+1 (312) 520-0301 Give us a five star review on iTunes!
Send Buck a voice message!

293 Lessons Learned from the Greatest Investors in History with William Green!

Share on social networks: Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Buck: Welcome back to the show. Everyone. Today, my guest and Wealth Formula Podcast is William Green. Now, William is a financial author. He’s written for many leading publications in the US and Europe, including Times, Fortune, Forbes. His most recent book is Richer, Wiser, Happier: How the World’s Greatest Investors Win in Markets in Life, which was out in April of 2021. And this is obviously right up our alley. So thank you for joining us, William. 

William: Thank you, Buck. I’m delighted to be here with you. 

Buck: So there’s so many things, so many directions. I feel like I could go with this. But I guess the first question I have for you is, why did you write the book? 

William: Well, I’d been in an unusual position over something like 25 or so years. I’d got to interview an enormous number of great investors really going back to people like Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, which now manages something like $7 trillion in assets, Peter Lynch, who is the most famous money manager from Fidelity, or Sir John Templeton, who is probably the greatest global stock picker of the 20th century. And I thought, Well, what have I learned over all of these years? Not just about how to invest better, but actually about how to think better and possibly even how to live more wisely. And so what I decided to do was to synthesize everything I’d learned from all these years of investing and studying investing and making mistakes and trying to deal with uncertainty and the fact that we know nothing about the future. And yet we have to make decisions about the future. And I kind of doubled down by not only writing about all those people that I interviewed over many years, but then reintervinging many people who were extraordinary. Some of the great investors, like people like Howard Marks, who managed something like 140 or $150,000,000,000 in Oak Tree, or Jeff Gundlak, who’s known as the King of Bonds. So I probably interviewed about 40 people for this book, specifically, 40 great investors, sometimes to an insane degree. I would go up to India for five days, or I’d spend a couple of days in Texas with another great investor, a guy called Ronald Vandenberg. And so it’s really trying to distill what I think are the most important lessons, not only to help other people, but actually to help myself, because I feel like I’ve encountered some of the greatest thinkers of our time among these great investors. But there’s so much to learn that there’s something about writing it down that makes you distill and synthesize everything in a very different way when you’re trying to teach it to other people, share these ideas, and also hammer it into my own bonehead. 

Buck: Yeah, absolutely. No, I get it. I’m a big proponent of being around people who are certainly trying not to be the smartest person in the room, which is not difficult for me, but it’s definitely something that I strive for. Now, let me ask you this now, you’re with all these people, and you talk about these names that they certainly share the success in common. But they have a lot of very dissimilar personalities. But what kinds of characteristics do you think maybe some of the successful people share, regardless of their personality differences? 

William: One of the most fundamental characteristics really is the ability to diverge from the crowd, which makes a great deal of sense if you think about what it takes to beat the market to outperform, really, you have to be different from the market. You have to go off in your own direction. And this was very vividly brought home for me, interviewing someone like Sir John Templeton all of those years ago, where I think maybe 22 years ago, when he was about 86 years old, I went to spend a day with him in the Bahamas, and I remember sneaking behind a palm tree on the beach and watching him exercise without him realizing. And he’s literally in the water wearing a ridiculous hat with ear flaps and his visor and his face is slathered in sun cream, and he’s pumping his arms and his legs in the water like marching. And he would do this something like 45 minutes a day. I remember looking at this guy and thinking here’s this legendary figure like one of the greatest stock pickers of all time. And he’s in the water just looking completely idiotic and kind of comic like I was expecting a Sage. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, Well, that’s actually the secret of his success. Here’s a guy who doesn’t actually care what anybody thinks about him. He’s figured out a really smart way to exercise that’s free. That’s in the beautiful sunshine in this crystal clear water in the Palms, he’s thinking for himself. And if you extrapolate from that, you actually see this type of behavior in every area of life, from the great investors that they’re willing to question conventional opinion, Orthodox opinion. And so they’re looking, for example, at euphoric periods where everyone else is getting carried away and they’re saying, what does this actually make sense? Or they’re looking at periods where everyone is despondent and everyone is selling and in a panic and they’re saying, Well, does this make sense? So they’re always skeptical of the crowd. And there was a beautiful line from Sir John Thompson, a very poetic phrase where he said that the best time to buy stocks is at what he called the point of maximum pessimism. Just think about what that takes temperamentally and intellectually to say. Everyone else is despairing. For example, during World War 2, when he started his career, basically when the Nazis had literally just invaded France and the world seemed to be collapsing. And he chose that point to buy something like 104 stock, all trading at under a dollar. And when he calls his broker to put in this order, his broker says, Well, yeah, that’s fine. But 37 of these stocks are in bankruptcy. So I didn’t buy those for you. And Templeton says, no, I want to buy those, too. And about five years later, he had quintupled his money. So just think of the independence of mind. And there’s a really important takeaway for our listeners here, which is that you have to know, I think whether you’re somebody who’s very tribal, who wants to be part of the crowd, who follows fads and gets carried away when people are behaving like herd animals or whether you’re able to separate yourself and detach yourself and think for yourself. I think for me, that’s been a very important lesson to say well, yes, I actually have to figure out how to manage this machine called William Green, which is actually not a particularly rational machine and know how to play a game that suits my temperament. If I’m not as naturally contrarian or as independent of mind as someone like Sir John Templeton.

