January 1, 2024, is Mr. Charlie Munger’s 100th birthday. Although this wise man passed away a month ago and was unable to receive people’s 100th birthday blessings during his lifetime, Munger’s thoughts, as a beacon of human wisdom, are worth learning and passing on forever.
After Mr. Munger passed away, this magazine wrote an article in memory of him, “The wisdom Mr. Munger left to future generations goes far beyond investing.” Mr. Munger always emphasized that integrity is the best passport. Throughout his life, he has always practiced this way of knowing and doing. Many people who have met Munger attribute this character of Munger to “true”. This magazine conducted an exclusive interview with Mr. Munger in 2018. I personally felt deeply about Munger’s “truth” and recorded and disseminated it in the country in the form of an exclusive interview article.
I was moved by Mr. Munger’s “truth” and witnessed his “truth”. At the same time, as a firm believer in Munger’s thoughts, I worked hard to spread his ideas. On the road to practicing Munger’s wisdom, there are actually many fellow travelers. In Mr. Munger’s own words, “My fans are nerds from India and China.”
Mr. Munger who “came out” of the book
On May 6, 2018, local time in the United States, in Omaha, the United States, I had the honor to conduct a face-to-face interview with Mr. Munger on behalf of this magazine. That interview had a particularly great impact on me. I found my faith in life, and Munger’s wisdom became a beacon guiding the direction of my life. “Lifelong learning and pursuit of rationality” is my motto in life. Munger’s wisdom made me realize the importance of learning and growing as an adult. Success is temporary, growth is lifelong. Learning is to continuously improve cognition, and wealth is an accessory to cognition.
Can one interview make such a big difference? I have also thought deeply about the reasons for this. I feel that in addition to in-depth reading before and after the interview and searching for Munger’s wisdom in the book, the most important point is that during the interview I really came into contact with Mr. Munger who “came out” of the book.
First of all, the time we agreed on is 1:30 pm local time on May 6, 2018. At 1:10, Mr. Munger was transported to the hotel’s interview room in a wheelchair by the staff, holding a newspaper in his hand. This scene is exactly the same as what Mr. Li Lu described in the preface to “Poor Charlie’s Almanac”. Mr. Munger almost always arrives early when making appointments with people, and habitually holds a newspaper in his hand. If the person he meets does not arrive, Mr. Munger will patiently read the newspaper and wait.
Secondly, Mr. Munger gave me and my media enough respect. During the two-hour long interview, Mr. Munger spoke eloquently and answered questions patiently and humorously. Mr. Munger’s kindness, warmth, and peace also made me completely immersed in the conversation. I forgot about the role of a reporter for a while, and it was completely a state of a seeker encountering true knowledge. After the interview, Mr. Munger left quietly without any fanfare. In my imagination, a figure on a high altar might have a deliberate display of grace or luxury, but none of this happened.
As a media reporter, I often interview famous people. If we use unique ideas as a criterion, then the meeting and interview with Mr. Munger – especially the latter, completely confirmed that he is a saint. This convinced me to learn from Munger’s wisdom.
In particular, in this interview, we asked Mr. Munger what it takes to live a long life. Mr. Munger once again answered this question with his signature “think the other way around” approach, which touched me deeply.
Q: In the investment community, value investing masters generally live long. You and Mr. Buffett are the representatives of value investing’s longevity. You are 95 years old this year (2018) and Mr. Buffett is 88 years old. Is this accidental or is it related to value investing?
Munger: “Let’s analyze it. Who lives longer in the United States? Professors, judges, value investors. Who lives shorter? Journalists, alcoholics, excessive smokers. In the United States, journalists tend to smoke a lot. , drink a lot of wine, they have many things to rush and what time to complete. They are always under pressure, so some people die young. And the judge just sits there and follows the rules of the court, Time is based on their own time, not other people’s rules. No one orders or tells them what to do. But lawyers are not. Some litigation lawyers also die at a young age. There is a lot of pressure, many problems, and time. Not at your own mercy.
”So back to investing, value investors let the market serve us. The situation is worst if you are a short-sighted, gambling-like trader. They are under a lot of pressure and think about making money every time, and most of them like to smoke and drink, so short-term traders are said to ‘go the fastest’.
”I know I’m talking to a reporter. If you don’t drink and don’t smoke, then you (referring to the reporter) will live longer (laughing). But comparatively speaking, I still think university professors live longer.” – Excerpted from 2018 This magazine’s exclusive interview with Mr. Munger.
Although I was the reporter sitting in front of Mr. Munger at the time, he still pointed out without hesitation that “journalists tend to live short lives.” Although he also added humorously, “I know I’m talking to a reporter, if you don’t drink and don’t smoke, then you (referring to the reporter) will live longer (laughing). But comparatively speaking, I still think university professors live longer.” .” But Mr. Munger has nailed the real cause of the damage to health. “Journalists have many things to do in a hurry, and they have to complete something at what time. They are always under pressure.”
