Lessons From Literature | #4

As I have pretty much settled into this internship, I felt that there isn’t much left that I haven’t covered either in previous blogs or blogs from last year. So for this one, I have decided to reflect on lessons I picked up from business leaders that I have read about on the job. I am a pretty big reader, so during this internship I thought it would be a good idea to couple my experience on the job along with literature about successful businessmen. So far, two biographies stood out — Ron Chernow’s Titan about the life of John D. Rockefeller, and Roger Lowenstein’s Buffett.

Both biographies about Rockefeller and Buffett reminded me of something business author Seth Godin once said, that there are two types of businessmen: managers and leaders. Rockefeller and Buffett definitely fell into the first category, in that both these men are shown to be exceptional managers. Obviously Rockefeller was a phenomenal manager, since his company, Standard Oil, once controlled 90 percent of the oil in the United States. He also bought other oil companies into Standard Oil, and Rockefeller’s ability in dealing with their presidents and his confidence in delegating responsibilities into his lieutenants added to his reputation for organizational genius.  Similarity, Buffett is, of course, an organizational genius himself; his company, Berkshire Hathaway, is currently number three on the Fortune 500 list, and Buffett credited it to his company’s efficient, low-cost organization.

Looking at my real-estate internship, I can see that this is a manager-oriented job as well: You only have about 50 units of properties, and it’s your job to make the most out of them. Looking back on the life of Rockefeller, Buffett, and even advice from my mentor, I decided that there is only one important trait for this type of business: frugality. Rockefeller had it, Buffett has it, and my mentor has it too. The key lesson is to save when you can, invest when its cheap, and — as Rockefeller would remind us — to give all you can.

2 thoughts on “Lessons From Literature | #4

  • August 23, 2018 at 10:55 am
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    Yiju,

    Thank you for sharing — I was wondering when your next blog post would be!

    I think your reflection on successful managers and leaders is an incredible learning tool! Reading and noting what successful professionals have done in their early career till now is beneficial because you can pick out what they did which was good and bad, even if it is not in the real estate field. You can also start to gain ideas and note what you would like to implement in your future career.

    I also agree with you that frugality and team building is a very important trait for business. No one can do it alone, and whether you are the bottom of the corporation or the very top you are important for the overall mission of the company.

    I can tell you are learning so much from this experience and enjoying having such a great mentor! I am excited to continue reading about your time at Darlene Y.S. Chun Realty.

    -Shaina

    Reply
  • August 23, 2018 at 6:39 pm
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    Hi Shaina,

    thanks for the kind review. For the last couple weeks I felt that I was learning more from the book than from the internship so I decided to do a blog on it. Rockefeller lived to 98 — so to see America through his eyes was an especially interesting experience.

    Reply

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