Buck: You know it’s one of the interesting things that I think you bring up is the success for a number of these people translated into skills that were successful for them, created success for them personally. Can you talk a little bit about some examples of that? 

William: Yeah, absolutely. You look at someone like, say, Tom Gainer, who I write about at some length in a chapter on high performance habits. And you see this tremendous consistency in the way that he operates as a businessman, in the way that he operates as an investor and in the way that he operates in his life. Gainer, for people who haven’t heard of him is the co CEO of a Fortune 500 company called Markel. And he has something like 17,000 employees, about 19 privately owned businesses, and he’s managing over $20 billion in assets. So this is a guy with a lot of power and a very busy schedule, as you can imagine. And one of the things that’s so fascinating to me about Gainer is that he has this approach of compounding in every area of his life. So he says, really, the secret of success in every area of life is to be a little better than you were yesterday. So he’s applying that in every area. So he talked to me, for example, about going on a diet at one point where he said, because he’s so sedentary, because he was spending his whole time sitting around thinking, reading and trying to be a more rational person. His weight drifted up north of 200 lbs at one point. And so he said, I decided that I was going to lose 1lb a year for ten years because he said, that sounds so unambitious. But actually, if you think about it, most middle aged men as I can attest to as a 53 year old Tubby middle aged Englishman, most middle aged men put on a pound or two every year. And so what he said is, well, actually, these small, incremental differences add up overwhelmingly over time. So he said, if I can lose a pound a year instead of putting on a pound a year or 2lbs a year, that’s going to add up massively over decades. And so he has the same approach in every area of life. And so you look at something like his work ethic. This is a guy who shows up for work at something like 7:15 in the morning and works really hard, but in an incredibly undistracted way. So I remember sitting with him for a day and a half in his office in Virginia. And he said to me at one point at the end of the day, how many times have you heard my phone ring today? I was like, yeah, maybe once. And he said, yeah, because I’m consciously avoiding distraction. I’m constantly paying attention to whether I’m in a quiet, undistracted environment. So he structured his life in this way to be quiet, thoughtful, consistent. And they’re all of these habits that he has. He says, they’re not perfect. I’m not optimal. But he said they’re directionally correct. And he’s applied this in every area. So you see it with the way he invests, where he has the same four filters when he’s investing in a company that he’s applied for over 30 years has the same approach to exercise, the same approach to diet. For example, he weighs himself every day. So he’s just thinking, if I don’t let things get away from me too much, then I can kind of keep centered. I can remain directionally correct. This had a big impact on me because I started thinking, well, instead of beating myself up the whole time because I’m not that productive or I’m scattered or I don’t want to exercise every day. Let me at least be directionally correct. Let me find a bunch of habits that are sustainable over time. And if you keep plugging away for 10, 20, 30, 40 years with a set of habits that are directionally correct. And you don’t have any tremendous blow ups. What he said to me is it’s funny most people drop out along the way. So he said, I’ve never been the best at anything. But he said over time, you end up being number one ish because so many other people fall by the wayside. So that’s I think a beautiful example of something where these principles, like the bombing of the good habits, actually apply not just in investing, not just in business, but in every area of life. 

