- Michael Burry analyzed Warren Buffett as a young investor but decided not to model himself on the Berkshire Hathaway chief.
- Burry, whose massive bet against the US housing market was immortalized in “The Big Short,” realized Buffett’s willingness to depart from the teachings of his mentor, Benjamin Graham, was key to his phenomenal success.
- “I recognized that Warren Buffett, though he had every advantage in learning from Ben Graham, did not copy Ben Graham, but rather set out on his own path, and ran money his way, by his own rules,” Burry said.
- “Buffett was too popular for me,” Burry said. “I won’t ever be a kindly grandfather figure.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Michael Burry closely studied Warren Buffett early in his career, but decided against emulating the billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO.
Taking a different approach has paid off handsomely for Burry. He personally raked in $100 million by betting on the US housing market to collapse, and Christian Bale portrayed him in the movie adaptation of Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short.”
“The lesson of Buffett was: To succeed in a spectacular fashion you had to be spectacularly unusual,” Lewis wrote about Burry’s key takeaway from analyzing the Berkshire chief.
In other words, Burry realized that Buffett’s idiosyncrasies and willingness to depart from the strategies of his mentor, Benjamin Graham, helped him excel as a stockpicker.
Read more: ‘I’m getting a sense of deja vu’: A prominent bear rips into the argument that the stock market’s ‘obscene’ valuation is justified – and lays out why a Great Depression-like collapse could strike at any moment
“If you are going to be a great investor, you have to fit the style to who you are,” Burry told Lewis. “I recognized that Warren Buffett, though he had every advantage in learning from Ben Graham, did not copy Ben Graham, but rather set out on his own path, and ran money his way, by his own rules.”
“I also immediately internalized the idea that no school could teach someone how to be a great investor,” Burry continued. “If it were true, it’d be the most popular school in the world, with an impossibly high tuition. So it must not be true.”
Burry, the founder and boss of Scion Asset Management, also determined that he couldn’t follow in Buffett’s footsteps because they were very different people. Burry was awkward and uncomfortable dealing with other people, while Buffett was witty and affable.
“Buffett was too popular for me,” Burry told Lewis. “I won’t ever be a kindly grandfather figure.”