Tag Archive: Warren Buffett


Plague diaries, Day 351

Saturday night.

Take a wild guess what I did all day today. If you guessed “gaming, some reading, some Tim Hortons, and social media” – congrats, you guessed correctly! Ye gods, the boredom… I think it’s a lot worse because the people I used to know in real life are getting their vaccine shots in the US – their ticket to freedom. Knowing that something is just there, almost within reach, and that I’ll still have to wait who knows how long… Argh. I might have been happier if I were just sealed in a shipping container (with all the same amenities) but without any Internet access or news, right until a masked medic gave me my shots months later.

It’s a bit like the aftermath of my spontaneous 600-mile roadtrip in October when I delivered a customer’s treadmill from Ottawa to Toronto. I’d been just fine staying solo, but that single day-long adventure, meeting new people, driving for 10 hours – all of that made me stir-crazy in the aftermath. (Right up to the point of almost enrolling in the University of Toronto for fall 2021 because I heard a particularly amazing podcast on CRISPR and the advances in gene editing. Heh.) This is quite similar, only much, much worse.

One minor upside: my first intro call with the local search and rescue group (OVERT) will be in less than 48 hours. Finally, some minor sign of progress: it’ll take a while for the orientation courses to start, but it’ll be something to look forward to. Something to differentiate all these monotone weeks.

Warren Buffett has released his annual letter to Berkshire-Hathaway shareholders earlier today. He’s 90 years old, and his right-hand man, Charlie Munger, is 97. A lot of their Berkshire investments are being managed by their apprentices these days (Buffett never would’ve invested in Apple on his own), but the two still have a wealth of experience. Should be a fun read: if anyone can provide optimistic commentary on the dumpster-fire that was 2020, it’ll be Buffett.

In covid news, the US has set a new daily record for mass vaccinations: 2.4 million Americans got their vaccines in one day. Woooo, go US! On this side of the border, a pub trivia night on February 2nd in British Columbia led to a cluster of 24 cases among the attendees. They ended up infecting those around them (daycare, school, families, work, etc), and now there are 300 cases linked to that single pub night. A game to die for, eh?.. There’s a lot of finger-pointing going on between the province (which allowed bars to reopen), the pub’s owners, those who are outraged at the selfish trivia enthusiasts… There are no good guys here. As always, I hope everyone makes a full and speedy recovery. But if this super-cluster causes even a single death, I hope the pub’s owners and the trivia fans who should have known the risk will live with that guilt. Then again, there’s always the chance that they’re so self-absorbed and arrogant that they’ll just brush it off.

We’re in a strange twilight zone where vaccines are almost here, so tantalizingly close, yet people are still making dumb life choices which create new covid clusters, causing entirely preventable and avoidable misery in their communities. Every covid death is tragic, but those that happened with the vaccines just around the corner somehow feel even more tragic than the rest.

And just to end this on a good note, the FDA has officially approved the Johnson&Johnson vaccine, though it was only a matter of time after their announcement earlier this week. The US government plans to distribute 4 million doses across the country next week, with more to come. I’m blown away by the sheer scale of this rollout. The sooner our yankee neighbours recover, the sooner Canada will be able to piggyback, eh.

Enjoy the second half of your weekend, y’all.

Saturday evening. The first day of the eighth week of self-isolation.

Finally got xgf to talk this morning. Turns out she wasn’t mad at me – she had a very bad reaction when she saw all the families, couples, etc on our walk last night. We talked. She opened up. I listened. Many aspects of her life are very far from stellar right now, and she’s stressed out. Moving out to her own place at the end of our stay here isn’t something she’s looking for. I still care about her, but she doesn’t believe it, and doesn’t want to stay in touch once we move apart… She doesn’t want help, and I’m all out of ideas. Hopefully, things will get more clear when we leave Niagara Falls in 22 days.