Buck: The things that you’re talking about really are related to efficiency and just getting things done and keeping your weight controls. Did you find any parallels with successful investors and happiness? 

William: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that struck me. Well, I read about this a lot. At the end of the book. I write this epilogue where I’m talking about what it actually means to have a successful and abundant life, because I don’t want to spend the whole time telling people. Here’s what you learn from the great investors about how to become rich and forget the fact that actually richness doesn’t just about how much money you have in your bank account. And so I talked to a lot of these people about what’s the money actually done for you. What hasn’t it done for you? What actually has made for a successful and abundant life? And one of the people I talked to about this who had a great effect on me is a guy called Ed Salt, who I described in the book as probably the greatest game player in the history of investing. Here’s a guy in his late eighties at the moment. He’s the guy who figured out how to count cards. So he’s a mathematical genius. Actually, he and a famous partner this guy called Core Shannon, who is famous professor at MIT, actually invented the first wearable computer, and he figured out how to beat the casino not only at blackjack, but then at Roulette. So he would trigger this little cigarette pack sized computer with the big toe inside his shoe. So you could calculate how fast the Roulette wheel was moving and how fast the ball was moving. So you could figure out where the ball would end up and which pocket it might fall into. So he’s the constant game player. If you’re approaching life as a game and you’re thinking, how do I actually construct happy life, what do you do? And he said, look, ultimately, it really all comes down to relationships. He said, who you spend your time with is probably the most important thing of all. So here you have a guy who set up a hedge fund that I think didn’t even have a losing quarter in 20 years. I mean, he’s a constant investor, enormously wealthy, enormous ly smart. And he’s looking back on his life. And he’s like, yeah, it really all came down to relationships. And so for someone like me, that’s really clarifying, because I think, for example, this morning I’m sitting at home and my daughter, who’s 20 years old, FaceTimes me from College, and I’m thinking, God, I’ve got to work. I’m so behind on everything. And I’m like, no, what could be more important than sitting here and chatting to my daughter who’s sitting having lunch at College and she wants to talk to me. And so just knowing that when you look at other people’s lives and you look at successful lives, just that knowledge that actually, when you look back at the age of 86 or 87, as I think Ed talk was when I interviewed him, that when you look back, what’s actually going to count is your relationships. For example, also, when I talk to Ed Thorpe, I said, do you have any regrets? And he said, I don’t regret any of the principled decisions that I made. I thought that was a really fascinating insight. But there are times where you’ll make a decision where you’re thinking, Well, this is going to benefit me financially, but I don’t feel great about it. Or I’m treating this person like a bit of a snake, and then you’re like, no, actually, if I want to look back at the end of my life and think, Well, that was a life well lived, not making unprincipled decisions. It’s actually a really important part of that. So it’s kind of very clarifying. Just this idea, studying the great investors and thinking about things like being more ethical, whether that actually is an important part of a happy and successful life or focusing more on your relationships, because if you have incredible returns, you make hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. But there’s nobody who loves you. Is that really a successful life? 

Buck: There’s some ideas that you put forth, the idea of cloning others ideas and can that lead to a better life? I’m curious on that, too, because a lot of these people are pretty exceptional to begin with. How possible is it to really clone their ways? 

