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.