#286 Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger

Episode Summary

What I learned from reading All I Want To Know Is Where I'm Going To Die So I'll Never Go There: Buffett & Munger – A Study in Simplicity and Uncommon, Common Sense by Peter Bevelin.

Episode Notes

What I learned from reading All I Want To Know Is Where I'm Going To Die So I'll Never Go There: Buffett & Munger – A Study in Simplicity and Uncommon, Common Sense by Peter Bevelin. 


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[2:01] Buffett and Munger have a remarkable ability to eliminate folly, simplify things, boil down issues to their essence, get right to the point, and focus on simple and timeless truths.

[3:00] The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Naval Ravikant and Eric Jorgenson.  (Founders #191)

[4:00] Warren Buffet or Charlie Munger are the very wise grandfather figure that I never had.

[5:00] To try to live your life totally free of mistakes is a life of inaction. —Warren Buffett

[5:00] The sign above the players' entrance to the field at Notre Dame reads ´Play Like a Champion Today.' I sometimes joke that the sign at Nebraska reads 'Remember Your Helmet.' Charlie and I are 'Remember Your Helmet' kind of guys.' We like to keep it simple. (You must structure your life and business to be able to survive the inevitable bad decisions you’re going to make.)

[5:00] Wisdom is prevention. —Charlie Munger

[6:00] We make actual decisions very rapidly, but that's because we've spent so much time preparing ourselves by quietly sitting and reading and thinking. —Charlie Munger

[7:00] If you get into the mental habit of relating what you're reading to the basic underlying ideas being demonstrated, you gradually accumulate some wisdom. —Charlie Munger

[7:00] At Berkshire, we don't have any meetings or committees, and I can think of no better way to become more intelligent than sit down and read. I hate meetings, frankly. I have created something that I enjoy: I happen to enjoy reading a lot, and I happen to enjoy thinking about things. —Warren Buffett

[7:00] We both hate to have too many forward commitments in our schedules. We both insist on a lot of time being available to just sit and think. —Charlie Munger

[8:00] I need eight hours of sleep. I think better. I have more energy. My mood is better. And think about it: As a senior executive, what do you really get paid to do? You get paid to make a small number of high-quality decisions. — Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos, With an Introduction by Walter Isaacson. (Founders #155)

[9:00] I think people that multitask pay a huge price. When you multitask so much, you don't have time to think about anything deeply. You're giving the world an advantage you shouldn't do. Practically everybody is drifting into that mistake. I did not succeed in life by intelligence. I succeeded because I have a long attention span. —Charlie Munger

[9:00] Jony Ive on Steve Jobs: Steve was the most remarkably focused person I’ve ever met. (Video)

[11:00] It is just that simple. We've had enough good sense when something was working well, keep doing it. The fundamental algorithm of life: repeat what works. —Charlie Munger


Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders 1965-2018 by Warren Buffett. (Founders #88) 

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. (Founders #100)

The Tao of Warren Buffett by Mary Buffett & David Clark. (Founders #101) 

Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein. (Founders #182) 

A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers From Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett and Peter Bevelin. (Founders #202) 

The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett and Lawrence Cunningham. (Founders #227) 

Tao of Charlie Munger by David Clark (Founders #78) 

Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor by Tren Griffin. (Founders #79) 

Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger. (Founders #90) 

Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger by Janet Lowe. (Founders #221) 

[14:00] Buffett: It's an inversion process. Start out with failure, and then engineer its removal.

[15:00] Munger: I figure out what I don't like instead of figuring out what I like in order to get what I like.

[15:00] Repetition is the mother of learning.

[17:00] Munger: You can see the results of not learning from others' mistakes by simply looking about you. How little originality there is in the common disasters of mankind. (Business failures through repetition of obvious mistakes made by predecessors and so on.)

[18:00] Munger: History allows you to keep things in perspective.

[18:00] Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.

[19:00] Berkshire was a small business at one time. It just takes time. It is the nature of compound interest. You cannot build it in one day or one week.

[20:00] Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, “Make me feel important.”

[22:00] Buffett: In almost 60 years of investing we found it practically useless to give advice to anyone.

[23:00] Munger: One of my favorite stories is about the little boy in Texas. The teacher asked the class, If there are nine sheep in the pen and one jumps out, how many are left? And everybody got the answer right except this little boy, who said, None of them are left. And the teacher said, You don't understand arithmetic. And he said No, teacher. You don't understand sheep.

[25:00] Quite often Henry simply talked about his philosophy of running a corporation and the various financial strategies that he came up with as he sat in his corner office each day, often working at his Apple computer. He was a brilliant business strategist, just as he was a brilliant chess strategist and he came up with many creative ideas, ideas that were sometimes contrary to the currently accepted methods of managing a large corporation that prevailed in those days.

“He always tries to work out the best moves," Shannon said, "and maybe he doesn't like to talk too much, because when you are playing a game you don't tell anyone else what your strategy is." — Distant Force: A Memoir of the Teledyne Corporation and the Man Who Created It by Dr. George Roberts. (Founders #110)

[28:00] Buffett: The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.

[29:00] If you want to know whether you are destined to be a success or a failure in life, you can easily find out. The test is simple and it is infallible: Are you able to save money? If not, drop out. You will lose. You may think not, but you will lose as sure as you live. The seed of success is not in you. — James J. Hill: Empire Builder of the Northwest by Michael P. Malone. (Founders #96)

[31:00] Buffett: Life tends to snap you at your weakest link.

[35:00] Sol Price: Retail Revolutionary & Social Innovator by Robert E. Price (Founders #107)

[38:00] Paul Graham’s essays (Founders #275-277)

[39:00] I'm very suspect of the person who is very good at one business, who starts thinking they should tell the world how to behave on everything. —Warren Buffett

[42:00] The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett and Lawrence Cunningham. (Founders #227)

[44:00] This life isn't a greenroom for something else. He went for it. —Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography by Laurie Woolever.

[44:00] Buffett: We're here on the earth only one time so you ought to be doing something that you enjoy as you go along and you can be enthusiastic about.

[48:00] Personal History by Katherine Graham. (Founders #152)

[49:00] The problem is not getting rich, it is staying sane. —Charlie Munger

[54:00] Learning is not memorizing information. Learning is changing your behavior. Most people can’t learn from the experiences of other people: Charlie and I don't expect to win you over to our way of thinking—we've observed enough human behavior to know the futility of that, but we do want you to be aware of our personal calculus.

[57:00] We are individual opportunity driven. Our acquisition technique at Berkshire is simplicity itself: We answer the phone.

[1:00:00] A brand is a promise. —Warren Buffett

[1:01:00] Obsess over customers. Buffett said this about Amazon in 2012: Amazon could affect a lot of businesses who don't think they will be affected. For Amazon, it is very hard to find unhappy customers. A business that has millions and millions of happy customers can introduce them to new items, it will be a powerhouse and could affect a lot of businesses.

[1:03:00] Munger: We should make a list of everything that irritates a customer, and then we should eliminate those defects one by one.

[1:04:00] Most companies, when they get rich, get sloppy.

[1:05:00] Munger: One of the models in my head is the 'Northern Pike Model. You have a lake full of trout. But if you throw in a few northern pike, pretty soon there aren't many trout left but a lot of northern pike. Wal-Mart in its early days was the northern pike. It figured out how the customer could be better served and just galloped through the world like Genghis Kahn.

[1:09:00] Practice! Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby. (Founders #212)

[1:10:00] Market forecasters will fill your ear, but they will never fill your wallet.

[1:11:00] We don't have any new tricks. We just know the old tricks better.


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