Money

7 surprising things in Warren Buffett's office

Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett
Rick Wilking | Reuters
Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett, 86, likes continuity. He lives in the same home he bought in 1958 and he's been based in the same office building for more than 50 years.

"It's a different sort of place. ... We have 25 people in the office," he says of the small Berkshire Hathaway headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. "And if you go back, it's the exact same 25. The exact same ones."

Here's just a sampling of what you'll find in the self-made billionaire's work space.

His award certificate from a Dale Carnegie course

In his early 20s, Buffett was terrified of public speaking. "I couldn't do it. I'd throw up," he says in HBO's documentary, "Becoming Warren Buffett." So he paid $100 to take a public speaking course with the Dale Carnegie institute.

"If I hadn't had done that, my whole life would have been different," Buffett says. "So in my office, you will not see the degree I got from the University of Nebraska, you'll not see the master's degree I got from Columbia University, but you'll see the little award certificate I got from the Dale Carnegie course."

Framed copies of old New York Times articles

Buffett has images that serve as cautionary tales hanging on his office walls: copies of old New York Times front pages depicting economic crises, like the Panic of 1907 and the Great Depression.

"I wanted to put on the walls days of extreme panic in Wall Street just as a reminder that anything can happen in this world," he says in the documentary. "It's instructive art, you can call it."

His dad's desk and model train

Buffett keeps a framed picture of his dad, who he calls his hero, in his office. He also works from the same desk as his hero did, he told CBS News during a 2012 tour of his office: "This is his desk right here, from 75 or more years ago.

"And my older sister Doris found this little train that used to be on his desk when we were little kids. She had kept it, and having found it, she gave it to me."

A picture of former Red Sox player Ted Williams

Buffett has an impressive collection of sports memorabilia, including a Nebraska football helmet signed by coaching great Tom Osborne and a number of the program's top players.

He also has a framed picture of baseball hall-of-famer Ted Williams, but not for the reasons you may think. Buffett tells CBS: "Ted Williams described in his book, 'The Science of Hitting,' that the most important thing for a hitter is to wait for the right pitch. And that's exactly the philosophy I have about investing. Wait for the right pitch. Wait for the right deal. And it will come.

"It's the key to investing."

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Mark Peterson | Getty Images

A copy of "Moody's Manual"

One of Buffett's earliest stock market resources was a series of manuals published by Moody's Corporation called "Moody's Manual."

"When I got out of school, I started selling stocks," he explains in "Becoming Warren Buffett." "I was 20 years old at the time, looked about 16 and acted about 12, so I was not the most impressive salesperson anybody ever met. But what I would do was I went through [the manual], page by page, looking for possibly undervalued stocks."

A few years ago, he found a copy on Amazon and "while reliving my youth," he says, "I bought old Moody's manuals."

When asked if flipping through it is comparable to going through an old family photo album, Buffett responds, "Better!"

A sign that reads, "Invest Like A Champion Today"

In the hallway of Berkshire's headquarters, there's a bright yellow sign hanging above a door that reads, "Invest Like A Champion Today."

Buffett explains its significance to CBS: "If you leave the Notre Dame [football] locker room, there's a sign, 'Play Like A Champion today,' and all the players touch that as they go out on the field. I figure, with Notre Dame's record, who am I to argue with that? So we just touch this every morning when we come in and hope for the best."

Buffett's sign is inspired by Notre Dame's famous "Play Like A Champion Today" sign
Jeff Schear | Getty Images
Buffett's sign is inspired by Notre Dame's famous "Play Like A Champion Today" sign

A landline … but no computer

The landline phone is "the principle instrument" in Buffett's office. "That, and the pile of reading material," he tells CBS.

But you won't find a computer. In fact, Buffett has managed to send just one email his entire life, to Jeff Raikes of Microsoft.

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