Life Is What You Make It
April 23, 2010
In a previous life, I worked for a digital media company, and Peter Buffet, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, was one of my clients. As we would talk about his projects, Peter always had a certain sense of calm about him. While other clients seemed stressed about deadlines, layout, technical issues, etc.
If life is what we make it, if we ourselves take up the challenge of creating the lives we want, then it seems clear to me that the essence of privilege has to do with having the widest possible array of options. Think about all the many people who - by our conventional measures, at least - are not privileged. The African villager who, because of a corrupt government or a lack of educational opportunities, can only remain a bare subsistence farmer or the tender of a few meager cattle. The inner-city youth or an American Indian on an impoverished reservation, whose horizons are cut short by a culture of broken families and despair. Or, for that matter, those Chinese workers whose society keeps them in the factories or on the farms where they happened to start. For people in these circumstances, survival tends to be a full-time job. Food and shelter for themselves and their families must obviously come first. But economic security and material comfort are not the only things these people are deprived of; they're often deprived of choice. And, if you think about it, a lack of options is every bit as cruel as any other lack. Hunger and thirst can be satisfied from day to day. But a frustrated yearning for change, for new possibilities, can last a lifetime - or even be passed down through generations.There's plenty of first-hand stories in the book as well, which reveal much about Buffett's personal perspective as well as the intelligence passed to him from his family, and while this Buffett might not have the billions of dollars his father does, he certainly has a wealth of fundamental knowledge which he shares in this thoughtful book.