I have been working hard in the media circle since I entered the workplace. For more than 20 years, except for my family, few others asked me to take it seriously. Treat the impact of occupation on personal health and be able to point out the causes of damage to health. Looking back on what Mr. Munger said, I am still moved. I realized that Mr. Munger treats everyone in front of him equally, rationally and objectively, and he always gives the right answer regardless of his skin color or occupation. His answer also made me think deeply.
In mid-2021, I suffered a serious illness, which made me realize again the importance of health to the body, and I applied to adjust my job. Because of the influence of Munger’s wisdom, I am more focused on observing and learning to integrate into the world of value investment. Working on a media platform also gives me a great advantage in integrating into the value investment circle. After this serious illness and Mr. Munger’s advice, I realized that simply “selflessness” at work is not enough. If you cannot balance career and health, your life and career will not last, let alone generate compound interest. It’s still Mr. Munger’s words: “If I knew where I would die, I would never go to this place in my life!”
Witness Mr. Munger’s “truth” together
I am not the only one who was also moved by Mr. Munger’s “truth”. I have also had in-depth exchanges with the few friends in China who have the chance to meet Mr. Munger face-to-face to seek enlightenment, and we all reach the same goal through different paths. They told this publication that after meeting Munger, they became more determined to become Munger followers.
Mr. Shi Hongjun, founder of Munger Academy and publisher of “Poor Charlie’s Almanac” and “Munger’s Way”, met Mr. Munger twice, in 2019 and 2023. “I think Mr. Munger is a contemporary saint. I think he is first a wise man and our spiritual mentor, and then an investor.” Shi Hongjun told this magazine, “Reading and meeting are different. Reading is two-dimensional and static, and needs to be internalized slowly. If you can combine it with your own experiences and problems, you can understand it better. But meeting Mr. Munger is three-dimensional, and the aura is different. Although Mr. Munger said The words were the same as in the book, but the impact on people was very different. After I met Mr. Munger, I firmly believed what he said without hesitation.”
Mr. Fang Yan, an individual investor who has long practiced the concept of value investment and asked the artist to create the long-gown portrait of Mr. Munger, once had the opportunity to ask Mr. Munger in May 2023, “Meeting Mr. Munger confirmed my The belief in the heart is similar to the feeling of religion.”
Fang Yan said, “Many times, we start reading with half-belief. Especially Munger’s wisdom, which sounds very similar to chicken soup for the soul at first reading, and it sounds very reasonable. , but it is difficult to practice in real life, because many of these wisdoms are against human nature. Is Mr. Munger really doing this? Do people who can be close to Mr. Munger for a long time also do this? Over the years, I have also come into contact with After meeting many celebrities, I often find out after meeting and chatting that this person is just a mortal, or not a good person at all. Especially in the value investment circle, many people are not pure value investors. Most of them admire the fame of Buffett or Munger. They think Buffett and Munger are rich people, and they want to become richer people when they enter this circle.”
But when Fang Yan saw Mr. Munger, his doubts disappeared. He expressed three thoughts:
First, Mr. Munger is the same on the outside as he is on the outside. “Celebrities all have aura. But Mr. Munger gives me the feeling that he is not pretending and is real. Whether you say Mr. Munger is kind or has no airs, this is not the feeling Mr. Munger wants to give others. This is how he is in his bones. , naturally.”
Secondly, Mr. Munger’s family members are very peaceful and approachable in appearance and status, and live very transparently. They are the same on the outside as Munger, and they are not like the second or third generation of rich people at all. “I remember when a group of us first arrived at Mr. Munger’s house. A lady greeted us to sit down and served us water. My first reaction was that she was a servant or staff member at the house. Later we chatted It was a sharp contrast to learn that this lady was Mr. Munger’s daughter-in-law.”
Third, Mr. Munger’s family is very simple. Mr. Munger’s home is neat and beautiful, but it doesn’t have the luxury of a billionaire. “I feel that Mr. Munger’s home is like a professor’s home. This is also a baptism for me. This is what a rich person should be like. I think Mr. Munger is setting an example for rich people. , teaching rich people how to become a qualified rich person.”
According to Dialect, in terms of investment, Mr. Munger is a happier investor than Mr. Buffett. He has invested in only a handful of stocks throughout his life, and he spends less time studying and making money than others. He spends more time and fun on seeking knowledge and exploring wisdom.
Mr. Cheng Jia, the author of “Study Hard” and “Think Hard” and the founder of the “Poor Charlie’s Guide” slow reading club, also met Mr. Munger in 2019 and had face-to-face communication. Mr. Cheng Jia told this magazine: “Although the time and place when we met Mr. Munger were not necessarily the same, and the questions we solved were not necessarily the same, the feeling of meeting and communicating with Munger was the same, which confirmed that Munger The ‘truth’ is as the saying goes, different paths lead to the same destination.”
