How to become smarter

There are few people who haven’t heard of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. They are both longtime business partners at Berkshire Hathaway. Both are billionaires and it would be helpful for us to hear what they say about their success. In fact, they have attributed their success to one thing.

How to become smarter?

Read. A lot.

Warren Buffett says, “I just sit in my office and read all day.”

What does that mean? He estimates that he spends 80% of his working day reading and thinking.

“You could hardly find a partnership in which two people settle on reading more hours of the day than in ours,” Charlie Munger commented.

How do we prepare for a successful career?

In the early 2000s, Buffett was giving a guest lecture at the Columbia Business School when a student raised his hand and asked what he could do now to prepare for an investing career. Buffett thought for a few seconds and then reached for the stack of reports, trade publications and other papers he had brought with him.

“Read 500 pages like this every day,” said Buffett, or words to that effect. “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

At least one student in the class, however, accepted Buffet’s advice. His name is Todd Combs, and as he began his own investment career, he started reading 500, 750, and even 1,000 pages each day. The outcome? Eight years later, he was recruited by Buffett himself to work for Buffett’s company. Not only that, but Combs has also been considered a possible replacement for Buffett as chief investment officer for Buffett’s company upon Buffet’s retirement. Combs’ example is a powerful validation of Buffett’s belief in the value of reading.

Reading alone isn’t sufficient.

According to Charlie Munger, he has these words of wisdom about reading. “We read a lot. I don’t know anyone who’s wise who doesn’t read a lot. But that’s not enough: You have to have a temperament to grab ideas and do sensible things. Most people don’t grab the right ideas or don’t know what to do with them”

I’ll end with this quote from Charlie Munger.

Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day.

Are you making reading a habit? If not, it’s time to get started. Here’s a list of 10 books recommendations from Charlie Munger.

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