American business magnate, lawyer, investor, and philanthropist
Charles Thomas Munger (born January 1, 1924) is Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, the diversified investment corporation chaired by investor Warren Buffett.
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- Obviously, you have to know accounting. It's the language of practical business life. It was a very useful thing to deliver to civilization. I've heard it came to civilization through Venice which of course was once the great commercial power in the Mediterranean. However, double-entry bookkeeping was a hell of an invention.
And it's not that hard to understand.
But you have to know enough about it to understand its limitations — because although accounting is the starting place, it's only a crude approximation. And it's not very hard to understand its limitations. For example, everyone can see that you have to more or less just guess at the useful life of a jet airplane or anything like that. Just because you express the depreciation rate in neat numbers doesn't make it anything you really know.
- ... much of what is taught in modern corporate finance courses is twaddle.
- 1996 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, YouTube video with quote at 2:41:46 of 4:54:01 in video
- You have to learn all the big ideas in the key disciplines in a way that they're in a mental latticework in your head and you automatically use them for the rest of your life. If you do that, I solemnly promise you that one day you'll be walking down the street and you'll look to your right and left and you’ll think "my heavenly days, I'm now one of the few competent people in my whole age cohort." If you don't do it, many of the brightest of you will live in the middle ranks or in the shallows.
- USC Law School Commencement Speech (2007-05-13)
- Our investment style has been given a name - focus investing - which implies ten holdings, not one hundred or four hundred. The idea that it is hard to find good investments, so concentrate in a few, seems to me to be an obvious idea. But 98% of the investment world does not think this way. It's been good for us.
- Poor Charlie's Almanack, p. 100 (1st edition, 2005; 2nd edition, 2008)
- You can't give the average Wall Street CEO really lenient standards of accounting and expect the figures to be good. The accountant is like the referee in soccer. The accountant has to be the adult that prevents the mayhem. Accountants don't want to be the adults because it causes liability, it causes responsibility, it causes difficulty ... they failed us terribly.
- (March 22, 2011)"A Conversation with Charlie Munger". Ross School of Business, YouTube. (quote at 23:30 of 1:59:58)
- How do these super-smart people with all these degrees and higher mathematics end up doing these dumb things? I think it's explainable by the old proverb that to the man with a hammer every problem looks pretty much like a nail. They've learned these techniques and they just twist the problem so it fits the solution — which is not the way to do it.
- (2012)"TIMESAVER EDIT - FULL Q&A Warrant Buffett Charlie 2012 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting". IDP, YouTube. (quote at 3:05:17 of 4:28:07, posted on YouTube in June 2019)
- Neither Warren nor I have ever used any fancy math in business — and neither did Ben Graham who taught Warren. Everything I have ever done in business could be done with the simplest algebra and geometry and addition and multiplication and so forth. I never used calculus for any practical work in my whole damn life — and I was a perfect whiz at it when they taught it to me.
- (December 20, 2017)"A Conversation with Charlie Munger and Michigan Ross - 2017". Ross School of Business, YouTube. (quote at 20:51 of 55:39)
- I see [Bitcoin as] an artificial speculative medium that people are buying just because they think they can sell it to somebody else at a higher price, even though it inherently has no intrinsic value. So, I regard the whole business as anti-social, stupid, immoral. [...] I regard the thing as a combination of dementia and immorality, and I think the people that are pushing it are a disgrace.
- Yahoo Finance interview with Andrew Serwer, May 7, 2018 (at 17:00)
- ... I regard it as a cinch that a great nation will in due time be Rome. ... Where is Rome? Where is Britain in its heyday? They all pass and so our turn is bound to come some day.
- (February 15, 2019)"Berkshire Hathaway VP Charlie Munger on investing". CNBC Television, YouTube. (quote at 9:22 of 31:45)
- I don't think that she knows who Adam Smith was.
- Charlie Munger on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez  By Charlie Munger (May 9, 2019)
- What I would say is the single most important thing, if you want to avoid all the stupid errors, is knowing where you're competent and where you aren't. And that's very hard to do because the human mind naturally tries to make you think you're way smarter than you are.
- (December 17, 2020)"A Conversation with Distinguished Alumnus Charles T. Munger (CERT '44, CAVU)". Caltech, YouTube. (quote at 18:20 of 58:41)
- You fix what can be fixed, and what can't be fixed you endure.
- (February 24, 2021)"Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, speaks at the Daily Journal Annual Meeting". Yahoo Finance, YouTube. (quote at 1:09:20 of 1:59:05)
- We don't want to make our money selling things that are bad for people.
- (May 1, 2021)"Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting 2021 featuring Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger". Yahoo Finance, YouTube. (quote at 4:32:01 of 5:42:25)
Quotes about MungerEdit
- Charlie's mind has a greater span than I do. He has read more biographies, hundreds per year. He soaks them up and remembers [them].
- Warren Buffett, as quoted by Janet Lowe in: Damn Right!: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger. 30 October 2000. p. 3. ISBN 9780471244738.
- Blue Chip's business model eventually became obsolete, and its sales slowly declined over the years, from $126 million in sales in 1970 to $1.5 million in 1990. But, in its heyday, under Charlie's direction, Blue Chip used its surplus capital to purchase 100% of See's Candies and 80% of a finance company called Wesco, which owned a savings and loan. Just as Warren had taken capital out of Berkshire's failing textile operation to buy a thriving insurance company, National Indemnity, Charlie took the excess capital out of Blue Chip Stamp and invested it in profitable businesses. Eventually Blue Chip Stamp was merged into Berkshire Hathaway.