Ten Lessons from The Oracle

MSN.com’s Michael Brush writes today that the current tough times call for “a dose of optimism, wisdom, and insight”, and he thus offers 10 lessons on “the basics”, as taught by Warren Buffett.

The lessons mostly focus not on financial expertise, but instead on psychology. “Buffett’s investment success comes from some easy-to-grasp human qualities as much as sophisticated expertise in balance sheets,” Brush writes.”Buffett would be the first to say his homespun and positive philosophy played a big role in his becoming the richest person in the world.”

Brush says changing your psychology can be tough, but “a psychological makeover is worth the effort if you hope to recover your losses in the market’s next leg up — and then make the right moves for the rest of your life”.

Some highlights from the Buffett lessons:

Wait for The Fat Pitch: Buffett doesn’t buy and sell frequently to try to outsmart the market. Instead, he has the patience to wait a long time until market turbulence creates exceptional bargains as investors overreact, Brush says

Buy Companies Cheap: Buffett calculates the intrinsic value of a business — “either by examining what similar companies sell for or calculating the present value of all the cash that will be generated by a company in the future,” says Brush. Then he compares that value to the value of the company’s stock. To find out how exactly Buffett does this, Brush suggests consulting books like Validea CEO John Reese’s The Market Gurus.

Stick with What You Know: If Buffett doesn’t understand a company or how it makes money, he won’t invest in it, Brush says. That led him to avoid the tech run-up of the late ’90s — and, more importantly, the ensuing crash — and it has also led him to avoid complex derivatives that have imploded lately

To read Brush’s other “Buffett Basics” lessons, click here.