RIP, Charlie Munger

RIP, Charlie Munger


Charlie Munger died yesterday, just a month shy of 100 years old. He was best known as Warren Buffett’s “right hand man”, but I think that downplays his significance. He had a rare combination of critical thinking skills, common sense, and an ability to succinctly communicate his ideas right up until his death. In honor of his passing, here are some of my favorite Munger quotes:

  • Someone will always be getting richer faster than you. This is not a tragedy.
  • Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at.
  • The big money is not in the buying and selling, but in the waiting.
  • On Robinhood and meme stocks: “I hate this luring of people into engaging in speculative orgies. Robinhood may call it investing, but that’s all bullshit.”
  • You don’t have to be brilliant, only a little bit wiser than the other guys, on average, for a long, long time.
  • This great emphasis on volatility in corporate finance is nonsense. Let me put it this way: as long as the odds are in our favor and we’re not risking the whole company on one throw of the dice or anything close to it, we don’t mind volatility in results. What we want are favorable odds.
  • I’m right and you’re smart, so think on it for a few minutes and you’ll agree with me.
  • In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.
  • We both (Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett) 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.
  • I’m optimistic about life. If I can be optimistic when I’m nearly dead, surely the rest of you can handle a little inflation.
  • If you’re not willing to react with equanimity to a market price decline of 50% two or three times a century, you’re not fit to be a common shareholder and you deserve the mediocre result you’re going to get.
  • If you can get good at destroying your own wrong ideas, that is a great gift.
  • Sometimes I call crypto crappo, sometimes I call it crypto shit. It’s just ridiculous that anybody would buy this stuff. Naturally people like to invent gambling casinos where other people lose.
  • Show me the incentives and I will show you the outcome.
  • On trusting himself at 99 years old: “So far the results have not been that bad in old age. My sex life would be a different subject.”
  • The best way to get what you want in life is to deserve what you want. How could it be otherwise? The world is not crazy enough to look for a lot of undeserving people to reward.

Deserved or not, the world was fortunate to have Charlie Munger share his wisdom. Rest in peace, Charlie!

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