Best Charlie Munger Quotes: At times, Warren Buffett’s immense fame as the Oracle of Omaha overshadows the wisdom of Charlie Munger, the Berkshire Hathaway [BRK.A] Vice President.
Munger might not have as much wealth as Warren Buffett, who currently has a net worth of about $111.8 billion but $2.4 billion fortune still makes him an extremely wealthy man.
Despite their close connection, Munger’s success doesn’t depend on Buffett. Munger studied mathematics at the University of Michigan before joining the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII.
He did so well on his Army General Classification Test that the Army Air Corps assigned him to study at Caltech. Later, Munger earned a degree from Harvard Law School, where he graduated at the top of his class.
It’s also important to recognize that Munger has given away vast sums of money and Berkshire Hathaway shares. For example, Munger gave 500 shares of Berkshire Hathaway A stock to Stanford University, making it possible for the school to build a new dorm. The shares were valued at about $43.5 million at the time.
Munger has plenty of wise words to say about investing and leading a good life. His investment philosophy tends to take a long-term approach, he advises company leaders and he exudes a common sense approach to investing and life.
Charlie Munger isn’t one of the top 100 wealthiest people in the world, but he is a billionaire with ample experience making smart investment decisions. All of that goes to say that he’s the type of person you should listen to.
The following best Charlie Munger quotes show his approaches to life, work, and investing.
68 Top Quotes from Charlie Munger
1. The big money is not in the buying and the selling, but in the waiting.
2. People calculate too much and think too little.
3. Those who keep learning, will keep rising in life.
4. If you keep learning all the time you have a huge advantage.
5. I don’t have a single achievement I’m all that proud of. I set out to have more common sense than most, and I’m pleased I did as well as I did. If I had to do it all over again, I think it’d be a lot harder.
6. Like Warren, I had a considerable passion to get rich, not because I wanted Ferraris – I wanted independence. I desperately wanted it.
7. You must force yourself to consider opposing arguments. Especially when they challenge your best-loved ideas.
8. This habit of committing far more time to learning and thinking than to doing is no accident.
9. There isn’t a single formula. You need to know a lot about business and human nature and the numbers… It is unreasonable to expect that there is a magic system that will do it for you.
10. We (Warren Buffett and I) 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.
11. 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…
12. There is no better teacher than history in determining the future… There are answers worth billions of dollars in a history book.
13. An idiot, or a computer, can diversify a portfolio. But the whole trick of the game is to have a few times when you know something is better than average, and invest only where you have that extra knowledge. If that gets you a few opportunities, that’s enough.
14. You don’t have to have the kind of ability that quantum mechanics requires. You just have to know a few simple things and really know them.
15. Invert, always invert: Turn a situation or problem upside down. Look at it backward.
16. A majority of life’s errors are caused by forgetting what one is really trying to do.
17. I think that people who are professional traders that go into trading cryptocurrencies, it’s just disgusting. It’s like somebody else is trading turds and you decide I can’t be left out.
18. Of course when people talk about common sense, they mean uncommon sense. Every time you hear that someone has common sense, it means that he has uncommon sense, and it’s much harder to have common sense than is generally thought.
19. Acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom.
20. You’ll do better if you have passion for something in which you have aptitude. If Warren Buffett had gone into ballet, no one would have heard of him.
21. It’s amazing how intelligent it is just to spend some time sitting. A lot of people are way too active.
22. Live within your income and save so that you can invest. Learn what you need to learn.
23. I try to get rid of people who always confidently answer questions about which they don’t have any real knowledge.
24. To this day, I have never taken a course anywhere, in chemistry, economics, psychology, or business.
25. Life, in part, is like a poker game, wherein you have to learn to quit sometimes when holding a much-loved hand — you must learn to handle mistakes and new facts that change the odds.
26. If you took our top fifteen decisions out, we’d have a pretty average record. It wasn’t hyperactivity, but a hell of a lot of patience. You stuck to your principles and when opportunities came along, you pounced on them with vigor.
27. 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?
28. The great useful model, after compound interest, is the elementary math of permutations and combinations.
29. Just the discipline of having to put your thoughts in order with somebody else is a very useful thing.
30. Being smart and doing something that no one has done before are two different things.
31. Remember that reputation and integrity are your most valuable assets—and can be lost in a heartbeat.
32. We have three baskets for investing: yes, no, and too tough to understand.
33. There’s only one way to the top: hard work.
34. The iron rule of nature is: you get what you reward for. If you want ants to come, you put sugar on the floor.
35. It’s not supposed to be easy. Anyone who finds it easy is stupid.
36. There is no way you can live an adequate life without making many mistakes.
37. Benjamin Franklin was able to make the contribution he did because he had [financial] freedom.
38. Everywhere there is a large commission, there is a high probability of a rip-off.
39. It takes the character to sit with all that cash and to do nothing. I didn’t get to where I am by going after mediocre opportunities.
