Charlie Munger has been the ketchup to Warren Buffett's mustard for more than 50 years.
Berkshire Hathaway co-chairman Charlie Munger is well known for his sharp, funny, and sometimes abrasive responses to shareholder questions at the company's annual meeting. This year's meeting, the 50th under "current management," was no exception. Over the several hours that Munger and CEO Warren Buffett spent fielding questions, we were lucky to get plenty of pithy wisdom from Munger.
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Here are the 14 quotes that stood out the most.
1. Night sweats and miseryOne shareholder asked for the company to fund a stock-shorting arm that he would run. Munger's reply:
Later, another attendee asked about Berkshire's never having used leverage -- i.e., using debt to buy stocks. Munger responded:
2. Just because someone is listening doesn't mean you're rightLongtime journalist and Buffett profiler Carol Loomis asked about the chairmen's thoughts on the risk of inflation and the potential impacts on Berkshire's subsidiaries. Munger pointed out that nobody has found a way to consistently predict these things, and that most prognosticators are answering simply because someone's asking, not because they actually know anything.
3. Risk in finance, regulations, and being better than your competitors
4. On the luck of timing, and why the U.S. needs more ties withChina
5. Focusing on questions worth answeringWhen Buffett asked Munger whether he would rather be born now, instead of when he was actually born, Munger gave a pragmatic response:
6. Building your reputation
7. Influencing people starts in the mirrorA young shareholder -- a seventh-grader -- asked, "How do you make lots of friends, and get people to like you and work with you?"
Buffett answered first, but Munger chimed in:
8. Waiting for something to happenBuffett was asked about the slow recovery of home construction that has affected several Berkshire subsidiaries, as well as his past comments that kids would get sick of living in their parents' homes. So far, that trend hasn't really changed, even as the job market has improved. Munger said this as a follow-up to Buffett's response:
9. Charity starts at home -- not at the officeBoth Buffett and Munger have plans to give away the vast majority of their collective wealth and have already donated billions. While in the past Berkshire has had a philanthropy program that donated based on shareholder choices, neither man thinks executives have any business giving away shareholder capital to charities. Munger was characteristically succinct on the subject:
10. On bad business partners and offending nationsMunger made his most clear-cut statement, potentially insulting more than one country in the process, in response to a question about the future of the eurozone and whether certain countries should consider leaving the union:
Buffett responded but gave Munger a chance to say more on the matter before moving on to the next question. Munger's response:
11. The power of positive thinkingFinancial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin began to ask a question about the future of Berkshire: "At some point, Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett won't be here to manage the store."
Munger, who is probably tired of media outlets pointing out that he and Buffett are going to die, cut him off:
That's probably my favorite quip of the day.
12. The best way to gain wisdom
13. Ignorance is a sin
14. There's more to life than money
Charlie Munger has lived a rather remarkable 91 years, and he's still sharp as ever. You would do well to heed his advice on both investing and life.
The article Don't Miss These 14 Things Charlie Munger Said at the Berkshire Meeting originally appeared on Fool.com.
Jason Hall owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool recommends Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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