Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, left a significant legacy when he passed away last November, just shy of his 100th birthday. Charlie Munger, along with Warren Buffett, have always invested with the long-term in mind and advocated for investing practices that align with the Rebalance approach. You may want to check out Jason Zweig’s tribute to Charlie below.

More Munger

by Jason Zweig

Fellow investors,

I know many of you can’t get enough of Charlie Munger, the brilliant Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman who died last November, just shy of his 100th birthday.

Neither can I, so I recently attended a discussion on his life and legacy, hosted by the Museum of American Finance and Fordham University’s business school.

Moderated by lawyer Larry Cunningham, the event featured three people who knew Munger well: Ron Olson, partner at the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson; Don Graham, chairman emeritus of Graham Holdings; and Tom Gayner, CEO of the insurer Markel Group.

Before taking on your opponent in court, Olson learned from Munger, practice “shadowboxing” instead: striking blows when the opponent isn’t there.

Munger, Tolles & Olson has often “shadowboxed” by hiring mock juries, making oral arguments before them and then observing their deliberations from behind a one-way mirror, Olson said. That way, the firm can detect the weaknesses in its own arguments through other people’s eyes.

Graham recalled another insight of Munger’s: When a corporate board of directors considers a capital expenditure or acquisition, it should inform the people advocating it that they’ll have to come back three years later to compare their original projections with how it ultimately worked out.

Gayner cited one of Munger’s favorite historical tidbits: In ancient Rome, when an aqueduct or bridge was built, the chief engineer had to stand directly under the arch when the scaffolding was removed.

Still upright. Hubert Robert, “Aqueduct in Ruins” (late 18th century), Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Munger called ideas like these “mental models.” They’re systematic ways of approaching decisions: minimizing bias, maximizing accountability, fighting overconfidence and widening the aperture of your viewpoints.

Imagine how much more sensible the world of business and investing would be if more people adopted Munger’s mental models!

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