As something of a greybeard who’s enjoyed his share of success over the years, I’m in the privileged position of being approached for advice by a variety of people on a weekly basis.
It’s part of the reason I took to blogging in fact. I figured it would be a more effective way of sharing what I’ve learnt over my career than communicating it on a personal basis. Hopefully my efforts to date have helped someone out there already!
There’s one question that comes up time and again in my dealings with younger executives and entrepreneurs: who should they look to for leadership? Who is the contemporary figure with the most to teach them?
My answer is nearly always the same and it’s amazing how many of the younger generation have never heard of him – Charlie Munger.
“Charlie who?” some of you may be asking.
He’s the man who’s primarily responsible for helping Warren Buffet build his billions and deliver breathtaking returns via Berkshire Hathaway for decade after decade.
It’s not the billions themselves though that pushes him to the top of my list. There’s a lot of billionaires out there these days and lord knows not all of them are admirable in their actions.
No, what’s always appealed to me about Munger is his steady reliance on that most under-rated of virtues: common sense.
He’s long held to the view that the world is much easier to understand if you use appropriate series of mental models to view it with and acquire a basic understanding of human psychology along the way.
It sounds simple but – as his spectacular career clearly shows – it’s a devastatingly effective combination.
Luckily for the rest of us, Munger was kind enough to sum up his thinking in this regard in one dense but wisdom packed speech to an audience at Harvard a number of years ago – The Psychology of Human Misjudgment:
You can also download a transcript here. It’s some of the most concentrated wisdom you are ever likely to come across and the number one resource I recommend to those asking me for advice.