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Warren Buffett: The three things I look for in a person

Stashed in: Warren Buffett, Ethics, Intelligence, Relationships, Relationships

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“You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person,” says Buffett. “Intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two. I tell them, ‘Everyone here has the intelligence and energy—you wouldn’t be here otherwise. But the integrity is up to you. You weren’t born with it, you can’t learn it in school.”

Buffett and Munger were fortunate. They were both smart and worked hard to improve that advantage. The integrity, however, they chose.

This is why Buffett is so successful - he understands what's most important. There really are plenty of smart, energetic people in the world. People with integrity? Something to value when you meet them!

He's very good at doing PR for himself.

But he's only human, and even he has questionable integrity at times:

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone.

It is true that we all make mistakes and no human quality is an absolute constant - the compassionate person is not compassionate 100% of the time, the courageous person is not courageous 100% of the time, etc. I certainly don't idolize Warren Buffett (or any other human being, for that matter), but I do think he has some admirable qualities.

I am reminded of the quote about Nelson Mandela from the movie Invictus (one that applies to every man, really): "Hey, think about it, man. He's separated from his wife, his children. How often do you see them here, huh? He's not a saint, okay? He's a man, with a man's problems. He doesn't need us reminding him about them."

Rich, excellent point.

It is fascinating that Altucher's article (link above) impugns Warren Buffett's integrity since clearly that is a reputation Buffett works really hard to promote.

Altucher is chaotic but he's also good at not worshipping people.

I do agree that Altucher's article was an interesting read.