40. Invest in a business any fool can run, because someday a fool will. If it won’t stand a little mismanagement, it’s not much of a business.
41. I would argue that passion is more important than brain power.
42. 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.
43. Our game is to recognize a big idea when it comes along when one doesn’t come along very often. Opportunity comes to the prepared mind.
44. The great algorithm to remember in dealing with this tendency is simple: an idea or a fact is not worth more merely because it’s easily available to you.
45. When you borrow a man’s car, always return it with a tank of gas.
46. Do the best you can do. Never tell a lie. If you say you’re going to do it, get it done. Nobody cares about an excuse.
47. There’s a tendency to think that our present politicians are much worse than any we had in the past. But we tend to forget how awful our politicians were in the past.
48. Is there such a thing as a cheerful pessimist? That’s what I am.
49. If your new behavior gives you a little temporary unpopularity with your peer group, then to hell with them.
50. We recognized early on that very smart people do very dumb things, and we wanted to know why and who, so that we could avoid them.
51. Don’t drift into self-pity because it doesn’t solve any problems. Generally speaking, envy, resentment, revenge, and self-pity are disastrous modes of thought.
52. “I met the towering intellectuals in books, not in the classroom, which is natural. I can’t remember when I first read Ben Franklin. I had Thomas Jefferson over my bed at seven or eight. My family was into all that stuff, getting ahead through discipline, knowledge, and self-control.”
53. “Most people are too fretful, they worry too much. Success means being very patient, but aggressive when it’s time.”
54. “You need a different checklist and different mental models for different companies. I can never make it easy by saying, ‘Here are three things.’ You have to derive it yourself to ingrain it in your head for the rest of your life.”
55. “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.”
56. “The difference between a good business and a bad business is those good businesses throw up one easy decision after another. The bad businesses throw up painful decisions time after time.”
57. “Mimicking the herd invites regression to the mean.”
58. “You don’t have to be brilliant, only a little bit wiser than the other guys, on average, for a long time.”
59. “The big money is not in buying the selling, but in the waiting.”
60. “It’s not supposed to be easy. Anyone who finds it easy is stupid.”
61. “Is there such a thing as a cheerful pessimist? That’s what I am.”
62. “Assume life will be really tough, and then ask if you can handle it. If the answer is yes, you’ve won.”
63. “You’ll do better if you have passion for something in which you have aptitude. If Warren Buffett had gone into ballet, no one would have heard of him.”
64. “A majority of life’s errors are caused by forgetting what one is really trying to do.”
65. “Part of what you must learn is how to handle mistakes and new facts that change the odds. Life, in part, is like a poker game, wherein you have to learn to quit sometimes when holding a much loved hand.”
66. “Our game is to recognize a big idea when it comes along when one doesn’t come along very often. Opportunity comes to the prepared mind.”
67. “I would argue that passion is more important than brain power.”
68. “Quickly identify mistakes and take action.”
Charlie Munger is a quotable person. Often, though, you can boil his quotes down to a few core messages.
Success Always Takes Hard Work
Don’t think that intelligence will make you successful. Even the smartest person has to work hard to build a rewarding life.
As an investor, that means you will need to put in the time learning about companies, reviewing financial statements, studying investing strategies, and identifying reliable resources.
Natural ability does, however, influence your level of success. Just like Warren Buffett could never become a famous ballet dancer, you may not have the innate skills and interests to thrive as an investor.
If you don’t feel drawn to investing, then you might want to look for opportunities that align better with your personality and interests.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. How you interpret them can make a significant difference in your life.
Charles Munger is the kind of person who learns from his mistakes. He takes his new knowledge and applies it to future scenarios.
If mistakes steal your motivation, then you have a difficult time as an investor. If you see your errors as steps toward improvement, then you can use them to get better at investing.
Adapt to Changes
Markets evolve quickly. A stock that everyone loves today could lose all of its value within 24 hours. You never know how the market will change, so you need to learn how to adapt.
Adapting can mean a lot of things. It can mean selling stock in a company that you once believed in. It doesn’t matter that you’ve spent a decade telling everyone that you love Company X. When it makes a series of mistakes, you have to know that you can switch your position.
Being stubborn doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re making good decisions.
Successful People Need Planning and Patience
Forget about get-rich-quick strategies. Successful people know that they need planning and patience.
Create a realistic plan that you can follow. Make adjustments to the plan when necessary, but keep your ultimate goal in sight.
It may take years before you get where you want to go. If you get distracted, then you won’t reach your goal. Stay focused!
Best Charlie Munger Quotes: Conclusion
Charlie Munger’s words make it clear that he respects patience, reciprocity, independence, and frugality. He doesn’t believe it’s worth following investment fads. You might make some money from short-term strategies, but they don’t lead to long-term gains that build on themselves for decades.
If you only take one piece of advice from Munger, try to practice patience while you investigate opportunities and wait for the results to show themselves.
The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Financhill has a disclosure policy. This post may contain affiliate links or links from our sponsors.