In 2021, I read the book Richer Wiser Happier. One chapter covers a successful investor from India, living in the US, who decided the fastest path to huge success was to “clone” a successful investor. The investor chose Warren Buffett.
He read everything he could about him, copied his investment style, and even copied some of his work habits such as setting up a simple, quiet office with an assistant and no distractions.
The investor grew his own portfolio to hundreds of millions of dollars. Today he gives a lot of money to help poor kids in India get excellent education.
The idea makes sense: If you want to get the result someone else achieved, a possible path is to copy everything they did. You may not end up with the exact same result, but you’ll end up in the general area.
I thought about all the leaders I had met or read about to decide on my own business role model to “clone”. I wanted a leader with a great track record in business and good values.
My choice: Warren Buffett.
Here are six reasons why Warren Buffett is my business role model:
1 – High Success
In 2008, Warren Buffett became the richest person in the world. As with anyone who has the majority of their wealth tied up in a publicly traded corporation, his wealth fluctuates a lot. Today, he is considered the eighth richest person in the world after giving away a lot of money to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other charities.
2 – Clean Track Record
If you look at news articles and the Wikipedia pages for most business leaders who have been around for decades, you’ll find a lot of scandal. Some is likely not true, but some is.
For Warren Buffett, his record is as clean as it gets. There isn’t much controversy surrounding Buffett. The worst I could find is a quote from him in 1987 about tobacco companies as an investment, “I’ll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It’s addictive. And there’s fantastic brand loyalty.” Later he changed his opinion on the the industry.
That is nothing compared to the sexual assault allegations, criminal cases, and other issues many other prominent business leaders have faced in their histories of building companies.
3 – Can Learn Directly from Him
Buffett has published thousands of pages covering his business and investment strategies for over 60 years.
There is a lot of material we can read to learn exactly what Buffett thinks, what he does, and how he does it. He’s been open with how he’s built Berkshire Hathaway, his holding company, into one of the largest companies in the world.
4 – Thinks Rationally
Buffett aims to think rationally. His writing is clear and easy-to-understand because his thinking is clear. This makes it easier to grasp how he operates and to emulate it in our own lives.
5 – Good Values
Here are some of his values:
- Focus on the long-term
- Be honest
- Address problems fast and head-on
- Be trustworthy
- Don’t follow fads just because everyone else is
- If people entrust you with their money, treat it like it’s your own
- Don’t risk what you don’t have and don’t need for what you have and need
6 – Long-Term, Diversified Record of Success
Luck plays a factor in everyone’s success, Buffett’s included. He’s said he was quite fortunate being born in the USA, as a white male, and to a reasonably well-off family.
Luck might be even more of a factor for a business leader who built the majority of his or her wealth in one business. Buffett built his wealth across investing in and purchasing hundreds of businesses.
Buffett’s success and strategies to get there are more reliable to follow than most business leaders because they’ve been proven over a decades and across many areas.
My Favorite Buffett Books
Starting in 2021, I’ve tried to read every major book written about Buffett and recommended by him. Here have been my favorites:
- The Essays of Warren Buffett
- The Warren Buffett CEO
- The Intelligent Investor
I hope you find a role model as good as Buffett. When I have a tough decision to make, I ask, “What about Buffett do?”