Warren Buffett and Jay-Z on Success and Giving Back

On October 1, 2010, in Interviews, Multimedia, by Josh Perlsweig

The businessman and the business, man.

If you heard that Steve Forbes was interviewing Warren Buffett on philanthropy, you may have guessed that Bill Gates would be joining them. Not this time. Forbes sat down with Buffett and Jay-Z to talk about their success and giving back.

The conversation turns to philanthropy around the the 34:30 mark. A few minutes later Forbes says that philanthropy and business are almost opposite sides of the same coin. Buffett responds:

“It’s tougher than business, Steve. You’re looking for easy things to do in business. If people have liked drinking Coca-Cola for 100 years, they’ll probably like it for another 100 years. It doesn’t require great brainpower to figure that kind of thing out. In philanthropy you’re tackling the tougher problems of society, things where people have applied money and intelligence before and haven’t really solved the problem [...] So you’re really taking on things where  you are not going to succeed every time and if you like succeeding every time you have to adjust to that. If you succeed 100% of the time in philanthropy the projects are too easy. You have to look for things that are important and where you may fail.”

In the remainder of the interview, there is great discussion on learning from mistakes and how to get the message out about philanthropy. Best Warren Buffett / Jay-Z appearance ever.

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