Charlie Munger – USC Law Commencement Speech

Charlie MungerBy Nick (Charlie Munger) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In a rare public appearance, billionaire Charlie Munger, right-hand man of Warren Buffett, gave a legendary commencement speech full of knowledge gems for the USC Law School Graduates.

USC Law Commencement Speech | Charlie Munger

University of South California. May 13, 2007.

Munger was at the time the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wesco Financial Corporation. Munger also acts as vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.

Munger is a quiet person who does not appear publicly very often. This 30 or so minutes of him speaking truly gives an inside glimpse of how he thinks and is a gem. For those that have not listened to Munger before, it is safe to assume that this speech will not disappoint you.


02:10 – To get what you want, deserve what you want. Trust, success, and admiration are earned.

04:19 – Learn to love and admire the right people, live or dead.

05:06 – Acquiring wisdom is a moral duty as well as a practical one.

14:07 – Learn to fluency the big multidisciplinary ideas of the world and use them regularly.

15:41 – Learn to think through problems backwards as well as forward.

17:06 – Be reliable. Unreliability can cancel out the other virtues.

20:01 – Get rid of self-serving bias, envy, resentment, and self-pity.

22:38 – Allow for the self-serving bias in others who haven’t removed it.

24:14 – Avoid being part of a system with perverse incentives.

25:03 – Work with and under people you admire, and avoid the inverse when at all possible.

25:56 – Learn to maintain your objectivity, especially when it’s hardest.

27:26 – Concentrate experience and power into the hands of the right people – the wise learning machines.

30:22 – You’ll be most successful where you’re most intensely interested.

30:54 – Learn the all-important concept of assiduity: Sit down and do it until it’s done.

32:06 – Use setbacks in life as an opportunity to become a bigger and better person. Don’t wallow.

33:18 – The highest reach of civilization is a seamless system of trust among all parties concerned.


Transcript of the Speech |

Download as an MP3 file |

Poor Charlie’s Almanack |

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