Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor By Tren Griffin ~ Book Review ~ market folly

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor By Tren Griffin ~ Book Review

Tren Griffin recently released a new book entitled Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor.  In it, he outlines Munger's investing strategy and timeless lessons by extracting pearls of wisdom from speeches, interviews, writings, and shareholder letters.

If you're unfamiliar with Munger, he is the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.  While Warren Buffett undoubtedly is the face of the organization, Munger has been an integral part of Berkshire's success.

After all, Buffett said that, "I have been shaped tremendously by Charlie" and Munger is largely credited with tweaking Buffett's value investing approach to focus more on quality by buying great businesses at a good price rather than merely good businesses at a great price.

While Munger is already studied and to an extent idolized by a fervent subsection of investors, the argument can be made that he actually is not as widely known or as reviewed as he should be, thanks in part to Buffett's blinding spotlight. Griffin helps to rectify that with a definitive book on Charlie Munger.

Griffin, who works for Microsoft, is the author of the blog 25iq (which we've linked to in our "What We're Reading" posts numerous times.)  There, he seeks to extract wisdom from top investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs with his signature series of "A Dozen Things I've Learned From XYZ Investor."

Munger is well known for his 'mental models' and this book superbly focuses on this critical portion of Munger's approach.  By combining aspects of business with psychology, economics, ethics and more, Munger seeks to keep his emotions in check.  For Munger, being a successful investor is in part achieved simply by avoiding "the common pitfalls of bad judgment."

This book will undoubtedly and rightly be compared to Poor Charlie's Almanack, the compilation by Peter Kaufman as well as another book, Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger by Janet Lowe. 

All three books cover similar topics and content.  Each book is a reflection of its curator and this is where Griffin excels by focusing on the most important concepts related to Munger, with chapters on Munger's "Worldly Wisdom" as well as "The Psychology of Human Misjudgment."  The book also contains 23 pages on the important concept of 'moats' in investing.

Knowledge carnivores and avid readers will also find the bibliography at the end of the book a savory treat.  After all, the 17-page bibliography highlights sources Griffin used to amass this collection of wisdom. 

The main difference between the three major books on Munger is price.  Poor Charlie seems to retail for over $45 these days, and Damn Right typically goes for around $22.  True value investors might seek out Griffin's version, which seems to be the cheapest at $18 for hardcover and only $13.49 for the Kindle version.

Griffin's book will be most beneficial for investors who are always looking to improve their craft, especially in the realm of psychology, behavior, and other qualitative aspects of investing.  Investors new to Munger entirely will also find this book extremely useful, allowing them to play catch up on decades of wisdom in an easy 182-page read.  

Investors who have already scoured every word ever written or spoken by Munger will find this book to be redundant, as it doesn't contain much new information.  The book also isn't really a biography on Munger's life if that's what you're looking for.

However, one of the book's main advantages is the way the information is presented and organized.  Instead of having to scour hundreds of resources on Munger to find specific wisdom, this book concisely aggregates everything into distinct chapters to easily reference in the future.

Currently ranked as the #1 Best Seller in Amazon's "Stock Market Investing" category, be sure to check out Tren Griffin's new book, Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor.

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