charlie munger

Happiness in the midst of the muck alvin February 22, 2019 - 10:18am

One thing that’s changed for me in the last year is that I’ve become a little less interested in what spiritual leaders have to say, and more interested in what spiritual laymen have to say. Don’t get me wrong, leaders are great in many ways, but they don’t have bills to pay, and don’t have spouses or children. I’m far more interested in what a spiritual person has to say when they’re in the midst of struggling to pay their bills, and they have jobs, spouses, children, and neighbors.

I was reminded of this recently when I saw a headline about Charlie Munger giving advice on how to be happy. I’ve read a lot of Charlie Munger quotes and he seems like a very nice person, but he’s been a billionaire for decades, and that skews your thinking. Based on my own experience, when you have a lot of money and you don’t have to worry about your health, paying your bills, noisy neighbors, or family problems, life is easy, so your advice is tainted. These days I’ll take “advice on happiness” from someone who is truly happy while living in the midst of the muck. In retrospect, this feeling is one thing that drew me to Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning when I was still a teenager.

Warren Buffett has become a lot better investor since the day I met him

“Warren Buffett has become one hell of a lot better investor since the day I met him, and so have I. If we had been frozen at any given stage with the knowledge we had, the record would have been much worse than it is today. So the game is to keep learning, and I don’t think people are going to keep learning who don’t like the learning process. You need to like the learning process.”

This is another quote by Charlie Munger. It reminds me both of working on good programming teams, but also of learning from people that I haven’t enjoyed working with, but learned things from.

Charlie Munger quotes on curiosity

“Curiosity can provide both fun and wisdom, and occasionally trouble.”

“I was born innately curious. If that doesn’t work for you, figure out your own damn system.”

(On a personal note, I would argue that many people are born curious, and his parents didn’t beat the curiosity out of him.)

“Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day.”

“A few major opportunities, clearly recognizable as such, will usually come to one who continuously searches and waits, with a curious mind that loves diagnosis involving multiple variables.”

“Temperament alone won’t do it. You need a lot of curiosity for a long, long, time. You need to have a passionate interest in why things are happening. That cast of mind, kept over long periods, gradually improves your ability to focus on reality.”

“Einstein said his successful theories came from curiosity, concentration, perseverance, and self-criticism.”

~ from the book, Charlie Munger, The Complete Investor (and a few other sources)

Charlie Munger quotes on making mistakes

“You can learn to make fewer mistakes than other people — and how to fix your mistakes faster when you do make them.”

“Terribly smart people make totally bonkers mistakes.”

“I don’t want you to think we have any way of learning or behaving so you won‘t make mistakes.”

“I like people admitting they were complete horses’ asses. I know I’ll perform better if I rub my nose in my mistakes. This is a wonderful trick to learn.”

“There is no way you can live an adequate life without making many mistakes.”

~ from the book, Charlie Munger, The Complete Investor

Charlie Munger on having and using multiple mental models

“What are the models? Well, the first rule is that you’ve ot to have multiple models — because if you just have one or two that you’re using, the nature of human psychology is such that you’ll torture reality so that it fits your models.”

“You must know the big ideas in the big disciplines, and use them routinely — all of them, not just a few. Most people are trained in one model — economics, for example — and try to solve all problems in one way. You know the old saying: to the man with a hammer, the world looks like a nail. This is a dumb way of handling problems.”

~ from the book, Charlie Munger, The Complete Investor

Ben Graham’s concept of “Mr. Market” (by Charlie Munger)

“Ben Graham had his concept of ‘Mr. Market.’ Instead of thinking the market was efficient, he treated it as a manic-depressive who comes by every day. And some days he says, ‘I’ll sell you some of my interest for way less than you think it’s worth.’ And other days Mr. Market comes by and says, ‘I’ll buy your interest at a price that’s way higher than you think it’s worth.”

~ from the book, Charlie Munger, The Complete Investor