Charlie Munger Lecture at the Harvard-Westlake School
Charlie Munger needs no introduction to readers. Without veering off too much into hyperbole, Munger is truly one of the great minds of our age. He is the rare combination of incredible intellectual firepower, accumulated wisdom, and more than a dash of a willingness to speak his mind. His various speeches and talks have been compiled in books and on the web. These commentaries are some of the most insightful things you can read – both in terms of investing and life. They are treasures – examples of what a life spent learning can produce and lessons in how to think the right way.
Unfortunately, as Munger approaches his 89th birthday, he is tapering down his speaking and sadly his yearly Q&A at the Wesco Annual Meeting is no more. We are left to glean insights from his past speeches and whatever he may say at the Berkshire meeting in between his famous “I have nothing to add” comments.
For the past several years I have had in my possession a video of a talk that Munger gave in January 2010 at the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. In it, he diagnoses the cognitive failings of various professionals and academics that contributed to the financial crisis. It is classic Munger – insightful, funny, and just dead-on. As far as I know, this presentation has been seen by only a handful of people.
I have transcribed the talk and decided to share it with the community. It has been lightly edited for clarity and I have removed the comments by the moderator Jim Gipson to focus solely on Munger. If you would like to view the actual video, it has been available for sale in the past at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.