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Like a lot of things that Buffett says (such as the 20-punch-card rule), I think you need to look at the concept or idea, and not necessarily the specifics...

Tiddman, I couldn't agree more. In fact, someone alluded to the idea that I was infering that Buffett is embellishing or something to that extent, but they clearly misunderstood me. I am a unyielding believer in Buffett's integrity and character so it wasn't even worth a response from me.

I think what Buffett may be simply emphasizing is the drag of having way too much capital such as Berkshire has today...or any structure that ends up with way too much money (hence his returns continue to decline). It's why the question Tom proposed is I think a good one that W Tilson originally pondered. Big is definately not necessarily good in this business.

Whether or not Buffett really thinks he can achieve 50% or more today on a CAGR basis is great for him. The fact is, he didn't do it when he did manage very little capital. From what I understand, he still refers to the hard copy documents (10'K's, etc) today so I don't know if all this "access" would help him more but I could be wrong.

The point for me, however, beyond this is that when I hear one of MY main mentors (Graham and Munger the others) allude to the idea of 50% plus returns I realize that's not a realistic goal for myself (nor do I think it is for the majority of investors)....but, clearly, I need to keep sharpening pencils and aim higher and strive to get better all the time. I just don't think I'll shoot for 50%, despite the idea that he is MY mentor and he thinks he can do it. Point is, just because he might think he can get 50% doesn't mean I should feel bad that I don't think I can achieve that (ever).






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