Warren Buffett in India: The Wisdom and Simplicity

Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and among the richest people on earth is in India – partly for his philanthropic activities, partly to assess investment ideas in India. But that’s not news. He is already more than a legend, and while his investing styles have been dissected and studied many times over, this being the first time he is in India – the whole business press is all into it.

But what is amazing when I see some of his interviews or interactions is that when it comes to investing tenets, he has basically the same things to say! That’s true – and I mean it in a truly appreciative sense, not derogatory. Most of it he has been sharing with his shareholders over the past 40 plus years in much detail, and is very much in the public domain. That’s because – the truth, perhaps, is – while one may try to dig into his investment gems and reasons for his stupendous investing success – he has more or less the same key things to say when it comes to investing success. They circle mostly around evaluating businesses that you understand and are confident have a great long lasting competitive advantage; and buying them at a reasonably low price and holding them for as long as that remains true. It is quite amazing that the entire business press asks him so many questions about world economy or India’s growth story or value of dollar and what not; and is looking for snippets on these topics, and he generally has nothing much to say, many times shies away from it or simply refuses to forecast the future. So you have this whole business press waiting for crystal ball advice, and what you get is basically buy great businesses at good prices and hold them! Luckily (for the press and audiences) he has an amazing honesty and sense of humor when he talks, which leaves opportunities for some quotes for the business press – things like Buffett would like to be reborn as Sophia Lauren’s boy friend and all that! Small mercies!

Anyway, it may actually be true that – perhaps that is all there is to investing success! Buy great businesses at good prices and hold on to them as long as those characteristics stay! Of course, you could spend a lifetime discussing what ‘great businesses’ are and how to identify them, or what is ‘good prices’, or what ‘hold as long as those characteristics stay’ means – but that is a different story. Beyond that – Everything else might perhaps be some shade of noise.

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