Charlie Munger's 100 quotes

Charlie Munger is one of my favourite businessmen. He is one of those brutally honest types, and ridiculous how sharp he is, even at 98 years. I got this forward on Whatsapp from a friend, his 100 quotes. Posting here for my future reference and for the community as it is mostly around investing and running a business.

Charlie Munger’s 100 Quotes

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

  2. The big money is not in buying or selling, but in the waiting.

  3. Like Warren, I had a considerable passion to get rich, not because I wanted Ferrari’s - I wanted the independence. I desperately wanted it.

  4. We have a passion for keeping things simple.

  5. Assume life will be really tough, and then ask if you can handle it. If the answer is yes, you’ve won.

  6. Think of the basic intellectual dishonesty that comes when you start talking about adjusted EBITDA. You’re almost announcing you’re a flake.

  7. If investing wasn’t hard, everyone would be rich.

  8. You don’t have to be brilliant, only a little bit wiser than the other guys, on average, for a long, long time.

  9. The desire to get rich fast is pretty dangerous.

  10. Those who keep learning will keep rising in life.

  11. There is no way you can live an adequate life without making mistakes.

  12. Acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom.

  13. No wise pilot, no matter how great his talent and experience, fails to use a checklist.

  14. There is no better teacher than history in determining the future. There are answers worth billions of dollars in 30$ history books.

  15. A lot of people with high IQs are terrible investors because they’ve got terrible temperaments.

  16. It’s waiting that helps you as an investor and a lot of people just can’t stand to wait.

  17. A lot of success in life and business comes from knowing what you want to avoid: early death, a bad marriage, …

  18. One of the greatest ways to avoid trouble is to keep it simple… the system often goes out of control.

  19. Knowing what you don’t know is more useful than being brilliant.

  20. If a business earns 18% on capital over 20 or 30 years, even if you pay an expensive looking price, you’ll end up with a fine result.

  21. Forgetting your mistakes is a terrible error if you’re trying to improve your cognition. Reality doesn’t remind you. Why not celebrate stupidities in both categories?

  22. You need patience, discipline, and agility to take losses and adversity without going crazy.

  23. Everywhere there is a large commission, there is a high probability of a rip-off.

  24. It takes character to sit with all that cash and to do nothing. I didn’t get to the top where I am by going after mediocre opportunities.

  25. We both (Warren Buffett) insist on a lot of time being available almost every day to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. We read and think.

  26. Another thing, of course, is that life will have terrible blows in it, horrible blows, unfair blows. It doesn’t matter. And some people recover and others don’t.

  27. Live within your income and save so you can invest. Learn what you need to learn.

  28. Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day.

  29. I would argue that passion is more important than brainpower.

  30. A great business at a fair price is superior to a fair business at a great price.

  31. Our game is to recognize a big idea when it comes along when one doesn’t come along very often.

  32. Simplicity has a way of improving performance by enabling us to better understand what we are doing.

  33. In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time - none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads -at how much I read. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.

  34. Remember that reputation and integrity are your most valuable assets and can be lost in a heartbeat.

  35. We recognized early on that smart people do very dumb things, and we wanted to know why and who, so that we could avoid them.

  36. I met the towering intellectuals in books, not in classroom, which is natural. My family was into all that stuff, getting ahead through discipline, knowledge, and self-control.

  37. Some people are extraordinarily good at knowing the limits of their knowledge because they have to be.

  38. Opportunity comes to the prepared mind.

  39. To this day, I have never taken a course anywhere, in chemistry, economics, psychology, or business.

  40. If something is too hard, we move on to something else. What could be more simpler than that?

  41. The best thing a human can do is to help another human being know more.

  42. Most people are too fretful, they worry too much. Success means being very patient, but aggressive when it’s time.

  43. The first rule of compounding: Never interrupt it unnecessarily.

  44. I think that one should recognize the reality even when one doesn’t like it; indeed, especially when one doesn’t like it.

  45. One person told me,“I have a list of 300 potentially attractive stocks & I constantly track them, waiting for just one of them to get cheap enough to buy.” Well, that’s a reasonable thing to do. But how many people have that kind of discipline? Not one in 100.

  46. People calculate too much and think too little. Thinking is a surprisingly underrated activity in investing. People who cannot be alone with their own thoughts for a long time are terrible candidates to become successful investors.

  47. We don’t care about quarterly earnings and are unwilling to manipulate in any way to make some quarter look better.

  48. 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.

  49. The iron rule of nature is: you get what you reward for. If you want ants to come, you put sugar on the floor.

  50. All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.

  51. 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.

  52. The best armor of old age is a well-spent life perfecting it.

  53. How to find a good spouse? The best single way is to deserve a good spouse.

  54. Two thirds of acquisitions don’t work. Ours work because we don’t try to do acquisitions — we wait for no-brainers.

  55. We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.

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

  57. Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have fun at. There’s a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want that?

