In this documentary Warren Buffett visits a school and gives some valuable advice to the children: “In your life you’re going to get one body and one mind; it feels terrific now, but you better take care of it.”
Wise words from a wise man.
Ten minutes later he drives up to McDonalds and orders a sausage McMuffin…(I’m not joking. Watch the documentary, minute 2:45).
The worst part is that he eats this same breakfast every day.
I was furious. Come on Warren, what are you thinking!
Perhaps he didn’t see the contradiction. Whatever. Forget this Buffet guy…
After I cooled down I got to thinking: I’ve fallen into a classic psychological fallacy.Here’s the gist of it: We should be very careful not to discard all of the ideas of one person just because we don’t like one of their ideas (or actions).
I call it the Buffet Fallacy. Maybe I can find a better name later.
Here’s how it plays out:
Buffet’s daily artery-clogging ritual is unnerving, but does it detract from the fact that he’s one of the greatest investors of all time? No. Well, maybe just a little. But I’m still going to listen to his investment advice.
Seneca, the Roman philosopher famous for his prolific writings on Stoicism was a great thinker but kind of a bore — he complained about “loud party goers” on the beach and didn’t like social gatherings. That’s fine. I’ll just heed his advice on the more serious stuff.
This applies across disciplines. You can cut the gym coach some slack if he’s not well-versed in Shakespeare, or your dentist that couldn’t bake an apple pie if their life depended on it. You certainly wouldn’t think any less of Albert Einstein if he lost a basketball game against LeBron James. Learn from the best of the best, but don’t expect anybody to be perfect.
Bruce Lee once said:
“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”
I think that pretty much sums it up. Thanks Bruce.