Last weekend was the 2017 Annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder’s Meeting. During the all-weekend event, Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett spent lots of time talking with shareholders and sharing their thoughts and opinions on everything from the future of Berkshire Hathaway to the current political climate and even some of the various stocks that Berkshire owns.
While there were tons of great quotes from the question and answer sessions with shareholders, here are some of the best ones from both Munger and Buffett throughout the weekend:
1. On what could harm Berkshire
“I can’t think of anything that can harm Berkshire in a material permanent way other than weapons of mass destruction … With the variety of earning streams, asset positions, culture, I think we would be one of the last ones to be affected,” Buffett said.
Charlie Munger agreed: “In every way, Berkshire is designed to handle stresses.”
2. On Berkshire’s purchase of Apple and IBM stocks
“When I bought IBM six years ago, I thought it would do better in the six years that have elapsed than it has. In terms of IBM and Apple, I regard them as being quite different businesses … I was wrong on the first one, and we’ll find out whether I’m right or wrong on the second.” Buffett said. “But I don’t regard them as apples and apples, and I don’t quite regard them as apples and oranges. It’s somewhere in between on that. I think I’ll wind up being one for two instead of zero for two, but we’ll find out.”
Charlie replied, “I think it shows one of two things – either you’re going crazy or you’re learning. I prefer to think learning.”
3. On Berkshire without Buffett
“If I died tonight, I think the stock would go up tomorrow,” Buffett joked. “There’d be talk about a break-up… it’s a good Wall Street story.”
4. On dieting and Coca-cola
“If you told me that I would live one year longer—and I don’t think I would—if I’d live one year longer if I ate only broccoli or asparagus or whatever, or if I eat what I like including Coca-Colas and steak and hash browns, I’d rather eat what I like and enjoy eating what I like than eat something I don’t and live another year,” Buffett said. “And I do think that choice should be mine. Maybe sugar is harmful and maybe you’d encourage the government to ban sugar … But I think Coca-Cola has been a very positive factor in the country and the world. And I really don’t want anyone telling me I can’t drink it. I think there’s something in longevity of feeling happy about your life.”
5. On the cost of increasing productivity
“There’s nothing wrong with increasing productivity. But just because it’s right doesn’t mean one should always do it,” Munger said, referring the original question about increases in productivity reducing jobs. “It can be counterproductive from the bad publicity.”