April 19, 2015

Investing Advice from Charlie Munger

Charlie Munger at the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting

Here are some words of wisdom I came across about portfolio management and building wealth from billionaire Charlie Munger. We've really made the money out of high-quality businesses.  In some cases, we bought the whole business.  And in some cases, we just bought a big block of stock.  But when you analyze what happened, the big money's been made in the high quality businesses.  And most of the other people who've made a lot of money have done so in high-quality businesses. Over the long ter … [Read more...]

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged Part I Movie Trailer Released

Atlas Shrugged Movie Trailer

Atlas Shrugged is being made into a trilogy and the trailer for the first installment has been released.  You all know that, although I enjoyed the book immensely, I think Ayn Rand's ideas and mental models were incomplete (e.g., they ignore the component of human nature that results in oligarchical power structures eventually destroying entrepreneurship if there isn't some sort of level playing field determined by a nation's laws to act as a check and balance, much in the same way the founding … [Read more...]

My Birthday In Pictures

Kelsey, Tyler and Ellie at Birthday Dinner

The birthday festivities began around midnight.  Most of my family was over visiting going over some details of something we needed to discuss.  Then, later that night (er ... morning) I got an email from Molly, who sent me a charitable gift card to Kiva, a wonderful organization. I woke up to one of my most favorite breakfasts in the world - a plain, untoasted bagel with cream cheese and strong black coffee - and then my mom stopped by with cupcakes.  Aaron, my youngest sister and I headed to … [Read more...]

Think Like a Spider Web, Not an Organizational Chart

Life Is Like 3D Chess

Here is the best thing I heard all day ... Life is not an organization chart. Life is more like a spider's web. Things happen in strange ways. - Ross Perot There is a lot of truth in this. You cannot think lineally about your life or business. You need to think in three-dimensions. This is one of the reasons people are successful. Take my parents and their company, Chenille Appeal. How is it they were able to grow, fund significant expansion and make major technology upgrades … [Read more...]

One of the Mansions In Charlie Munger’s Secret “Mungerville” Up for Sale


Given that I wrote about Charlie Munger so much this week (re-reading part of his biography caused him to be on my mind), I thought this was interesting ... Years ago, through a tiny property subsidiary called MS Properties (or something along those lines), that is a subsidiary of Wesco Financial Corporation, that is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger decided to secretly develop a tiny bit of Southern California as a creative outlet.  His friends called this "Mungerville" but … [Read more...]

You Will Make Mistakes. Forgive Yourself. Move On. Start Rebuilding.

"His son died, his marriage ended, he lost a lot of money," said Charles, Jr.  "He just walks away from that (emotionally).  Dad says to himself, that doesn't work.  Don't revisit it.  There are some things my dad could deal with better if he faced them more.  My dad, if he had a bad experience in a town, in a restaurant, he would not go back.  I'd try again." - Page 45, Damn Right!  Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger by Janet Lowe You will have failure in your … [Read more...]

The First $100,000 Is Hardest

"Munger has said that accumulating the first $100,000 from a standing start, with no seed money, is the most difficult part of building wealth.  Making the first million was the next big hurdle.  To do that a person must consistently underspend his income.  Getting wealthy, he explains, is like rolling a snowball.  It helps to start on the top of a long hill - start early and try to roll that snowball for a very long time.  It helps to live a long life." - Page 242, Damn Right!  Behind the Scene … [Read more...]

The Secret World of Brooks Brothers

Growing up in relatively modest circumstances, I had no idea how different clothes shopping was for men once they became successful.  Honestly, I never thought much about it but the assumption was that in terms of logistics, it would be just like shopping at Wal-Mart only with better surroundings, better service, higher quality and higher price tags.  You know, you walk into a Neiman Marcus or a Saks, look around at the merchandise, and then pay for it at a register if you were satisfied. I was … [Read more...]

How to Solve the Trade Deficit – Part IV

I Want My Country Back

This is part of my special on How to Solve the Trade Deficit. You can read Part I, Part II, or Part III if you missed them. The Increased Competition for Jobs Is Domestic, As Well You mention that standards of living have fallen, despite gains in things like iPods with 25,000 songs and the ability to connect instantly through the Internet.  The thing is: In many respects, it isn't true - standards of living haven't fallen - unless you fit one specific demographic, which we'll talk about in a … [Read more...]

How to Solve the Trade Deficit – Part III

Knowledge Worker

This is Part III of my special on How to Solve the Trade Deficit.  If you missed the earlier parts, you can read Part I or Part II first. How to Solve the Trade Deficit - Knowledge Workers vs. Manual Workers In many ways, your question about the trade deficit has very little to do with global trade policies and everything to do with the rise of the "knowledge worker" class that Peter Drucker predicted in 1959. Drucker, the management guru who is to executives what Warren Buffett is to … [Read more...]