Warren Buffet’s ‘Newspaper Test’ Will Teach You to Make Better Decisions

How to make the most of the ‘decision time’ you have

Eve Arnold
8 min readDec 27, 2020


Warren Buffett — Getty Images

Holding the position of Chairman and CEO of a 391,500 strong workforce is an incredibly daunting task. I nearly fell off my chair when I realised how many people Berkshire Hathaway employs. Needless to say, Warren Buffet has more on his plate than most. Here is a guy that at 90 years old (again I nearly fell off my chair, this is getting dangerous) is running a business that reported earnings of $81.4 billion and a revenue of $254.6 billion. I’ve decided to sit on the floor at this point.

These numbers are colossal. To put this in perspective the average house price in America is $226,800 according to Business Insider. With Berkshire Hathaway’s 2019 reported earnings you could buy roughly 3.6 million houses. If you want to know what 3.6 million homes look like, picture New Jersey, yep that’s right, the whole of New Jersey, that has roughly 3.3 million homes.

Eric Rassin published a paper in 2007 that described indecisiveness as a widespread phenomenon. Indecisiveness is described as taking a prolonged time to make decisions, regretting decisions, delaying decisive making, changing one’s mind frequently.

Sound familiar?

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to overthink things which leads to a severe case of indecisiveness. So what can we learn from this business giant about making good decisions?

Indecision is the worst enemy of productivity

Indecisiveness is a huge productivity killer.

It comes before the to-do list is written and it sometimes wades its way in afterwards too. Before writing this article, for example, I was contemplating doing the wallpapering, getting a coffee, writing a different article for a friend and/or mowing the lawn.

I got up and made a coffee, started the article, looked at the wall to wallpaper and decided not to mow the lawn as it is currently 7:40 am, and the neighbours might not be incredibly happy about that.

I’d just wasted 40 minutes thinking about all the things I could be doing rather than spending 40 minutes on the…