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Three Generations of Buffetts Offer Legacy of Giving

Image: Three Generations of Buffetts Offer Legacy of Giving Howard G. Buffet.

By Wanda Carruthers   |   Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 04:11 PM

One legacy of billionaire Warren Buffett that his son, Howard G. Buffett, and grandson, Howard W. Buffett, are sharing is that of philanthropy through a concept they have labeled "40 Chances."

Howard G. Buffett, a farmer and chairman of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation,
is working to help improve the standard of living of impoverished people around the world with programs to aid hunger. He wrote a book, "40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World," with son Howard W. Buffett, a guest lecturer at Columbia University.

Howard G. explained the concept for the book came from what he saw as the roughly 40 productive years most people have to make a difference in life.

"I kind of learned that, in farming, you get about 40 seasons to grow the best crop, and get as good as you can. I kind of transferred that over to life," Howard G. said on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

"Most get 40 productive prime years to accomplish whatever it is they want. We really wanted to bring that mindset and the urgency to it. And, one of the most important things is that we have learned — try big things. You got to fail and talk about it, so people don't make the same mistakes," he added.

"For me, what has been amazing is to watch what my dad and my grandfather have been able to accomplish in their lifetime, and see that as an example for me. They've really set the tone about my life with what I can accomplish with my own 40 chances," Howard W. said.

The elder Buffett, who wrote the forward to the book, gave his own businessman's approach to helping others.

"The market system doesn't work in philanthropy. There is no market to tell you that your product is no good, or whatever it may be. So, you got to learn to be self-critical," Warren said.

Howard W. uses their book as a springboard in the classes he teaches, he said.

"We reflect a lot on what I've been able to observe what my father has accomplished over the last 18 years, and how he's taken my grandfather's values and integrated them in the way that we partner with other organizations around the world. It is a truly 40 chances approach," Howard W. said.

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