Next year will mark a decade for the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, our annual meeting of 150 or so of the world’s biggest givers and greatest problem-solvers. The impact is enormous, and it wouldn’t happen without today’s birthday boy, 90-year-old Warren Buffett. In 2011, I pitched the most generous philanthropist ever the idea of turning our definitive wealth ranking from a static list into a club for good. Warren being Warren, he embraced it immediately, strategically and wholeheartedly, and the Summit was born.
The highlight each year is a talk that Warren and I have, usually during lunch. The only rule: There are no rules. We preview the larger event agenda together each year, yet Warren always insists that I don’t even hint at the topics I might bring up with him. His brilliant brain needs the exercise of surprise.
Thus Warren, who typically detonates his go-to anecdotes and one-liners with surgical precision, is pushed into fresh subjects—and delivers fresh wisdom, always balancing logic, empathy and pragmatism.
We convene the event quietly to protect the privacy of those who attend. The vast majority of the day is off-the-record. But Warren has never shied away from letting us share our talk publicly if it’s appropriate—he’s keen to positively influence as many people as possible.
So for Warren’s big birthday, we dug through nine years of Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy video archives to find some of his most inspiring and obscure gems, edited down to 90 seconds or so. Happy Birthday, Warren! How appropriate today that rather than gather gifts, you’ll be giving them.