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Monday, December 19, 2011

Is Warren Buffett a prodigy, a speculator or both?

Buffett's performance came from a combination of relentless drive,
ruthless self-interest, boundless curiosity about a narrow subject,
record-breaking parsimony, social climbing, complex financial maneuvers,
occasional bullying, a keen understanding of the tax code, ceaseless
study of financial and business arcana, the critical insight that
running a hedge fund created low risk almost zero-cost leverage, the
critical insight that insurance float created low risk zero-cost
leverage, and the gradual accumulation of personal and institutional
advantages from the repeated application of all of these things. I may
have left a few things out, but this is the gist. Like most great
performances, Buffett's success is to be admired for its scale,
audacity, creativity, and ambition -- although not necessarily emulated
in every respect.