Investing In People: The Most Profitable Business

Investing In People: The Most Profitable Business

When a gentleman wants to establish himself, he also helps others to establish themselves. When he wants to be successful himself, he also helps others to succeed. He judges others by what he knows of himself.

– Confucius

Have you ever wondered why my motto is “Investing in people”?

It all started from a story my mother told me when I was a little child. The story is about the most remarkable entrepreneur in Chinese history.

Two thousands years ago, during the  Warring States Period, China was divided into 7 states: Qin, Chu, Qi, Yan, Han, Wei, Zhao.

One day Lü Buwei, a wealthy merchant  saw  a rare investment opportunity. He came home and asked his father,
“Father, What is the profit on investment that one can expect from plowing fields?”

“Ten times the original investment,” his father replied.

“And the return on investment in pearls and jades is how much?”

“A hundred times.”

“What about investing in a person?”

His father replied with a smile, “That will be beyond an estimate.”

Lu Buwei took the opportunity and his return on investment was not only money, but also fame, power and authority.  What was the rare investment opportunity?

In 267 BCE, King Zhaoxiang of Qin crowned the Lord of Anguo prince when his first son passed away. On a business trip in Handan, the capital of Zhao, Lu Buwei met Zichu, one of Anguo’s sons who was being held hostage to prevent wars between Qin and Zhao. Zichu had no hope becoming the King of Qin because he was illegitimate. His father did not care about him, Zhao treated him like a prisoner. With his wealth, strategies and connections, Lu Buwei managed for Zichu to return home and seized the throne of Qin in 250 B.C. Lu Buwei became the Chancellor of Qin.

During the time in Zhao, Lu Buwei arranged for the prince to meet and fall in love with his lovely wife, Zhao Ji. Rumor said that Zhao Ji was already pregnant before became the prince’s concubine. Her son, Zheng later became  Qin Shi Huang, the first  emperor of China who unified the country for the first time .

Lu Buwei had a vision and was willing to bet his wealth, career, family and life on a long-term investment, because he  recognized the value of investing in a person, he became the most powerful person in China.

Most of us will never be the second Lu Buwei. He was one in a billion, however we can take away the lesson from his story.

Your life depends on other people’s lives. Helping others become successful is helping yourself.

Start investing in people.

Did You Enjoy This?

Then consider getting my weekly update on life hack, business, and books. It's a collection of interesting things that make me stop and think through out the week.


Post by Cammi Pham

Cammi Pham (@cammipham) is a digital marketer by day at ThinkRenegade, blogger by night, unlearner 24/7.  Cammi is a Medium Top Contributor, Quora Top Writer and TEDx Speaker. Her work has reached millions of people and has been translated into many different languages. Cammi has been featured in the BBC, Business Insider, Adweek, Yahoo, Lifehacker and more. Cammi lives by her personal motto, “Learn, Unlearn, Relearn.” Email: