Needless to say, Taleb's words had barely made it to the online forum before being pounced upon by a number of Buffett followers. Among them was Janet Tavakoli, president of Tavakoli Structured Finance and author of a book based on the famous investor.
In a scathing email to CNBC, she defended Buffett's investing record and offered up Taleb's own Empirica Kurtosis fund, which after a strong initial performance posted years of subpar returns and eventually closed, as a more appropriate example of dumb luck.
Interestingly, though no response has come from Buffett himself, there is a chance that he and Nassim Taleb may actually see eye to eye. When asked about his success in an interview with the BBC in late 2009, the Oracle of Omaha himself echoed the author's feelings, saying, "...if I was born in a different time or a different place, I'd be an animal's lunch. I'm lucky..."
Whether due to skill or luck, it's hard to deny Buffett's success. He may have benefited from a bull market in stocks, but his long track record of beating the S&P 500 shows that his ability to find undervalued companies also plays a role in his success.Even though he failed to beat the S&P 500 in 2009, Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) pocketed billions with his bets on both the struggling Goldman Sachs (GS) and the small Chinese electric car company, BYD. With the amount of heat that Taleb's statements about Buffett have generated, and with many investors now becoming shareholders via index ETFs and mutual funds, it would be interesting to see what readers at TheStreet.com have to say about the issue. Where do you stand? Please feel free to leave a comment below sharing your take on Buffett's investing success. -- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV