I just finished reading Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist – an awesome book. Warren Buffett, if you don’t know, is arguably the most successful investor of all time. He is the third richest person in the world, worth about $55 Billion, and has had a long systematic history of outperforming basically everyone else in his investments.
Speaking about his many successes, Buffett said the following:
“The best thing I did was choose the right heroes.”
One of Buffett’s heroes was Benjamin Graham, who introduced Buffett to security analysis when he was in college. A great role model for a young investor – but the interesting thing is how much Buffett did not follow his lead. Buffett learned what he needed to from Graham, but then internalized that knowledge and developed his own style.
The lesson? You have to choose the right qualities in heroes. One person is not going to be everything you are looking to become (hopefully not anyway). All people have faults, and the trick is to pick the right heroes for the right reasons.
You can learn anything from anyone, but you can’t learn everything from someone. Said differently, don’t try to pick up all your pearls of wisdom from one person you consider your hero – even they will have bad traits. But try to learn from everyone with whom you interact. Even if it is learning what not to do.