William: Yeah. When I first started working on the book, the first person I decided to interview was a guy called Mohnish pabiri. I spent a lot of time interviewing over the years. And Mohnish is an extraordinary guy, born in the outskirts of Mumbai, which was then Bombay, in a house that I think cost something like $20 a month and very unlikely success story. Brilliantly clever guy. And what he figured out he was traveling through Heathrow. At one point, he had a successful technology consulting business. And he opens this book by Peter Lynch while he’s in the airport. And he reads about Warren Buffett for the first time. And he sees Warren Buffett’s returns, and he thinks, oh, my God, this guy’s mastered the game of compounding. He just totally understood. He’s the champion of the game of compounding money. And so he says, I’m a really smart guy. Let me figure out what he’s figured out. Reverse engineer, what Buffett has figured out. And instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I’m just going to replicate what he’s done in kind of a relentless and incredibly focused way. And so I spent about five days with Monish in India really getting to know him. We shared a bunk bed on an all night train across the country. It was a really interesting introduction to this great thinker’s brain and Mohnish will say, Look, I’m just a shameless Cloner. He said, I’ve never had an original idea in my life. And so this is a really thought provoking idea. He said. Most of us don’t really like to clone other people’s ideas that we have this obsession with trying to be original. And so he said, there’s low hanging fruit where you can actually study people who are smarter and wiser than us and can figure out what they’ve figured out and then replicate it. And this kind of became an operating technique for him in every area of life. So one of the reasons why I was traveling with him in India is that I wanted to see this philanthropy that he’d set up, which was entirely a cloned idea where basically there was another guy, a legendary teacher in India who had set up this thing called the super 30, where he would take 30 incredibly bright young kids, and he would give them coaching for a couple of years. And they would take the entrance exam to IIT, which is the Indian equivalent of MIT. So these incredibly bright kids and he would lift them out of poverty this way because they just massively increased the rate at which they got into IIT, and then they would get jobs at Google and Microsoft, all these great companies. Monish basically had taken this idea and cloned it, but then had done it on an industrial scale. So he’d actually educated thousands of children. He got thousands of people into IIT. And that, to me, was just a fascinating idea that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. What you want to do is study people who figure stuff out, pay attention to what worked, and then say, OK, what do I need to clone here? There was one time where I traveled with Monish in Irvine, California, where he was living at the time, and on the flight back to New York where I live. I was writing this memo to myself that said, Lessons from Monish. And the first rule was clone like crazy. And then I just said to myself, who do I need to clone? And what do I need to clone? What’s sitting in plain view? And so for a writer, one of the most obvious things for me to do when I’m sitting down to write a book is to look at people who are the best at this game and reverse engineer what they do and figure out why does it work? So I’m sitting down and I’m really carefully reading great nonfiction book writers like Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis. And after Gawande, I actually am very happy to apply that technique in every area of life. But Monish applies it in unlikely areas where he, for example, he and another friend of mine, Guy Spear, paid $650,000 to have lunch with Warren Buffett back in about 2008 2009. And the money goes to charity. And one of the things that they cloned from Buffett is this idea that Buffett said, you want to live by what he called an inner scorecard, not an outer scorecard. And what Buffett said is basically you can tell whether you live by an inner scorecard or an outer scorecard by saying, Well, would I rather be the best lover in the world, but known publicly as the worst or the worst lover in the world, but known publicly as the best? And so Buffett lives by this in a scorecard where he doesn’t really hugely care what other people think. He’s going to live in a way that’s ethical that’s aligned truly with who he is. And so one of the things that both Guy Spear and Mohnish Pabrai drew from that meeting was we’re going to clone that. We’re going to live in a way that’s deeply aligned with who we are and that’s upright and ethical. We’re not going to screw people. We’re going to have an honorable way of running our business. Both of them are hedge fund managers. We’re going to have a fair fee structure, we’re going to act as partners. We’re going to get rich with our shareholders, not off our shareholders. And so that to me, it sounds like a bad idea just to rip off what other people have figured out who is smarter than you. But actually, it’s a very profound idea if you apply the spirit of it, if you say, Well, I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I don’t need to be original. I want to be true to myself, but I also want to learn from these people who figured out stuff that I haven’t figured out. And I’ve really tried to adopt that in my own life. And I’ve found that it’s been incredibly helpful and clarifying. 

Buck: I think it’s actually a fascinating thing that you’re talking because I was recently talking about a topic on this show regarding entrepreneurship, because after leaving medicine, I had started a few different businesses. And in every one of those situations, the successful businesses that I had, people would often wonder how I did it. And I would tell them the truth. I just ripped it off from somebody else. I would be in a different market and a different setting. And I already saw somebody doing something very successful. There’s no reason to recreate the wheel. Sometimes it takes guts to actually think that you can do the same thing without evidence other than confidence in yourself. And I think that that’s kind of what you’re getting at with some of these individuals when it comes to investing in principles. 

