Charlie Munger is 96 years old, and over the century that he has been alive, he has developed a lot of wisdom that he freely shares with us. He has delivered many quotes in his book, Poor Charlie’s Almanac, and continues to share information today.
Here are 23 of the greatest Charlie Munger quotes about life:
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.”
No matter what you do during your day, you are learning something, you are creating something, destroying things, and changing things. It is up to you whether it is for the good or for the bad, only you can make that change. Open your mind to other perspectives.
“There is no better teacher than history in determining the future.”
Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Humans fall back into their same old habits, and the same habits that people had long ago. We need to consciously remember these events in history to make sure that they never happen again.
“Mimicking the herd invites regression to the mean.”
If you follow the herd, you will receive the same results as the herd. Mediocrity.
“We both 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.”
Sit, and think. Sit, and think. Sit… and think. These two simple actions can give you clarity that you never knew you had, and give you ideas that you never thought would work.
“A lot of people with high IQs are terrible investors because they’ve got terrible temperaments. And that is why we say that having a certain kind of temperament is more important than brains. You need to keep raw irrational emotion under control. You need patience and discipline and an ability to take losses and adversity without going crazy. You need an ability to not be driven crazy by extreme success.”
IQ doesn’t matter in investing, what matters is being patient when the time calls for it, and being bold when opportunity knocks.
“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Day by day, and at the end of the day-if you live long enough-like most people, you will get out of life what you deserve.”
Read, study, learn, just make sure you know a little more than you did the day before.
“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.”
Make sure you learn things throughout the day.
“Remember that reputation and integrity are your most valuable asset, and can be lost in a heartbeat.”
Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and 5 minutes to ruin it.” You reputation is your greatest asset, because you can always call on it when you are in need. When people trust you, you get access to greater opportunities.
“Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day.”
Reading is the best way to learn. There are a lot of hidden gems in the pages of a book.
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a board subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero. You’d be amazed 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.”
Most of the successful spend ample time reading, that is their main source of learning.
“If something is too hard, we move on to something else. What could be simpler than that?”
This describes Munger’s “too hard” pile. If he does not understand an investment, he throws it in the pile, because he will not invest in something that he doesn’t understand.
“People calculate too much and think too little.”
People spend so much time calculating that they forget they have common sense. Think, and receive clarity sometimes.
“Man’s imperfect, limited-capacity brain easily drifts into working with what’s easily available to it. And the brain can’t use what it can’t remember or when it’s blocked from recognizing because it’s heavily influenced by one or more psychological tendencies bearing strongly on it … the deep structure of the human mind requires that the way to full scope competency of virtually any kind is to learn it all to fluency—like it or not.”
You need to master your emotional intelligence, because your psychological factors prevent you from receiving information in its purest form.
“To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want. The world is not yet a crazy enough place to reward a whole bunch of undeserving people.”
If you don’t deserve it, you won’t get it. You need to work harder than the man to your left and the man to your right.
“I believe in the discipline of mastering the best that other people have ever figured out. I don’t believe in just sitting down and trying to dream it all up yourself. Nobody’s that smart.”
Take other ideas, and use that as inspiration for your own.
“Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There’s a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on that trolley?”
While you’re spending your life envying people, others are spending their lives making something of themselves. Why don’t you start?
“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 they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”
You IQ is not the most important thing. The most important thing is to learn everyday, and to never stop learning.
“It takes character to sit with all that cash and to do nothing.
I didn’t get top where I am by going after mediocre opportunities.”
Munger’s temperament is the reason he was able to become the billionaire he is today. So many temptations to make in the market, but he stood firm.
“Acquire worldly wisdom and adjust your behavior accordingly. If your new behavior gives you a little temporary unpopularity with your peer group…then to hell with them.”
Don’t stay the same. You should be learning more, and adopting different principles the more you learn. Don’t bend to other peoples beliefs, stick to your guns.
“The best armor of old age is a well spent life perfecting it.”
The best way to enjoy old age is to have strong armor. Financially, physically, emotionally, these are all things you need to set up while you’re young.
“Always take the high road, it’s far less crowded.”
More people take the “get rich quick” schemes and attempt to take advantage of people to get to where they want. They choose the harder path. Always take the high road.
“Knowing what you don’t know is more useful than being brilliant.”
It is important to know your boundaries.
“You must force yourself to consider opposing arguments. Especially when they challenge your best-loved ideas.”
If you stay close-minded to other perspectives, you will never advance as a person. It is important to keep an open mind to other opposing arguments, so that you may become a better person.