What the world's richest investor thinks are the best virtues

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“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.” 
-- Warren Buffett (the world's richest investor, and once the richest man in the world).

image: allvoices.com

Warren Buffett started out like most of us. He had middle class parents. He went to a secondary school, then a university. He also went for a masters immediately after his degree. Then he began is corporate career working for his former lecturer, Benjamin Graham. At the age of 26 he started his own company with money from his life savings, friends and family. And in the year 2008 he was named the world's richest man, topping Bill Gates and Carlos Slim, and having a net worth of $62 billion (about N9.3 trillion). That was enough money to buy almost all the biggest companies in Nigeria -- Guinness, Nigerian Breweries, Nestle, Dangote, GTBank, First Bank, Zenith Bank...

Here is a man who has turned almost all his friends and family into millionaires. He owns lots of companies and manages lots of people. He knows the value of working with the right set of people, and how to identify them. And he has been generous enough to share his secret of picking the best people to work with -- the best virtues he thinks everyone should have.

And the virtues are -- Integrity, Intelligence and Energy.

Whenever he's making a hiring or buying decision, he likes dealing with people with great integrity, intelligence and are hardworking. And they mustn't have just one or two, but all the three virtues. He says, if you've got integrity and intelligence but not hardworking, the intelligence and integrity will waste. And if you've got intelligence and are hardworking but no integrity, you'll end up ruining everything. And if you've got integrity and are hardworking but no intelligence, it's a sorry case, you'll end up being an extra load, a liability.

The best part of it all is that anyone can build up to having all the three virtues. And I've been working hard at them.


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