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isee是什么意思:查理·芒格:要得到你想要的东西,最可靠的办法是让自己配得上它(附英文原文)

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发表时间:2018-02-24 13:50作者:admin来源:美联高中留学网址:www.uess.cn

  巴菲特说他一生遇人无数,从来没有遇到过像查理这样的人。

  芒格将会用他自己的话来告诉你:获取普世的智慧,并相应地调整你的行为。即使你的特立独行让你在人群中不受欢迎……那就随他们去吧。

  芒格在南加州大学法学院毕业典礼上的演讲

  你们当中肯定有许多人会觉得奇怪:这么老还能来演讲(听众大笑)。嗯,答案很明显:他还没有死(听众大笑)。为什么要请这个人来演讲呢?我也不知道,我希望学校的发展部跟这没什么关系。

  不管怎么样,我想我来这里演讲是合适的,因为我看到后面有一排年纪较大且没有穿学位礼服的(家长)听众。我自己养育过许多子女,我知道他们真的比坐在前面这些穿学位礼服的学生更感光荣。父母为子女付出了很多心血,把智慧和价值传授给子女,他们应该永远受到尊敬。

  我还很高兴地看到我的左边有许多亚洲人的面孔,我这辈子一直很崇拜孔子,我很喜欢孔子关于“孝道”的思想,他认为孝道既是天生的,也需要教育,应该代代相传。你们大家可别小看这些思想,请留意在美国社会中亚洲人的地位上升得有多快。我认为这些思想很重要。

  好啦,我已经把今天演讲的几个要点写了下来,下面就来介绍那些对我来说最有用的道理和态度。我并不认为它们对每个人而言都是完美的,但我认为它们之中有许多具有普遍价值,也有许多是“屡试不爽”的道理。

  1

  让自己配得上想要的东西

  是哪些重要的道理帮助了我呢?

  我非常幸运,很小的时候就明白了这样一个道理:要得到你想要的某样东西,最可靠的办法是让你自己配得上它。这是一个十分简单的道理,是黄金法则。你们要学会己所不欲,勿施于人。

  在我看来,无论是对律师还是对其他人来说,这都是他们最应该有的精神。总的来说,拥有这种精神的人在生活中能够赢得许多东西,他们赢得的不止是金钱和名誉。还赢得尊敬,理所当然地赢得与他们打交道的人的信任。能够赢得别人的信任是非常快乐的事情。

  有的时候你们会发现有些彻头彻尾的恶棍死的时候既富裕又有名,但是周围绝大多数人都认为他们死有余辜。如果教堂里满是参加葬礼的人,其中大多数人去那里是为了庆祝这个小子终于死了。

  这让我想起了一个故事——有一个这样的混蛋死掉了,神父说:“有人愿意站出来,对死者说点好话吗?”没有人站出来,好长时间没有人站出来,最后有个人站了出来,他说:“好吧,他的兄弟更糟糕。”(听众大笑)。

  这不是你们想要得到的下场,以这样的葬礼告终的生活,不是你们想要的生活。

  我很小就明白的第二个道理是,正确的爱应该以仰慕为基础,我们应该去爱那些对我们有教育意义的先贤。我懂得这个道理且一辈子都在实践它。萨默赛特·毛姆(Somerset Maugham)在他的小说《人性的枷锁》中描绘的爱是一种病态的爱,那是一种病,如果你们发现自己有这种病,应该赶快把它治好。

  2

  获得智慧是一种道德责任

  另外一个道理——这个道理可能会让你们想起孔子——是的,获得智慧是一种道德责任,它不仅仅是为了让你们的生活变得更加美好。

  有一个相关的道理非常重要,那就是你们必须坚持终身学习。如果不终身学习,你们将不会取得很高的成就。光靠已有的知识,你们在生活中走不了多远。离开这里以后,你们还得继续学习,这样才能在生活中走得更远。

  就以世界上最受尊敬的公司伯克希尔·哈撒韦来说,它的长期大额投资业绩可能是人类有史以来最出色的。让伯克希尔在这一个十年中赚到许多钱的方法,在下一个十年未必还能那么管用,所以沃伦·巴菲特不得不成为一架不断学习的机器。

  层次较低的生活也有同样的要求,我不断地看到有些人在生活中越过越好,他们不是最聪明的,甚至不是最勤奋的,但他们是学习机器,他们每天夜里睡觉时都比那天早晨聪明一点点。孩子们,这种习惯对你们很有帮助,特别是在你们还有很长的路要走的时候。

  阿尔弗雷德·诺斯·怀特海曾经说过一句很正确的话,他说只有当人类“发明了发明的方法”之后,人类社会才能快速地发展。他指的是人均GDP的巨大增长和其他许多我们今天已经习以为常的好东西。

  人类社会在几百年前才出现了大发展,在那之前,每个世纪的发展几乎等于零。人类社会只有发明了发明的方法之后才能发展,同样的道理,你们只有学习了学习的方法之后才能进步。

  我非常幸运。我读法学院之前就已经学会了学习的方法。在我这漫长的一生中,没有什么比持续学习对我的帮助更大。

  再拿沃伦·巴菲特来说,如果你们拿着计时器观察他,会发现他醒着的时候有一半时间是在看书。他把剩下的时间大部分用来跟一些非常有才干的人进行一对一的交谈,有时候是打电话,有时候是当面,那些都是他信任且信任他的人。仔细观察的话,沃伦很像个学究,虽然他在世俗生活中非常成功。

  学术界有许多非常有价值的东西。不久之前我就遇到一个例子,我是一家医院的理事会主席,在工作中接触到一个叫约瑟夫·米拉的医学研究人员。这位仁兄是医学博士,他经过多年的钻研,成为世界上最精通骨肿瘤病理学的人。他想要传播这种知识,提高骨癌的治疗效果。

