100 Ways to Beat the Market #4: Go Back to Buffett

In his classic book Mastery (which I highly recommend), George Leonard provides a road map to long-term success and mastery of your craft. It’s relevant to our subject because, if you want to consistently beat the market, you must pursue investment mastery.

The first of Leonard’s five keys to mastery is instruction. Leonard states, “For mastering most skills, there’s nothing better than being in the hands of a master teacher.”

There is none better than Buffett: not only is he the best investor of our era but also he has shared an enormous amount of his thinking.

My advice is to carefully go back and read or re-read all Buffett’s output. Study it like a chemistry textbook. Study it like Eddie Lampert did. Take careful notes. Let it deeply inform your investment process.

Start with the partnership letters and then work through all the Berkshire shareholder letters. Get a hold of the meeting notes from Outstanding Investor Digest going back to the 80’s. (They may be available through some good libraries. Order back copies if you have to.) They are pure gold. Move on to the speeches and videos. The 1991 speech at Notre Dame is a gem.

Then move on and go through the best of the secondary literature. Don’t miss Seeking Wisdom and Of Permanent Value.

Of course, no study of Buffett would be complete without also going back through Munger’s body of work, starting with the excellent Poor Charlie’s Almanac.

This will take some time. Enjoy the process. Consider it your own post-graduate program in successful investing. Turn down the noise and turn up the wisdom.

Finally, I’ve heard people say that you don’t want to slavishly follow Buffett. They say to seek your own voice. That’s true to a point. Those who master a subject must first master the fundamentals and trace the path forged by the great ones. This takes time and dedication. Only then are you really ready to cut your own path.

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6 thoughts on “100 Ways to Beat the Market #4: Go Back to Buffett

  1. Daniel D

    Great Advice.

    I would add one other tactic to your learning process which forces real thinking and ultimately personal synthesis. Take the new concept and state it in your own words, using none of the new terminology you just discovered (of course once you’ve done this and understand it, you then use the new term as shorthand) this tactic was used to great effect by Richard Feynman and Munger (via his very personalized mental models)

    1. Greg Speicher Post author

      Daniel, thanks for the comment and the useful idea. It makes a lot of sense. I am not familiar with Feynman. I looked him up on line and look forward to reading about him.

  2. Chris HedgeUrStoxx

    Hey Greg,

    I discovered your blog a few days ago via valuewalk.com and I must admit that your site is fantastic.
    I blog on value investing rereferring of the german stock market and you write so much good stuff and you are really inspiring me.

    Thank you for that and now you have a new loyal reader.

    Best regards,


  3. Albert Luk

    Hi Greg,

    Love you site. It’s also a piece of gold.
    You mentioned the 80s’ meeting notes. Do you mean letters?
    The earliest meeting notes I could find is year 2000. What’s yours?
    Grateful if you could provide me some hints.

    I think those early notes/meetings are more and more important because they are “Know How” and practical advices.

    Thank you so much.


    1. Greg Speicher Post author

      Thanks for reading the blog and for the kind words.

      The best source of older notes – late 80’s and 90’s is Outstanding Investor Digest. Some back issues are available. These may also be available in large city and university libraries. They are very good and worth going out of your way to find/buy and read. The book Seeking Wisdom draws heavily on these notes as a secondary source.


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