Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway on Tuesday that he has been diagnosed prostate cancer but “feels great” and will continue to run the conglomerate during his radiation treatments.
In a letter to investors, Buffett, 81, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said he has been diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer and that he will commence daily radiation treatment in mid-Jul. Buffett, nicknamed the Oracle of Omaha for his investment prowess, stressed that his condition is treatable and is “not remotely life-threatening or even debilitating in any meaningful way.”
A number of long-term Berkshire shareholders shrugged off the news of Warren Buffet being diagnosed with cancer, given Buffett’s good prognosis and the succession planning Berkshire had already commenced.
On April 18 – Shares in Berkshire Hathaway Inc fell less than 1 percent in early trading on Wednesday, a relatively limited reaction to the news that CEO Warren Buffett has stage 1 prostate cancer and will start radiation treatment this summer.
Buffett’s letter suggests he will continue to run Berkshire as he has for almost 50 years. His upcoming treatment would restrict Buffett’s travel but would not otherwise change his normal work schedule.
Whenever I read about the vulnerability and infallibility of men, no matter how great they are, I am reminded of this story I once read in the internet…
A vacationing American businessman standing on the pier of a rural coastal fishing village in southern India watched as a small boat with just one young Indian fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. Enjoying the beauty of the early afternoon sun, the American complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish.
“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American casually asked.
“Oh, a few hours,” the fisherman replied.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American businessman then asked.
The fisherman smiled and warmly replied, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”
The businessman then became serious, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
Responding with a smile, the fisherman answered, “I sleep late, play with my children, watch ballgames, and take siesta with my wife. Sometimes in the evenings I take a stroll into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, sing a few songs…”
The American businessman impatiently interrupted, “Look, I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you to be more profitable. You can start by fishing several hours longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat. With the additional income that larger boat will bring, before long you have an entire fleet of fishing boats.”
Proud of his own sharp thinking, he excitedly elaborated a grand scheme which could bring even bigger profits, “Then, instead of selling your catch to a middleman you’ll be able to sell your fish directly to the processor. Eventually, you could control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this tiny coastal village and move to New York city, where you could even further expand your business.”
Having never thought of such things, the fisherman asked, “But how long will all this take?”
After a rapid mental calculation, the Harvard MBA pronounced, “Probably about 15-20 years, maybe less if you work really hard.”
“And then what, señor?” asked the fisherman.
“Why, that’s the best part!” answered the businessman with a laugh. “When the time is right, you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”
“Millions? Really? What would I do with it all?” asked the young fisherman in disbelief.
“Then you could happily retire with all the money you’ve made. You could move to a quaint coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, play with your grandchildren, watch ballgames, and take siesta with your wife. You could stroll to the village in the evenings where you could play the guitar and sing with your friends all you want.”
Dear readers and friends, what do you think is the moral of the story? 🙂
Know what really matters in life, and you may find that it is already much closer than you think.
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