Warren Buffett’s 35 Best Quotes About Business, Investing, and Life

In this piece, we will take a look at Warren Buffett’s 35 best quotes about business, investing, and life. If you want to skip our introduction to the world’s best known finance professional and his approach towards investing, then you can take a look at Warren Buffett’s 10 Best Quotes About Business, Investing, and Life.

In the finance industry that is made of mega banks the likes of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and hundreds of hedge funds that include giants that manage hundreds of billions of dollars, few managers manage to gain celebrity like status. In fact, it would be unwise to conclude that when we talk about financial fame, Warren Buffett of the investment conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway isn’t the best known investor in the world. Buffett’s rise to fame in the finance industry is synonymous with the growth of big business in America in the aftermath of the post second world war industrial boom.

This growth has seen Buffett invest in some of the world’s most successful companies, and then just wait patiently over time to see the fruits of his prudent decision making yield the required results. Naturally, the fact that Warren Buffett is so famous is simply because the few companies that have been lucky to experience the Oracle of Omaha’s attention over the course of not years but decades have also grown to be the biggest in their industries worldwide.

While we’ll briefly mention some of Warren Buffett’s latest stock picks in a while, his success on the stock market and a unique approach to life has provided the Oracle with, well, sage like status. Investors and non investors from every walk of life eagerly go over Buffett’s words, and he’s got plenty to say as well. A compendium can be written full of words from the investor which include remarks from the legendary investor made during shareholder meetings, interviews, and shareholder letters.

This also means that Buffett’s quips have gained a proverb-esque status on the stock market. If you’re a regular reader of financial news coverage, then you’ll be well aware of phrases like “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful,” “Rule No. 1 is never lose money. Rule No. 2 is never forget Rule No. 1,” and “Never invest in a business you cannot understand.” On the surface, they appear to be rather self explaining and something that every investor, whether retail or professional, would naturally keep in mind every time they decide to buy a stock or entrust an institution with their money. However, as cases such as those involving the electric vehicle manufacturer Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ:NKLA) demonstrate, not every investor either ‘invests in a business that they understand’ or ends up saving themselves from losing money on the stock market.

Warren Buffett's Best Quotes About Business, Investing, and Life

Warren Buffett’s Best Quotes About Business, Investing, and Life

The common thing between all of the phrases that we’ve mentioned above is that they are some of Warren Buffett’s best known quotes. Yet, they’re not his only ones, and if you’re searching for some of the best Warren Buffett quotes, then you’re in luck as we scoured through hundreds of the Oracle of Omaha’s statements as part of our research for this article. These statements cover Buffett’s views about the human body, his thinking about politics, how a business can stand the test of time, and of course, how to invest one’s money.

In fact, we can see in real time whether his words have actually stood the time to check just how well they’ve manifested themselves in the form of a performance by firms and individuals in the real world. One example that we found that sits aptly with today’s business environment is a snippet from a 1999 article that Mr. Buffett penned for Fortune Magazine, he wrote:

The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage.

These companies are dubbed by the press as those that have wide moats, and we’ve looked at some as part of our coverage of 13 Best Wide Moat Stocks To Buy According To Hedge Funds and 12 Undervalued Wide Moat Stocks To Invest In. In the former list, some top stocks were Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:META). While these were not chosen by Buffett himself, the firms do have enduring competitive advantages that have seen them become trillion dollar business enterprises that are key players in valuable and high growth industries such as e-Commerce and artificial intelligence.

Shifting from investing to life, Buffett’s got plenty to say here as well. One of his most valuable quotes that we came across during our research is about the human body. This comes from his biography The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, where Buffett shares:

You only get one mind and one body. And it’s got to last a lifetime. Now, it’s very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don’t take care of that mind and that body, they’ll be a wreck forty years later, just life the car would be.

It’s what you do right now, today, that determines how your mind and body will operate ten, twenty, and thirty years from now.”

However, while most people will generally agree that taking care of their body is essential for long term prosperity, one Warren Buffett quote that goes against the tide in today’s computer drive, quantitatively managed trading era is from Berkshire’s 2008 Shareholder Letter:

Investors should be skeptical of history-based models. Constructed by a nerdy-sounding priesthood using esoteric terms such as beta, gamma, sigma and the like, these models tend to look impressive. Too often, though, investors forget to examine the assumptions behind the models. Beware of geeks bearing formulas.

Another such gem comes from the 1984 Hermes Magazine of the Columbia Business School where Buffett is quoted as:

Our Graham & Dodd investors, needless to say, do not discuss beta, the capital asset pricing model or covariance in returns among securities. These are not subjects of any interest to them. In fact, most of them would have difficulty defining these terms. The investors simply focus on two variables: price and value.

This unique approach to both life and investing means that not only does Warren Buffett stand out of the pack, but also that his success has left a blueprint in its wake that anyone can follow. Buffett’s principles based approach to life is clear once we study his words, with one principle in particular being quite important when distilling Warren Buffett’s life philosophy.

