tv Big Problems Big Thinkers Bloomberg February 11, 2017 10:30am-11:01am EST
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balance. >> if we do not find a more sustainable way. >> everybody has the capability of making a difference. >> remember your humanity. forget the rest. >> this is "big problems/big thinkers" and i am terry blair. in this series, we confront the challenges facing the human race and try to identify an ethical framework to help us overcome them. in this episode, defining a successful life. as the world moves rapidly forward to ever move choices, and material advances, what are the contours for successful life, love, money, service to others, we will hear from an extraordinary group of men and women all successful in their own ways as they share their answers and together provide the roadmap for a life well lived. >> you have this body and mind, emotion. i want to ask them, a millionaire, billionaire, it is
because of the money, no longer any emotional problems? then, i think i have to accept money really brings happiness. but some of my friends i think very rich, that mentally very unhappy. so that clearly shows the billions of money failed to bring inner peace. >> you say if someone goes through life and measures themselves solely by what they have, they will end up in trouble. what kind of trouble? warren buffett: i tell the story of a woman here in omaha, a polish jew who was in one of the worst camps in germany during world war ii. a number of other members of her family were there and some did
not come out. some years ago, she looked at me and said, warren, i am slow to make friends because when i look in their eyes and think -- would they hide me? i tell people, if you get to be 60 years old, 70 years old, and you have a lot of people who would hide you, another way of saying a lot of people who love you, you are a success. i have never seen anybody with a lot of people who love them when they get to be 60 and 70 who are unhappy. i have seen a lot of people with a lot of money who at 70 are very unhappy individuals and nobody loves them. their own children would say, "he is in the attic." the ultimate satisfaction in life is not how big your bank account is. it is whether the people you wish love you actually do love you. >> are you successful? warren buffett: i feel ok, not as successful as others. take your time, i'm doing fine.
i do feel good about the people who work around me, people i have worked with, my children, grandchildren. it is not a function of money with those people. >> you would say you are a success? warren buffett: i am working towards it. >> how do you measure your success in this lifetime? michael bloomberg: i think looking in the mirror. some people will look in the mirror and say i made a lot of money. that is one way of measuring it. some people will look in the mirror and say i am a doctor, i saved the lives today. some people would say i'm a teacher and i taught some young kids and it will change their world. who knows -- in that group there may be a nobel prize winner or somebody that can stop the craziness of crime. there are lots of different measures of success. unfortunately, we tend to measure the success in this day and age in dollar terms. how much the baseball player is getting paid, how much the actress or actor is getting paid. >> how do you measure your
success? >> two daughters that turned out super and have their own lives and you are doing very well. philanthropy. my company has been successful and created a lot of jobs for a lot of people. the profits go into the foundation. with that, we have done a lot of -- on smoking cessation, working on eradicating polio with bill gates. helping the arts at helping governments at the local level work better. working on the environment. there are a lot of different things we are working on. i am proud of all of those. >> do you think your wealth has led to greater happiness? michael bloomberg: it is hard to argue that if you can buy things, some things you benefit from it.
but most of my things that make me happy are the family and my job, i love. the foundation. i am a big golfer. i would not tie it to money. at some point, particularly if you are as lucky as i am, every dollar is going into the foundation, into helping people. >> are you successful? madeleine albright: i do not know, depends on the day. i have obviously have been successful in some things. i ve not succeeded in everything i have wanted to do. i have been successful in my children. i have three fantastic daughters who make me feel that i have succeeded in a very important way. with my grandchildren. i grew up in colorado. there was a motto on the "denver post" which said "there is no hope for a satisfied man." i would add woman to that. and my father used to say that,
which means you should not think that you have accomplished everything. you cannot say, "i am satisfied." i think it is hard to measure success, you have to keep striving. steven soderbergh: i think being successful is remaining curious. the minute you have closed down and the minute you have felt, i have had enough knowledge. that would be a failure. that would be a huge failure. failure of imagination. >> people ask me about success, i never look at success, this may occur here and there. if i have to look inside me, what is for me? it is to be capable to sleep well, not have in my conscience, you know, some facts which disturbed me. ok, maybe napoleon was a success but napoleon was also capable to destroy so many things. to me, i have to compartmentalize what is external success with your own sense that, i did what was possible to do.
