It's not easy to get hold of this oversize book, you can't browse it in the bookshop. Still, I'm a speechwriter and I find Charlie Munger's business speeches are full of stories, insight and humour, so I decided to order the book and take the risk.
It was a very rewarding bet. It's rather like a book you'd buy about your favourite sportsman. There are loads of tributes to him, and it goes through his best speeches and articles. It's a bit schmaltzy in places, but he's an American - and a very brilliant American at that.
What I love about Munger is that he sends you off in all directions. He is in favour of a multidisciplinary approach to all problems. He quotes an example that you're average professor of poetry usually very unworldly. Why? Because he probably doesn't take other 'models' of the world particularly seriously.
Munger says we have to know lots about science, lots about arithmetic, lots about business, lots about history and lots about psychology. Studying these subjects gives you different perspectives, which give you the flexibility to think about problems in a sensible and pragmatic way. Woe unto you if you get wrapped up in powerful ideologies. They poison your judgement. He puts a high premium on getting rich slow, and avoiding misery.
Since I regard myself as intellectual, but I found my university course extremely limiting, Munger is the best tutor I never had. All his ideas are beautifully illustrated by stories and pictures in this book. He has saved me the cost of doing an MBA! Munger points out the folly that besets institutions and powerful groups.
Also at the end he gives you a reading list of his favourite books. I have already purchased some of them through Amazon, and they're extremely good.
For anyone seriously considering a career in business, this is an essential tome. In fact if you are specialising in any profession, Munger reminds you how important it is to view human behaviour through many different lenses.
I just love 'wisdom' literature - among my two favourites to rival this one are Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy and Montaigne's Essays.