Twelve Days of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.B)

On May 4, thousands of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) faithful will descend on Omaha for the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

They will be there to toss newspapers onto the porch of a Clayton Home. They will be there to try on Justin boots, buy GEICO insurance, eat at Gorat’s steakhouse, wander the Nebraska Furniture Mart, and run in the Brooks “Invest in Yourself” 5k race. And, of course, they will be there to hear Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger — two of the greatest investors of our time — answer questions from shareholders and the media.

Since this is one of the most Foolish days on the calendar, the Fool will be sending a contingent to this “Woodstock for Capitalists” to fill in Foolish readers on everything (or, at least, nearly everything) that Warren and Charlie have to say.

“But wait!” you’re no doubt thinking. “Do we really have to wait nearly two weeks for the fun to begin?”

Of course not! That’s why over the next 12 days, we’re going to be celebrating the “12 Days of Berkshire Hathaway.” We’ll be looking at some of our favorite aspects of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B), as well as what scares us about Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B) and a little bit of what we just think is really cool.

And the party kicks off today with 12 classic Warren Buffett quotes:

1. “When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever.”

Forever is a mighty long time, but in terms of being a long-term owner, Buffett practices what he preaches. The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) have been in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.B)’s portfolio for more than two decades. While Buffett hasn’t been an active buyer in Coke for quite a while, he’s added significantly to the Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) position in recent years.

2. “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Don’t forget rule No. 1.”

3. “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

Premium companies like Coke aren’t often (ever?) available at true bottom-of-the-barrel prices. For long-term investors like Buffett, the compounding returns of a high-quality, growing company can easily trump the bounce-back profits from a mediocre or poor company trading at a bargain price.

4. “After all, you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.”

See: financial crisis of 2008/2009 and its aftermath.

5. “The stock market is a no-called-strike game. You don’t have to swing at everything — you can wait for your pitch.”