I like Warren Buffett--or at least his public persona and mythology--for a lot of reasons. He makes a lot of money without much use for computers or technology, he claims to invest only in what he understands (e.g., insurance, candy, etc.), he treats people with respect (including his shareholders), and he says that his taxes are too low. Buffett also agreed to give away 85% of this wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation upon his death. He could have built a monument to himself, but instead he concluded that his money would go further by giving it to Gates.
But my favor reason might be in the below abstract from a top-ranked paper on SSRN: that Warren Buffett et al.'s 31 year track record is not consistent with Efficient Market Theory. See Gerald S. Martin (American/Texas A&M) & John Puthenpurackal (UNLV), Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway:
We analyze Berkshire Hathaway's equity portfolio over the 1976 to 2006 period and explore potential explanations for its superior performance. Contrary to popular belief, we find Berkshire Hathaway invests primarily in large-cap growth rather than "value" stocks. Over the period the portfolio beat the benchmarks in 27 out of 31 years, on average exceeding the S&P 500 Index by 11.14%, the value-weighted index of all stocks by 10.92%, and a Fama and French characteristic-based portfolio by 8.56% per year. Although beating the market in all but four years can statistically happen due to chance, incorporating the magnitude by which the portfolio beats the market makes a luck explanation extremely unlikely even after taking into account ex-post selection bias. We find that Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio is concentrated in relatively few stocks with the top five holdings averaging 73% of the portfolio value. While increased volatility is normally associated with higher concentration we show the volatility of the portfolio is driven by large positive returns and not downside risk. The market appears to under-react to the news of a Berkshire Hathaway stock investment since a hypothetical portfolio that mimics the investments at the beginning of the following month after they are publicly disclosed also earns significantly positive abnormal returns of 10.75% over the S&P 500 Index. Our evidence suggests the Berkshire Hathaway triumvirates of Warren Buffett, Charles Munger, and Lou Simpson possess investment skill unlikely to be explained by Efficient Market Theory.
So here is my question: If you know how to make money like Buffett et al., what would you do: apply the strategy in the market and make supra normal returns, or publish it all in a finance journal to settle an academic debate (and ruining the strategy prospectively)?