  他是怎么做的呢?嗯,他决定写一本教科书,虽然我认为这种教科书最多只能卖几千册,但世界各地的癌症治疗中心都买了它。他休了一年假,把所有的X光片弄到电脑里,仔细地保存和编排,他每天工作17小时,每周工作七天,整整坚持了一年。这也算是休假啊。

  假期结束的时候,他写出了世界上最好的两本骨癌病理学教科书中的一本。如果你们的价值跟米拉差不多,你们想要获得多大的成就就能获得多大的成就。

  3

  唯有跨科学,才能高效而成熟地生活

  另一个对我非常有用的道理是我当年在法学院学到的。

  那时有位爱开玩笑的教授说:“什么是法律头脑?如果有两件事交织在一起,相互之间有影响,你努力只考虑其中一件,而完全不顾另一件,以为这种思考方式既实用又可行的头脑就是法律头脑。”我知道他是在说反话,他说的那种“法律”方法是很荒唐的。

  这给了我很大的启发,因为它促使我去学习各学科中所有的重要道理,这样我就不会成为那位教授所描绘的蠢货。因为真正重要的大道理占每个学科95%的份量,所以对我而言,从所有的学科吸取我所需要的95%的知识,并将它们变成我思维习惯的一部分,也不是很难的事情。

  当然,掌握了这些道理后之后,你们必须通过实践去使用它们。这就像钢琴演奏家,如果不持续练习,就不可能弹得很好。所以我这辈子不断地实践那种跨学科的方法。

  这种习惯帮了我很多忙,它让生活更有乐趣,让我能做更多的事情,让我变得更有建设性,让我变得非常富有,而这无法用天分来解释。我的思维习惯只要得到正确的实践,真的很有帮助。

  但这种习惯也会带来危险,因为它太有用了,如果你们使用它,当你们和其他学科的专家——也许这位专家甚至是你们的老板,能够轻而易举地伤害你们——在一起时,你们会常常发现,原来你们的知识比他更丰富,更能够解决他所遇到的问题,当他束手无策的时候,你们有时会知道正确的答案。

  遇到这样的情况是非常危险的,如果你们的正确让有身份有地位的人觉得没面子,可能会引发极大的报复心理。我还没有找到避免受这个严重问题伤害的完美方法。

  尽管我年轻时扑克牌玩得很好,但在我认为我知道的比上级多的时候,我不太擅长掩饰自己的想法,没有很谨慎地去努力掩饰自己的想法,所以我总是得罪人。现在人们通常把我当成一个行将就木的没有恶意的古怪老头,但在从前,我有过一段很艰难的日子。我建议你们不要学我,最好学会隐藏你们的睿智。

  我有个同事,他从法学院毕业时成绩是全班第一名,曾在美国最高法院工作过,年轻时当过律师,当时他总是表现出见多识广的样子。

  有一天,他上级的高级合伙人把他叫进办公室,对他说:“听好了,查克,我要向你解释一些事情,你的工作和职责是让客户认为他是房间里最聪明的人。如果你完成了这项任务之后还有多余的精力,应该用它来让你的高级合伙人显得像是房间里第二聪明的人。只有履行了这两条义务之后,你才可以表现你自己。”

  嗯,那是一种在大型律师事务所里往上爬的好办法,但我并没有那么做。我通常率性而为,如果有人看不惯我的作风,那就随便咯,我又不需要每个人都喜欢我。

  我想进一步解释为什么人们必须拥有跨科学的心态,才能高效而成熟地生活。

  在这里,我想引用古代最伟大的律师马尔库斯·图鲁斯·西塞罗的一个重要思想。西塞罗有句话很著名,他说,如果一个人不知道他出生之前发生过什么事情,在生活中就会像一个无知的孩童。这个道理非常正确,西塞罗正确地嘲笑了那些愚蠢得对历史一无所知的人。

  但如果你们将西塞罗这句话推而广之——我认为你们应该这么做——除了历史之外,还有许多东西是人们必须了解的。所谓的许多东西就是所有学科的重要思想。但如果你对一种知识死记硬背,以便能在考试中取得好成绩,这种知识对你们不会有太大的帮助。你们必须掌握许多知识,让它们在你们的头脑中形成一个思维框架,在随后的日子里能自动地运用它们。

  如果你们能够做到这一点,我郑重地向你们保证,总有一天你们会在不知不觉中意识到:“我已经成为我的同龄人中最有效率的人之一”。与之相反,如果不努力去实践这种跨科学的方法,你们中的许多最聪明的人只会取得中等成就,甚至生活在阴影中。

  4

  逆向思考,想得更清楚

  我发现的另外一个道理蕴含在麦卡弗雷院长刚才讲过的故事中,故事里的乡下人说:“要知道我会死在哪里就好啦,我将永远不去那个地方。”这乡下人说的话虽然听起来很荒唐,却蕴含着一个深刻的道理。

  对于复杂的适应系统以及人类的大脑而言,如果采用逆向思考,问题往往会变得更容易解决。如果你们把问题反过来思考,通常就能够想得更加清楚。

  例如,如果你们想要帮助印度,应该考虑的问题不是“我要怎样才能帮助印度?”与之相反,你们应该问:“我要怎样才能损害印度?”你们应该找到能对印度造成最大损害的事情,然后避免去做它。

  也许从逻辑上来看两种方法是一样的,但那些精通代数的人知道,如果问题很难解决,利用反向证明往往就能迎刃而解。生活的情况跟代数一样,逆向思考能够帮助你们解决正面思考无法处理的问题。

