Charlie Munger

Created: by Pradeep Gowda Updated: Jun 21, 2024 Tagged: person

Here are 10 thoughts from Charlie Munger

  1. Why ignoring experts is smart:
  • “You must have the confidence to override people with more credentials whose cognition is impaired by incentive-caused bias.”
  1. Intensity wins:

    • “Passion is more important than brainpower.”
  2. The Roman System:

    • “An example of a really responsible system is the system the Romans used when they built an arch. The guy who created the arch stood under it as the scaffolding was removed. It’s like packing your own parachute.”
  3. Just because you’ve had one misfortune doesn’t mean you should let it compound into two:

    • “You should never, when faced with one unbelievable tragedy, let one tragedy increase into two or three because of a failure of will.”
  4. A forest that does not clear its deadwood with small fires will, one day, suffer a giant uncontrollable fire. Brains must clear their deadwood too. Munger:

    • “Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire.”
  5. Your gadgets are more deadweight than they are your engines:

    • “Look at this generation, with all of its electronic devices and multitasking. I will confidently predict less success than Warren, who just focused on reading. If you want wisdom, you’ll get it sitting on your ass. That’s the way it comes.”
  6. Pure thinking (not interrupted by meetings and other “tasks”) is a productivity hack the world is sleeping on:

    • “We insist on a lot of time being available almost every day to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. We read and think.”
  7. There’s a strange taboo against reading. Elon Musk has said in the new Walter Isaacson book that his parents were always trying to get him to read less. Charlie Munger said his kids laugh at his reading habit, calling him a book with two legs sticking out.

  8. This mockery is misplaced. Munger:

    • “In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time - none, zero.” Without books, travel, and aggressive independent thinking, there is no way for you to leave the intellectual context you were born in.
  9. Only high-trust tribes build civilization:

    • “The highest form that civilization can reach is a seamless web of deserved trust—not much procedure, just totally reliable people correctly trusting one another.”



  1. Write your obituary and live it backwards.
  2. The really big opportunities in life will be very few. So when you find a lollapalooza, and you can see it, don’t hang back like a timid rabbit. Step boldly and grab it. And don’t do it small.
  3. Learn the big ideas in all the disciplines. Pay no heed to sectoral boundaries. And cross-apply like crazy.
  4. Whenever you think something or some person is ruining your life, it’s you. A victimization mentality is so debilitating
  5. A lot of success in life and business comes from knowing what you want to avoid: early death, a bad marriage
  6. Go to sleep each night a little less stupid than you were when you woke up.
  7. Never, ever, think about something else when you should be thinking about the power of incentives
  8. Assume life will be really tough, and then ask if you can handle it. If the answer is yes, you’ve won.
  9. Do what you like and are good at. Three rules for a career: Don’t sell anything you wouldn’t buy yourself; Don’t work for anyone you don’t respect and admire; Work only with people you enjoy
  10. It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid.