Quote Origin: Look for Three Qualities: Integrity, Intelligence and Energy. And If They Don’t Have the First, the Other Two Will Kill You

Warren Buffett? Anonymous? Apocryphal?

Question for Quote Investigator: Famous U.S. investor Warren Buffett once described the three traits he looked for in new employees. A worker should have integrity, intelligence, and energy. Apparently, Buffett believed that the first trait was crucial because its absence would cause the other two traits to kill a business. Would you please help me to find the phrasing used by Buffett together with a precise citation?

Reply from Quote Investigator: In 1993 Warren Buffett spoke to  graduate students at the Business School of Columbia University in New York City. Excerpts from his remarks were published in the “Omaha World-Herald” of Nebraska in January 1994.  Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[ref] 1994 January 2, Omaha World-Herald, Section: Business, Billionaire Talks Strategy With Students Columbia University Group Hears From Famous Alumnus Berkshire Hathaway by Jim Rasmussen (Herald Staff Writer), Quote Page 17S, Omaha, Nebraska. (NewsBank Access World News) [/ref]

Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.

You think about it, it’s true. If you hire somebody without the first, you really want them dumb and lazy. (Laughter)

Pick the kind of person to work for you that you want to marry your son or daughter. You won’t go wrong.

Interestingly, Warren Buffett popularized this saying; however, he disclaimed credit. Thus, the originator remains anonymous.

Additional details and citations are available in the article on the Medium platform which is located here.

Image Notes: Illustration of a puzzle piece that fits nicely into a slot from AbsolutVision at Pixabay.

Acknowledgement: Great thanks to Jane Bella who encountered a tweet containing a similar remark using the word honesty instead of integrity. Bella began exploring the provenance of the statement, and she found the remark ascribed to Warren Buffett. Next, she contacted QI to learn more about the saying.

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