Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett is an investing legend. But if he could choose to be remembered for one thing, he said, it wouldn't be for his mastery of investing or business.
He wants to be remembered for being a good teacher.
The issue came up during the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. First, Buffett and his longtime business partner Charlie Munger were asked about a memory from their first annual meeting, and Munger said: "My first memory — when Warren got on the subject and they asked him what he wanted said at his funeral, he said, 'I want them to all be saying, that's the oldest looking corpse I ever saw.'"
Buffett joked, "That may be the smartest thing I ever said," before sharing what he would actually like people to remember of him: "With me, it's pretty simple. I really like teaching. I've been doing it formally and, you could say, somewhat informally all my life, and I certainly had the greatest teachers you could imagine.
"So if somebody thought that I did a decent job at teaching, I'd feel very good about that."
One of the "greatest teachers" to whom he's referring is Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing and one of Buffett's professors at Columbia Business School.
"Ben was this incredible teacher," Buffett recounted in HBO's documentary "Becoming Warren Buffett." "He was a natural, and he drew us all in. It was like learning baseball from a fellow who was batting .400. It shaped my professional life."
It was Graham who taught him "the two rules of investing" that Buffett has lived by throughout his massively successful career. "Rule number one: Never lose money," Buffett said. "Rule number two: Never forget rule number one."
If Buffett were to instill one principle in young people, that wouldn't have anything to do with money or business, either, he said. It would be to focus on your "inner scorecard," rather than your outer one.
In other words, focus on doing the right things and treating people well instead of on what other people think of you.
Prioritizing his "inner scorecard" has worked for the self-made billionaire. As Peter Kunhardt, co-director of "Becoming Warren Buffett," tells CNBC, "Warren believes that honesty has paid off from a business point of view much more than being sleazy or dishonest would have. He's always taken the high road, and it's paid off well."