already know, or he’s doing it too slow or too fast.
In reading, I can learn what I want at the speed that works. So, to me, reading is the — is what works for my nature. And to all of you who are at all like me, I say welcome. It’s a nice fraternity.
You probably learn more from your father than you learned from all the reading you did, don’t you think? In terms of actually forming you?
Well, yes. And my father was the type that always did more than his share of the work and took more of his share of the risk.
All that kind of example was, of course, very helpful, and you learn it better from a person close to you.
But in terms of the conceptual stuff, I’d say I learned it from books.
Now, those are fathers in a difference sense.
The people who wrote the books.
Yeah, well, one book, obviously, changed my whole financial life when I — you know, by happenstance, probably, I picked it up. I can’t even remember why I bought it back when I was in school.
But if you just keep picking up enough books, you’ll find some — you’ll learn a lot. And I used to go through the Omaha Public Library and just go down the shelves.
It’s kind of an inefficient way, maybe, of doing it, but I — if you read 20 books on a subject you’ve got an interest in, you’re going to learn one hell of a lot. You don’t know which one you’re going to learn it in, though.
So I would take having — if you get the right parents, you’re very, very lucky, and it’s better than going to the right school or anything of the sort. And to get the right spouse, you’ve just doubled down.
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Your parents are the ultimate teachers, and it's important to teach by what you do, not just by what you say. Choosing the right spouse can also have a significant impact on your life and success.