Becoming Warren Buffett, the inspiring HBO documentary chronicling the life and philanthropy of arguably the world's greatest investor, is now available on Showmax – and shows that it is indeed possible for a multi-billionaire to be thoughtful, generous and humble.
The billion-dollar Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is considered to be one of the world’s most successful investors, having, almost unfailingly, successfully invested in a wide range of companies over the years. And while the “Oracle of Omaha” didn’t invent value investing— buying quality companies that are under-rated by the rest of the market – he is said to have come close to perfecting it.
The 90-minute film, directed by Peter Kunhardt, tells Buffett's story in a personal and engaging way, using home-movie footage, superb stills and personal commentary to do justice to the extraordinary genius and life of the man.
The documentary also offers an intimate look at the billionaire’s daily routine and approach to life: and yes, there are a few surprises.
So, what does an average day look like for someone estimated to be worth $85.1 billion? These are a few of the things that are important to him on daily basis:
1. Read, read, and read some more
Buffett gets up in the morning by 6.45 am and reads at least half a dozen newspapers. In total he’ll spend about 80 percent of his day reading - by choice. When Buffett was once asked how to get smarter, he held up a stack of papers and said, “Read five hundred pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge builds up, like compound interest.”
He will read financial statements, newspapers, journals and reports at the office, and switches to books and more papers in the evening. It also helps that he’s a fast reader and when he’s “in the zone” he is completely focused on what he is reading.
Buffett has credited three books with shaping his investment philosophy: The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, and Security Analysis and The Intelligent Investor, both by Benjamin Graham.
2. The “one car” rule for daily exercise
The 87-year-old tries to exercise every day after his doctor informed him a decade ago that he needed to either change his diet (he has joked that he gets a quarter of his daily caloric intake from Coca-Cola), or start to exercise.
In the opening scene of Becoming Warren Buffett, he gives an analogy to a group of school students. He says, “Imagine you’re going to be given a new car. Any car that you want is yours. It will be at the front of your house with a bow on it when you get home. There’s one catch. That’s the only car you’re ever going to have in your life. So, you better take care of it.” Buffett says exactly the same goes for your mind and body.
Simple, yet profound. We can all treat and look after ourselves a little better. If you only had one car for the rest of your life, you’d take care of it. So why not do the same with your mind and body.
3. Keep your own agenda
Bill Gates once wrote that being jealously protective of his time was an important lesson he'd learned from Buffett. "There are only twenty-four hours in everyone's day. Warren has a keen sense of this. He doesn't let his calendar get filled up with useless meetings."
Buffett reiterated this concept in an interview with Levo League: “Keep control of your time. You won’t keep control of your time unless you can say no — you can’t let other people set your agenda in life.”
Just because you're not a multi-billionaire, doesn’t mean time isn’t your most valuable resource. Develop the ability to say no and guard it carefully.
4. Family, ukulele and bridge
In the film, we can tell from watching his children speak about their dad that the family is close, and they love and respect him. With a career like his it would’ve been easy to be absorbed by his job, but work wasn’t everything to Buffett. He made sure he was home every day for family dinner, and without his family to go home to, he probably wouldn’t have had the success he does now.
He also enjoys his hobbies and unwinding after work over a good game of bridge. "You know, if I'm playing bridge and a naked woman walks by, I don't even see her," he once told CBS. He’s also a good ukulele player, a skill he picked up in order to woo his first wife, and he once strummed out a duet with Bon Jovi for charity.
5. Stay humble
Perhaps a more important lesson though has less to do with Buffett’s investments and more to do with the man. After a lifetime of investment success stories – and a few failures – the “oracle” has remained humble, approachable and respected throughout.
He lives in the same modest house he bought over 40 years ago and works at the same office he bought around that time, in Omaha, Nebraska – far removed from the world’s financial centres. He collects visiting business guests himself in his $30 000 car and often takes them to McDonald’s. CNBC reported that he once bought his friend Bill Gates a meal at the fast food giant using coupons. His daily breakfast, also from McDonalds, only costs him roughly between $2 -$3 – the more “expensive” option selected for when the stock markets are doing well, and Buffett is feeling “prosperous.”
Bonus tip – Rest up:
When it comes time to grabbing some shut eye, Buffett likes to be in bed by 10:45 p.m. "I get quite a bit of sleep. I like to sleep," he told PBS. "So, I will usually sleep eight hours a night."
Get to know the master of investing and this truly fascinating man better with HBO’s Becoming Warren Buffett, watch it now on Showmax. Get a free 14 -day trial if you are a first time user when you sign up for Showmax, and if you’re a DStv Premium subscriber, get Showmax at no extra cost. Find out how here. DStv Compact subscribers get Showmax for R49. Find out more here.
This content is sponsored by Showmax and co-created with BI Studios.