Words of wisdom from Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s longtime business partner, collected and interpreted with an eye towards investing by David Clark, coauthor of the bestselling Buffettology series. Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1924 Charlie Munger studied mathematics at the University of Michigan, trained as a meteorologist at Cal Tech Pasadena while in the Army, and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School without ever earning an undergraduate degree. Today, Munger is one of America’s most successful investors, the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, and Warren Buffett’s business partner for almost forty years. Buffett says “Berkshire has been built to Charlie’s blueprint. My role has been that of general contractor.” Munger is an intelligent, opinionated business man whose ideas can teach professional and amateur investors how to be successful in finance and life. Like The Tao of Warren Buffett, The Tao of Charlie Munger is a compendium of pithy quotes including, “Knowing what you don’t know is more useful than being brilliant” and “In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time, none, zero.” This collection, culled from interviews, speeches, and questions and answers at the Berkshire Hathaway and Wesco annual meetings, offers insights into Munger’s amazing financial success and life philosophies. Charlie Munger’s investment tips, business philosophy, and rules for living are as unique as his life story; intelligent as he clearly is; and as successful as he has been.
Tao of Charlie Munger # 1 FAST MONEY –
“The desire to get rich fast is pretty dangerous.”
Trying to get rich fast is dangerous because we have to gamble on the short-term price direction of some stock or other asset. There are a huge number of people trying to do the same thing, many of whom are much better informed than we are. The short-term price direction of any security or derivative contract is subject to all kinds of wild price swings due to events that have nothing to do with the actual long-term value of the underlying business or asset. Last but not least, there is the problem of leverage: to get rich quickly, one often has to use leverage/debt to amplify small price swings into really huge gains. If things go against us, they can also turn into really large losses. So we take a leveraged position in a stock, thinking we are going to hit it big; then something terrible like 9/11 happens, the stock market tanks, and we get wiped out. In his early days, Charlie did use a lot of leverage on his stock arbitrage investments, but as he got older he saw the grave danger he was putting himself in and now passionately avoids using debt and bets only on the long-term economics of a business, not the short-term price swings of its stock price.
For over twenty years, David Clark has been considered the world’s leading authority on the subject of Warren Buffett’s investment methods. His international bestselling investment books, coauthored with Mary Buffett—Buffettology, The Buffettology Workbook, The New Buffettology, The Tao of Warren Buffett, Warren Buffett and the Interpretation of Financial Statements,The Management Secrets of Warren Buffett, Warren Buffett and The Art of Stock Arbitrage, and The Warren Buffett Stock Portfolio—have been translated into more than twenty foreign languages and are considered “investment classics” the world over. He has once again joined forces with Mary Buffett, and together they are writing Warren Buffett Investment Analysis, an in-depth investment manual for professional and aspiring investors.
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