You would think that the son of one of the world’s richest men would be spoiled and jaded. However, Peter Buffett, son of the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, preaches an old-world spiritual message. That is, teach your children values and don’t give them every material good they want.
In his new book Peter, now an author and musician, describes how he is a “normal, happy person” today instead of a spoiled brat because his father not only didn’t give him everything he asked for, but also showed him that there were many other people in the world with very different circumstances. Peter, now 52, teaches the rewards of self-respect, and pursuing one’s own passions instead of simply choosing a career that will bring great material wealth.
As for his story, Peter received $90,000 in stock when he turned 19, a small sum of money compared to the immense wealth his father had already accrued at that time. Furthermore, despite the opportunity to become a successful financier, Peter decided he wanted to become a musician, a career his father accepted. While he thought for a short time about becoming a financier, he ultimately decided that that career didn’t speak to his heart. After a tumultuous beginning as a musician, including writing music for free for a local television station, Peter has embarked on a “Concert & Conversation” tour in which he plays the piano, talks about his life and warns against consumerist culture and damaging the environment. While he inherited more money after his mother’s death in 2004, he said he has learned his lessons about material obsession and works diligently to give back to the world. For example, he also works for his fathers NoVo charitable organization. Overall, Peter likes to remember what his father used to tell him about those who were born with silver spoons in their mouths: material wealth can easily lead to a “silver dagger in the back”—leading to a sense of entitlement and a lack of personal fulfillment.