Charlie Munger on How to Be Happy, Get Rich and Other Advice

Author's Avatar
May 20, 2015
Article's Main Image

If you have read Poor Charlie’s Almanack, you will notice that there is a great amount of wisdom in its pages. The book covers a lot of topics and provides great insight on what makes

Charlie Munger (Trades, Portfolio) one of the greatest minds of our era. While usually Munger provides advice on thinking about business and investing in general, there is a small gem in the book providing general advice on how to live a happy life.

Here are the key takeaways from this small chapter:

Tips on How to be Happy and Successful

“If all you succeed in doing in life is getting rich by buying little pieces of paper, it’s a failed life. Life is more than being shrewd in wealth accumulation.”

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

“Just avoid things like AIDS situations, racing trains to the crossing and doing cocaine. Develop good mental habits. If your new behavior earns you a little temporary unpopularity with your peer group, then the hell with them.”

Be satisfied with what you have

“Here’s one truth that perhaps your typical investment counselor would disagree with: If you’re comfortably rich and someone else is getting richer faster than you by, for example, investing in risky stocks, so what?! Someone will always be getting richer faster than you. This is not a tragedy.”

Beware of envy

“The idea of caring that someone is making money faster than you are is one of the deadly sins. Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There’s a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on that trolley?”

How to get rich

(A young shareholder asked Charlie how to follow in his footsteps)

“We get these questions a lot from the enterprising young. It’s a very intelligent question: You look at some old guy who’s rich and you ask, 'How can I become like you, except faster?'”

Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Discharge your duties faithfully and well. Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts. Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day. At the end of the day  if you live long enough  most people get what they deserve.”

How to find a good spouse

“What’s the best way to get a good spouse? The best single way is to deserve a good spouse because a good spouse is, by definition, not nuts.”

As usual, you’ve got to love Charlie’s straightforwardness and shrewd advice. I personally believe that, by trying to get a little wiser every day, we can understand and interact with the world in a better way, making that comment my favorite (apart from the definition of a good spouse)

What are your thoughts about this? I would love to know which piece of advice you found the most useful.

Also check out:
5 / 5 (14 votes)