  58. I think that, every time you see the word EBITDA, you should substitute EBITDA with ‘bullshit earnings’.

  59. Warren talks about these discounted cash flows. I’ve never seen him do one.

  60. Own your work and compound credibility.

  61. Being something and doing something that no one had done before are two different things.

  62. I try to get rid of people who confidently answer questions about which they don’t have any real knowledge.

  63. Those of us who have been fortunate have a duty to give back. Whether one gives a lot as one goes along as I do, or a little and then a lot (when one dies) as Warren does, is a matter of personal preference.

  64. We have three baskets for investing: yes, no, and too tough to understand.

  65. All intelligent investing is value investing, acquiring more than you are paying for.

  66. When you borrow a man’s car, always return it with a tank of gas.

  67. Wall Street has too much wealth and political power.

  68. … the most famous composer in the world but was utterly miserable most of the time, and of the reasons was because he always overspent his income. This was Mozart. If Mozart couldn’t get by with this kind of asinine conduct, I don’t think you should try.

  69. People should take away less than they’re worth when they are favored by life… I would argue that when you rise high enough in American Business you’ve got a moral duty to be underpaid

  70. Invert, always invert: Turn a situation or problem upside down. Look at it backward.

  71. Part of what you must learn is how to handle mistakes and new facts that change the odds. Life, in part, is like a poker game wherein you have to learn to quit sometimes when holding a much-loved hand.

  72. Just because you like it does not mean that the world will necessarily give it to you.

  73. You must force yourself to consider opposing arguments. Especially when they challenge your best-loved ideas.

  74. You don’t have to have the ability that quantum mechanics requires. You just have to know a few simple things and really know them.

  75. I think that one should recognize the reality even when one doesn’t like it; indeed, especially when one doesn’t like it.

  76. You should avoid sloth and unreliability.

  77. It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be intelligent.

  78. The habit of committing far more time to learning and thinking than to doing is no accident.

  79. I believe in the discipline of mastering the best that other people have ever figured out. I don’t believe in just sitting down and trying to dream it all up yourself.

  80. A majority of life’s errors are caused by forgetting what one is really trying to do. Just the discipline of having to put your thoughts in order with somebody else is very useful.

  81. Generally speaking, envy, resentment, and self-pity are disastrous modes of thoughts.

  82. If you skillfully follow the multidisciplinary path, you will never wish to come back. It would be like cutting off your hands.

  83. Self-pity gets fairly close to paranoia, and paranoia is one of the very hardest things to reverse.

  84. We say that having a certain kind of temperament is more important than brains. You need to keep raw irrational emotion under control.

  85. I paid no attention to the territorial boundaries of academic disciplines and I just grabbed all the big ideas that I could.

  86. It’s the work on your desk. Do well with what you already have and more will come in.

  87. The great algorithm to remember in dealing with this tendency is simple: an idea or a fact is not worth more merely because it’s easily available to you.

  88. The liabilities are always 100 percent good. It’s the assets you have to worry about.

  89. Ninety-nine percent of the troubles that threaten our civilization come from being too optimistic, therefore we should have a system where the accounting is a way more conservative.

  90. I think we have some special talents. That being said, I think it’s dangerous to rely on special talents — it’s better to own lots of monopolistic businesses with unregulated prices.

  91. I’ve seen so much folly and stupidity on the part of our major philanthropic groups, including the world bank. I really have more confidence in building up the more capitalistic ventures like Costco.

  92. What is the secret of success? I’m rational. That’s the answer. I’m rational. It’s not possible for investors to consistently outperform the market. Therefore you’re best served investing in a diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds [or exchange-traded funds].

  93. A lot of people think if you just had more process and more compliance- checks and double-checks and so forth-you could create a better world. We just try to operate in a seamless web of deserved trust and be careful of whom we trust.

  94. Mimicking the herd invites regression to the mean.

  95. Is there such a thing as a cheerful pessimist? That’s what I am.

  96. 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.

  97. There is more money to be made from law, but less time to enjoy it.

  98. Don’t drift into self-pity because it doesn’t solve any problems.

  99. Always take the high road, it’s far less crowded.

  100. It’s not supposed to be easy. Anyone who finds it easy is stupid.


Just found this interesting

The best thing a forum can do is to help another human being know more — This is what TradingQ&A forum does - at least to me - learnt so many new things.


I should become slightly less bullish. I feel I’m too much a perma-bull in everything :grin:

As a trader, I feel this is a key factor to consider before taking any bet.

Almost all of the 100 quotes are gems :slight_smile:


Dear Nithin,
Good to know your story of how you started helping people around you make money. For me and many more like me, trading in share market and the likes of it is beyond understandable reach. How do you help people like us make money, where we cannot understand and don’t have the brains to understand too, but can invest so me amount if not huge.
Thank you.
Awaiting your reply, so that i and many others along with me take help of Zerodha for some phaida!

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While it is generally good to be humble and ask for help,
it’s very risky…

  • …attempting something (in the above case - Trading) without understanding it at all,
  • …being a downright blind follower (of anything or anyone).

Have you read Varsity by Zerodha – Markets, Trading, and Investing Simplified. ?
Did you find something other than trading that works for you?
(Investing in GSEC? ETFs? Mutual-funds? SIP?)


Inspiring Quotes extremely meaningful in life

He does not want to trade, he wants to invest. I thought the best option was to go for a Index Mutual Fund and do a SIP. This would be like a Recurring Deposit in a post office or Bank.

Another option was National Pension Scheme - In fact this product is a asset allocation by itself. Investor does not really need to know much

I personally feel, Index Mutual Fund or NPS for this gentlemen is the best way forward. I would extend this by saying he should get Index Mutual Fund by SBI or any state run AMC. During this time, he can start reading about Index Mutual Fund.

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This is an extremely tough problem to solve, but if we didn’t attempt to solve it in some way to help customers do better with their money, I don’t know the point of existing as a business.

For those actively trading the markets, we are attempting to do it through nudges. Essentially we are trying to find ways to help customers avoid money mistakes, which increase the odds of making money in the market. While today we have nudges for penny stocks and those being peddled in a scammy way, tagging, killswitch, etc., we have much more to do. We are waiting on a mega backend change that will enable us to nudge when customers are overleveraging, overtrading, not having stops, disposition bias, etc.

But the above will only help those actively trading and not someone like you who doesn’t have the bandwidth to trade. We have thought about this quite a bit and think the solution is active advisory where the advisor has no conflict with the customer. Where the advisor does well only if the customer does well. The way we are thinking is that a system generates advise based on customer profile; the advisor convinces the customer on why the advise and hopefully financially educates the customer. A human advisor is required because people don’t trust advise from a machine directly when it comes to money, enough businesses have tried robo-advisory and failed. The actual underlying products to build a portfolio could be low-cost index funds.

But for the above to work, the customers need to have the right market expectations. In the long run, a 10 to 15% return is amazing. If you are lucky, it could be higher. But if you come to the markets seeking greater than 20 to 30% returns, you have to take much higher risks which mostly never ends well.


This wins hearts of millions, may Zerodha expand infinite times.


If that’s your goal then you should look to become an educator. Start a YouTube channel and then ask people to pay you for providing education. The point of existing as a business is to provide the best services and product possible. And before that deliver the bare minimum (like automatic SIP).

I think education should be free; that is what we have been attempting through Varsity. Hard for me to give my time to this. Too many distractions because of having to run a business.

Yep and if you don’t you go down as a business eventually.

The Delay in building a mandate module once we were forced to transition Coin out of funds in the trading account has been because now we have to integrate with ICCL (clearing corp) bank account. This will happen soon.

I accidentally discovered Value Investing in July 2020, when, out of desperation I was searching for ways to make a living (or, to put it more bluntly, “earn money”) without having to put up with a job that I didn’t feely very excited about.

And through that, I stumbled into a lot of things such as trading, momentum investing, etc. Finally, about a week or so later, while reading / youtube-ing lots, I stumbled onto a talk by Mohnish Pabrai, through him I stumbled on to Charlie Munger and then Warren Buffett and then Guy Spier and then it just kept going and going and my life changed ever since. Not just monetarily, but more specifically, individually. I changed for better as a human. As a very small example - now when I drive, I am a lot more patient as opposed to rushing and constantly trying to get their first.

I am glad @nithin you posted this list of amazing quotes. I just discovered this thread through your today’s post, Business updates, increased disclosures and improving transparency. From the very bottom of my heart, welcome to Charlie’s world of wisdom - or the way as some like to put it “latticework of mental models”.

Look forward to reading more such and oh yeah, congratulations to you and Seema for achieving unimaginable feat. Loads of inspiration / respect to you both.


Risking your survival for more and more rewards almost always leads to ruin. True for life. True for trading.

The most important lesson I learned from him that night was: GO FOR GREAT.

In typical Charlie fashion it is a combination of 4 simple ideas:

  1. Charlie looks at everything through the lens of history. Human nature does not change. The same behaviors repeat forever.

  2. Problems from time to time should be expected. This is an inescapable part of life.

  3. Wise people do not whine about problems. They prevent them:

“Wisdom is prevention.” —Charlie Munger

  1. Great businesses are rare. Great people are rare too. Great people and great businesses produce fewer problems.

Your mission in life is to get into a great business (and stay there)

and build relationships with great people.

Doing that will prevent the majority of problems that are under your control.

Go for great.

I had dinner with Charlie Munger.

I spent over 3 hours with him.

I got to see his library. I could ask him any question I wanted.

At 99 he is still *ferociously* intelligent.

The most important lesson I learned from him that night was: GO FOR GREAT.

In typical Charlie…

— David Senra (@FoundersPodcast) March 21, 2023
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