William: Yeah. And also not only guts, but also a little bit of humility to say, I don’t know everything. And yes, I have confidence in myself. I have confidence in my talents. But there are other people who figured stuff out. Let me study them really seriously and figure out what they figured out. What Monty said to me that I thought was fascinating. He said, Most people when they hear about an idea like Cloning, they say, yeah, that’s a good idea. Whatever. And then they move on. He said in expletive filled language because he’s a very colorful speaker. He’s like, that just doesn’t work at all. He’s like, when you find an idea like Cloning, he said, you go 1000% or not at all. And that, to me, was really a fascinating insight. It occurred to me that often what really separates very, very successful people from moderately successful people is this kind of fanaticism where when you find something that works, you don’t just dip your toes in the water and say, yeah, that’s a nice idea. And move on. There’s a lovely line from Charlie Munger, who I interviewed for the book, is this 97 year old polymathic genius who’s Warren Buffett’s partner, who is also a great mentor and friend of Monish Paradise. And Charlie says, Take a simple idea and take it seriously. And in a sense, that’s really key. And it sounds so obvious. But that actually when I talked about flying back from Irvine and summing up what I really wanted to learn from Monish, that ultimately was probably the most important idea that I wanted to take these simple ideas like Cloning or Compounding really seriously. And if you understand them at the deepest level, they actually change your life because you look at something like Compounding, for example. And you think of Tom Gainer, who we were talking about before, who’s not only compounding money, but he’s compounding good habits. Or you think about Guy Spear, who I mentioned before, a close and old friend of mine. Guy talks about compounding goodwill. And so Guy is going through the world saying, I’m just going to take care of lots of people. I’m just going to be decent to everyone I encounter. And what you find is over a year or so. It doesn’t make that much difference. But over 10, 20, 30 years, when you compound goodwill and you just behave decently and kindly, everyone in the world wants to help Guy. And I see it because wherever I go, I meet people who are like, yeah, I love Guy. I did this for him or I want to do or he did this for me. These simple ideas like cloning and compounding the power actually lies in the fanaticism, the degree to which you apply them over time. And that, to me, was a powerful lesson that it’s not necessarily that you have to reinvent the wheel, but that you have to adopt good habits that are directionally correct, good principles that are directionally correct, and then just keep plugging away over time. And if you think about it, that applies to everything. It applies to meditation, exercise. It doesn’t hugely benefit you on the day to meditate in twelve minutes. But you meditate for twelve minutes a day for five years, and it actually rewires your mind. It helps you deal with stress and fear and anxiety and things like that so much better. It helps you think more clearly. For me, these ideas, the power is in implementing them really seriously over time. 

Buck: I’m curious about one right now. It’s a very interesting time with regard to the cryptocurrency space. The new breed? I don’t know if it’s a new breed or a different type of investor. What is your take on people who have been very successful in this cryptocurrency space? I find it really fascinating. I do dabble myself a little bit in the crypto space and have done reasonably well. And from the biggest takeaway that I’ve had as an investor in cryptocurrencies is everything’s in fast motion, right? Like you learn the lessons very quickly. You’re on the top of the world, and then you lose everything. And what do you do when you lose everything? And then you come back with three or four years later and the exact same thing happens. And then you wonder yourself, are things different this time? And what’s fascinating to me about cryptocurrency and investing in cryptocurrency is it’s almost like taking 100 years of history in your typical markets and having them in a cycle of every three years. So I’m curious about some of the lessons learned or conversations you’ve had in that space. 

