Notes on Charlie Munger Speech at USC 2007

This is a summary of my notes, listening to Charlie Munger’s speech at USC, available on Youtube. I believe this is a very important talk and learned a lot from it.

The talk is organized through ideas

  1. We need to be lifetime learners
    1. Warren Buffet is always learning. He spent over half of his time reading and other times on one on one conversations with experts.
    2. A doctor spent 1 year, 17 hours per day, 7 days a week to write a textbook to pass on his medical knowledge.
    3. Confucius said, “it is one’s moral duty to acquire wisdom”.
    4. It is important to learn the methods for learning, “learning methods”
  2. Ideas and practice
    1. If you don’t practice your ideas, you lose them
  3. A man who doesn’t know what happened to him before he was born goes through life as a child.
  4. We need to really absorb some of the ideas and not just go through the exams, but really understand and master them, use them in practice.
  5. The important qualities of life, “hardworking” and “reliable” (the biggest things you want to avoid in life is “sloth” and “unreliability”)
  6. Don’t drift into ideology because it restricts your mind.
  7. Be ware of the self serving bias.
    1. In the same way, you need to appeal to people’s interest in order to get over other people’s self serving bias.
  8. Self-pity is a dangerous path. Self-pity is not going to change the situation and if you can control it, you have an edge over others who can’t get over it.
  9. Work under people you admire.
  10. Objectivity Maintenance.
    1. Darwin always pay special attention to disconfirming evidence during his research.
    2. Check routine
  11. There are two kinds of knowledge in the world
    1. Technical: The scientists, engineers
    2. Words: Verbal, talk but don’t work much
  12. Assiduity: constant or close attention to what one is doing
    1. A company’s partners worked for 14 hours a day if they are behind on their work
  13. Always anticipate trouble, all the time, be ready to perform when trouble came
  14. Civilization should evolve to a stage when everyone is honest.
    1. You want to live in a seamless web of deserved trust
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