  让我现在就来使用一点逆向思考。什么会让我们在生活中失败呢?我们应该避免什么呢?有些答案很简单,例如,懒惰和言而无信会让我们在生活中失败。如果你们言而无信,就算有再多的优点,也无法避免悲惨的下场。所以你们应该养成言出必行的习惯,懒惰和言而无信是显然要避免的。

  5

  远离自我中心的潜意识,避开自怜

  有一种叫做“自我服务偏好”的心理因素也经常导致人们做傻事,它往往是潜意识的,所有人都难免受其影响。

  你们认为“自我”有资格去做它想做的事情,例如,透支收入来满足它的需求,那有什么不好呢?嗯,从前有一个人,他是全世界最著名的作曲家,可是他大部分时间过得非常悲惨,原因之一就是他总是透支他的收入。那位作曲家叫做莫扎特。连莫扎特都无法摆脱这种愚蠢行为的毒害,我觉得你们更不应该去尝试它(听众大笑)。

  总的来说,嫉妒、怨憎、仇恨和自怜都是灾难性的思想状态。过度自怜可以让人近乎偏执,偏执是最难逆转的东西之一,你们不要陷入自怜的情绪中。

  我有个朋友,他随身携带一叠厚厚的卡片,每当有人说了自怜的话,他就会慢慢地、夸张地掏出那一叠卡片,将最上面那张交给说话的人。卡片上写着“你的故事让我很感动,我从来没有听过有人像你这么倒霉。”你们也许认为这是开玩笑,但我认为这是精神卫生。

  每当你们发现自己产生了自怜的情绪,不管是什么原因,哪怕由于自己的孩子患上癌症即将死去,你们也要想到,自怜是于事无补的。这样的时候,你们要送给自己一张我朋友的卡片。自怜总是会产生负面影响,它是一种错误的思维方式。如果你们能够避开它,你们的优势就远远大于其他人,或者几乎所有的人,因为自怜是一种标准的反应。你们可以通过训练来摆脱它。

  你们当然也要在自己的思维习惯中消除自我服务的偏好,别以为对你们有利的就是对整个社会有利的,也别根据这种自我中心的潜意识倾向来为你们愚蠢或邪恶的行为辩解,那是一种可怕的思考方式。

  你们要让自己摆脱这种心理,因为你们想成为智者而不是傻瓜,想做好人而不是坏蛋。你们必须在自己的认知行动中允许别人拥有自我服务的偏好,因为大多数人无法非常成功地清除这种心理,人性就是这样。如果你们不能容忍别人在行动中表现出自我服务的偏好,那么你们就是傻瓜。

  6

  说服别人,要诉诸利益,而非诉诸理性

  所罗门兄弟公司的法律顾问曾经做过《哈佛法学评论》的学生编辑,是个聪明而高尚的人,但我亲眼看到他毁掉了自己的前途。当时那位能干的CEO说有位下属做错了事,总顾问说:“哦,我们在法律上没有责任汇报这件事,但我认为那是我们应该做的,那是我们的道德责任。”

  从法律和道德上来讲,总顾问是正确的,但他的方法却是错误的。他建议日理万机的CEO去做一件令人不愉快的事情,而CEO总是把这件事一推再推,因为他很忙嘛,完全可以理解,他并不是故意要犯错。后来呢,主管部门责怪他们没有及时通报情况,所以CEO和总顾问都完蛋了。

  遇到这种情况,正确的说服技巧是本杰明·富兰克林指出的那种,他说:“如果你想要说服别人,要诉诸利益,而非诉诸理性。”人类自我服务的偏好是极其强大的,应该被用来获得正确的结果。

  所以总顾问应该说:“喂,如果这种情况再持续下去,会毁掉你的,会让你身败名裂,家破人亡。我的建议能够让你免于陷入万劫不复之地。”这种方法会生效的。你们应该多多诉诸利益,而不是理性,即使是当你们的动机很高尚的时候。

  7

  在尊敬的人手下工作

  变态的工作关系也是应该避免的,你们要特别避免在你们不崇敬或者不想像他一样的人手下干活,那是很危险的。所有人在某种程度上都受到权威人物的控制,尤其是那些为我们提供回报的权威人物。要正确地应对这种危险,必须同时拥有才华和决心。

  在我年轻的时候,我的办法是找出我尊敬的人,然后想办法调到他手下去,但是别批评任何人,这样我通常能够在好领导手下工作。许多律师事务所是允许这么做的,只要你们足够聪明,能做得很得体。总之,在你们正确地仰慕的人手下工作,在生活中取得的成就将会更加令人满意。

  养成一些让你能保持客观公正的习惯当然对认知非常有帮助。我们都记得达尔文特别留意相反的证据,尤其是他证伪的是某种他信奉和热爱的理论时。如果你们想要在思考的时候尽量少犯错误,就需要这样的习惯。

  人们还需要养成核对检查清单的习惯,核对检查清单能避免很多错误,不仅仅对飞行员来说是如此。你们不应该光是掌握广泛的基础知识,而是应该把它们在头脑中列成一张清单,然后再加以使用。没有其他方法能取得相同的效果。

  8

  让最有能力的人发挥最大的作用

  另外一个我认为很重要的道理就是,将不平等最大化通常能够收到奇效。

  这句话是什么意思呢?加州大学洛杉矶分校(UCLA)的约翰· 伍登提供了一个示范性的例子。伍登曾经是世界上最优秀的篮球教练。他对五个水平较低的球员说:“你们不会得到上场的时间——你们是陪练。”比赛几乎都是那七个水平较高的球员在打的。嗯,这七个水平高的球员学到了更多——别忘了学习机器的重要性——因为他们独享了所有的比赛时间。在他采用非平等主义的方法时,伍登比从前赢得了更多的比赛。

