You’ve Got to Love What You Do

david-f-swensen.jpg The New York Times recently published a piece on David F. Swensen, the head of Yale’s endowment fund. He is a giant in his industry: Yale’s endowment has grown from 1.3 billion to 14 billion in the twenty years he has been there. During his tenure, he has outperformed the endowments of every major university (including Harvard).

But Swensen — instead of running off to start a hedge fund like many other endowment stewards (to make tens of millions of dollars) — is staying put at Yale (although he could easily leave and immediately raise a large fund) because endowment work is what he loves.

“In the finance world it is very easy to measure winning and losing in dollars and cents,” he says. “That has always seemed to be an inadequate measure. The quality of life is a better way to measure winning and losing. Money is only one element of that.” (emphasis added)

The article goes on to say that:

Those who have worked with Mr. Swensen say he has successfully blended the notion of pursuing a calling with the raw mechanical discipline needed to be a winning steward of an endowment.

In the end, Mr. Swensen says, successful investing — in fact, success in any profession — comes down to doing your job well and loving what you do.

Wise words from a person at the top of his field.


February 20, 2007. life, Money, Passion, personal, Work.

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