>> do you think there is a happiness factor to being ethical and principled? >> absolutely, no question in my mind. and i have studied it carefully. the people are happiest are those doing the most good. the people most unhappy are the ones that are doing harm. >> being principled is more a factor in being happy. as i look at my contemporaries, people who have been through a lot over the years and in some cases have had children die, ultimate tragedies in many respects sometimes. maybe a business that when broke at one time. and had lots of success is also. -- successes also. i do not know someone who is led a principled life and is unhappy. in effect, the people around the -- them love and admire them. >> mark twain said to always
tell the truth and you do not have to remember what you said. if you behave in an ethical way, you will sleep well at night. you will know that there is nothing to be exposed, nothing to hide. nothing to haunt you. you are not hiding some deep, dark secret. >> happiness is related to the principled. >> it is necessary but not sufficient for happiness. michael bloomberg: it must be difficult to always look over your shoulder and wonder whether the law will catch up. my suggestion is do not do the crime if you cannot do the time is the expression. >> i could not imagine a person without principles having a happy life. they have to lie. and the person who is not correct has to try to disguise. and to live trying to disguise cannot produce happiness. >> do you think the principaled
-- print -- principled person leads a happier life? madeleine albright: i do but i do not think it is easier necessarily. it is something internal, you do not laugh all the time. i think that sometimes having a principled life puts you into difficult positions where you have to take stands that are not popular. and sometimes being popular makes people happy. but i think it is an internal happiness if you lead a principled life. >> the central question in ethics is what is a good life. ♪ one perspective on that question is to ask yourself, looking back, towards the end of my life, how will i evaluate myself, how will i think about the value of my life, will i think it has been a meaningful life which i have achieved things worth achieving, helped people work helping. being helped by people who loved
me and who cared about me. there is no guarantee that a person who is doing the right thing will necessarily have a large amount of pleasure in their life but what they will have is deep satisfaction that comes to a moral person from knowing they have done or tried to do what was right. >> trying to do what was right, for some that is as easy as making a pledge. and what a pledge, that is next on "big problems/big thinkers." warren buffett: i could take all my money and do what they used to do in egypt, i could use it to build the biggest tomb ever built, that strikes me as crazy. madeleine albright: there is a sense that you are put in this place to do good for people. you should try to do it whether you get dirty or not. ♪
>> welcome back to "big problems/big thinkers." as the song goes, money can't buy you love. but can it buy you happiness? take a look. tom friedman: my dad always used to say, "money cannot buy poverty." i am a believer in that. he said rich or poor, it is good to have money. it certainly helps but it is not a guarantee of anything. the happiest times of my life have always been when i the part -- when i have been part of a group embedded in the community, doing something fun or large. that is what brings me happiness, the most satisfaction. when i am part of a team doing something big and great. it has nothing to do with money. >> money is not the way to measure your life.
as i said, mostly people do. many people get the balance wrong, they think money matters more than it does. i think many people who have gotten lots of money figure that out, there are all these people who make a certain amount of money and they retire and sail around the world and they say, that shows that if they thought making more money was the point, they would have gone on making more money and they realize that that is not so. >> when is enough enough? warren buffett: when you have everything your family could reasonably need in the way of the pleasures of life. i do not think cost-of-living and standard of living are synonymous. i get to eat what i like to eat. i get to live where i want to live. i get to drive the car i want to drive and all of that. but, it uses up some money but if i spent 10 times as much or 100 times as much on it, i would
not be a happier person nor would i live a better life. >> billionaires size of stomach, same. and the fingers, only 10 fingers. so, some diamond ring, i think only one or two, nice. 10 rings looks not nice. and the stomach, same size. billionaire stomach, you see, bigger one, then of course they have some justification, more money. but the same size stomach, only two eyes. >> every generation, every people should have a decent life. and that is already what gandhi said. that there's enough in this world for everybody's need, but not everybody's greed. and it does not mean that the you would have less quality in
your life. it means that you have perhaps some things less quantity but you will have enough quality. >> i think money is a terrific invention. it has made huge amounts of things possible. without money, there would not be the sistine chapel, there would not be the rug on the floor here because it could not have gotten to me without money from the place in persia it came from. and so on. i am not against money. it is terrific. but it is a terrible mistake recognizing this to conclude that therefore we should give huge attention to those who have a lot of it. tom friedman: money can buy you comfort. it can buy you better health care. it can buy you certain opportunities. and a meal at a good restaurant. and those can make you happy if you have got the underlying