  我认为生活就像比赛,也充满了竞争,我们要让那些最有能力和最愿意成为学习机器的人发挥最大的作用。如果你们想要获得非常高的成就,你们就必须成为那样的人。

  你们不希望在50 个轮流做手术的医生中抓阄抽一个来给你们的孩子做脑外科手术。你们不希望你们的飞机是以一种太过平等主义的方式设计出来的。你们也不希望你们的伯克希尔·哈撒韦采用这样的管理方式。你们想要让最好的球员打很长时间的比赛。

  我经常讲一个有关马克斯·普朗克的笑话。

  普朗克获得诺贝尔奖之后,到德国各地作演讲,每次讲的内容大同小异,都是关于新的量子物理理论的,时间一久,他的司机记住了讲座的内容。司机说:“普朗克教授,我们老这样也挺无聊的,不如这样吧,到慕尼黑让我来讲,你戴着我的司机帽子坐在前排,你说呢?”普朗克说:“好啊。”于是司机走上讲台,就量子物理发表了一通长篇大论。

  后来有个物理学教授站起来,提了一个非常难的问题。演讲者说:“哇,我真没想到,我会在慕尼黑这么先进的城市遇到这么简单的问题。我想请我的司机来回答。”(听众大笑。)约翰·伍登好啦,我讲这个故事呢,并不是为了表扬主角很机敏。

  我认为这个世界的知识可以分为两种:一种是普朗克知识,它属于那种真正懂的人。他们付出了努力,他们拥有那种能力。另外一种是司机知识。他们掌握了鹦鹉学舌的技巧;他们可能有漂亮的头发;他们的声音通常很动听;他们给人留下深刻的印象。但其实他们拥有的是伪装成真实知识的司机知识。

  9

  一定要非常勤奋

  还有就是,你们一定要非常勤奋才行。

  我非常喜欢勤奋的人。我这辈子遇到的合伙人都极其勤奋。我想我之所以能够和他们合伙,部分原因在于我努力做到配得起他们,部分原因在于我很精明地选择了他们,还有部分原因是我运气好。

  我早期的生意上曾经有过两位合伙人,他们俩在大萧条期间合资成立了一家建筑设计施工公司,达成了很简单的协议。“这是个两个人的合伙公司,”他们说,“一切平分。如果我们没有完成对客户的承诺,我们俩要每天工作14 个小时,每星期工作7 天,直到完成为止。”

  不用说你们也知道啦,这家公司做得很成功。我那两位合伙人广受尊敬。他们这种简单的老派观念几乎肯定能够提供一个很好的结果。

  10

  每一次不幸,都是锻炼的机会

  另外一个你们要应付的问题是,你们在生活中可能会遭到沉重的打击,不公平的打击。有些人能挺过去,有些人不能。

  我认为爱比克泰德的态度能够引导人们作出正确的反应。他认为生活中的每一次不幸,无论多么倒霉,都是一个锻炼的机会。他认为每一次不幸都是吸取教训的良机。人们不应该在自怜中沉沦,而是应该利用每次打击来提高自我。

  他的观点是非常正确的,影响了最优秀的罗马帝国皇帝马库斯·奥勒留,以及随后许多个世纪里许许多多其他的人。

  你们也许记得爱比克泰德自拟的墓志铭:“此处埋着爱比克泰德,一个奴隶,身体残疾,极端穷困,蒙受诸神的恩宠。”嗯,现在爱比克泰德就是这样被铭记的:“蒙受诸神的恩宠。”说他蒙受恩宠,是因为他变成智者,变成顶天立地的男子汉,而且教育了其他人,包括他那个时代和随后许多世纪的人。

  我还有个道理想简单地说说。

  我的爷爷芒格曾是他所在城市惟一的联邦法官,他担任这个职位长达40 年之久。我很崇拜他。我的名字跟他相同。我对他非常孝顺,我刚才还在想:“芒格法官看到我在这里会很高兴的。”

  我爷爷去世许多年啦,我认为自己有责任接过火炬,传达他的价值观。他的价值观之一是,节俭是责任的仆人。芒格爷爷担任联邦法官的时候,联邦法官的遗孀是得不到抚恤金的。所以如果他赚了钱不存起来,我奶奶将会变成一个凄凉的寡妇。除此之外,家有余资也能让他更好地服务别人。由于他是这样的人,所以他终生量入为出,给他的遗孀留下了一个舒适的生活环境。

  爱比克泰德的道德观

  控制你的情欲,以免它们报复你。

  别根据你的愿望来要求现实,应该依据现实来确定你的愿望。

  说话之前,先理解你要说的话。

  智者不为他缺少的东西悲哀,而为他所拥有的东西高兴。

  如果你想要进步,别在意别人觉得你很愚蠢。

  自以为什么都懂的人不可能开始学习。

  你遇到什么事并不重要,重要的是你做出了什么反应。

  凡事尽力而为,别计较结果。

  人若控制不了自己,自由便无从谈起。

  唯有受过教育的人是自由的。

  困扰人们的并非事物,而是他们对事物的看法。

  要和那些比你优秀的人为伴,他们能促使你做到最好。

  富裕并非拥有许多财产,而是拥有很少需求。

  更好的制度是一张无缝的信任之网

  由于在你们将要从事的行业中有大量的程序和繁文缛节,最后一个我想要告诉你们的道理是,复杂的官僚程序并不是文明社会的最好制度。更好的制度是一张无缝的、非官僚的信任之网。没有太多稀奇古怪的程序,只有一群可靠的人,他们彼此之间有正确的信任。

  那是玛约医疗中心手术室的运作方式。如果那里的医生像律师那样设立许多像法律程序那么繁琐的规矩,更多的病人会死于非命。所以当你们成为律师的时候,永远别忘记,虽然你们在工作中要遵守程序,但你不用总是被程序牵着鼻子走。

  你们在生活中应该追求的是尽可能地培养一张无缝的信任之网。如果你们拟定的婚姻协议书长达47 页,那么我建议你们这婚还是不结为妙。

  11

  我的剑传给能挥舞它的人

  好啦,在毕业典礼上讲这么多已经够啦。我希望这些老人的废话对你们来说是有用的。

  以下是英文原文:

  Well no doubt many of you are wondering whythe speaker is so old,

  well the answer is obviously he hasn’t died yet.

