Top 16 Charlie Munger Quotes: Fish Where the Fish Are

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In this article, I’ve compiled the 16 greatest quotes by Charlie Munger. I’ve consumed hundreds of hours of video material and myriads of quotes. These are the ones that I found most helpful to help Finxters stay on the right side of change. 👇

Life’s Challenges and Opportunities

#1 – “Life’s Series of Opportunity Costs”

👴 “I think life is a whole series of opportunity costs. You know, you got to marry the best person who is convenient to find who will have you. Investment is much the same sort of a process.” — 1997 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

Transitioning from this thought, Munger also acknowledges the inevitability of hardships in life.

#2 -“Overcoming Life’s Unfair Blows”

👴 “Another thing, of course, is life will have terrible blows, horrible blows, unfair blows. Doesn’t matter. And some people recover and others don’t. And there I think the attitude of Epictetus is the best. He thought that every mischance in life was an opportunity to behave well. Every mischance in life was an opportunity to learn something and your duty was not to be submerged in self-pity, but to utilize the terrible blow in a constructive fashion. That is a very good idea.” 2007 USC Law School Commencement Address

#3 –“One-Legged Man in an Ass-Kicking Contest”

👴 “Without the method of learning, you’re like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. It’s just not going to work very well.” 2021 Daily Journal Annual Meeting

Cultivating the Right Attitude

#4 –“Simple Rules for a Better Life”

👴 “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.” 2019 CNBC interview

Munger emphasizes the importance of continuous learning as a key to success.

#5 – “The Importance of Being a Learning Machine”

👴 “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.” 2007 USC Law School Commencement Address

Lifelong Learning

#6 – “A Life of Constant Learning”

👴 “I think that a life properly lived is just learn, learn, learn all the time.” 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

#7 – “The Value of Reading”

👴 “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.” Poor Charlie’s Almanack

Munger’s philosophy extends into practical advice on personal finance and investment.

Personal Finance and Investment

#8 – “Living Within Your Means”

👴 “Live within your income and save so that you can invest. Learn what you need to learn.” Damn Right! : Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger

#9 – “Focused Investing Over Diversification”

👴 “I find it much easier to find four or five investments where I have a pretty reasonable chance of being right that they’re way above average. I think it’s much easier to find five than it is to find 100. I think the people who argue for all this diversification — by the way, I call it ‘deworsification’ — which I copied from somebody — and I’m way more comfortable owning two or three stocks which I think I know something about and where I think I have an advantage.” — 2021 Daily Journal Annual Meeting

#10 – “The Advantages of Few Great Investments”

👴 “There are huge advantages for an individual to get into a position where you make a few great investments and just sit on your ass: You are paying less to brokers. You are listening to less nonsense. And if it works, the governmental tax system gives you an extra 1, 2 or 3 percentage points per annum compounded.” —Worldly Wisdom by Charlie Munger 1995-1998

Wise Investing and Temperament

#11 – “Investment and Temperament”

👴 “A lot of people with high IQs are terrible investors because they’ve got terrible temperaments. And that is why we say that having a certain kind of temperament is more important than brains. You need to keep raw irrational emotion under control. You need patience and discipline and an ability to take losses and adversity without going crazy. You need an ability to not be driven crazy by extreme success.”

#12 – “The Three Baskets of Investing”

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

#13 – “The Advantage of Not Being Stupid”

👴 “It’s remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.”

The Essence of Successful Investing

#14 – “Patience in Investing”

👴 “The big money is not in the buying or the selling, but in the waiting.”

Finally, Munger concludes with a reminder of the importance of character.

#15 – “The Value of Reputation and Integrity”

👴 “Remember that reputation and integrity are your most valuable assets — and can be lost in a heartbeat.”

#16 – “Fish Where the Fish Are”

👴 “I have a friend who’s a fisherman. He says, ‘I have a simple rule for success in fishing. Fish where the fish are.’ You want to fish where the bargains are. That simple. If the fishing is really lousy where you are you should probably look for another place to fish.”— 2020 Daily Journal Annual Meeting

Thanks for 99 years of wisdom, Charlie! ♥️