Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quotes of 2009

A collection of quotes said or written at some point during this calendar year.

"A light-weight vehicle with a small carbon footprint using alternative energy and renewable resources to operate in a sustainable way– When I was a kid, we called it a Schwinn." - P.J O'Rourke Speaking at the Cato Forum

"What Wall Street does is package luck and sell it as skill." - Dan Solin on CNBC

"There's no reason to have a system where every young man has $8 billion to play with and buy whatever he wants. It's incredibly stupid. It's absolutely crazy. If I were in charge, I'd take away everything from banks that wasn't boring. Completely shut down [credit default swaps] 100%. What's the harm in this? The world worked just fine without them. We don't need an economy that resembles a vast poker tournament." - Charlie Munger at the 2009 Wesco Meeting

"A man does not deserve huge amounts of pay for creating tiny spreads on huge amounts of money. Any idiot can do it. And, as a matter of fact, many idiots do it." - Charlie Munger at the 2009 Wesco Meeting

"I remember the $0.05 hamburger and a $0.40-per-hour minimum wage, so I've seen a tremendous amount of inflation in my lifetime. Did it ruin the investment climate? I think not." - Charlie Munger at the 2009 Wesco Meeting

"The world will adapt to higher oil prices, because it has to. It won't be the end of the world. Even at $200 a barrel, we'd be fine. People would adapt. We have an enormous power to adapt." - Charlie Munger at the 2009 Wesco Meeting

"I can't tell you how surprised, even embarrassed I was to get the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Yes, I had passed the dreaded chemistry A-level for 18-year-olds back in England in 1958. But did they realize it was my third attempt? And, yes, I will take this honor as encouragement to do some serious thinking on the topic. I will also invest the award to help save the planet. Perhaps that was really the Nobel Committee’s sneaky motive, since there are regrettably no green awards yet. Still, all in all, it didn't seem deserved." - Jeremy Grantham in the 3Q09 Letter

"Rational expectations and the efficient market hypothesis are as dead as dodos, yet their baleful and painful influence lives on..." - Jeremy Grantham in the 3Q09 Letter

"Yes, of course every country needs a basic financial system to function effectively with letters of credit, deposits, and check writing facilities, etc. But as you move beyond that it is worth remembering that every valued job created by financial complexity is paid for by the rest of the real economy, and talent is displaced from real production, as symbolized by all of the nuclear physicists on prop trading desks." - Jeremy Grantham in the 3Q09 Letter

"Our model is a seamless web of trust that's deserved on both sides. That's what we're aiming for. The Hollywood model where everyone has a contract and no trust is deserved on either side is not what we want at all." - Charlie Munger at the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway Meeting

"We don’t want relationships that are based on contracts. I can’t really think of a formal contract that we have. We have understandings about bonus arrangements with various managers. We have different arrangements because all the businesses are different. We don’t try to hold people by contracts and it wouldn't work. We basically don't like engaging in them." - Warren Buffett at the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway Meeting

"If you have a 150 IQ, sell 30 points to someone else. You need to be smart, but not a genius. What's most important is inner peace; you have to be able to think for yourself. It’s not a complicated game." - Warren Buffett at the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway Meeting

"We don't try to pick bottoms. To sit around and not do something sensible because you think there might be something better…. doesn't make sense. Picking bottoms is not our game. Pricing is our game. And that's not so difficult. Picking bottoms is, I think, impossible." - Warren Buffett at the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway Meeting


Happy New Year,

Adam

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