Some nuggets of wisdom from Charlie Munger

Stripe Press recently released a new edition of Poor Charlie's Almanack, exactly a week after Munger sadly passed away. I had preordered the book and picked it up a few weeks after release. There are many good quips and general good advice in there and I will share the most interesting tidbits to me.

First, the "mental model checklist". Charlie Munger is famous for his "mental models" framework and many outlets - books, websites, content writers - push mental models either because they believe in the framework or, more cynically, because people buy it trying to be more like Munger (that is, rich). I don't have a lot to add here, other than that when I read about this "mental models" frameworks, it never came to me the idea of a literal checklist. But that's how Munger explains his framework: a literal checklist.
You go one by one, see which ones apply and - crucially important, according to him - when many apply (as in most real life cases) one has to figure out how these systems interact. I don't know if I will adopt this practice, but whenever anyone refers to "mental models" to me in the future, I'll make a note to try to use them as a checklist instead of just learning them and hoping my subconscious mind does the job of pulling the right ones at the right time.

To be honest, if I could risk a lesson that Munger may or may not have expressed himself, I'd say he's very critical of relying on your subconscious mind to make decisions for you. One should be aware of how one thinks when making decisions.

The second lesson that I took a liking for was his view of a little unfairness being more fair than fairness in all interactions. Specifically, he mentions that in the U.S. Navy a captain's career is over if his ship turns around. It doesn't matter if it was his fault: his career is over. This may not be fair to the individual captain, but keeps every other one on their toes and the increased tension saves many lives as a result. Sometimes I wonder if this, intentionally or not, is happening in high-performance but high-stress careers, famous for being unforgiving. Maybe it's better this way?


Popular posts from this blog

JIT and GIL removal are not even my most anticipated Python 3.13 features

An interview with Steve Wozniak by Jessica Livingston cured my AI anxiety

What if regular exercise is the best cognitive exercise?