Smart Reasons to Save, Use and Invest Money

The Paradox Called Warren Buffett

As I’m struggling to come up with something to write about today (headaches do that to me), my mind drifted to Warren Buffett and the fact that he’s such a paradox in the investment (or business) world.

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates

In many ways Warren Buffett is like the old folklore hero John Henry.  John Henry was a black man and the story goes that the railroads owners were replacing men like John with steam hammers.  John Henry challenged the steam hammer machine to a contest and won, but immediately after winning the contest, he collapsed and died.  He was a hero to the working men of that age!

Warren, much like John Henry, goes up against machines and special computer algorithms, but to date has fared well and continues to win the battle with the computer programs, and without dying at the end.

Another way Mr. Buffett is a paradox is that he’s a solid Democrat.  Although raised a Republican, his wife converted him to the Democrat way.  While I don’t entire agree with his political choice, I’m not necessarily a right-wing Republican either.

I do see a great paradox in that Warren being one of the richest men in the world is solidly in the Democrat camp.  Doesn’t that kind of go against nature, or at least popular public perceptions of the extreme rich?

Another oddity is that Warren doesn’t use his computers as tools to help with his work, instead he uses it to play bridge with remote friends (like Bill Gates) and other games.  But other than that, he doesn’t use computers for investing or business purposes…  Tell me this isn’t a head scratcher!

Yes, in today’s society, Warren Buffett is the equivalent of seeing a real unicorn or Pegasus.  Perhaps this is why lunch meetings with him go for millions of dollars on eBay each year.

Personally, I fix it interesting that his consumption habits (coke, cheeseburgers, etc), isn’t really far from the typical middle class style of eating.   so here is one of the richest men in the world eating normal foods that I would eat when I go to lunch…

Can you think of other interesting paradoxes about Mr. Buffett, if so, please comment!  We would love to hear them!





14 Responses to The Paradox Called Warren Buffett

  1. Doesn’t Buffett live in a modest home in Nebraska too?

    Poor John Henry. I suppose his death kind of disproved the point he was trying to make. I want to learn more about him now!

    Sometimes, ‘antiquated’ ways hold someone back, and other times, it obviously leads to success. In Buffett’s case, it appears experience wins out over technology!

    • Yes, he does live in a modest size home for the amount of money he has (it has over 6,000 sq ft, and 5 bedrooms).

      Yeah, that John Henry story is a great story!

      Buffett is amazing…

      • In addition to Buffett’s Nebraska home, he does have a multi-million dollar vacation home. But even that is modest compared to some of his peers and compared to what he could buy.

        Warren Buffett appeals to individual investors because his advice is basic enough for anyone to follow, has a likable character to him, and has the historical performance to back up his advice.

  2. The only way to invest successfully over long time periods is to use common sence. Computers are good at a lot of things but they do not have that rather the opposite they will give you a very exact answer predicting the future based on largely irrelevant information.

    I think the reason for Warren Buffet being democrate is that although he is super rich he thinks and acts like a middle class person.

    • I think you can make a lot of money with computer programs to play the market, but one everybody uses that program, the software losses it’s effectiveness.

      Warren grrew up the son of a senator, so he had a solid upper middle class upbringing. His family were solidly Republican growing up, and so what he. He changed parties because of his wife and his dad getting screwed over by the Republican party.

      • In my view the computer trading is flawed and as such will only be successful over limited time. ‘limited time’ can however be very long sometimes and as such in the period leadning up to the financial crisis 2008 people had forgotten about the problems with automated trading.

        I think it is possible over a persons life to change political affiliations just because parties change. As a person living outside the US in our perspective the democrats and republicans are so close politically that we don’t understand what they are arguing about:-)

        • Interesting perspective on how close the democrats and republican are. I guess really their arguements are small in comparison to the differences in other countries! Thanks for that great observation, I didn’t really think about it, but your shed some interesting light on how similar the parties are versus the other countries…

  3. Bill Gates in a Democrat too. I don’t think their political affiliations skew their perceptions on making money.

    WB actually said do away with debt ceiling when Republicans play hard ball and Democrats point to debt ceiling and Republicans’ willingness during the previous administrations.

    Don’t let politicians skew how you think. Think independently. I admire WB for that.

    • Yes, but the point is that most people think that the rich people are all Republicans, but really they all aren’t and vary just like everybody else.

      I don’t agree with WBs political views, but I do agree with this business and economy views.

  4. Although he’s a phenomenal investor, he has many habits akin to normal folks. He’s lived in the same house for decades. He drives a lincoln, not an uber expensive import. Thought provoking ideas.

  5. Like the others said, I also like him for keeping to his frugal ways. He definitely spends a lot less than he earns and it’s nice he can be happy and not want to be constantly upgrading to new homes and fancier destinations.