Advice From One of the World's Most Successful Investors - #1: Love What You Do


David Coulter is a private equity partner at Warburg Pincus, what he calls "the Greta Carbo of private equity." It's one of the five largest private equity firms in the world.

Coulter is also a former executive at J.P. Morgan Chase and BankAmerica Corporation, and has worked in large and small corporations so he can tell you the highs and lows of working at each. But what he really wants to drive home to young workers is one thing - pick a job that you will love to do.

"That's kind of the first rule You better do something that in the end you have fun doing. You're getting up every day, and not saying, 'Oh, geez, I dread what I'm going down to do for the next eight hours,'" Coulter said in a recent podcast.

Five other useful pieces of advice:

One of the other lessons is not being 'totally sure.' ... It's not bad to be in a big organization where something doesn't work, you jump to another branch of the tree."

If you can get a group of people around the table who are different and have a maturely aggressive attitude, your batting average will be better."

If you also want to change the culture of a place, I found that it's a full-time job in addition to the other job you're doing. ... Changing the culture is every bit as substantive a task as buying a company, or you know, whatever you think, whatever the core function of a business is. You have to almost plot it out on a timeline ... indicate to people where you're going to go. ... Sooner or later some people will say, 'I can't stand that damn drumbeat, I'm getting out of here.' Other people will say, 'Hey, I get the music.'"

Communications skills are pretty important. ... In a sense, anytime you're across the table with somebody, you're engaging in a bit of an argument, right? You're stating your position, and you're trying to, (you) have a very short time to convince the other person that your position is the right one. But you also have to listen to what they;re saying."

Our free enterprise, capitalist system operating in a kind of U.S. democracy has led to great gains. I am a product of it ... For me the American dream was true. ... I hate it when I hear people say the American dream is not true anymore. I don't believe that, and I don't want to believe that. I'm going to try to show it.

Listen to the full podcast.