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That's Good Advice! | The 80% Rule

May 9, 2021

The English Department emphasizes close reading of the best in literature, the careful creation of written texts, critical thinking, and a spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ.

The God we worship allows individuals of all kinds to participate in His wisdom. Warren Buffett is a well-known American stock-market investor who has made billions of dollars over the last seventy years. He is presently CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and has earned a stellar reputation as a careful, honest money man. He is extremely liberal with his wealth and has pledged to give away 99% of his fortune before he dies.

What is the connection between Buffett and the English major? Most English majors don’t turn out to be rich individuals. Their passions lie elsewhere. Surprisingly, though, Buffet’s secret of success is closely connected to what English majors do a lot of, and that is reading and thinking.

According to Thomas Oppong in Medium, Buffet practices a habit that would surprise most people. Buffett is not a driven, hard-charging person working 80-hours a week. In reality, Buffett is a reader more than anything else! His rule for investing goes this way: one should make very few decisions but instead prepare to make decisions. He spends 80% of his time reading and thinking. He calls this “compound learning” as opposed to the better-known expression “compound interest.”

Before Buffett makes investment decisions, he studies companies very carefully because when he invests, he invests forever. He typically stays with companies he knows inside and out. Oppong quotes Buffet as saying, “I just sit in my office and and read all day.”

Buffett doesn’t let money control him, he controls money. Unlike other fabulously wealthy individuals, Buffett still lives in the Omaha, Nebraska, where he began his business and, in fact, lives in the same relatively modest home he purchased in 1958 for $31,000.

Buffett’s life choices exemplify a wisdom available only from God Himself. God has blessed Buffett in a way that most wealthy people haven’t been blessed—he has been give the privilege of enjoying his wealth and using it for the good of society.

As an English major, you should realize the spiritual gift God has given you, the ability to enjoy good reading. A lifetime of good reading will definitely provide you with “compound learning,” which you can use to help others.