The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.
Have I made my career solely by showing up when and were I said I would? Because that’s definitely a big part of what determines a person’s success. If you make a promise, you keep it. The trick is not to make promises you can see yourself breaking.
Even as a kid, he [Mike Burry] began to read about the market as a hobby. Pretty quickly, he saw that there was no logic at all in the charts and graphs and waves and the endless chatter of many self-advertised market pros. Then along came the dot-com bubble and suddenly the entire stock market made no sense at all. “The late nineties almost forced me to identify myself as a value investor, because I thought what everybody else was doing was insane,” he said. Formalized as an approach to financial markets during the Great Depression by Benjamin Graham, “value investing” required a tireless search for companies so unfashionable or misunderstood that they could be bought for less than their liquidation value. In its simplest form value investing was a formula, but it had morphed into other things — one of them was whatever Warren Buffett, Benjamin Graham’s student, and the most famous value investor, happened to be doing with his money.
Burry did not think investing could be reduced to a formula or learned from any one role model. The more he studied Buffett, the less he thought Buffett could be copied; indeed, the lesson of Buffett was: To succeed in a spectacular fashion you had to spectacularly unusual. “If you are going to be a great investor, you have to fit the style to who you are,” Burry said. “At one point 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. 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.” [My emphasis]