Berkshire Meeting/Munger Interview
Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate ran by Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, held their annual shareholder meeting over the weekend. Although there were plenty of highlights from the 5 hour lecture, we found Charlie’s interview with the Wall St Journal much more insightful. A few of our favourite highlights:
A lot of people think that real selfishness, very extreme, is what works. But it doesn’t. If you have a reputation for being decent to work with and unselfish, you make more money, not less… good morals and a reputation for good morals are enormously valuable, and it’s just so simple…. The right way to go through life is win-win. Just anything else is crazy. To be all take and no give is just an absolute disaster.
On taking your chances
You only get a few opportunities, and you have to grab them aggressively when they come because even in the most favoured life, they’re really rare… that lesson is taught in no business school I know of. But everybody who has any sense ought to know that at the start of life, and practically nobody does.
On financial education
Of course they tend to teach things as if investment were radiology: Anybody can learn it. And anybody can learn radiology. They know what cancer looks like, what and what, and you can learn it. But there is no such thing in investment where you can just learn it and it will always work. There are times when it works well and times when it doesn’t
On getting ahead
I just set out to avoid the standard stupidities…And it’s a way for mediocre people to get ahead and it’s, it’s not much of a secret either. Just avoid all the standard stupidities. There are so many of them, and so many brilliant people do it.
Being a prodigy is hard. I’m not trying to be a prodigy, I’m just trying to avoid the inanities, including the inanities of the prodigies! That enables a man of moderate abilities and moderate work habits to get so much more than his logical deserts.
On the investment industry
We have a lot of stupid people in the investment world. Everything gets overdone and overpushed when you’re feeding it gazillions of young men who want to get rich, and all of them are bringing in more young men want to get rich, and of course that’s created a ghastly culture.