One particular bit that stands out among the countless Warren Buffett quotes is about integrity. One such quote comes from Corporate Survival: The Critical Importance of Sustainability Risk Management, where he states:

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

In fact, integrity is so important to him, that during a controversial moment in his career that saw Warren Buffett rebuild Salomon Brothers, the Oracle stated at a Congressional hearing that integrity would be indispensable in the future. The scandal threatened Buffett’s career, and it came after Berkshire had acquired a sizeable stake in the bank. Naturally, Buffett’s credibility in sifting out the right companies for investment was at stake, and he stated at the hearing:

But I also have asked every Salomon employee to be his or her own compliance officer. After they first obey all rules, I then want employees to ask themselves whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear the next day on the front page of their local paper, to be read by their spouses, children, and friends, with the reporting done by an informed and critical reporter. If they follow this test, they need not fear my other message to them: Lose money for the firm, and I will be understanding; lose a shred of reputation for the firm, and I will be ruthless.

Warren Buffett's 35 Best Quotes About Business, Investing, and Life

Warren Buffett’s 35 Best Quotes About Business, Investing, and Life

Our Methodology

To make our list of the best Warren Buffett quotes on investing, business, and life, we first narrowed down his 60 most liked quotes on Goodreads, Then, we scanned a diverse set of media and other coverage related to Warren Buffett’s quotes and awarded each of the top 60 quotes a point when it appeared in these lists. The Warren Buffett quotes with the highest scores were then chosen. For the tie breaker for quotes that received a single point, the number of likes was chosen as the deciding factor. All rights to these quotes belong to their respective publishers.

Warren Buffett’s 35 Best Quotes About Business, Investing, and Life

35. “When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 1

Leverage is the backbone of the finance industry and sees hedge funds rely on expensive loans and bet on the market.

34. “Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 1

After all, if your barber is greedy, then you might even end up needing a haircut the day after you just got one

33. “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. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 1

Saving sex for old age is ill advised of course.

32. “…not doing what we love in the name of greed is very poor management of our lives.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

One widely taught lesson to young people is to do what they love – seems like Warren Buffett agrees.

31. “So smile when you read a headline that says “Investors lose as market falls.” Edit it in your mind to “Disinvestors lose as market falls—but investors gain.” Though writers often forget this truism, there is a buyer for every seller and what hurts one necessarily helps the other. (As they say in golf matches: “Every putt makes someone happy.”)”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

Every coin has two sides, and so does every transaction on the stock market.

30. “Wall Street is the only place that people drive to in a Rolls Royce to take advice from people who ride the subway.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

On the flip side, if all analysts started driving Rolls Royce, then who would take the train?

29. “Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

Choosing the right role model can help one lead a fulfilling life.

28. “You’ve gotta keep control of your time, and you can’t unless you say no. You can’t let people set your agenda in life.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

Time is the only true currency we have, an adage that billionaire Elon Musk agrees with.

27. “Forecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

A stock market truism is ‘past performance is no guarantee of future results.’

26. “Games are won by players who focus on the playing field –- not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

After all, it’s the investor with the sweat and blood of investment who can rightly lay claim to the spoils.

25. “What the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

Being prudent in seeing trends before they explode can help many a investor, such as those who bought NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA)’s shares two years back and have held the stock since then.

24. “I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute. ”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

And what a journey it has been to witness.

23. “In the world of business, the people who are most successful are those who are doing what they love.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

Doing what you love leads to self actualization where one can fully capitalize their potential.

22. “You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

Life is after all nothing but a group of choices made over the years.

21. “There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult. ”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

Some online dictionaries even call such a person a ‘complicator.’

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

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

The world would be a much better place if this was true, and Mr. Buffett, by donating most of his money, has stood by his advice.

19. “Honesty is a very expensive gift, Don’t expect it from cheap people.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 2

Apart from time, honesty is another currency according to Warren Buffett.

18. “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 3

As they instruct air travelers, always put your mask on first.

17. “Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 3

A piece of advice that has stood the test of time, it has seen giants the like of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk become some of the richest people in the world.

16. “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 3

Such is the case in life too, as it’s easier to reminisce than focus on the present.

15. “It’s what you do right now, today, that determines how your mind and body will operate ten, twenty, and thirty years from now.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 3

The human body is finite, and the more you take care of it, the more thankful you will be in the future.

14. “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.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 3

Like minds think alike – and according to Mr. Buffett, can also help other minds tune in to their frequency.

13. “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 3

Sometimes, it’s just wise to jump ship.

12. “Investors should be skeptical of history-based models. Constructed by a nerdy-sounding priesthood using esoteric terms such as beta, gamma, sigma and the like, these models tend to look impressive. Too often, though, investors forget to examine the assumptions behind the models. Beware of geeks bearing formulas. ”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 4

Repeat after us: Past Performance Is No Guarantee of Future Results.

11. “You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”

Insider Monkey’s Score: 4

Sometimes, time is the only thing that will truly award an investor and yield the right results.

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Disclosure: None. Warren Buffett’s 35 Best Quotes About Business Investing and Life is originally published on Insider Monkey.