Most Powerful Women

How Warren Buffett learned the meaning of success

May 7, 2013: 1:37 PM ET

Last week's interview with Warren Buffett on Women and Work featured a lot of memorable moments. The legendary investor's first Tweet -- the Tweet heard around the world -- was just one.

The most special moment for me, Buffett's interviewer, came when he answered this question from a University of Nebraska student: How do you define success?

"If people whom you want to have love you love you, you're a success," said the Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) chairman and CEO.

You wouldn't expect this answer from the guy who built America's 5th largest company (according to the just-released Fortune 500) practically from scratch. In the interview, Buffett went on to explain that he learned the meaning of success from a late friend named Bella Eisenberg, a resident of his hometown, Omaha, and an Auschwitz survivor. Eisenberg once told Buffett that she was slow to make friends because whenever she met people, she thought to herself: "Would they hide me?"

Here's more from Buffett, 82, on his friend's impact on the way he thinks about success:

You can watch the full Buffett interview on Women and Work here.

And check out my Fortune colleague Carol Loomis' story about nine new signers of The Giving Pledge, which is Buffett's and Bill and Melinda Gates' philanthropic program to encourage billionaires to donate their money during their lifetimes. Among the just-announced joiners: Spanx founder Sara Blakely, 42, whose Giving Pledge Loomis details here.

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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