Follow Munger in Deep, Broad Learning

One of my resolutions for 2016 is to read more across a breadth of topics.  In full disclosure, most of the book content I’ve consumed in recent years has been via which I love and recommend highly – you can speed up the content and consume some voluminous stuff pretty quickly, particularly for a slow-ish reader like me, and you can do it on the go.  I am guessing Audible will still be my preferred content consumption method, but I’m diligently working on reading more too.

To kick off my year, I picked two books to parallel process – a re-read of How to Win Friends & Influence People (one of my all time favorites, quick read, timeless content) and Poor Charlie’s Almanack.  Many of you probably haven’t heard of the Almanack, or, for that matter, Charlie Munger for whom the book is assembled.  Munger is the longtime business partner of a fellow named Warren Buffett, and probably one of the least well known obscenely successful investors in history.  Sure, anyone in the financial services world would know who he is, the same way they would know who Ray Dalio is. (Dalio by the way runs the largest hedge fund in the world as of this writing, Bridgewater, and is an amazing, eccentric guy…here’s a link to a prior Ray related post).  But outside our world, not many folks would’ve heard of Munger.  But his discipline of learning and thinking are of great value to anyone who aspires to be successful and happy in their life journey.

I’m about half way through, and the Almanack thus far hasn’t disappointed.  Charlie is voracious reader, a deep thinker and a lover of learning.  One his key tenets is to view problem solving / decision making / investing, through the use of a “latticework of mental models.”  That is, Charlie believes that understanding the fundamental foundations of as many different disciplines as one can improves one’s ability to make decisions.  Here’s a recent article that does a much better job of explaining this approach than I will endeavor here, with examples / explanations.  This idea in and of itself is a somewhat deep topic, and not conducive to a blog post, but I recommend exploring it – regardless of your field of focus.  I would venture a guess, that when you look back at some of the good decisions you’ve made, they were enhanced by your own ability to synthesize information across multiple disciplines.