Legendary investor and “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffet presents a straightforward approach to understanding complex topics and solving complicated problems. Warren’s presentation best illustrates how to distill any subject down to its very essence and provides a method for solving the challenging problems you face. After you strip down an issue to its essence, Warren tells us that the next step is to focus on what you can do about it, from a practical standpoint.
Warren poses the following thought-question to help us think critically about our future selves and the world in which we live.
Twenty-four hours before you are born, a genie comes to you and says:
- You look promising, you have a good mind and a sense of fair play. You have an extraordinary opportunity ahead, so I am going to let you design the world into which you are born.
- You can pick out the political, economic and social rules you are born into, and when you are born that is the world you will be born into—for your lifetime, for your children’s lifetime, and your grandchildren’s lifetime.
- There is only one catch. When you are born in twenty-four hours, what you don’t know is if you will be born black or white, rich or poor, male or female, healthy or infirm, in the U.S. or Afghanistan—all you know is that you are going to be born into the ovarian lottery of being one of the 6 billion people alive on earth living in the society you designed.
That question, Warren posits, is how we should think about the rules we create for our society. Conceptualizing ourselves in this context sets up the proposition that we want individuals to contribute to the societal growth and prosperity well beyond their utilitarian value—we want them overproducing and contributing (e.g., Bill Gates or Steve Jobs continuing to write software or build hardware that improves our lives well after they had initially achieved success).
We want a system that advances individuals to their full potential so they can contribute to society, so we can overproduce and care for the people who get the unlucky numbers in the ovarian lottery. We have the resources and productivity growth and output to do so—and generally speaking, we have the will to do so.
This, Warren says, is the societal design we should strive for and this is the leadership we should provide in our businesses and in our communities. Warren Buffet for President of the United States?!