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Poor Charlie's Almanack


Last updated: January 24, 2024


Poor Charlie's Almanack, curated by Peter D. Kaufman, is a book about Charlie Munger, famed value investor, former right-hand-man to Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. The book covers the mental models ("latticework") that Charlie used in life and business.


Who was Charlie Munger?


Charles Thomas Munger was born January 1, 1924 and died on November 28, 2023, weeks before his 100th birthday. Charlie lived a long, remarkable life and was loved by many who appreciated his razor sharp wit and unrestrained opinions and humor. Most would agree that Charlie was a genius, and his contributions to the world of business and value investing may be overshadowed by his contributions to the field of mental models, psychology and decision making. Charlie was a lifelong student of remarkable people across a vast array of disciplines.


Charlie studied errors in judgement and was outspoken against traditional academics and the application of knowledge and concepts in isolation as he believed that the universe is highly interrelated and therefore a wide-ranging body of knowledge assembled into a mental framework would provide an edge for those who want to live a long and successful life.


Charlie was a value investor, architect, philanthropist and philosopher.


Charlie Munger Mental Models


Psychological Tendencies


  1. Reward - and punishment - superresponse tendency
  2. Liking/loving tendency
  3. Disliking/hating tendency
  4. Doubt-avoidance tendency
  5. Inconsistency avoidance tendency
  6. Curiosity tendency
  7. Kantian fairness tendency
  8. Envy/jealousy tendency
  9. Reciprocation tendency
  10. Influence-from-mere-association tendency
  11. Simple, pain-avoiding psychological denial
  12. Excessive self-regard tendency
  13. Overoptimism tendency
  14. Deprival-superreaction tendency
  15. Social-proof tendency
  16. Contract-misreaction tendency
  17. Stress-influence tendency
  18. Availability-misweighing tendency
  19. Use-it-or-lose-it tendency
  20. Drug-misinfluence tendency
  21. Senescene-misinfluence tendency
  22. Authority-misinfluence tendency
  23. Twaddle tendency
  24. Reason-respecting tendency
  25. Lollapalooza tendency -- the tendency to get extreme consequences from confluences of psychological tendencies acting in favor of a particular outcome

Important Concepts


  • Man-with-a-hammer syndrome
  • Pari-mutuel system
  • Inversion

Things to avoid


  1. Ingesting chemicals in an effort to alter mood or perception
  2. Envy
  3. Resentment

Important traits


  • Reliability
  • Responsibility
  • Fluency of concepts learned

Charlie Munger's Most Cited People


Biology


  • Charles Darwin

Business & Investing


  • Robert Woodruff
  • John Henry Patterson
  • King C. Gillette
  • Leslie Schwab
  • Victor Niederhoffer
  • Carl F. Braun
  • Sam Walton
  • Benjamin Graham
  • John Gutfreund

Classics


  • Aristotle
  • Archimedes
  • Croesus
  • Demosthenes
  • Epictetus
  • Sophocles
  • Marcus Tullius Cicero

Chemistry


  • Linus Pauling
  • Michael Faraday

Economics


  • Adam Smith
  • David Ricardo
  • John Maynard Keynes
  • John Kenneth Galbraith
  • Garrett Hardin
  • Richard Thaler
  • Ronald Coase
  • George Schultz
  • N. Gregory Mankiw

Law


  • Roger Fisher

Literature


  • William Somerset Maugham
  • Joseph Rudyard Kipling
  • Samuel Johnson
  • William Tyndale

Physics


  • Isaac Newton
  • Richard Feynman
  • Max Planck
  • Albert Einstein
  • James Clerk Maxwell

Psychology


  • Steven Pinker
  • B.F. Skinner
  • Stanley Milgram
  • Judith Rich Harris

Philosophy


  • Bernand de Mandeville
  • Alfred North Whitehead
  • Benjamin Franklin

Mathematics

  • Archimedes
  • Fra Luca de Pacioli
  • Pierre de Fermat
  • Kurt Gödel
  • Pierre-Simon Laplace
  • Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi

Charlie Munger's Favorite Quotes


"I wish I knew where I was going to die, and then I'd never go there." - Anonymous


"invert, always invert" - Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi


Charlie Munger Books


Charlie mentions several books and authors that influenced his mental models.


Poor Richard's Almanack -- Benjamin Franklin


On the Origin of Species -- Charles Darwin


Dictionary of the English Language -- Samuel Johnson


Selected Speeches -- Demosthenes


Paradise Lost -- John Milton


The Language Instinct -- Steven Pinker


"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" -- Richard Feynman


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion -- Robert Cialdini, PhD.


Charlie Munger Quotes


"Investing is where you find a few great companies and then sit on your ass."


"Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Day by day, and at the end of the day-if you live long enough-like most people, you will get out of life what you deserve."


"In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn't read all the time -- none, zero. You'd be amazed at how much Warren reads--and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I'm a book with a couple of legs sticking out."


"To get what you want, you have to deserve what you want. The world is not yet a crazy enough place to reward a whole bunch of undeserving people."


"Acquire worldly wisdom and adjust your behavior accordingly. If your new behavior gives you a little temporary unpopularity with your peer group… then to hell with them."


"Go to bed smarter than when you woke up."


"If you don’t get this elementary, but mildly unnatural, mathematics of elementary probability into your repertoire, then you go through a long life like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest."


"I think that, every time you see the word EBITDA, you should substitute the words 'bullshit earnings'"


"You don’t have a lot of envy, you don’t have a lot of resentment, you don’t overspend your income, you stay cheerful in spite of your troubles, you deal with reliable people and you do what you’re supposed to do. All these simple rules work so well to make your life better."


"I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than when they got up and boy does that help — particularly when you have a long run ahead of you."


"I think that a life properly lived is just learn, learn, learn all the time."


Charlie Munger Videos




Daily Journal


Charlie Munger served as the Chairman of the Daily Journal Corporation where he was responsible for managing its investment portfolio. Read Charlie Munger's obituary in the Daily Journal.


About OfferMarket


OfferMarket is a private credit platform. We apply value investing and underwriting principles shaped in part by concepts learned by studying Charlie Munger. This is not a solicitation to invest in our private funds.