  And why was the speaker chosen? Well I don’t know that either. I like to thinkthat the development department had nothing to do with it.

  Whatever the reason I think it’s very fitting that I'm sitting here because Isee one crowd of faces in the rear not wearing robes, and I know, from havingeducated an army of descendants, who really deserves a lot of the honors thatare being given are the people here upfront.

  The sacrifice and the wisdom and the value transfer that comes from onegeneration to the next can never be underrated.

  And that gives me enormous pleasure as I look at this sea of Asian faces to myleft.

  All my life I’ve admired Confucius. I like the idea of filial piety, the ideathat there are values that are taught and duties that come naturally and allthat should be passed on to the next generation.

  And you people who don’t think there’s anything in this idea, please note howfast these Asian faces are rising in American life.

  I think they have something.

  All right, I scratched out a few notes and I’m going to try and just give anaccount of some ideas and attitudes that have worked well for me.

  I don’t claim that they are perfect for everybody.

  Although I think many of them are pretty close to Universal values and many ofthem are can’t fail ideas.

  What are the core ideas that have helped me?

  Well luckily I got at a very early age, the idea that the safest way to try andget what you want, is to try and deserve what you want.

  It’s such a simple idea, it’s the golden rule so to speak.

  You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the otherend.

  There is no ethos in my opinion, that is better for any lawyer or any otherperson to have.

  By and large the people who have this ethos win in life and they don’t win justmoney, just honors emoluments.

  They win the respect, the deserved trust, of the people they deal with, andthere is huge pleasure in life to be obtained from getting deserved trust.

  And so the way to get it is to deliver what you’d want to buy if thecircumstances were reversed.

  Occasionally you find a perfect rogue of a person, who dies rich and widelyknown.

  But mostly these people are fully understood by the surrounding civilization,and when the cathedral is full of people at the funeral ceremony, most of themare there to celebrate the fact that the person is dead.

  And, that reminds me of the story of the time when one of these people died andthe minister said, “it’s now time for someone to say something nice about thedeceased”.

  And nobody came forward.

  And nobody came forward.

  And nobody came forward.

  And finally one man came up and he said, “well, his brother was worse”.

  That is not where you want to go! That’s not the kind of funeral you want tohave you'll leave entirely the wrong example.

  A second idea that I got very early was that there is no love that’s so rightas admiration based love, and that love should include the instructive dead.

  Somehow I got that idea and I lived with it all my life and it’s been very veryuseful to me.

  A love like that celebrated by Somerset Maugham and his book “Of Human Bondage”that’s a sick kind of love, it’s a disease. And if you find yourself in a diseaselike that my advice to you is turn around and fix it. Eliminate it.

  Another idea that I got and this may remind you of Confucius too, is that wisdomacquisition is a moral duty, it’s not something you do just to advance in life. Wisdomacquisition is a moral duty.

  And there’s a corollary to that proposition which is very important, it meansthat you’re hooked for lifetime learning, and without lifetime learningyou people are not going to do very well.

  You are not going to get very far in life based on what you already know.

  You’re going to advance in life by what you’re going to learn after you leavehere.

  If you take Berkshire Hathaway which is certainly one of the best regardedcorporations in the world and may have the best long-term investment record inthe entire history of civilization. The skill that got Berkshire through onedecade would not have sufficed to get it through the next decade with theachievements made.

  Without Warren Buffett being a learning machine, a continuous learning machine,the record would have been absolutely impossible.

  The same is true at lower walks of life. I constantly see people rise inlife who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but theyare learning machines, they go to bed every night a little wiser than when theygot up and boy does that help particularly when you have a long run ahead ofyou.

  Alfred North Whitehead said it one time that “the rapid advance of civilizationcame only when man invented the method of invention”, and of course he wasreferring to the huge growth of GDP per capita and all the other good thingsthat we now take for granted which started a few hundred years ago and beforethat all was stasis.

  So if civilization can progress only when it invents the method of invention,you can progress only when you learn the method of learning.

  I was very lucky. I came to law school having learned the method of learningand nothing has served me better in my long life than continuous learning.

  And if you take Warren Buffett and watched him with a time clock, I would sayhalf of all the time he spends is sitting on his ass and reading. And abig chunk of the rest of the time is spent talking one on one either on thetelephone or personally with highly gifted people whom he trusts and who trusthim.

  In other words it looks quite academic all this worldly success.

  Academia has many wonderful values in it. I came across such a value not toolong ago. It was several years ago.

  In my capacity as a hospital board chairman I was dealing with a medical schoolacademic. And this man over years of hard work had made himself know more aboutbone tumor pathology than almost anybody else in the world. And he wanted topass this knowledge on to the rest of us.

  And how was he going to do it? Well he decided to write a textbook that wouldbe very useful to other people.

  And I don’t think a textbook like this sells two thousand copies if those twothousand copies are in all the major cancer centers in the world.

