Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Would they hide me?

This is pretty much exclusively a technical blog, but I was very struck by something legendary investor Warren Buffett said when answering the question "How do you define happiness and what about your life makes you most happy?":

I know a woman in her 80’s, a Polish Jew woman forced into a concentration camp with her family but not all of them came out. She says, “I am slow to make friends because when I look at people, I have one question in mind; would they hide me?” If you get to be my age, or younger for that matter, and have a lot of people that would hide you, then you can feel pretty good about how you’ve lived your life.

I know people on the Forbes 400 list whose children would not hide them. “He’s in the attic, he’s in the attic.” Some of them keep compensating by joining board seats or getting honorary degrees, but it doesn’t change the fact that no one will give a damn when they are gone. The most powerful force in the world is unconditional love. To hoard it is a terrible mistake in life. The more you try to give it away, the more you get it back.

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If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy my travel book for people interested in science and technology: The Geek Atlas. Signed copies of The Geek Atlas are available.

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