Most people have heard of Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and the richest man in America after Bill Gates. Not as many have heard of his partner, Charlie Munger, who is also a billionaire and enjoys nearly as great a reputation among investors.
I recently read an article about Munger by Alexander Green that had some information I thought was worth sharing (unfortunately, the article is on a password-protected site, so I can’t link to it). Apparently Munger is a big fan of the liberal arts:
The key to success in life, both financial and otherwise, he insists, is “Elementary, Worldly Wisdom.”What is that, exactly? Munger believes we should all strive for a liberal arts education by persistent reading of science, philosophy, religion, history, and literature. This allows you to think broadly and systematically and build a latticework in your head, a mental model of reality drawn from many disciplines.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that increasingly values specialization over breadth. We study to learn how to make a living, not how to make a life. Yet the two are hardly exclusive.
When asked his opinion on what makes Warren Buffett such a successful investor, Munger replied that his partner spends at least half his waking hours “just sitting on his a** and reading.”
It sounds like Buffett and Munger spend a lot of their time doing pretty much what we do here on this blog: reading classic works in a broad variety of fields. So far it hasn’t made us billionaires, but hope springs eternal.
If you’d like to learn more about Munger, you can get his biography from Amazon.com.