This note is one of a series about the books that have informed and inspired my life and work.
Conversation with Janet Lowe on Damn Right!.
Among all the books I've written, Damn Right is probably my favorite. It's right up there with Benjamin Graham on Value Investing and Warren Buffett Speaks. Part of the reason I like it so much is that it added another view point to Graham's and Buffett's lives and ideas. It gave me a three dimensional picture of investment philosophy.
You may be interested to know that Damn Right and Charlie Munger are very popular in Asia. China, Taiwan and Korea all have sent public television crews to interview me and others about Munger, his life and his philosophy. They like his honesty and boldness.
Chris DeMuth Jr:
What has changed since you wrote this wonderful book on Mr. Munger?
Of course Charlie has grown older and his beloved wife Nancy passed away. You always learn more about your subjects after the book is written, but some of these are minor details. Since the book was written Charlie continues to support intellectual exploration, such as books by Robert Cialdini. I might explore his intellectual interests a bit more.
Chris DeMuth Jr:
I understand that value investing principles are basic guidelines, not applied to stocks and other securities only. I have diversified my investments to well-chosen real estate. I am more content to just sit by the sidelines if a good investment is not on the horizon. Be patient. They will come.
Also, I recently bought more Berkshire Hathaway and am glad. Not related to these books, but in reaction to the volatility of current market, my investments are shorter term than usual and I use stop orders, puts, etc. more than I did in the past. I am more concerned with consolidating and protecting my gains.
What was most applicable for me?
My first takeaway was that shareholders of BRK.A/BRK.B, DJCO, and COST are much wealthier people as a group because of Charlie Munger. If you are going to shamelessly copy someone's life and plagiarize their ideas, Munger would be as good as any to so copy. There are a lot of investors worth copying in specific circumstances here or there, but with Charlie, one can just copy the whole thing. He would probably agree that this is a sensible strategy.
Secondly, Munger is a big advocate of multidisciplinary education and thinking, with a focus on psychology. He is particularly attuned to understanding incentives and the huge impact that incentives have on human behavior. In investing, particularly investing in M&A situations, Munger has taught me to make allowances for how much incentives will lead to the success or failure of companies and their deal making.