I was reading about an investing on this webpage. As I expected, the webpage mentions Warren Buffet and quotes,

His investment style, Buffet says, "borders on lethargy"

What does the author mean by "borders on lethargy"?

Here is the context of the above quote.

Warren Buffett runs America’s biggest conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway. So you’d figure that America’s second-richest man would spend his time developing strategies, new ideas and products.

But is Warren Buffett really busy? Well, Warren Buffett says he "tap dances to work." And once there, he "expects to lie on his back and paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling."

His investment style, Buffett says, "borders on lethargy." He buys large stakes in companies that he holds onto for decades — allowing for the miracle of tax-free compounding to ramp up his returns.

  • 2
    He means he's so laid-back he's horizontal - doesn't actually stir himself to do much of anything. Apr 2, 2015 at 2:06

1 Answer 1


I'll go after both parts of the phrase, since I'm not sure if you were having trouble with border on, lethargy, or the phrase putting those two together.

The phrasal verb border on means "to resemble, come close to, be similar to."

The noun lethargy in this context appears to mean "sluggishness or slowness" and "lack of energy." (See the link I provided for additional meanings.)

So, putting these two ideas together, we can determine that Buffett is saying that his investment style is almost (or seems) slow, sluggish, and lacking energy/enthusiasm. The next sentence in the passage reinforces this idea by describing his approach to investments--he buys large amounts of stock and keeps them for many years, allowing them to mature slowly but surely (and making him one of the richest men in the world in the process). To other investors who make more frequent stock trades, his investment style, though effective, might seem stuffy, lazy, and boring, bordering on lethargy.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .