Warren Buffett & Jay-Z

I have an obsession. One that was cultivated at a very early age and one that I'm even more intentional about now. It is an obsession with learning from others who are the best at what they do. In my mind, it doesn't matter what industry they're in or what kind of work they do. There are parallels that can be drawn and ways of thinking that cut across generations, industries,  and creeds.  Watching someone who is the best at what they do talk about how they do it is an incredible thing to behold. But when you get two people who are the best at what the do, arguably the best at what they do in the history of their professions, sitting in the same room and talking about it together, that is pure mind stimulation gold. Being born in Omaha and having worked for a company associated with Berkshire Hathaway, I have been a Warren Buffett fan for a long time. Now living in NYC and being true fan of the perfection that is possible in word-smithing and lyrical story telling, there is no one better than Jay-Z.

In this interview with Steve Forbes, they are both incredibly open and candid about the challenges and the factors that played a role in the success that they've had respectively and what they see for themselves going forward. It is worth the 52:39 to watch the whole thing (watch it here) but here are the quick hits that I took away the first time I watched it

"I was lucky, I got started early. I knew what I wanted at a young age. I'd read every book on investing in the Omaha Public Library by the time I was 12." - WB

"You don't have to be smart in this business (investing), you have to have emotional stability and not care about what people think once you've made your decision. " - WB

"I love Tom Watson's quote, 'I'm smart in spots and I tend to stay around those spots.'" - WB

"Success doesn't come from making a ton of brilliant decisions as much as it comes from making sure to never make terrible ones." - WB

"Being an artist is similar to being an investor. Both professions are a constant battle to find and act on the truth. To explain your truth." - JZ

"Music is like stocks. There are always things that are hot and the foolish jump for the popular. I've stay true to what I know and that is how I've been consistently successful." -JZ

"I get to do what I love everday. It doesn't get any luckier than that." - WB

"Knowing what to leave out is just as important as knowing what to focus on." - WB

"I was once asked. "How do you beat Bobby Ficsher?" The answer is simple, play him in something other than chess." - WB

"When the landscape of business changes, you don't have to change who you are you just have to change how you go about communicating that." - JZ

"The best moat that you can have is your own talent. The markets can't take that away from you. Neither can competitors or inflation." - WB

"I tell students all the time, you have the brain power and the energy, develop the habits of success now, early in your career." - WB

"Charitable Foundations are not tested by the markets. It makes it a lot easier for them to lose focus when they don't have to stand up to a market test." - WB

"Philanthropy is a much tougher task than business. In business you're looking for the easy thing to put money towards that will lead to quick results and the bottom line. In philanthropy, you're looking for the hardest things in the world and endeavoring to make them right." - WB

"If you succeed 100% of the time (in philanthropy) your projects are too easy." - WB

"If at the end of my life I was known as one thing, it would be as a teacher. There is no higher calling than that." - WB