Brady F. Anderson

Poor Charlie’s Almanack

My Notes

It is difficult to convince others to embrace duty that requires sacrifice, even if the outcomes improve the wellbeing of everyone.

From Cicero’s de Senectute: “The best Armour of Old Age is a well spend life preceding it; a Life employed in the Pursuit of useful Knowledge, in honorable Actions, and the Practice of Virtue, in which he who labours to improve himself from his Youth, will in Age reap the happiest Fruits of them; not only because these never leave a Man, not even in the extreamest Old Age, but because a Conscience bearing Witness that our Life was well-spent, together with the Remembrance of the past good Actions, yields an unspeakable Comfort to the Soul.”

Munger’s investing principles checklist (page 73) is brilliant. Here are some highlights:

It’s easier to reach more success by using obvious knowledge and solving simple problems than to grasp esoteric concepts and work on arduous problems.

Things that are exceptional are rare. Saying no to almost everything means you won’t miss out on much.

Academia suffers from unconnectedness between disciplines, and professors don’t remedy this problem. You must do it yourself.

“A lot of success in life and business comes from knowing what you want to avoid: early death, a bad marriage, etc.” (137). I would like to add addiction, loneliness, poverty, debt, and unfulfilling work to that list as well.

A more popular quote from Munger: “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.”

Relying only on your own experience of knowledge is a fatal trap. Your experience will teach you but learning from the experiences of others will set you up to avoid mistakes and reach success in ways your single experience cannot inculcate.

Solve problems backwards like you would do a maze on a restaurant menu. Where do you want to end up? What did you do if you ended up there?

You need many models for understanding the world. If you have only a select few, you will make the world conform to your models and fool yourself.

If you tell people why they’re doing something they will better understand what they’re doing, consider it more important, and are more likely to help you.

How to pick a career: “Don’t sell anything you wouldn’t buy yourself, don’t work for anyone you don’t respect and admire, work only with people you enjoy” (219).

Heavy ideologies invite poor thinking no matter how smart you are.

 Work on mastering the best of what other people have already figured out.

Explaining things in the most fundamental way can often mean using unfamiliar disciplines that are more fundamental.

Numbers become overvalued because people love to implement statistical techniques they’ve learned in school. Unmeasurable, important factors get left out because these don’t mix well with numbers.

“…the safest way to get what you want is to try to deserve what you want” (422).

Practice admiration-based love for both the dead and the living.

Our desire to be liked and loved and to like and love others causes us to ignore faults of the object of our affection, favor people, objects, and actions bases on association with the object of our affection, and distort other facts to encourage love.

The opposite is true of dislike and hatred, we ignore virtues in that which we hate, dislike people, objects, and actions associated with what we dislike, and distort other facts to facilitate hatred.

Habits are formed by previous rewards.

Avoid bias caused by past success by examining factors that could have been accidental or non-intentional during past successes and to diagnose differences between future undertakings and past successes.

When reality is too painful to bear, we distort facts until it becomes bearable.

We constantly over appraise our own complicated conclusions merely because we are the ones who arrived at that conclusion.

Parents should rely more on making sure their kids have great peers rather than their own efforts to ensure good behavior. We love to mimic the behavior of our friends for better or worse.

Human brains don’t naturally measure in scientific units, so we instead focus on contrast to make decisions. This leads to mistakes such as: purchasing an expensive good simply because it was compared to an even more expensive good or marring a terrible second wife simply because she is better than the first.

Minds overweigh the value of what is easily available, whether that is friendships, romantic partners, facts, or ideas.

Human brains love reason, so providing rationales increases compliance and believability irrespective of whether those reasons are in fact accurate.