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Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment Hardcover – April 27, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


J.P. Morgan Private Bank's Summer Reading List Pick, 2010

“Peter Buffett has given us a wise and inspiring book that should be required reading for every young person seeking to find his or her place in the world, and for every family hoping to give its daughters and sons the best possible start in life.”
–President Bill Clinton

"Knowing and admiring Peter as we do, LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT captures his spirit, passion, and values beautifully. As parents, it’s the kind of dialogue about our life’s purpose and opportunity we’re having with our children. We will have everyone in our family read and discuss LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT ."
Bill & Melinda Gates

"With home-spun, heart-felt wisdom, Peter Buffett ponders how to make a meaningful life, while making a living. LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT is thought-provoking, worthwhile reading."
Ted Turner

"LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT is the ultimate book of commonsense -- except it isn't common. Because Peter Buffett could have had a derived identity and chose not to, he has power and credibility when he tells us how to find a unique self by doing what we love. I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't benefit from this spirited, wise, and friendly book."
–Gloria Steinem

"In his searching book, LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT, Peter Buffett challenges us all to balance ambition and service, personal goals and work for the common good. It is a book of value and honesty."
Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues

About the Author

PETER BUFFETT is an Emmy Award-winning composer and producer and cochairman of the NoVo Foundation. Buffett began his career in San Francisco writing music for commercials. He has released albums on the Narada, Epic, and Hollywood labels, as well as six releases on his own label. His work in film includes the “Firedance” scene in the Oscar-winning film, Dances with Wolves. He lives in New York City.
Download a free collection of Peter’s music at:
Enter code: lifeiswhatyoumakeit

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307464717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307464712
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #613,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Emmy Award-winning musician Peter Buffett has an acclaimed career that spans more than 30 years as a professional musician, composer, philanthropist and author. He began his career creating music for early MTV bumpers of the '80s, and the climactic crescendo in the memorable "Fire Dance" scene in 1990's Oscar winning film Dances with Wolves. Buffett received critical acclaim for his Native American-inspired music, composing the full score for 500 Nations- the eight-hour Emmy-awarded CBS miniseries produced by Kevin Costner, and the musical production Spirit: The Seventh Fire. Peter has released more than 15 records to date on his own imprints as well as Narada, Epic and Hollywood Records. He has collaborated with Grammy-nominated recording artist Akon as well as Grammy-winning artist Angelique Kidjo on human rights inspired songs. Buffett's inspiring New York Times Best-Selling book, Life Is What You Make It, was released in paperback in May of this year. To bring the message of the book alive, Buffett has crafted Life Is What You Make It: A Concert & Conversation with Peter Buffett, a live music event that incorporates multi-media and personal stories to give the audience an authentic, inspirational, and impactful evening.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 72 people found the following review helpful By El Rey Lin on July 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Peter Buffett's message is compelling and simple. Choose a career in something you're passionate about and work hard to succeed in it. Don't go into a field just to make money. Give your children unconditional love but teach them to support themselves. Give back to society with your time and money, and you will find yourself even more fulfilled in your life.

That sums up a great deal of this book. To fill up 200+ pages, there are anecdotes about his own experiences, examples of people who exemplify--and others who scorn--his values, and consistently adoring depictions of his larger-than-life parents. Peter writes with great earnestness and comes across as a thoughtful man, albeit one who perhaps views his straightforward message as more revelatory than it really is.

Some parts of the book struck me as cloying, or even worse, not completely honest. He describes his time growing up as idyllic: a warm, loving family, a beautiful town with friendly neighbors. However, anyone who's read Lowenstein's biography of Warren Buffett knows that the children in the family were at times deeply wounded by their father's single-minded devotion to his work, and their moody grandmother would instantly bring the children to tears with her vicious rants. His rose-colored descriptions of his childhood thus don't ring entirely true, and this leads the reader to wonder what else has been glossed over.

This also shows the author's tendency to describe people in simplistic ways. His parents are paragons of love and wisdom. Various rich people he describes are poor parents who use money as a substitute for love with their children. Such depictions lack nuance and make those described seem more like cardboard cut-outs than real people.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By David Clark on April 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Knew Peter many years ago, a very creative guy, but never figured he would pick up a pen and write a book, and a decent one at that. This isn't a rags to riches story, but rather how one man found meaning in life by following his heart. Whether you are born rich or poor it is well worth the read and the time spent. Wish I had read it in my twenties, but am very glad it found its way to me in my fifties.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By TD Karantsalis on May 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Peter Buffett shows why choosing your own passion can lead to a healthier, more productive life. By blazing your own trail, you develop self-confidence and respect that is its own reward.

Do you know someone spoiled by privilege? Buffett explains how the proverbial silver spoon is really a silver knife aimed right for the back. Those who rely on family connections and cruise on "unearned momentum" err when they choose inheritance over personal accomplishments.

It's up to you to decide where your passion lies.

My favorite thought: It doesn't really matter where you start in life, it matters where you go.

I will order extra copies of this book for our college library and I strongly encourage all students to read it.

Theo Karantsalis, librarian
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jean C. Lee on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be "hopeful". Buffett finds the silver lining in the economic downturn, and encourages his readers to pursue what others might see as pipe dreams. He questions societal standards of success, discussing the value of the kind of privilege that one is born into (The sons and daughters of wealthy parents can suffer from behavioral issues just as undeserved kids do, but from parents' narrow focus on vanity and success as defined by society.), and encourages one to go after a career that is the truest expression of him/herself, but through it all, maintain a keen sense of perspective.

It's pretty broad, but I loved most of the messages here and some sentences were beautifully written. At the end, he mentions his favorite quote (which I happen to have plastered on my wall) by Goethe:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."

I do think that some parts were fluffy, but others may enjoy that type of light reading. I also feel that the autobiographical aspects of the book go a little overboard; at one point, there is a 5-page diversion about Buffett's music career, weakly tied to the message being discussed. All in all, though, it was a decent read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Larry Underwood on June 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Quite often, a person's perspective on life can be determined by their unconscious facial expression. Do they generally appear happy or do they seem burdened by every challenge that comes their way? If you work with someone like that, it can be a real drag listening to them sigh about how unfair life is for them; not for you and me, of course; just for them.

Of course, that attitude usually produces the expected results, as they stay mired in the process of self-pity, at least until they win the lottery. Then they'll complain about everybody suddenly wanting to be their friend. I'll still pass on that opportunity.

Peter Buffett has a wonderful perspective on life, and it's not just because he has a rich dad; although that doesn't hurt. What Buffett grew up with was a supportive set of parents who taught him a good set of core values - honesty and integrity among other things; he's no spoiled rich kid who has life on cruise control. He's a guy who tries to do the right thing, every day of his life; that means helping the less fortunate and trying to provide genuine support for those he cares about; not just when he's in the mood, but every single day.

His words are profound in their philanthropic intentions. Life is best fulfilled when we spend less time thinking about ourselves and more time thinking about the general well-being of society. Usually, the collaborative process pays dividends, as we make extended connections during the course of our existence. In the end, we find that we truly reap what we sow; pretty good advice for anyone.
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