The Munger Operating System

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

In 2007, Charlie Munger gave the commencement address at USC Law School and effectively spelled out the Munger Operating System:

  • To get what you want, deserve what you want. Trust, success, and admiration are earned.
  • Learn to love and admire the right people, live or dead.
  • Acquiring wisdom is a moral duty as well as a practical one.
  • Learn to fluency the big multidisciplinary ideas of the world and use them regularly.
  • Learn to think through problems backwards as well as forward.
  • Be reliable. Unreliability can cancel out the other virtues.
  • Avoid intense ideologies. Always consider the other side as carefully as your own.
  • Get rid of self-serving bias, envy, resentment, and self-pity.
  • At the same time, allow for the self-serving bias in others who haven’t removed it.
  • Avoid being part of a system with perverse incentives.
  • Work with and under people you admire, and avoid the inverse when at all possible.
  • Learn to maintain your objectivity, especially when it’s hardest.
  • Concentrate experience and power into the hands of the right people – the wise learning machines.
  • You’ll be most successful where you’re most intensely interested.
  • Learn the all-important concept of assiduity: Sit down and do it until it’s done.
  • Use setbacks in life as an opportunity to become a bigger and better person. Don’t wallow.
  • The highest reach of civilization is a seamless system of trust among all parties concerned.


  1. Gaikokumaniakku says:

    “You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end. There is no ethos, in my opinion, that is better for any lawyer or any other person to have. By and large the people who have this ethos win in life and they don’t win just money, not just honors. They win the respect, the deserved trust of the people they deal with…”

    In my experience, the people who have this ethos are loved by their communities, but not appreciated.

    People who follow the Golden Rule are often swindled, cheated out of the wages due to them, downsized, and abandoned.

    The Golden Rule probably makes God appreciate the people who practice it, but their fellow humans are not so appreciative.

    If we could get everyone to follow the Golden Rule, society would be wonderful, and much different.

    In fact, society is run by psychopaths, particularly the banks and think tanks. Henry Kissinger isn’t going to stop persuading the Pentagon to bomb civilians just because someone in Middletown, USA follows the Golden Rule.

    Taking a broad interpretation of “do as you would be done by,” a good Christian would want to be corrected when he is in a state of sin. Thus a good Christian should be willing to correct the actions of war criminals. Somehow it never seems to work out that way.

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