  He took a year sabbatical, he sat down in his computer and he had all theslides because he saved them and organized them and filed them. He worked 17hours a day, 7 days a week, for a year and that was his sabbatical. At the endof the year he had one of the great bone tumor pathology textbooks in theworld.

  When you’re around values like that, you want to pick up as much as you can.

  Another idea that was hugely useful to me was that I listened in law schoolwhen some wag said, “A legal mind is a mind that when two things are alltwisted up together and interacting, it's feasible to think responsibly aboutone thing and not the other."

  Well I could see from that one sentence that that was perfectly ridiculous, andit pushed me further into my natural drift, which was into learning all the bigideas and all the big disciplines. So I wouldn’t be a perfect damn foolwho was trying to think about one aspect of something that couldn’t be removedfrom the totality of the situation in a constructive fashion.

  And what I noted since the really big ideas carry 95% of the *unclear*, itwasn’t at all hard for me to pick up all the big ideas and all the bigdisciplines and make them a standard part of my mental routines.

  Once you have the ideas of course they are no good if you don’t practice. Youdon’t practice you lose it.

  So I went through life constantly practicing this model of disciplinaryapproach. Well I can’t tell you what that’s done for me, it’s made life morefun, it’s made me more constructive, it’s made me more helpful to others, it’smade me enormously rich, you name it, that attitude really helps.

  Now there are dangers there, because it works so well, that if you do it, youwill frequently find you are sitting in the presence of some other expert,maybe even an expert that’s superior to you, supervising you. And you will knowmore than he does about his own specialty, a lot more. You will see the correctanswer when he’s missed it.

  That is a very dangerous position to be in. You can cause enormous offense byhelpfully being right in a way that causes somebody else to lose face. And Inever found a perfect way to solve that problem.

  I was a great poker player when I was young but I wasn’t a good enough pokerplayer so people failed to sense that I thought I knew more than they did abouttheir subjects and it gave a lot of offense. Now I’m just regarded as eccentricbut it was a difficult period to go through.

  And my advice to you is to learn sometimes to keep your light under a bushel.

  One of my colleagues, also number one in his class in law school, a greatsuccess in life worked for the supreme court etc… He knew a lot and he tendedto show it as a very young lawyer and one day the senior partner called him inand said, “listen Chuck, I want to explain something to you. Your duty underany circumstances is to behave in such a way that the client thinks he’s thesmartest person in the world. If you have any little energy and insightavailable after that, use it to make your senior partner look like the smartestperson in the world. And only after you’ve satisfied those two obligations doyou want your light to shine at all”.

  Well, that may be very good advice for rising in a large firm. It wasn’t what Idid I always obeyed the drift of my nature and if other people didn’t like it Ididn’t need to be adored by everybody.

  Another idea, and by the way when I talk about this multidisciplinary attitudeI’m really following a very key idea of the greatest lawyer of antiquity,Marcus Tullius Cicero.

  Cicero is famous for saying, “a man who doesn’t know what happened before hewas born goes through life like a child”. That is a very correct idea ofCicero’s. And he’s right to ridicule somebody so foolish as not to know whathappened before he was born.

  But if you generalize Cicero as I think one should, there are all these otherthings that you should know in addition to history and those other things arethe big ideas in all the other disciplines. And it doesn’t help you just toknow them enough just so you can *unclear* them back on an exam and get an A. Youhave to learn these things in such a way that they’re in a mental latticeworkin your head and you automatically use them for the rest of your life.

  If you do that I solemnly promise you that one day you’ll be walking down thestreet and look to your right and left and think, “my heavenly days! I’m nowone of the few most competent people of my whole age forward."

  If you don’t do it, many of the brightest of you will live in the middle ranksor in the shallows.

  Another idea that I got, and it was encapsulated by that story the Deanrecounted about the man who wanted to know where he was going to die and hewouldn’t go there, that rustic let that idea have a profound truth in his hand.

  The way complex adaptive systems work and the way mental constructs work;problems frequently get easier and I would even say usually are easier to solveif you turn around in reverse.

  In other words if you want to help India, the question you should ask is not“how can I help India?”, you think “what’s doing the worst damage in India?What would automatically do the worst damage and how do I avoid it?"

  You’d think they are logically the same thing, they’re not.

  Those of you who have mastered algebra know that inversion frequently willsolve problems which nothing else will solve.

  And in life, unless you’re more gifted than Einstein, inversion will help yousolve problems that you can't solve in other ways.

  But to use a little inversion now, what will really fail in life? What do youwant to avoid? Such an easy answer;

  sloth and unreliability.

  If you’re unreliable it doesn’t matter what your virtues are, you’re going tocrater immediately.

  So doing what you have faithfully engaged to do should be an automatic part ofyour conduct. You want to avoid sloth and unreliability.

  Another thing I think should be avoided is extremely intense ideology becauseit cabbages up one’s mind.

  You’ve seen that. You see a lot of it on TV you know preachers for instance,you know they’ve all got different ideas about theology and a lot of them haveminds that are made of cabbage.

  But that can happen with political ideology. And if you're young it’s easy todrift in to loyalties and when you announce that you’re a loyal member and youstart shouting the orthodox ideology out what you’re doing is pounding it in,pounding it in and you’re gradually ruining your mind so you want to be verycareful with this ideology. It’s a big danger.

  In my mind I got a little example I use whenever I think about ideology andit’s these Scandinavian canoeists who succeeded in taming all the rapids ofScandinavia and they thought they would tackle the whirlpools in the AaronRapids here in the United States. The death rate was 100%.

  A big whirlpool is not something you want to go into and I think the same istrue about a really deep ideology.

