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

"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).

Feel like you're missing out on the Berkshire annual meeting? Fret not, you can join in on The Fool's chat live from Omaha.

Thanks to the savvy of investing legend Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway's book value per share has grown a mind-blowing 586,817% over the past 48 years. But with Buffett aging and Berkshire rapidly evolving, is this insurance conglomerate still a buy today? In The Motley Fool's premium report on the company, Berkshire expert Joe Magyer provides investors with key reasons to buy as well as important risks to watch out for. Click here now for instant access to Joe's take on Berkshire!


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  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2013, at 3:35 PM, lutey wrote:

    Matt is right on in his report but the report promoted is my question. The “Motley Fool's premium report on the company“ MAY have value .. especially to the neophyte, but ….. I live in Omaha, have been to the BRK annual meetings since the mid 1990s, and have read everything the local paper (Omaha World Herald – only NOW owned by BRK) has ever written about Warren. My personal judgment is that $10 for the report is a bit out of the “value range” for me. As to Berkshire?? I’m not actively buying (more), but I’m sure not selling any !!  I’d use Warren’s buying back shares as a guide. JL

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