As investors look for key takeaways in Warren Buffett's latest annual shareholder letter, it's also important to analyze the character traits that have made Berkshire Hathaway CEO so successful.
According to legendary Kiss musician Gene Simmons, the Buffett has accumulated so much wealth, $86.3 billion to be exact, because he's quite frankly just a "nice guy."
"[Buffett] is, by all accounts, a decent man with a high moral compass," the musician writes in his book "On Power: My Journey Through the Corridors of Power and How You Can Get More Power."
He continues, "Though he aggressively pursues his goals, he seems to do so without earning anyone's particular ire."
Buffett has long had a reputation for being a "nice guy." This year he topped the list as the most charitable American billionaire and has given away much of his fortune over the last ten years. The investor also surrounds himself with fellow philanthropists like his billionaire pal Bill Gates, who came in second place.
"He makes headlines for being one of the few mega-billionaires with a reputation for his absolutely fair, compassionate and by-the-books practices," writes Simmons.
The singer explains that behaving ethically is a pragmatic decision for the billionaire and not just a principled one. "Screwing people over needlessly, lying, and cheating are not worth the risk to your own personal fortune and goals," he writes. This way of thinking is one that Buffett has held steadfast throughout his career.
In the biography, "The Life and Times of Warren Buffett," the investor is quoted as saying, "It's easier to stay out of trouble than it is to get out of trouble." Simmons agrees and gives this Buffett anecdote.
In 1990, he writes, a large brokerage firm was caught submitting false bids to purchase Treasury bonds. The U.S. Treasury revoked the company's license, pushing it close to bankruptcy. Buffett who had not been a part of these dealings and had warned the company against this behavior took the blame.
The billionaire knew that if the company declared bankruptcy, shareholders from his investment firm Berkshire-Hathaway would be affected and eight thousand jobs would be lost, Simmons writes.
"This move demonstrates the power of a persona as a public brand, managed properly," he explains, adding that you gain power when people trust you.
"Buffett's name had become so synonymous with honesty integrity, insurance, success and good judgment," he writes, "that the Treasury eventually released its hold on the company's license."
Though this type of power may seem impossible to attain, Simmons says that you can achieve Buffett's level of success if you never waver from your beliefs.
"Life is like an ad campaign. The more consistently you stay on message, the more people you will convince," he writes. "[Buffett] would go on to become the richest man in the world, year after year."
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