“Intensity is the price of excellence”

– Warren Buffett

I’m about a quarter of the way through Alice Schroeder’s excellent 1,000 page biography of Warren Buffett and I’m struck by two things, both of which are summarized by this quote that she attributes to him.

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

First, was his voracious appetite for learning. He devoured everything he could get his hands on: newspapers, magazines, industry publications, books, and much more. He streamlined his life to devote as much of his time as possible to learning. He eschewed possessions, depended almost completely on his wife to run the household, set up his business so that he could devote time to this.

Early in his career, he took jobs based on what they could teach him, he applied for schools based on the professors he wanted to learn from, he took classes from Dale Carnegie. He ran his life in such a way as to find the information he needed to succeed.

The second was how focused his learning was. He wasn’t learning for the sake of learning. He had an almost single-minded pursuit of capital management. He read stock tip sheets, company reports, and whatever else he could get his hands on in order to learn.

I am already learning from Buffett. I’m already a dedicated learner, reading more than 100 books a year. But I love to learn about a wide variety of topics and could be more focused on the things that really move the needle for me.

What have you learned from the Oracle of Omaha? How intense is your learning?

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