Charlie Munger's advice on investing and life choices that make a person wealthy

  • What I love [about the shareholder meeting] is both the employees and shareholders of Berkshire are extremely enthusiastic. It is not just that they have made a lot of money —they feel like they are on the right side. . .It is like a cult. A good cult. [1:04] 

  • When people use the word common sense what they mean is uncommon sense. The standard human condition is ignorance and stupidity. [1:44] 

  • Q: Why is it that people can’t think clearly about investing or other decisions in their life?

    A: They don’t think very well about sex or gambling either. The standard human condition is a lot of miscognition. You can improve your life by eliminating your miscognitions. [2:04] 

  • The economy sometimes booms and sometimes it doesn’t. You have to live through both episodes. Our attitude is we just keep swimming. [2:47] 

  • Q: Some people now say federal debt is not a problem at all? 

    A: If you believe that then you believe in the tooth fairy. Cause then we don’t have to have any taxes. We can just print money and live happily every after. There comes a point when printing money is counterproductive. [5:20]

  • If you live long enough a lot of good things happen and a lot of bad things happen. [10:18] 

  • Q: Are Apple and Amazon technology companies or brand companies?

    A: Both [11:06]

  • I can’t think of a single example in my own life where keeping it simple has worked against us. [15:55] 

  • I would say that the chief advantage Berkshire has had in accumulating a good record is that we have avoided pompous, bureaucratic systems. We give power to very talented people and let them make very quick decisions. [16:15] 

  • In big bureaucracies they think the work is done when you get the work out of your inbox and into someone else’s. That is not getting it done. If everybody is in a big committee meeting all the time you are worn out at the end for the day and you haven’t done anything. [18:00]

  • If we find things that are intelligent to do we do it. If we can’t find anything we let the cash build up. What the hell is wrong with that? [19:00]

  • I’m ashamed of missing Google. We could have seen it if we looked at our own companies. Their [Google’s] advertising was working way better than other advertising. We weren’t paying enough attention. [25:16]

  • I’m a huge admirer of Jeff Bezos. I think he has been a leader all by himself [like Lee Kuan Yew]. He is a perfectly amazing human leader. [25:54] 

  • Q: What do you think of those tech unicorns going public and not having any profitability?

    A: There are a whole lot of things I don’t think about. And one of them is companies that are losing billions of dollars a year and going public. It is not my scene. [26:38] 

  • I think the shareholder meetings work best because they are spontaneous. If we were scripting things I don’t think people would like it. [33:27]

  • I think my way of thinking will work for anyone. I’m trying to be very rational and disciplined. I’m always being visited by young men who say things like I’m practicing law and I don’t like it. I’d rather be a billionaire, how do I do it? I tell them a story about Mozart. One man came to Mozart and asked him how to write a symphony. Mozart replied, “You are too young to write a symphony.” The man said, “You were writing symphonies when you were 10 years of age, and I am 21.” Mozart said, “Yes, but I didn’t run around asking people how to do it.” [36:00]

  • Full video here.