thing first. if you're in an unhappy marriage, unhappy work setting, you could have all the money in the world but it will not buy you happiness. warren buffett: i could take all my money and do what they used to do in egypt, i could use that money to build the biggest tomb ever built, we could have it outside omaha and i could literally get 50,000 guys to put them in loin cloths and haul granite around and make them forget all about egypt in 10 years. the net product of everything i had done in my life would be the world's biggest tomb and 1000 years from now people would come to omaha to see it at that strikes me as crazy. even modified versions of it. i do not get it. michael bloomberg: a cynic would say you cannot to get with you, although i remember the cartoon with the family with vultures looking down on this conjurer on his deathbed and he says, i know i cannot take it with me, but i
can take the access code. >> how did you feel the date you gave 99.9% of your wealth to philanthropy? warren buffetttimi: the was affected by when susie died. i had to make a decision of the best way to make use of the claim checks. i wanted to come up with a rational decision as the most useful way to get the money to society. she saw every person as individually important. if there were 6 billion people on this planet, everyone deserved the same chance in life and chance for health. i am not as charitable as a person who puts $10 and a collection plate to give up a christmas present for a child.
i hope that the pledge -- i would love to figure out ways to have helped that hit a broader area of society. we originally worked on the forbes 400 to get really wealthy people to focus on what can be done with their wealth and pledge what they will do with it. very easy for them to do it. the poorest group we are calling on has $1 billion, if they give half, what can you do with $500 million, if you need another million dollars beyond $500 million, you have to explain it to me. that is a lot of money. >> thinking about that gives me a feeling of elevation, this is a man who could have done
nothing at all for the public good. he is under no legal obligation. he chose to do something very productive. and self-effacing in a way. we should honor people like that. the more we honor people like that, the more it seems natural for people to do that and then ordinary people like myself who do not have billions will spend more time thinking about where our money should go and we die. >> why should i care and do something for someone else when it has nothing to do with me? >> bause doing things for otheop makes you feel good. it makes you feel good on a neurological level. there is a real benefit. and people who -- my understanding is that people who -- we know for a fact that you are psychological state has a huge effect on your physical state.
and that people who establish deep connections with other people and animals tend to live longer. there is on a pure survival level, there are good reasons to establish deep connections with other human beings. >> the whole 7 billion human beings, are human family members. same human being, and then to face reality come east, west, south, north heavily interdependent. in order to gain more successful or more happier sort of life, your own community, very much depended on other community. that's now today's reality, so thinking oneness of human is not just a moral thing, but practically.
madeleine albright: abraham lincoln was on his way to -- when he was still in the legislature in illinois, and he was all dressed up fancy on his way to springfield. he saw a pig struggling in the mud and got out of his carriage and he went and he him said, are -- and he freed the pig. the people with him said, are you crazy, you are dirty and about to go for your session of the legislature. why did do it? he said, i did not do it not for the paint -- the pig, i did it for myself because i felt that i needed to do the right thing. i think that is an interesting kind of thing. there is a satisfaction in doing the right thing. it benefits the pig, but i think there is a sense that you are put in this place to do good for people.
you should try to do it whether you get dirty or not. warren buffett: most interesting quality in life is love because you cannot get rid of it. the more you give, the more you get back. if you hold onto it, you do not have any. this concept, i do not know what its counterpart would be anyplace else. the people you know that receive love are the ones that are pouring it out all the time. the ones that do not love anybody else are not getting any back. in a kind of irritating sense. you have all this money, and you say i would like $1 million worth of love, you cannot buy it. you can buy sex but not love. >> you think love is a commodity that has no finite -- warren buffett: the ultimate commodity, the ultimate quality because there is no finite
this is the "best of bloomberg technology," where we bring you our top interviews from this week in tech. coming up, the resistance continues. 120 tech companies take a stand as san francisco becomes ground zero in the fight against president trump's travel ban. no trump bump for twitter, shares plunging after earnings as the u.s. user base remains flat. all the details ahead. ,