Avoiding Crazy: Charlie Munger’s Key to a Long Life and Successful Ventures

Charlie Munger, the business partner of Warren Buffett, passed away at the age of 99 last week. Interestingly, he attributed his success and longevity in life to a single piece of advice: “Avoid crazy at all costs.” In an interview with CNBC’s Becky Quick scheduled to air on his 100th birthday in January, Munger expressed this view. This was his mindset throughout his 45-year-long partnership with Buffett, who is worth $120 billion.

The Keys to a Long and Successful Life

Munger admitted he did not have a formula for success, but he credited his cautious approach for avoiding major catastrophes in both his personal and professional life. He emphasized the need to avoid ‘crazy,’ as this was more common than one may think. According to Munger, ‘crazy’ could result from indulging in harmful vices such as drinking or over-leveraging.

A Cautionary Tale on Leverage

According to Berkshire Hathaway’s vice chairman, while a strategy like leveraging could have doubled the investment holding company’s worth, it was deemed too risky. Buffett and Munger preferred long-term investments over short-term gambles, considering the interests of the company’s smaller shareholders.

Avoiding Standard Ways of Failing

Munger maintained his philosophy of steering clear of standard ways of failing, advocating for the shunning of any behavior that could lead ‘fine people’ into deep trouble. Despite being cautious, he admitted to indulging in two minor vices – peanut brittle and Diet Coke – at the expense of his health and longevity.

Munger’s Pivotal Philosophy

The late billionaire’s life philosophy can be summarized as avoiding risky behaviors, focusing on the long term, and steering clear of any activity or investment deemed ‘crazy.’

While his partnership with Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway’s success are well-documented, Munger’s ability to maintain his health and clear mindset until the age of 99 is cemented in his ability to avoid ‘crazy’ and veer towards cautious, long-term thinking.

Personal Health and Longevity

Munger admitted that he may have indulged in a few minor vices, like peanut brittle and Diet Coke, but he expressed a lack of concern with how these would potentially shorten his life span. He emphasized that avoiding current negative behaviors and staying cautious has contributed to his happy life and continued success up to his last days.

The Takeaway

Munger’s life is a testament to the power of avoiding ‘crazy’ and continually opting for caution. He lived to see his 99th year, attributing his success and happiness to a deliberate choice to avoid risky behaviors and always remain cautious.