This article was last updated on August 30
A new book called “Life is What You Make it: Finding Your Own Path to Fulfillment,” is out by Warren Buffet’s son, Peter Buffett, who provides his philosophy on finances and how today’s money-rich (but time poor) parents should focus on teaching their children the right money/life values rather than give them everything they want. I was initially quite skeptical about a billionaire’s son preaching about the value of money, but after reading some reviews and skimming through the book it does in fact provide some good ol’ common sense advice for a large cross section of our society today. It is based on Peter’s upbringing and how he wound up a “normal, happy” person instead of a spoiled child to one of the world’s richest people. Here are some of the ideas I found particularly insightful:
~ “I am my own person and I know what I have accomplished in my life,” he said. “This isn’t about wealth or fame or money or any of that stuff, it is actually about values and what you enjoy and finding something you love doing.” People who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth can fall victim to what Buffett said his father has called a “silver dagger in your back,” which leads to a sense of entitlement and a lack of personal achievement.
~ Entitlement is the worst thing ever and I see entitlement coming in many guises. Anybody who acts like they deserve something ‘just because’, is a disaster.
~ Life is what we make it, neither fair nor unfair. Expectations and external pressures blur the outline of our truest selves. While economic realities and just plain old dumb luck do play a part in life, ultimately we create the lives we will. This is the greatest burden greatest opportunity. Yet, by focusing more on substance and less on reward, we can open doors of opportunity and strive toward a greater sense of fulfillment.
~ “I was not only not handed everything as a kid, I was shown that there are lots of other people out there with very different circumstances,” he said. Although many people he encounters assume that his father wanted him to go into finance, he said his father accepted his choice to become a musician beginning with commercials then his own albums and composing for television shows and films. He said he only eventually inherited more money many years after his mother died in 2004, but by then he had learned his lessons. Now he works on giving back to the world – another of his life philosophies – which includes through working for his father’s NoVo charitable foundation.
~ “Economic prosperity may come and go; that’s just how it is,” he writes in the book. “But values are the steady currency that earn us the all-important rewards.” Our journey in life rarely follows a straight line but is often met with false starts, crises, and blunders. How we push through and persevere in these challenging moments is where we begin to create the life of our dreams—from discovering our vocations to living out our bliss to giving back to others.
~ President Clinton also provides a solid endorsement of this book that nicely summarizes the book’s purpose and beneficiaries, “…a wise and inspiring book that should be required reading for every young person seeking to find his or her place in the world, and for every family hoping to give its daughters and sons the best possible start in life.”
I am sure this book will be read my many, only if to get more insight into what makes the Buffet family and their offspring tick. For less than $15 this book is good value indeed.