”Of course, I cannot simply exaggerate the value of meeting Mr. Munger once. This is a systematic process. Meeting Mr. Munger itself is a recognition of his philosophy, and I am prepared to interview and learn from it. The process, as well as the subsequent learning of Munger’s wisdom after meeting Munger, further strengthened this influence.” Cheng Jia said, “In addition to feeling the ‘truth’ of Mr. Munger, after meeting Mr. Munger, I also gained another major The gain is that we can start to have more contact with the circle of people who learn from Munger’s wisdom. Mr. Munger’s wisdom has also been well reflected in some people through leading by example, passing on from master to disciple, attracting each other, etc., such as Himalaya Capital, which is deeply influenced by Munger’s true biography. Mr. Li Lu, the founder of “Poor Charlie’s Almanac”, and Peter Kaufman, the author of “Poor Charlie’s Almanac”, etc. Munger’s wisdom practice has high requirements on self-cultivation, including intellectual honesty, which is quite challenging to practice. . But in a circle that practices Munger’s ideas, if everyone stays together to study, communicate, encourage, supervise, and encourage each other, we can work harder to get closer to the state of unity of knowledge and action.” Old friend of
this magazine, Oriental Marathon Capital Mr. Zhong Zhaomin, the founder of , met Mr. Munger as early as 2005. After he held the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, he and Munger fans flew to Los Angeles to attend the Wesco Financial shareholders meeting, where Mr. Munger was the protagonist. Zhong Zhaomin told this publication that at that conference, he brought back the English version of “Poor Charlie’s Almanac”, which was later regarded as the investment bible, and Mr. Munger generously signed it. Zhong Zhaomin told this magazine that if he did not know Munger, he would feel lacking in at least the following aspects:
First, Munger’s “multidisciplinary thinking (lollapalooza)”. The characteristics of modern society and disciplines are professional division of labor. In this way, The people who are created are often experts in a certain field, but are “fools” in many other aspects. Munger warns us to rely on ourselves to build multi-disciplinary cognition in order to deal with highly complex real-life work and life.
The second point is the importance of psychology. The psychology Munger refers to does not refer to psychology in the academic field. In fact, he himself has always criticized academic psychology for abandoning some of the most worthy of research on human psychology because of its inability to achieve results. Psychology Factors affect everyone everywhere in daily work and life. Understanding the importance of psychological factors can enable us to better handle various relationships between people. Zhong Zhaomin himself and his team benefit from this knowledge every day.
The third cognition is that “investment is just a branch of life wisdom.” In fact, as mentioned in the first point, many people know nothing except “investment”, but in Munger’s view, investment is only a branch of life wisdom. , carefully observing the development of human history, the modern capital market is the crystallization of highly developed human civilization. Real investment combines the laws of business, society and even the natural fields. “Munger’s vision allowed me to see a larger and broader world of cognition.”
”The wisdom I learned from Munger, I gained more cognition through this wisdom every day, and from then on I embarked on the compound interest of cognition. The road, like Buffett, without Munger, I would not be what I am today, Mr. Munger made me a better version of myself.” Zhong Zhaomin said.
In addition, through books such as “Civilization, Modernization, Value Investment and China” and “Smarter, Richer, Happier”, we can also see that many well-known new generation value investors in the world have had in-depth contact with Mr. Munger , such as Li Lu, Mohnish Pabrai, etc., they all have religious enthusiasm and belief in Munger’s value investment ideas. Another example is Paul Lanzis, president of Lanzis Asset Management Co., Ltd., who has attended Berkshire’s shareholder meetings every year for the past 30 years. He studies Baman’s thoughts like reading the Bible. Like saying the same prayer or vow over and over again every day. He integrated the common sense of value investment and the rules that must be followed into his own blood like faith.
Mr. Munger once said that his success is the success of a “nerd”. Many of his fans are Chinese and Indian nerds. As a true believer in Munger, I have no reason not to join the camp of nerds in the country who are learning from Munger’s wisdom. In this learning camp, there are books such as “Poor Charlie’s Guide”, “Munger’s Way”, “The Wisdom of Charlie Munger”, “The Biography of Charlie Munger”, “Civilization, Modernization, Value Investment and China”, as well as in “Poor Charlie”. The dozens of books recommended by Munger in “The Guide” and “The Munger Way” have been repeatedly recommended for reading. And after reading it, you can output and share it, which is more effective for learning.
On the way to pursue Munger’s wisdom, I am grateful to many noble people. Here, I would like to express my special thanks to Mr. Guo Guilong, the publisher of “Securities Market Weekly”. Mr. Guo was my guide in entering the value investment circle. The value investment philosophy he brought to me illuminated my world like a beam of light, allowing me to discover that there is such a wonderful world in the investment field. Without this light, perhaps I still would not be able to see Munger’s beacon of wisdom. During the interview in 2018, Mr. Guo gave our interview team full support. For example, one of the details that I still remember vividly is that he and I worked overtime together to pick out Mr. Munger’s interview outline word by word.
On the occasion of Mr. Munger’s 100th birthday, we once again pay tribute to the deceased Mr. Munger, and once again express our gratitude to the fellow travelers who are pursuing Munger’s wisdom. We hope that we will continue to accompany him to learn and practice Munger’s wisdom.