In February 2015, Warren Buffett, widely considered the greatest financial investor of our time, had a problem. It was 50 years since he took control of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, guiding it to astounding levels of value, along with his partner Charlie Munger. Many investors were worried that these levels couldn’t be maintained in the future, perhaps making it time to sell Berkshire stock. To respond to these concerns, Buffett wrote a special letter to shareholders in which he recounted various reasons for confidence in Berkshire’s continuing profitability. But, before the description of strengths, he did something I had never seen or heard him do in any public forum, declaring that what he was about to assert was “what I would say to my family today if they asked me about Berkshire’s future.” The result was a flood of favorable reaction to the letter (with headlines like “Warren Buffett just wrote the best annual letter ever” and “You’d be a fool not to invest in Berkshire Hathaway”) and a per-share increase for the year of nearly five times that of the S & P. I can say that, as a Berkshire Hathaway stockholder myself, I have never since thought of selling any shares. After all, Warren Buffett had given me the same advice (to trust in Berkshire’s future profitability) he said he’d give to a family member!
A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
The author of the legendary bestseller Influence, social psychologist Robert Cialdini shines a light on effective persuasion and reveals that the secret doesn’t lie in the message itself, but in the key moment before that message is delivered.