At Work With Warren Buffett

What is Warrent Buffett's office like? Apparently there isn't much inside. He mostly reads and thinks, and doesn't want to be influenced too much by the outside, lest it make him irrational. And what about his management style?

Mr. Buffett tends to stick to investments for the long haul, even when the going gets bumpy. Mr. Sokol recalls bracing for an August 2004 meeting at which he planned to break the news to Mr. Buffett that the Iowa utility needed to write off about $360 million for a soured zinc project. Mr. Sokol says he was stunned by Mr. Buffett's response: "David, we all make mistakes." Their meeting lasted only 10 minutes.

"I would have fired me if I was him," Mr. Sokol says.

What I would like to know is whether or not he was this hands-off 30 years ago. When you have $40+ billion dollars, I think it makes mistakes much easier to tolerate.

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  • $40 bilion may make it easier to tolerate mistakes but that isn’t the point is it?

    I would think the point is to decide which gives better results:
    a) To punish all mistakes (and mistake makers) or
    b) To rationally chose what kinds of mistakes to roll with and what kind are a firing offense and then be consistent.

    Buffett would have learned from Ben Graham to get the personal emotions (like feeling intolerant of a big mistake) out of investment and business decision making.

    I would hope the fact that he’s rich hasn’t affected his approach to mistakes. It’s not rational or intelligent.

  • The Buffett story is amazing. I think more companies should try Buffetts strategy although it can be difficult to do. What buffet does with so few employees and so effectively is amazing. It’s amazing what one can do with the right employees.

  • Parkinson’s law – which states that work expands to fill the time allotted to it – explains why Warren Buffet and his few employees can achieve more than much larger organizations. Unecessary complexity introduces inneficiency.

  • Richard Doust

    when you’re that rational, you do have to ask why it’s worth living that rich…

  • fred quimby

    have contacts to mine rich uranium ore and am experience uranium and gold miner. also rich gold mine in oregon, need finance and equipment