Warren Buffett is full of praise for Elon Musk ‘solving the impossible,’ but says he and Charlie Munger look for ‘the easy job’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Clive Mason—Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Image

Elon Musk thinks Warren Buffett’s job is boring and wouldn’t want it. What does the Sage of Omaha think of the Tesla and SpaceX CEO?

This weekend the legendary investor offered his take on the mercurial Twitter owner. 

“Elon is a brilliant, brilliant guy,” the Berkshire CEO said during the Q&A session of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting on Saturday. “He dreams about things, and his dreams have got a foundation.”

Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger, sitting next to Buffett, was asked if Musk overestimates himself. 

“Well, yes, I think Elon Musk overestimates himself, but he is very talented,” Munger replied. “He would not have achieved what he has in life if he hadn’t tried for unreasonably extreme objectives. He likes taking on the impossible job and doing it.”

But, Munger added, “we’re different. Warren and I are looking for the easy job that we can identify.”

“Yeah, if we can do it playing tic-tac-toe, we’ll do it, you know?” Buffett agreed. “We don’t want to compete with Elon in a lot of things.”

“We don’t want that much failure,” Munger added, drawing laughter from the audience. 

Buffett said of Musk’s pursuits, “It takes over your life in a way that just doesn’t fit us. But there are gonna be—well, there have been important things done by Elon already. And it requires, fanaticism isn’t the word—“

“Yeah it is the word,” Munger interjected, drawing laughs again.

“Well, it isn’t quite the word,” Buffett said, “but it’s a dedication to solving the impossible, and every now and then he’ll do it. But it would be torturous to me or Charlie. I like the way I’m living, and I wouldn’t enjoy being in his—but he wouldn’t enjoy being in my shoes either.”

He recommended watching Musk’s recent appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher, in which, he said, the Tesla CEO did a “terrific job” of going toe-to-toe with the comedic host.

Last month, Musk was asked on Twitter whom he’d prefer to Janet Yellen as U.S. treasury secretary, who in his mind is insufficiently concerned about the nation’s soaring debt. 

“Probably Buffett,” he replied. “He could do it using less than an hour’s time per week.”

But, Musk told Time in his Person of the Year interview in December 2021, he wouldn’t want Buffett’s job of identifying undervalued companies to add to the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate: “Does anybody want that job? I think most people do not. I don’t want that job.”

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