The Wit and Wisdom of the Late Charlie Munger

Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's deputy who helped transform Berkshire Hathaway into a conglomerate, will be remembered, in part, for comments like these.

By Reuters

Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s witty and sardonic deputy who helped shape the strategy that transformed Berkshire Hathaway into a conglomerate, died on Tuesday at age 99.

His humorous one-liners endeared him to thousands of attendees at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meetings, and a generation of corporate America’s executives swear by his investing insights.

“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” Buffett, Berkshire’s 93-year-old chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

The death of Munger, a Berkshire vice chairman since 1978, marks the end of an era in corporate America and investing.

Alongside Buffett, Munger was respected and adored by investors around the world, many of whom flocked to Berkshire’s annual shareholder weekends in Omaha, Nebraska, to hear the duo’s folksy wisdom on investing and life.

Though Munger was not involved in Berkshire’s day-to-day operations, his death leaves Buffett without his longtime sounding board.

Here is a selection of some of Munger’s more memorable quotes:

• “Invest in a business any fool can run, because someday a fool will. If it won’t stand a little mismanagement, it’s not much of a business. We’re not looking for mismanagement, even if we can withstand it.”

• “All intelligent investing is value investing — acquiring more than you are paying for. You must value the business in order to value the stock.”

• “It’s not that much fun to buy a business where you really hope this sucker liquidates before it goes broke.”

• “The worshipping at the altar of diversification, I think that is really crazy.”

• “Capitalism without failure is like religion without hell.”

• “I don’t think you can trust bankers to control themselves. They’re like heroin addicts.”

• “I think you would understand any presentation using the word EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) if every time you saw that word, you just substituted the phrase ‘bullshit earnings.'”

• “We recognized early on that very smart people do very dumb things, and we wanted to know why and who, so we could avoid them.”

• “You’ll do better if you have passion for something in which you have aptitude. If Warren had gone into ballet, no one would have heard of him.”

• “I’ve written my obituary the way I’ve lived my life.”

This article was provided by Reuters.

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