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Living Well – Succeeding Big: Lessons from Charlie Munger | Video

Living Well - Succeeding Big: Lessons from Charlie Munger | Video

Have you heard of Charlie Munger?
A lot of people haven’t.
But you should.

Charlie is the business partner of the more famous Warren Buffett. He’s the Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the US investment giant that makes its shareholders very rich.

But what makes Munger worth knowing about is not just his undeniable success as a business person. He also talks a lot about how he achieves it. And what he says makes a lot of sense for us as Project Managers.

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

Charlie Munger’s Elementary, Worldly Wisdom

Charlie Munger offers what he calls ‘elementary, worldly wisdom’. These are a set of mental models, or ways of thinking about business, finance, and life. They will help prepare you to solve big problems, and succeed in your chosen career… in your case, Project Management.

Born in 1924, Charlie Munger is still going strong

He still works in his businesses with vigor. Over ten years ago, he spoke to graduands at USC Law School, and opened with a joke:

“Well, no doubt many of you are wondering why the speaker is so old. Well, the answer is obvious: he hasn’t died yet.”

In that speech, he sets out many of his core ideas, that helped him. I’d like to share three of his ideas, which resonate well as tips for Project Managers.

Learn to Think about Problems Backwards as well as Forwards

Projects are often complicated. So know how complex systems work and the way mental constructs work. Munger suggests problems often get easier and are usually easier to solve, if you turn around in reverse.

Munger’s example is wanting to help India. So, instead of asking: “how can I help India?”, you can ask:

“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. Inversion like this will often solve problems which nothing else will solve.

Be Reliable.

Being unreliable will cancel out your other virtues.

If you’re unreliable it doesn’t matter what virtues you have, you’re going to fail immediately. So doing what you have promised to do should be an automatic part of your conduct. Munger tells us to avoid sloth and unreliability.

Practice Diligence.

Sit down and do it until it’s done.

Another thing you need is a lot of assiduity. Munger likes the word assiduous because it means “sit down on your ass until you do it”.

Charlie Munger’s Story of the Two Business Partners

He tells the story of two partners he chose for one part of his life, who had a simple rule for their business:

“Whenever we’re behind in our commitments to other people we will both work 14 hours a day until we caught up.”

Needless to say that firm didn’t fail! The partners died rich.

Over to You

When you are 81 (as Charlie Munger was when he made that speech), will you be able to look back on a successful career and offer wisdom to the next generation?

I hope so.

I wonder what it will be…

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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