Gongol.com Archives: May 2010
Brian Gongol

May 1, 2010

Business and Finance Wall Street Journal's coverage of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger said a lot of things at the meeting that sound like "plain common sense", as we are so fond of saying. They talked about thinking about the long term, having faith in human ingenuity and the power of capitalism to unleash that ingenuity, and the virtues of learning every day. Yet it's not especially common to find people who live up to those "common sense" standards because we're bombarded with promises of easy money, effortless profits, and overnight success. It's really quite amazing how much reinforcement we humans seem to need on a regular basis: Talk radio reinforces opinions, preachers reinforce moral ideas, and television shows reinforce ideas about family and relationships. Oprah Winfrey has made a fortune by delivering a sort of comforting reinforcement to her viewers, and Benjamin Franklin essentially did the same thing 250 years ago with Poor Richard's Almanack. To have complete confidence in one's own ideas seems to be quite the rare thing -- and perhaps that's a good thing. As much as it's useful for a handful of people to be cheerful contrarians, we have to forever be on watch against sociopaths, who also don't really care what other people do or think, but do so with malice.

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