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五百億美金身價的故事:青年時期巴菲特的職場抉擇

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「股神」巴菲特,以其睿智的投資匯集了龐大的資產,近期「富比士」雜誌(Forbes)披露了他二十五歲初入職場的轉折與抉擇,究竟當年的他都在想什麼,又做了什麼關鍵決定?

閱讀本文前,請先想想以下財經詞彙的英文怎麼說:

(1)避險基金

(2)複利

(3)清償公司債務

 

Benjamin Graham had been my idol ever since I read his book The Intelligent Investor. I had wanted to go to Columbia Business School because he was a professor there, and after I got out of Columbia, returned to Omaha, and started selling securities, I didn’t forget about him. Between 1951 and 1954, I made a pest of myself, sending him frequent securities ideas. Then I got a letter back: “Next time you’re in New York, come and see me.” So there I went, and he offered me a job at Graham-Newman Corp., which he ran with Jerry Newman. Everyone says that A.W. Jones started the hedge fund industry, but Graham-Newman’s sister partnership, Newman and Graham, was actually an earlier fund.

青少年時期讀了班傑明葛拉漢(Benjamin Graham)的書後,他就成了我的偶像。這也是我後來讀哥倫比亞大學商學院的原因:葛拉漢就在那兒任教職。完成商學院學業後,我回到老家奧瑪哈賣保險,卻始終無法忘懷為偶像工作的夢想。於是我頻繁寫信給葛拉漢,大聊我的保險經。終於,對方親自回信,甚至要我去紐約為他的避險基金(hedge fund)公司工作。

 

The next year, when I was 25, Mr. Graham gave me a heads-up that he was going to retire. Actually, he did more than that: He offered me the chance to replace him, with Jerry’s son Mickey as the new senior partner and me as the new junior partner. This was a traumatic decision. Here was my chance to step into the shoes of my hero. But I also wanted to come back to Omaha. I probably went to work for a month thinking every morning that I would tell Mr. Graham I was going to leave. But it was hard to do.

工作一年後,葛拉漢準備退休,升遷我為公司合夥人之一,那時我才二十五歲!但如此大好機會卻是我掙扎的開始:我既不願放棄接班,又想回家鄉開創事業。要我開口辭職的確很難,我躊躇一個月後才向葛拉漢表明離職的想法。

 

I thought, I’ll go back to Omaha, take some college classes, and read a lot—I was going to retire! I told my wife, “Compound interest guarantees I’m going to get rich.” I had no plans to start a partnership, or even have a job. I had no worries as long as I could operate on my own. I certainly did not want to sell securities to other people again. But by pure accident, seven people, including a few of my relatives, said to me, “You used to sell stocks, and we want you to tell us what to do with our money.” That was the beginning—totally accidental.

辭職回到奧瑪哈後,仗著早年投資股票的經驗,二十五歲的我告訴我太太:「複利 (compound interest)的概念保證讓我賺大錢!」當年我並沒有任何合夥或找工作的計畫,我只知道,一旦開始去做我自己最想做的事:股票投資,就沒有什麼好憂慮的。很意外地,七個親戚主動跑來找我:「你從以前就知道怎樣買賣股票,我們想要你幫忙投資!」這就是我起步的故事:單純做我的專長幫家人賺錢。

 

I did no solicitation, but more checks began coming from people I didn’t know. Back in New York, Graham-Newman was being liquidated. There was a college president up in Vermont, Homer Dodge, who had been invested with Graham, and he asked, “Ben, what should I do with my money?” Ben said, “Well, there’s this kid who used to work for me.…”

我並沒有到處懇求募資。資金從親戚開始,到越來越多不認識的人。同年,葛拉漢的基金公司陷入清償公司債務 (liquidated)的窘境,一位身兼大學教授的股東竟被葛拉漢主動推薦給年僅二十五歲的我:「有個幫我工作過的小子知道怎樣幫你做投資!」。

 

Although I had no idea, age 25 was a turning point. I was changing my life, setting up something that would turn into a fairly good-size partnership called Berkshire Hathaway. I wasn’t scared. I was doing something I liked, and I’m still doing it.

二十五歲那年是我人生中的轉捩點!當年我並不害怕改變,我離職去做我熱愛的事,一直做到今天。

 

口語字彙

1. pest [ pest ] (n.) 害蟲、瘟疫、有毒害、煩人的人 (v.) 煩擾、糾纏

巴菲特用"I made a pest of myself" (把自己變成煩人的傢伙)這說法來表達「鍥而不捨地毛遂自薦」。

例:That guy made himself such a pest, trying to pick up every woman in the party. 這傢伙在派對中猛追女生,讓自己成了名副其實的討厭鬼。

 

2. step into the shoes of 接替某人職位、接班、設身處地為別人思考

例:Try to step into the shoes of those who hurt you in hopes you’ll see the situation from their perspectives. 對於那些傷害過你的人,設身處地為他們著想,才能從另一角度了解他們的處境。

 

3. solicitation [s?l,?s?t'e??n] (n.) 懇求、請求

例:I accepted the gifts at her solicitation. 在她的懇求下,我接受了禮物。

 

英文藏在細節裡,還有太多英文說不出口:http://goo.gl/5eIOmf

 

延伸閱讀:

2015投資怎麼做?巴菲特錢放在哪裡?

Contributor 作者介紹

世界公民文化中心愛英文是愛世界的同一個過程 
世界公民文化中心是一所兩年制英語學院,以「英語島學程」獨有的一對一教學和與國際商業趨勢同步的團體討論課程,幫助企業人士善用英語整合能力,達成個人和企業國際化的目標,為高科技與國際跨國公司仰賴的商務英語學習機構。