“We get this question a lot from the enterprising young. It’s a very intelligent question: you look at some old guy who is rich and you ask, ‘How can I become like you, except faster?’” Charlie Munger
I really enjoyed this post by Frederik Grieschen titled ‘Thinking About The Next Warren Buffett‘
The media and a new generation of investors are fascinated with how to spot or become the next Buffett.
I liked this riff at the end of the post:
Asking a better question
In The Big Short, Michael Lewis described how Michael Burry studied Buffett and found that the more he learned, “the less he thought Buffett could be copied.” Rather, the lesson from Buffett’s life was that “to succeed in a spectacular fashion you had to be spectacularly unusual.”
“If you are going to be a great investor, you have to fit the style to who you are. At one point I recognized that Warren Buffett, though he had every advantage in learning from Ben Graham, did not copy Ben Graham, but rather set out on his own path, and ran money his way, by his own rules.” Michael Burry
Munger has said as much, explaining that Buffett, “the former protégé,” surpassing Ben Graham was “a natural outcome.”
“It’s what Newton said. He said, ‘If I’ve seen a little farther than other men, it’s by standing on the shoulder of giants.’”
Speaking of giants, during the 2019 annual meeting Munger was in a chattier mood. He shared one of my favorite little stories:
Munger: “Young lawyers frequently come to me and say, ‘How can I quit practicing law and become a billionaire instead?’ I say, well, it reminds me of a story they tell about Mozart.
A young man came to him, and he said, ‘I want to compose symphonies. I want to talk to you about that.’ Mozart said, ‘How old are you?’ ‘Twenty-two.’
And Mozart said, ‘You’re too young to do symphonies.’ And the guy says, ‘But you were writing symphonies when you were ten years old.’
He says, ‘Yes, but I wasn’t running around asking other people how to do it.’”
This is a key point. The next Warren Buffett, whoever they are, will not be afraid to ask the question that is on everyone’s mind. But they will also not be sitting in the audience waiting to be handed enlightenment. They will not be content to adopt their teachers’ methods and ideas. They will, to quote Bruce Lee, “reject what is useless” and add what is uniquely their own.
They will be on a quest to surpass the masters of prior generations. And they will be a joy to discover, follow, and study.
Have a great Friday.