William: Yeah. I was very struck by a statistic that I saw yesterday from a guy called Anthony Pompeano, who has a very good newsletter that Bill Miller famous investor, got me to start reading called The Pomp Letter, which I would encourage people to read because it certainly made me less ignorant about the space than I was. Anthony pointed out that I think since 2011, Bitcoin has gone down more than 80% three times astonishingly volatile. So that goes to your point about everything seems to be speeding up and intensified. And that creates a lot of problems for investors, because it’s really hard to get your head around it. And very hard really to know. Is it a fad? Are people going crazy? Have they thrown caution to the wind? Is this an example of irrational exuberance, or has something fundamentally changed? Is this a new paradigm? These questions are really not simple. I remember Sir John Templeton famously saying that the most dangerous words in investing at this time is different. And I remember when I started off as a financial journalist back in the late 90s. This was during the dot com bubble, and you would see people investing wildly in these moronic companies. You would invest in a company that had been taken public by some flash Wall Street Bank that made a fortune of taking it public, and it would go up 400, 600, 700% in a debt. And it felt like the laws of economics and investing had been repealed, that gravity no longer existed. And then they would lose 97% of their money when the bubble burst in March 2000. I think it was or 2001, and everything went to hell. And so I’m torn here. There’s a part of me that thinks, yeah, this is like the Internet, the arrival of the Internet, where there’s something so seismic, so important, truly paradigm changing that I need to get my head around. I can’t afford to be fussy and old fashioned and say, all these crazy kids look at them gambling on the thing that goes down three times more than 80%. I have to get my head around it, educate myself. But at the same time, I keep reminding myself of this thing that Charlie Munger talked to me about. That Charlie Munger said, if you go through your life and you systematically reduce standard stupidity, you’re going to be much better off. And one of the standard stupidities that gets investors in trouble again and again is jumping on bandwagons where they load up on some overheated asset because they aren’t there missing out. There’s a part of me that’s looking at this euphoria and thinking, God, I so want to pile in, like, I can see that tug that desire not to miss out. And then there’s a part of me that’s like, is this just a prelude to another 80% drop? And so my position is be wary. But at the same time, educate yourself. And I’m talking to myself here as well. I don’t think I can just avert my eyes and say, I can’t deal with this because it’s too crazy and it’s too wild. But I also don’t want to invest my life savings in something. And I write at some length about Bill Miller, who’s one of the great value investors of all time, one of the smartest people I’ve ever interviewed. And Bill has made hundreds of millions of dollars off Bitcoin and is the single largest shareholder of Amazon, whose surname isn’t Bezos. And these were tremendously contrarian moves because everyone in the value investing community that he belongs to thought he was idiotic for doing these things, and he started amassing Bitcoin at $200 a coin. So again, it’s about thinking for yourself, about diverging from the crowd, doing the homework, not getting carried away, not investing so much of your money that if you’re wrong, you’re going to get wiped out. Someone told me the other day about a really smart guy. I know who has 100% of his net worth in Bitcoin. And I look at that and I’m like that’s kind of moronic. I don’t know. You want to set yourself up in a way where you’re humble enough to say, what if I’m wrong? And that guy I mentioned before, Jeff Gunlack, the King of Bonds, Gunlack said to me, Look, I’m wrong a third of the time, and he said, the question you have to ask is, what’s the consequence if I’m wrong? So when you’re placing your bets on Tesla, which has gone up just to a crazy degree, or you’re placing your bets on Bitcoin or Ethereum or Salona, ask yourself if I’m wrong. What happens if this goes down 90% 95%? If someone turns out to be a Con man that I invested with? If the bank, the brokerage that I invested with is a victim of a cyberattack, what’s the consequence? Have I set myself up to survive and to be resilient, even if really uncertain, things happen. And we know from this recent period of COVID that the world is an unexpected place. It’s full of things that we can’t predict. So whatever your decision about how to play cyber currency, which, as you can see, I truly don’t know the answer, set yourself up in a way that you’ll survive your mistakes. 