  I have what I call an iron prescription that helps me keep sane when Inaturally drift toward preferring one ideology over another. And that is Isay “I’m not entitled to have an opinion on this subject unless I canstate the arguments against my position better than the people do who aresupporting it. I think only when I reach that stage am I qualified to speak.”

  Now you can say that’s too much of an iron discipline, it’s not too much of aniron discipline, it’s not even that hard to do. It sounds a lot like the ironprescription of Ferdinand the Great, “it’s not necessary to hope in order topersevere."

  That probably is too tough for most people, I don’t think it’s too tough for mebut it's too tough for most people.

  But this business of not drifting into extreme ideology is a very veryimportant thing in life if you want to have more correct knowledge and be wiserthan other people. A heavy ideology is very likely to do you in.

  Another thing of course that does one in is the self serving bias to which weare all subject.

  You think that your little me is entitled to do what it wants to do, and forinstance why shouldn’t the true little me overspend my income?

  Well, there once was a man who became the most famous composer in the world buthe was utterly miserable most of the time and one of the reasons was he alwaysoverspent his income, that was Mozart.

  If Mozart can’t get by with this kind of asinine conduct, I don’t think youshould try it.

  Generally speaking, envy, resentment, revenge and self pity are disastrousmodes of thought, self-pity gets pretty close to paranoia, and paranoia isone of the very hardest things to reverse, you do not want to drift intoself-pity.

  I have a friend who carried a big stack of linen cards about this thick, andwhen somebody would make a comment that reflected self pity, he would take outone of the cards, take the top one off the stack and hand it to the person, andthe card said, “your story has touched my heart, never have I heard of anyonewith as many misfortunes as you”. Well you can say that’s waggery, but Isuggest that every time you find you’re drifting into self pity, I don’t carewhat the cause your child could be dying of cancer, self-pity is not going toimprove the situation, just give yourself one of those cards.

  It’s a ridiculous way to behave, and when you avoid it you get a greatadvantage over everybody else, almost everybody else, because self-pity is astandard condition and yet you can train yourself out of it.

  And of course a self serving bias, you want to get out of yourself, thinkingthat what’s good for you is good for the wider civilization and rationalizingall these ridiculous conclusions based on the subconscious tendency to serveone’s self.

  It’s a terribly inaccurate way to think and of course you want to drive thatout of yourself because you want to be wise not foolish.

  You also have to allow for the self serving bias of everybody else, becausemost people are not gonna remove it all that successfully, the only conditionbeing what it is. If you don’t allow for self serving bias in your conduct,again you’re a fool.

  I watched the brilliant Harvard law Review trained general counsel of *unclear*lose his career, and what he did was when the CEO was aware some underling hasdone something wrong the general counsel said “gee we don’t have any legal dutyto report this but I think it’s what we should do it’s our moral duty."

  Of course the general counsel was totally correct but of course it didn’t workit was a very unpleasant thing for the CEO to do and he put it off and put ifoff and of course everything erode into a major scandal and down went the CEOand the general counsel with him.

  The correct answer in situations like that was given by Ben Franklin, he said“if you want to persuade appeal to interest not to reason.” The self servingbias is so extreme.

  If the general counsel said, “look this is going to erupt, it’s something thatwill destroy you take away your money, take away your status it’s a perfectdisaster”, it would have worked!

  You want to appeal to interest, you want to do it of lofty motives, but youshould not avoid appealing to interest.

  Another thing, perverse incentives. You don’t want to be in a perverseincentive system that’s causing you to behave more and more foolishly or worseand worse.

  Incentives are too powerful a controller of human cognition and human behaviorand one of the things you are going to find in some modern law firms isbillable hour quotas and I could not have lived under a billable hour quota of2,400 hours a year. That would have caused serious problems for me I wouldn’thave done it and I don’t have a solution for you for that you have to figure itout for yourself but it’s a significant problem.

  Perverse associations, also to be avoided. You particularly want to avoidworking directly under somebody you really don’t admire and don’t want to belike.

  It’s very dangerous we are all subject to control to some extent our authorityfigures strictly authority figures that are rewarding us.

  And that requires some talent, the way I solved that is I figured out the peopleI did admire and I maneuvered cleverly without criticizing anybody so I wasworking entirely under people I admired. And a lot of law firms will permitthat if you’re shrewd enough to work it out and your outcome in life will beway more satisfactory and way better if you work under people you reallyadmire, the alternative is not a good idea.

  Objectivity maintenance.

  Well we all remember that Darwin paid special attention to disconfirmingevidence particularly to disconfirm something he believed and loved.

  Well objectivity maintenance routines are totally required in life if you’regoing to be a correct thinker. And they were talking about Darwin’s attitude,special attention to the disconfirming evidence, and also to checklistroutines.

  Checklist routines avoid a lot of errors. You should have all this elementarywisdom and then you should go through and have a checklist in order to use it.There is no other procedure that will work as well.

  A last idea that I found very important is I realized very early thatnon-egality would work better in the parts of the world I wanted to inhabit.What do I mean by non-egality? I mean John Wood when he was the number onebasketball coach in the world, he just said to the bottom five players, “youdon’t get to play your spurring partners”, the top seven did the whole playing.Well the top seven learned more, remember the learning machine, because theywere doing all the playing. And when he got to that system Wood won more thanhe’d ever won before.

  I think the game of life in many respects is getting a lot of practice into thehands of the people that have the most aptitude to learn and the most tendencyto be learning machines. And if you want the very highest reaches of humancivilization that’s where you have to go.

  You do not want to choose a brain surgeon for your child among fifty applicantsall of them just take turns during the procedure.

  You don’t want your airplanes designed that way.

  You don’t want your Berkshire Hathaway’s run that way.

