Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger’s Advice for a Good Life: “You gotta work where you’re turned on.”

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger’s Advice for a Good Life

By Matt Koppenheffer | More Articles | Save For Later 
May 4, 2013 | Comments (0)

“Find what turns you on.” – Warren Buffett

Get your head out of the gutter. When Buffett spoke those words at Berkshire Hathaway‘s (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) annual meeting, he was responding to a question about what advice he’d give to himself if he could go back 50 years and give himself some advice. And with that quip, Buffett was referring to finding something that “turns you on” to do for a living. Buffett’s right-hand man Charlie Munger didn’t disagree. He piled on: “You gotta work where you’re turned on.” Not that that comment did anything to squelch the innuendo.

It’s hard to argue the importance of that if you’re trying to live a satisfied life. But this isn’t just solid life guidance, it’s also a reminder of an critical aspect of Berkshire: Just how much Buffett and Munger love what they do. There’s a reason that Fortune‘s Carol Loomis titled her most recent book about Buffett “Tap Dancing to Work.” Is it warm and fuzzy? Sure it is, but it’s also a big reason why shareholder have, over the years, seen such incredible returns from Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett and Munger love what they do and that allows them to think in terms of the long term and what will drive long-term success. During the meeting, both executives opined on how big of an advantage it is that they don’t have outside forces — read quarterly earnings pressures — weighing on them. Since it’s not about a bigger bonus or more stock options, they’re free to make tough decisions — like not writing unprofitable insurance business — rather than always putting the pedal to the metal. As shareholders look ahead to whomever will succeed Buffett and Munger, this shouldn’t be overlooked. It’ll be great to get someone in there who’s tack-smart, cool-headed, and value-oriented at heart. But over the long term, the transition will work best if the current duo is able to find somebody that simply loves the job as much as they do (or, at least, close).

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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