Buck: Yeah. Fascinating. It is interesting, especially with cryptocurrencies and digital currencies. There’s so many different ways to approach it. And even with the space that we call cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin is very different from some of the other blue chip things that are really doing things currently right now, that real value. And then there are things that don’t have any. I’m sure there’s parallels to that from the dot com era, but this is sort of on steroids Dave Lou, who was on last week. He kind of looked at this phenomena as Web three. And if you believe in that being Web three, then it’s a true change, major change. And there would be a lot of money to be made. But the issue is that there will be a lot of losers, too, just like there was in the dot com era. So it’s just one of those things that I think it does require a lot of thought. And it’s fascinating to me to get your take from that. After interviewing so many people, like Charlie Munger, for example, who’s in my hometown here in Santa Barbara, in Montecito. So yeah. And 

William: I remember actually, you said in a previous episode of yours that you have to decide, is this Pets dot com went bankrupt during the tech bubble? Or is this Amazon? And I think that’s a really important question. You’ve got to be discriminating and you’ve got to do the work. And so just jumping into things because you’re afraid of missing out is really dumb. But then averting your eyes and saying, no, I’m not going to learn about this new thing is also really dumb. I think what’s fascinating is when you look at someone like Buffett, for example, who’s now, what, 90 years old hunger, who is the older of the two, says that one of the greatest characteristics of Buffett is that he’s a continuous learning machine. And so you have these two guys who are about 187 years between them, and they’re just sitting there quietly learning about the world, updating their knowledge. And one of the most fascinating things to me, it’s a great role model for all of us. Is Buffett always said, I don’t invest in tech because it moves too fast. Technology companies change too fast. There’s so much that it’s unknowable. And then in his late 80s, he invests in Apple. And it turns out to be the most lucrative investment of his entire career in dollar terms. And so there you have a guy who’s a continuous learning machine who’s just constantly updating his knowledge because someone like Bill Miller said to me many years ago, when I first read about Bill Miller, I wrote a profile of him for Fortune. Back in the days after 911, Miller said to me, the biggest problem in markets is that everything changes. Nothing stays the same. And so you’re always having to say, Well, I believe these rules to operate these principles that I operate by a sensible and robust. But I may not be right because the world is changing. And so you’re kind of trying to come up with a sensible array of operating principles like buy things that aren’t faddish, buy things for less than they’re worth. Be patient. Don’t trade in and out of the market these timeless principles. But at the same time, you’re having to deal with the fact that the world is changing. It’s not all timeless. You have to also say, maybe something’s changed here. And these companies that I used to believe were eternal, actually are all being disrupted. You look at a company like Coca Cola or something that Buffett made a fortune in over decades. You say, well, are we just going to keep drinking carbonated drinks with lots of sugar? Or has something changed? Is the moat being broken here? And so again, it’s a reminder just to be humble, to keep learning and yet to be humble and say, I don’t really know. I don’t know what the future holds. So let me set myself up to be resilient, to survive whatever happens. And part of that is just diversifying and being hedging against our own ignorance. So when I said to Bill Miller, what would be an appropriate amount for me to invest in cryptocurrencies set a pretty good default position is to put one to 2% of your net worth in it. And then if you’re totally wrong and something goes to zero, you’ll survive. And if it goes up tenfold as I suspect it, will you’ll be happy that it’s part of your portfolio? I asked the same thing of Anthony Pompoyano when I appeared on his podcast. I asked afterwards, so what should I be doing? Is Bill right? That one to 2% is a good default position. And he said, yeah, that’s fair enough. I think that’s a smart position. And so there you have two of the great zealots, the two of the true believers in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, and they’re just saying, yeah, default position 1% of your net worth. But you don’t need to go crazy. That to me, it’s a really interesting and helpful insight. And I remember this wonderful phrase from Tom Gainer, who said to me, I’m radically moderate and that’s a pretty good position to be in. You want to be radically moderate, set yourself up to survive. 

Buck: Yes, absolutely. Well, this has been an absolutely fascinating conversation, and I wish we could talk to you forever here, William, but I don’t want to take up too much of your time. William Green he’s the author of Richard Wiser Happier How the World’s Greatest Investors Win in the Market and Life William, I assume this book is available everywhere. Amazon. I am definitely going to get a copy. I did not have a chance to read this because we scheduled this fairly recently. But this is a topic that I think is so critically important for people who are serious about investing. I want to thank you so much for joining us and hopefully have you back sometime in the near future. 

William: I would love that it would be a great pleasure. 

Buck: We’ll be right back.