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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Charlie Munger : Build A Web Of Deserved Trust

My colleague Chandra and a few others pointed me to Charlie Munger’s higly acclaimed commencement address at USC Law School recently. There are some people who in life would have reached identical levels in their chosen fields, irrespective of the discipline chosen or the start. Charles Munger is one amongst such great people, who have reached the highest possible realm of acheivement and hearing them speak out their governing ideas and mental models are very uplifting are are of inestimable value. Reportedly the 84 year old man’s first law school commencement address in his lifetime, it is full of great wisdom. His emphasis on trust – earning and keeping it and the need for constant learning that’s measured almost on a daily basis are amazing pieces of wisdom – one that every living person need to ponder upon. While I liked the whole speech like Atanu Dey, I particularly liked the opening part:

Deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end.

There is huge pleasure in life to be obtained from getting deserved trust. And the way to get it is to deliver what you would want to buy if the circumstances were reversed.

I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.

…so if civilization can progress only with an advanced method of invention, you can progress only when you learn the method of learning.

Nothing has served me better in my long life than continuous learning.

I went through life constantly practicing (because if you don’t practice it, you lose it) the multi-disciplinary approach and I can’t tell you what that’s done for me. It’s made life more fun, it’s made me more constructive, its made me more helpful to others, its made me enormously rich. You name it, that attitude really helps

You’re outcome in life will be way more satisfactory and way better if you work under people you really admire

His caution on embracing extremely intense ideology deserves special mention : Extremely intense ideology should be avoided ideology because it cabbages up one’s mind. This business of not drifting into extreme ideology is a very, very important thing in life.

He points to Epectitus saying that every missed chance in life was an opportunity to behave well, every missed chance in life was an opportunity to learn something, and that your duty was not to be submerged in self-pity, but to utilize the terrible blow in constructive fashion.

His final piece of advice is the icing in the cake : "The highest form a civilization can reach is a seamless web of deserved trust".

Read the full transcript of a marvelous address, or the condensed Cheat Sheet – I read and reread the address, repeatedly and am sure would do countless number of times in future.

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