“Sugar is an enormously helpful substance,” Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger said. “It prevents premature softening of the arteries.”
Munger said that during a Q&A this weekend at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting. He and CEO Warren Buffett fielded questions for nearly seven hours.
The questions and answers, however, weren’t all nonsense and jokes. The two had brilliant things to say about management, investing, the economy, and even the internet.
In case you weren’t there taking notes, here’s a round up of quotes caught by journalists inside the room.
On activist investors:
“I can’t think of any activists I want marrying into the family,” Munger said (via New York Times).
“The best defence against activism is good performance,” Buffett said (via Fox Business)
On broccoli and brussel sprouts:
“If I had eaten broccoli and brussel sprouts I don’t think I would have lived so long,” Buffett said (via Fortune)
On buying back stock:
“There’s been more stupid stuff written and stupid stuff done” [surrounding stock buybacks than on almost any other corporate topic],” Buffett said (via WSJ).
Should only buy back shares if price is below intrinsic value, Buffett said (via CNBC).
On the dollar:
“I think the dollar will be the reserve currency of the world 50 years from now,” Buffett said (via CNBC).
On donating wealth:
“There’s no Forbes 400 in the graveyard,” Buffett said (via FT).
“We think any company that has an economist has one employee too many,” Buffett said (via CNBC).
On the eurozone:
“They created something that’s unwise. You can’t form a business partnership w/your frivolous, drunken brother-in-law,” Munger said (via Fox Business News).
On German companies:
“I will predict we buy at least one German company in the next five years. We’re far more on the radar screen than we were five years ago,” Buffett said (via WSJ)
On the internet:
“I love it,” Buffett said (via CNN).
“[The internet] has been a huge change in my life and it costs me $US100 a year,” Buffett said (via CNBC).
On interest rates and inflation:
“So far, I have been wrong on interest rates … It is so hard for me to believe that you can drop money from a helicopter and not have inflation, but we haven’t,” Buffett said (via Fortune).
On investing in general and investing in IBM:
“If people weren’t wrong so often, we wouldn’t be so rich,” Munger said (via New York Times).
On job cuts at Berkshire companies:
“I don’t know of any company that has a policy that says we’re going to have a lot more people than they need,” Buffett said (via Reuters).
On junk food:
“I don’t see smiles on the faces of people at Whole Foods… I like the brands we’re buying,” Buffett said (via Bloomberg).
“One-quarter of all the calories I have consumed is from Coca-Cola,” Buffett said (via CNN).
On minimum wage:
“I don’t have anything against raising the minimum wage but I don’t think you can do it in a significant enough way without creating a lot of distortions,” Buffett said (via Bloomberg).
On railroad accidents:
“If we run trains millions and millions of miles year after year, something will happen,” Buffett said (via WSJ).
On being rational:
“Being rational is a moral Imperative. You should never be stupider than you need to be,” Munger said (via CNBC).
On silver prices:
“We don’t think about silver any more,” Buffett said (via WSJ).
On taxes and corporations complaining about them:
“I don’t shed any tears for American business [when it complains about taxes],” Buffett said (via New York Times)