Inc. had a piece by investor Howard Tullman in which he remembered his friend Jimmy Buffett:
"Everyone who ever worked with Jimmy Buffett, and I did, will tell you the same thing about him. Which is that they took far more away from the experience--however fleeting it may have been--than simply a love for the guy and his music. He was every bit as successful an entrepreneur as he was an entertainer, and he brought the same focus, passion, and enthusiasm to whatever he did.
"The insiders' joke was that he was about the least 'laid-back' guy you were ever gonna meet. Whether it was music, his Margaritaville-themed businesses, charity, or politics, it was the same story - if he was in, he was in 110 percent, and he did everything with a vengeance. Jimmy was direct, down-to-earth, and deliberate in his dealings with you whether you were a peasant or a prince, although he never paid attention to those kinds of distinctions. And that openness, attitude, and approach never changed over the more than 30 years that I knew him.
"So, it's a little surprising to hear from so many people that they had no real idea that he was such a substantial businessman in addition to being a great writer and musician. I'm reluctant to add "philosopher" to the encomium because he always hated it when anyone used such 'high-falutin'' terms to describe him. He was thoughtful and certainly took a great deal of pride in his craft and worked his butt off to make that happen."
Tullman also offers three lessons he learned from Buffett:
1. Your work is what you do, not who you are."
"It's difficult for any new business builder to separate himself from the business--the best entrepreneurs never leave much of anything at the office at day's end--and taking things personally and to heart is critical to their eventual success. The ones who care the most win. But maintaining a healthy distance between what you do and your own identity and self-worth is crucial to your mental health … Success is fleeting, but excellence is forever. His work was a wonderful part of his life, but making a living was only a part of making a life worth living."
2. "Take your work seriously, but not yourself.
"Jimmy could always laugh at himself. He'd sometimes catch himself pressing a little too hard, lecturing out loud, or even pontificating, and--full stop--he'd just shut up and shake his head and say: 'Where'd I go wrong?' or 'Who is this guy anyway?' He knew he could get caught up in the work and in the moment, and he would never compromise the take or the music or the project. But he'd often take himself to task, take a short break and a mental reset, and then come back--a little sheepishly--and hit things twice as hard.
"He knew that, from time to time, the person most likely to get in the way of moving things forward was Jimmy Buffett, and he always kept an eye out for times when he thought he was getting too full of himself or ahead of the game."
3. Never expect to get what you give--not everyone's heart is as big as yours.
"He didn't measure, he didn't compete, he didn't lose his faith, and he never stopped giving back. He did everything he could, never expected anything in return, and never tried to impose his contributions and commitments on others."