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'If you're as smart as Warren': Charlie Munger's best quotes on Buffett

Anil Varma   

'If you're as smart as Warren': Charlie Munger's best quotes on Buffett
  • Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's longtime friend and right-hand man, died Tuesday at the age of 99.
  • Over the years, Munger has often expressed admiration for Buffett's investing acumen and even came to his defense.

Charlie Munger, who helped Warren Buffett build Berkshire Hathaway into the towering investment powerhouse it is today, died Tuesday.

He was Buffett's long-time friend and right-hand man. Their business thinking and even some personality traits appeared to have uncanny similarities. Both are known for their patient, long-term approach toward investing — as well as for their frugality, longevity, and even a fondness for sweets.

Munger has often expressed admiration for Buffett's investment acumen and also defended his actions at times. Here is a selection of his best quotes about the "Oracle of Omaha."

  1. "If you're as smart as Warren Buffett, maybe two, three times a century, you get an idea like that. It was like having God just opening a chest and just pouring money into it. It was awfully easy money," Munger told the Acquired podcast in an interview released in late October. He was referring to Buffett's inspired move to borrow funds at ultra-low interest rates in Japan and invest those in the Asian nation's blue-chip stocks.
  2. "What Buffett and I did is we bought things that were promising. Sometimes we had a tailwind from the economy and sometimes we had a headwind and either way we just kept swimming. That's our system," Munger said in December 2020 at the California Institute of Technology.
  3. "I don't think there's the slightest chance that Warren Buffett is doing something that's deeply evil to make money for himself. He cares more about what happens to Berkshire than he cares what happens to his own money," Munger told CNBC earlier this month, rejecting a report that suggested Buffett enriched himself at the expense of his shareholders. "It's one more ridiculous thing that's said about Berkshire," he added.
  4. "Warren still cares more about the safety of his Berkshire shareholders than he cares about anything else. If we used a little bit more leverage throughout, we'd have three times as much now, and it wouldn't have been that much more risk either. We never wanted to give the least chance of us screwing up our basic shareholder position," Munger said on Acquired.

  5. "Warren doesn't like retailing. He's afraid of retail, practically everything that was once mighty in retail is gone. Sears Roebuck is gone, the big department stores are gone. It's just too damn difficult as far as he's concerned," he told the podcast.
  6. "If you're Warren, you want to be the house, not the punter," Munger added.
  7. During the Daily Journal's annual meeting in February, Munger compared Buffett to his planned successor, Greg Abel: "Greg is just sensational at being a business leader, both as a thinker and as a doer. He's also just a tremendous learning machine — you can argue that he's just as good as Warren at learning all kinds of things. There's some things he's better at than Warren is, and Warren knows that, and he just keeps dumping on Greg everything that Greg can do better, and that's a lot.



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