“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area)  who didn’t read all the time-none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads-and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book  with a couple of legs sticking out.” 

Charlie Munger is the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett. He is an American investor, businessman, former real estate attorney, architectural designer, and philanthropist. Munger served as chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation from 1984 through 2011. He is also chairman of the Daily Journal Corporation, based in Los Angeles, California, and a director of Costco Wholesale Corporation.

Charlie is a proponent just like Warren Buffet of Life Long Learning. As a teenager he worked at Buffett & Son, a grocery store owned by Warren Buffett’s grandfather.

In his 2007 USC Law School Commencement Address he shared some great insights on life long learning:

Wisdom acquisition is a moral duty. It’s not something you do just to advance in life. As a corollary to that proposition which is very important, it means that you are hooked for lifetime learning.

And without lifetime learning, you people are not going to do very well. You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You’re going to advance in life by what you learn after you leave here.

Another idea that I got, and this may remind you of Confucius too, is that wisdom acquisition is a moral duty. It’s not something you do just to advance in life. Wisdom acquisition is a moral duty.

And there’s a corollary to that proposition which is very important. It means that you’re hooked for lifetime learning, and without lifetime learning you people are not going to do very well. You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You’re going to advance in life by what you’re going to learn after you leave here.

If you take Berkshire Hathaway, which is certainly one of the best-regarded corporations in the world and may have the best long-term investment record in the entire history of civilization, the skill that got Berkshire through one decade would not have sufficed to get it through the next decade with the achievements made. Without Warren Buffett being a learning machine, a continuous learning machine, the record would have been absolutely impossible.

Without Warren Buffett being a learning machine, a continuous learning machine, the record would have been absolutely impossible.

The same is true at lower walks of life. I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than when they got up and boy does that help—particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.

Most people would rather die than think and many of them do!.’ – Bertrand Russell

In Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, which is a collection of speeches and talks by Charlie Munger, compiled by Peter D. Kaufman. Munger is an admirer of Benjamin Franklin, and the book’s title is a tribute to Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack.

Using the pseudonym of “Poor Richard,” Franklin published his Almanach from 1733 to 1758. Its content varied, including not only many Franklin aphorisms that became famous but also calendars, weather forecasts, astronomical information, and astrological data. The Almanac was hugely popular in the American colonies, selling about 10,000 copies per year.

The Poor Charlie’s Almanack book includes some talks given by Munger, where he shared some great ideas and insights such as:

Munger’s “Multiple Mental Models

– Approach to Business Analysis and Assessment “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.”

The Lollapalooza Effect.

  • The most important thing to keep in mind is the idea that especially big forces often come out of these one hundred models. when several models combine, you get lollapalooza effects; this is when two, three, or four forces are all operating in the same direction. And, frequently, you don’t get simple addition. Its often like a critical mass in physics where you get a nuclear explosion if you get to a certain point of mass-and you don’t get anything much worth seeing if you don’t reach the mass. Sometimes the forces just add like ordinary quantities and sometimes they combine on a breakpoint or critical-mass basis. 

In Poor Charlie’s Almanack, Munger writes about his love for reading, lifelong learning and he recommended some great books:

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area)  who didn’t read all the time-none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads-and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book  with a couple of legs sticking out.” 

“Charlie Munger’s Recommended Books ”

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Write A Comment