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Collection: Warren Buffett - #290 'I Don't Ask My Friends For Favors'



We have a website,, trying to keep a developer from clear-cutting the trees in Cypress Gardens, a national treasure.

And my question is, would you consider contacting your cousin, [musician] Jimmy Buffett, about possibly helping us in some way? Doesn’t have to be money. It might be an appearance. Just might be some connections, where you might be able to help us in our efforts.


I get asked to contact — probably the one I get asked to get contact the most is Bill Gates, but I get asked to contact all kinds of people.

And I mean, everybody is slipping me envelopes with letters in them, sending things to the office and saying, “Won’t you get this person?” and all they can say is no. I don’t do — I don’t make requests of my friends, basically, for anything.

And I just — I would spend the rest of my life doing it. They would feel — I would never know — (applause) — you know, what they were doing — you know, I would never know what they were doing because I was asking, versus what they really felt. I mean it’s an impossible — from my standpoint at least — that’s an impossible game to get into, in terms of that.

I mean when [Washington Post publisher] Kay Graham was alive, everybody, you know, wanted her for one reason or another. And they’ve all got causes.

And, frankly, they, you know, they want to use me to get her, or Jimmy Buffett, or whomever, to say yes to something that they’re saying yes to, partially because they feel they don’t want to say no to me.

And I, you know, that — I just don’t want to use my friendship for that purpose, frankly. And I don’t do it, even for things that I strongly believe in, myself. I do them — they may know what I’m doing, and if they want to pick up on it, fine.

But I have never — I can’t remember ever requesting anybody to make a contribution or do anything myself. I mean what I do is a matter of record, and, you know, if other people want to pick up on it, fine.

But I’ve never had one of those honorary dinners where they send out, you know, to all the suppliers to Berkshire and everything and start leaning on them and saying, you know, “We’re honoring Warren.”

Well, hell, if they want to honor me they can honor me without soliciting all my friends for money. I mean, I don’t consider that much of an honor if the reason they picked me was because I got rich friends. So, I just don’t do that.


~ Please visit the site above for full video of Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


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