Charlie Munger’s Top 10 Quotes On Life, Business and Morality

The legendary investor was known for his sage advice and pithy one-liners.

Older man in glasses and suit
Charlie Munger at the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) known for his business partnership with Warren Buffett and renowned for his sage investments, has died at age 99.

The legendary investor died peacefully today (Nov. 28) in a California hospital, according to a press release from Berkshire Hathaway that did not specify a cause of death. “Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom and participation,” said Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO and Munger’s long-time friend, in a statement.

Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Munger served in the U.S. Army before attending Harvard Law School and pursuing a legal career. The billionaire became a vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway in 1978, serving as Buffett’s right-hand man — a role that afforded many opportunities to dole out pithy advice focused on business and the art of living.

10 of Charlie Munger’s most memorable musings:

  • “You don’t have to be brilliant, only a little bit wiser than the other guys, on average, for a long, long time.” — Poor Charlie’s Almanack, 2005
  • “Always take the high road, it’s far less crowded.” — Daily Journal annual meeting, 2020
  • “Like Warren, I had a considerable passion to get rich, not because I wanted Ferraris—I wanted the independence. I desperately wanted it.” — Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, 1995
  • “Wisdom acquisition is a moral duty. It’s not something you do just to advance in life.” — USC Law commencement speech, 2007
  • “It’s waiting that helps you as an investor and a lot of people just can’t stand to wait. If you didn’t get the deferred-gratification gene, you’ve got to work very hard to overcome that.” — Wall Street Journal interview, 2014
  • “I think part of the popularity of Berkshire Hathaway is that we look like people who have found a trick. It’s not brilliance. It’s just avoiding stupidity.” — Harvard-Westlake School panel, 2010
  • “Those of us who have been fortunate have a duty to give back. Whether one gives a lot as one goes along as I do, or a little and then a lot (when one dies) as Warren does, is a matter of personal preference.” — Poor Charlie’s Almanack, 2005
  • “The best way to get what you want in life is to deserve what you want. How could it be otherwise? It’s not crazy enough so that the world is looking for a lot of undeserving people to reward.” — University of Michigan lecture, 2010
  • “The world is not driven by greed. It’s driven by envy… I have conquered envy in my own life. I don’t envy anybody. I don’t give a damn what someone else has. But other people are driven crazy by it.” — Daily Journal annual meeting, 2022
  • “Almost everybody that has an unusually good result has three things: They’re very intelligent, they worked very hard, and they were very lucky. It takes all three to get them on this list of the super successful. How can you arrange to have two or three episodes of good luck? The answer is you can start early and keep trying a long time, and maybe you’ll get one or two.” — Acquired podcast, 2023
Charlie Munger’s Top 10 Quotes On Life, Business and Morality