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Damn Right!
Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger
by Janet Lowe
John Wiley & Sons © 2003
304 pages
Leadership & Mgt.
• Charlie Munger’s Midwestern family valued hard work and integrity.
• He started his career as a lawyer but moved gradually into the life of an investor.
Sales & Marketing
Corporate Finance
• Family has always mattered to Charlie; he has eight children from two marriages.
Human Resources
• Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett met in 1959 and got along immediately.
Technology & Production
• The successes of Charlie’s law firm, Munger, Tolles, and his hedge fund, Wheeler,
Munger & Co., founded in 1962, furthered his career as an independent investor.
Small Business
Economics & Politics
Industries & Regions
Career Development
Personal Finance
• Munger and Buffett built an informal partnership, investing together throughout the 1970s.
• The two created the present structure of the Berkshire Hathaway holding company
in the early 1980s, and have been profitably investing in companies ever since.
• Charlie has always been an honest businessman, and is the first to admit to his mistakes.
Concepts & Trends
• He promotes social causes, including abortion rights and quality health care.
• He earned his status as one of the world’s foremost investors.
(10 is best)
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or call us at our U.S. office (954-359-4070) or Switzerland office (+41-41-367-5151). getAbstract is an Internet-based knowledge rating
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copyrights of authors and publishers are acknowledged. All rights reserved. No part of this abstract may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopying, or otherwise, without prior written permission of getAbstract Ltd (Switzerland).
What You Will Learn
In this Abstract, you will learn: 1) The life story of Charlie Munger; 2) How he became a
billionaire through investments in real estate and corporate acquisitions; and 3) How he
helped Warren Buffett make Berkshire Hathaway successful.
Charlie Munger’s life story is a version of the classic American Dream: a hard-working
young man builds a billion-dollar fortune through hard work and honest business deals,
all the while raising eight children with the help of an intelligent, devoted wife. Author
Janet Lowe brings this story and Munger’s personality to life with well-chosen anecdotes
from family, friends and business associates. These include, most notably, Warren
Buffett, with whom she already enjoyed a rapport thanks to her work on a previous
bestseller, Warren Buffett Speaks. Because Munger’s business history is so complex,
the chapters are organized thematically rather than strictly chronologically, which
can be a bit confusing. Thankfully, Lowe provides a handy timeline in an appendix.
getAbstract.com suggests this book to investors, Buffett fans (who may underestimate
the contributions others such as Munger have made to the Berkshire Hathaway empire)
and to those dismayed by corporate corruption who could use this tale of honest success
to renew their faith in capitalism.
The Early Years
On January 1, 1924, Charles Thomas Munger was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother,
Toody, came from a wealthy family of intellectuals, and gave her son his voracious hunger
for reading and learning. His father, Al, a successful lawyer, was the son of Judge T. C.
Munger, a self-educated man who rose from abject poverty to become a federal judge.
“If (investing)
weren’t a little difficult, everybody
would be rich.” —
Charlie Munger
“Without numerical
fluency, in the part
of life most of us
inhabit, you are
like a one-legged
man in an asskicking contest.” —
Charlie Munger
Young Charlie was steeped in the family values of hard work and self-discipline.
Though he worked briefly at Buffett & Son, a grocery store owned by Warren Buffett’s
grandfather, he didn’t cross paths with Warren, who is five years his junior, until
years later. Charlie left Omaha to attend the University of Michigan in 1941, and left
school in 1943 to enlist in the Army Air Corps. He was sent to Caltech to train as a
weatherman, then to Alaska. Though he never saw combat, his training proved lifechanging in another way: during it, he met and married Nancy Huggins, his sister’s
roommate at Scripps College.
The young couple moved to Boston so Charlie could attend Harvard Law School, his
father’s alma mater. Despite having no undergraduate degree, Charlie graduated magna
cum laude. In 1949, Charlie, Nancy, and their son and two daughters moved to California
where he joined the law firm Wright & Garrett (later Musick, Peeler & Garrett). In 1953,
the Mungers divorced. The children lived with their mother, but remained close to their
father. Around this time, Charlie invested in a business for the first time, buying part of a
troubled transformer company owned by one of his legal clients. The financial pressure
came at a difficult time; Munger’s nine-year-old son, Teddy, died of leukemia in 1955.
The Road to Riches
In 1956, Charlie married Nancy Borthwick (friends joke that Charlie wouldn’t be able to
remember her name if it wasn’t the same as his first wife’s), and took her two sons from a