Charlie Munger: On The Value Of Learning, Ethics, Self-Pity, And Hardship

Today’s guest should need very little introduction—should, but in fact does. Charlie Munger is a man who vehemently dislikes the spotlight, and so has spent his life trying to avoid it. The reason he should need very little introduction is, ironically, also the reason he does need introduction. Charlie Munger is known as Warren Buffett’s (legendary investor and many times the world’s richest man) right-hand man, and is the man to whom Buffett credits most of his success; this is not a trivial claim, and it highlights one of the many reasons more people ought to know about Charlie—if only for the fact that Buffett has a net-worth of about, 84billion dollars…

Because Warren loves the spotlight—in contrast to his friend—Charlie has naturally let him take it during the several decades that they have been in the public eye; whilst this has served Charlie well, however, it also means fewer people know about him. Why this is unfortunate is not just because he made Warren Buffett magnificently rich and successful, neither; he is also a profound intellect and treasure-trove of worldly wisdom—which he shares in the form of stories, blunt axioms and esoteric jokes.

Charlie’s Wikipedia page has him as an American investor, businessman, author, philanthropist, and as vice-chairman to Berkshire Hathaway. This says very little about the extremely eventful and productive life he has lived, which includes a career in law, being the top man in several different corporations (including a hospital), and lots of philanthropy work. Charlie and Warren host the wildly popular Berkshire Hathaway annual conference; this is where the company shareholders and a selected number of journalists get together to listen to the two of them—usually for several hours—give updates and their thoughts on the past year, and answer questions about business, life, and sometimes, about Warren’s Coca Cola and peanut brittle diet.

The fact that many people attend this event for nothing else but to listen to the wise words of Charlie Munger, says an awful lot. For a deeper insight into Charlie’s life, I recommend two fantastic books: first is Getting Behind the Scenes with Charlie Munger, by Janet Lowe; second is Poor Charlie’s Almanack. The first book digs deep into his personal life; whilst the latter is almost exclusively about his work and teachings.

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This show is all about the secrets, recipes and philosophies of some of the world’s most famous people—be them composers, actors, actresses, entrepreneurs, authors, painters, investors, philosophers, journalists, scientists, you name it. Each episode features one person, and typically, 7-10 separate pieces of advice.

These podcasts are not interviews done by us, however; what we do instead is comb the internet platforms for any recordings and audio clips that already exist, study them, and then separate the wheat from the chaff. These podcasts are the wheat—or as we like to call them, nutritious audio snacks.

The golden number is 7: this is the number of lessons we try to fit into each podcast. But inevitably we struggle to keep within that number; sometimes there is just too much to cram into 7 that we have no choice but to include 10 or more. Besides, are not rules made to be broken? And seen as we created the rule in the first place, well…

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