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When I covered the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in 1994 for CNN, I was given just two minutes to interview the Chairman and Vice Chairman, Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger. I used one of my precious questions to ask Munger if his decision “to violate his own rule to not sit on outside boards and sit on the board of directors of Costco [Wholesale Corporation] was an implicit endorsement of the stock?” He glared down at me through his extra thick glasses. (The room was so small that I had to crouch on the floor to stay out of the camera shot.)

Charlie was peeved not only because I was pointing out an inconsistency between his words and actions, but also because I was asking him to violate his and Warren’s rule against making stock predictions. After about five agonizing seconds, Charlie finally, honestly, begrudgingly, spat out “Yes.” Warren, who had turned to stare at Charlie’s discomfort, swung his head back to me and exclaimed with a big smile, “That’s more than I ever get out of him!”

Charlie’s innate honesty kept him from ducking a question that most powerful people would fudge or simply decline to answer. But fudging and ducking is not what Charlie and Warren do, especially Charlie. They’re fully integrated human beings so, as former U.S. senator Bill Bradley recommends, the externals of their lives truly reflect the internals. They do and say what’s truly on their minds. And because they’re fundamentally honest and expressive, what you see and hear is who they truly are.

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If you missed it, there was an extraordinary showcase of Traits of the most admirable, creative and joyous people on television this past Sunday morning (Nov. 28, 2010). ABC’s Christiane Amanpour spent an hour with five of the best human beings in America, talking about tackling some of our most vexing global problems.

The show was This Week, which is typically dedicated to political discussion and debate. But this episode focused on billionaires who have pledged to give more than half of their many billions to tackle the toughest problems we face. Four of the five are familiar faces: Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates and Ted Turner. The fifth was Tom Steyer, a hedge fund mogul and founder of San Francisco–based Farallon Capital.

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