NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - During his multi-decade career, Warren Buffett has captured the minds of followers through an interesting mix of wildly successful investments and down-home, folksy charm.
In the absence of self-penned autobiographies or memoirs, authors have spent countless hours attempting to uncover the characteristics which make the Omaha native so successful in business. In examining Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A) empire three notable qualities come to mind which, when internalized, can help an investor benefit in times of economic prosperity and protect in the event that the markets turn south.
Famously, Warren Buffett has said that his favorite holding period for an investment is forever. Living up to his words, a number of his positions have been mainstays in the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio for years and even decades. In an interview following his landmark decision to acquire the remaining shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Buffett turned his attention to the long term, forecasting that railroads will still be essential 100 years from now. By focusing on the long term, this world famous investor has been able to weather a number of economic crises, including the most recent economic meltdown. At the height of the crisis, while many were fleeing the markets, Buffett penned a now-famous opinion piece in the New York Times titled, "Buy American. I Am." In the article, he insisted that, contrary to the beliefs of many, the turmoil provided an ideal opportunity to take advantage of the U.S.' inevitable recovery. Although hurdles facing the U.S. and abroad are sure to crop up in 2011 and stoke investor fears, I remain confident that we are on the road to recovery. By taking a long term view it is possible to profit from improving conditions and avoid the psychological barriers that can lead to detrimental, knee-jerk reactions.
Through his investments and subsidiaries, Buffett has expanded his reach into numerous corners of the global marketplace. By tapping into sectors including health care, industry, finance and consumer goods, the Berkshire Hathaway empire has been able to weather market turmoil and profit in times of strength.