Today is the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder convention. I used to go in person every year for seven years in a row, and only stopped when they added the livestreaming option. For the first time ever, there’s no physical component to the meeting: Buffett didn’t want to turn Omaha into a covid hotspot, so it’s just him and Greg Abel answering questiong on a Yahoo Finance webcast. Buffett is 90. Charlie Munger is 96, and not joining the webcast, which is also the first time that happened. I hope they both make it: each of them is smarter and wiser than any baseline American. The livestreamed Q&A started three hours behind schedule (Buffett was in a lecturing mood), but it’s still quite educational. Xgf can’t believe I’m spending a chunk of my weekend listening to a 90-year-old man talk about money. Heh.

Went for a fairly long walk around Niagara Falls today while xgf was on the phone with a close friend. It’s curious that there’s virtually no foot traffic on the streets, but there are quite a few cars on the road. It’s not busy by any measure, but there are far more drivers than you’d expect. Interesting.

In covid news, an entire city in New Mexico (Gallup) has been blocked off from the rest of the world. They have 22,000 residents and the highest per capita infection rate in the state. Three northeastern states reported that the increase in YOY mortality may point to uncounted covid deaths. That means the actual death toll may be twice as high as the official figures.

In personal news, the University of Toronto has replied to my recent email and assured me that they’re following up on my ECA (educational credential assessment) since I’d submitted my paperwork over three months ago. That’s encouraging, I suppose, especially since they emailed me on Saturday – that implies they don’t just work Monday-Friday. If I could only find a place that could fingerprint me…

Cumulative death count in the US as of right now: 67,152; in Canada: 3,684. New words in the novel: 0.

Hellooooooo, everyone!

It’s been a while since I published an e-book, but now there’s a new addition to my growing e-book empire. Ladies and gentlemen and all the conscientious objectors to the binary gender code, I humbly present to you my latest (and greatest!) e-book: Buffett’s Biggest Blunders: The Greatest Investor’s Greatest Mistakes.

Warren Buffett is without a doubt the greatest investor of our time. A humble, down-to-earth man with a talent for mathematics and analysis, he’s managed to build a $350 billion empire known as Berkshire Hathaway in 50 years. He’s a voice of reason, a paragon of patience, the living proof that one can attain wealth without day-trading or memorizing arcane formulas.

His successful trades, business purchases and arbitrage maneuvers have been analyzed time and again. Most Buffett fans know about his brilliant investment in See’s Candies or his lifelong love affair with Geico insurance. At the same time, however, there’s relatively little focus on the investments and business deals where he ended up losing.

It’s impossible to truly understand one’s investing strategy without examining one’s mistakes alongside the successes. They are two sides of the same coin. Both must be studied in order to get a full picture. Instead, even though Buffett has been remarkably open and candid about the mistakes he’s made along the way, very few pay attention to them and learn by analyzing his actions.

Did you know, for example, that once upon a time Warren Buffett paid his shareholders a dividend? That he briefly invested in Disney but then changed his mind? That he tried and failed to corner the market on stamps – and chose not to become a car collector? Those are just a few of the 30 investing blunders contained within this book.

This book collects 30 summaries of Warren Buffett’s investments that went awry. With summaries, charts and commentary from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger themselves, “Buffest Biggest Blunders” provides an excellent opportunity to learn from the greatest investor’s greatest mistakes – and to become better investors by learning about the missteps of the Oracle of Omaha.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about his investing methods and foibles, this is the book for you. (Or, if you’re more of a 1,000-page book person, I highly recommend Buffett’s biography “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life” by Alice Schroeder.) If you’re new to investing and don’t want to lose your hard-earned cash, “Buffett’s Biggest Blunders” might just save you from making egregious investing mistakes. Or, if you’re going to join me at this year’s 50th annual shareholder convention in Omaha (also known as “Woodstock for capitalists”) and don’t want to be lost when Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger start reminiscing about their mistakes, you’ll probably want to skim my book and learn all about it.

And did I mention that it’d make an excellent present for your business-oriented loved ones? If they don’t have a Kindle, they can still read the book on a Kindle app. I have it on good authority that it works on any device that has a screen and an Internet connection. (And pretty soon, the screen will be optional!)

I’m always interested in hearing from my readers, so if you buy my book and love it, I would enjoy getting a 5-star review from you on my book’s Amazon page. I hope you enjoy reading my book every bit as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Happy reading!