Arnold Kling  

Warren Buffett, Five

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Michael Lewis cribs from Alice Schroeder's biography.


He seems always to have been something of a physical and emotional coward. He is actually less wary in his financial life than he is outside of it. He avoids social conflict, unless there is money on the line, and also all sorts of new experiences. His long-time partner Charlie Munger likes to call Buffett a "learning machine," but there are whole swaths of human activity he actively resists learning anything at all about, such as the entire high-tech industry. He confines himself to the diet of an eight-year-old, refusing to eat anything much beyond spaghetti, hamburgers, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Naturally, Tyler Cowen's antennae vibrate at this. Tyler would think in terms of the autistic spectrum. Also, compare the description that I quoted of a five on the enneagram. Tyler's book on this personality type is still several weeks from release.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
Michael writes:

That seemed uncharitable. It's very rude to call someone a coward, and he didn't back up the accusation very well. Not liking to try new foods is not a quality that deserves such an insult. Maybe you figure out what foods you like after 78 years. Polyamory doesn't seem like the choice of an emotional coward to me. And I think that avoiding unnecessary social conflict is an admirable quality.

Yancey Ward writes:

Buffet is a moron- doesn't he know that his diet is going to kill him?

Michael writes:

Maybe he has decided that the utility he gains from his favorite foods exceeds the expected utility from the likely decrease in length of life.

max writes:

@Ward: A moron? He is 78 years old and NOT dead? Your argument is like saying: You are a moron, don't you know that passing time will one day kill you?

If he likes it, let him kill himself.

Sisyphus writes:

Buffet does live in Omaha, Nebraska. That is not exactly a hotbed of culinary adventure or cosmopolitanism.

If you asked a lot of Midwestern folks what they like to eat, they would probably answer about the same things. Perhaps Buffet is just a Midwesterner in his culinary appetites?

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