  You want to get the power into the right people.

  I frequently tell the story of Max Planck when he won the Nobel prize and wentaround Germany giving lectures on quantum mechanics, and the chauffeurgradually memorized the lecture and he said, “would you mind professor Planckjust, it’s so boring staying on our routines, would you mind if I gave thelecture this time and you just sat in front with my chauffeur’s hat?” AndPlanck said sure.

  And the chauffeur got up and gave this long lecture on quantum mechanics afterwhich a physics professor stood up in the rear and asked a perfectly ghastlyquestion and the chauffeur said, “well I’m surprised that in an advanced citylike Munich I get such an elementary question, I’m going to ask my chauffeur toreply."

  Well the reason I tell that story is not entirely to celebrate the quickwittiness of the protagonist.

  In this world we have two kinds of knowledge, one is Planck knowledge, thepeople who really know, they paid the dues they have the aptitude.

  Then we got chauffeur knowledge, they have learned to prattle the talk. Theyhave a big head of hair, they have a fine temper in the voice, they make a hellof an impression, but in the end they've got chauffeur knowledge… I think I’vejust described practically every politician in the United States.

  And you are gonna have the problem in your life of getting the responsibilityinto the people of the Planck knowledge in a way for the people who have thechauffeur knowledge, and there are huge forces working against you.

  My generation has failed you to some extent. We are delivering to you inCalifornia a legislature where only the certified nuts from the left and thecertified nuts from the right are allowed to serve and none of them areremovable.

  That’s what my generation has done for you, but you wouldn’t like it to be tooeasy would you?

  Another thing that I found is an intense interest of the subject isindispensable if you are really going to excel. I could force myself to befairly good in a lot of things, but I couldn’t be really good in anything whereI didn’t have an intense interest, so to some extent you’re going to have tofollow me.

  If at all feasible you want to drift into doing something in which you reallyhave a natural interest.

  Another thing you have to do of course is have a lot of assiduity. I like thatword because it means sit down in your ass until you do it.

  I’ve had marvelous partners all my life. I think I got them partly because Itried to deserve them and partly because I was wise enough to select them andpartly maybe it was some luck.

  But two partners that I chose for one little phase of my life had the followingrule and they created a little designed build, construction team. And they satdown and said, 2 man partnership, divide everything equally, here’s the rule;“whenever we're behind in our commitments to other people we will both work 14hours a day until we caught up."

  Well needless to say that firm didn’t fail! The people died rich. It’s such asimple idea.

  Another thing of course is life will have terrible blows, horrible blows,unfair blows, doesn’t matter. And some people recover and others don’t. Andthere I think the attitude of Epictetus is the best. He thought that everymischance in life was an opportunity to behave well, every mischance in lifewas an opportunity to learn something and your duty was not to be submerged inself-pity but to utilize the terrible blow in a constructive fashion. That is avery good idea.

  You may remember the epitaph which Epictetus left for himself, “Here liesEpictetus, a slave maimed in body, the ultimate in poverty, and favored of thegods”.

  Well that’s the way Epictetus is now remembered. He said big consequences. Andhe was favorite of the Gods! He was favored because he became wise, and hebecame manly. Very good idea.

  I got a final little idea because I’m all for prudence as well as opportunism.

  My grandfather was the only federal judge in his city for nearly forty yearsand I really admired him. I’m his namesake.

  And I’m Confucian enough that even now I sit here and I’m saying, “well, JudgeMunger would be pleased to see me here."

  So I’m Confucian enough all these years after my grandfather is dead to carrythe torch for my grandfather’s values.

  And grandfather Munger was a federal judge at the time and there were nopensions for widows of federal judges so he didn’t save from his incomewhile my grandmother *unclear*. And being the kind of man he was he underspenthis income all his life and left her in comfortable circumstances.

  Along the way in the thirties my uncle’s bank failed and couldn’t reopen and mygrandfather saved the bank by taking over a third of his assets, good assets,and putting them into the bank and taking up horrible assets in exchange.

  And of course it did save the bank and while my grandfather took a loss he gotmost of his money back eventually.

  But I’ve always remembered the example. And so when I got to college and I cameacross Houseman, I remember the little poem from Houseman that went somethinglike this:

  “The thoughts of others

  were light and fleeting,

  of lovers' meeting

  Luck or fame.

  Mine were of trouble,

  And mine were steady,

  And I was ready

  When trouble came."

  You can say, “who wants to go through life anticipating trouble?”. Well I did!All my life I’ve gone through life anticipating trouble and here I am wellalong on my 84th year and like Epictetus I’ve had a favored life.

  It didn't make me unhappy to anticipate trouble all the time and be ready toperform adequately if trouble came. It didn’t hurt me at all. In fact it helpedme. So I quick claim to you Houseman and Judge Munger.

  The last idea that I want to give you as you go out into a profession that frequentlyputs a lot of procedure and a lot of precautions and a lot of mumbo jumbo intowhat it does, this is not a fast form which civilization can reach. A fast formwhich civilization can reach is a seamless web of deserved trust. Not muchprocedure just totally reliable people correctly trusting one another. That’sthe way an operating room works at the Mayo clinic.

  If a bunch of lawyers working *unclear* process the patients would all die.

  So never forget when you’re a lawyer that you may be rewarded for selling thisstuff but you don’t have to buy it.

  In your own life what you want is a seamless web of deserved trust. And if yourproposed marriage contract has 47 pages my suggestion is do not enter.

  Well that’s enough for one graduation.

  I hope these ruminations of an old man are useful to you. In the end I’m likethe Old Valiant-for-Truth in The Pilgrim’s Progress;

  “My sword I leave to him who can wear it."


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