Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger On Their Friendship | May 2, 2016 | Summary and Q&A

November 20, 2020
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Warren Buffett & Charlie Munger On Their Friendship | May 2, 2016

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In this video, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger discuss their partnership of 57 years and the key factors that have contributed to their successful collaboration. They emphasize the importance of mutual respect, shared values, and the belief in win-win relationships. They also highlight the impact of their upbringing in Omaha and their early experiences working together. Furthermore, they discuss the unique culture at Berkshire Hathaway and their goal of maintaining its success and values for the future.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the secret to Warren and Charlie's successful partnership?

Warren and Charlie attribute their long-lasting partnership to several factors. They genuinely like each other and have similar ways of thinking, which includes sharing a sense of humor and agreeing on important matters. While they have had disagreements, they approach them respectfully and find ways to reach consensus. Their partnership has been filled with joy and fun, and their ability to make each other think differently has been a valuable aspect of their collaboration.

Q: How do Warren and Charlie prioritize relationships and behaving better each year?

Warren and Charlie believe that the world functions best when relationships are founded on win-win principles. They have learned that being a good partner is the key to finding good partners. They have adopted this old-fashioned idea and continually strive to improve themselves and their behavior. They aim to hang around good people and always behave better each year. This approach has not only served them well but has also been rewarding in various ways.

Q: Can you provide an example of something that Warren has thought about differently because of his interactions with Charlie?

Warren acknowledges that Charlie has made him think differently about the concept of buying businesses. Charlie introduced the idea of buying average companies at cheap prices and exceptional businesses at fair prices, helping Warren focus on the quality of both the business and the individuals involved. Charlie's guidance has prevented Warren from making potential mistakes by partnering with the wrong people or investing in subpar companies.

Q: How much of Warren and Charlie's outlook on life can be attributed to their upbringing in Omaha?

Both Warren and Charlie emphasize that their upbringing in Omaha has significantly influenced their outlook on life. They were raised in a similar environment and shared a deep admiration for their fathers. They credit their fathers, who they considered worthy of admiration, for instilling important values in them. The city of Omaha has had a substantial impact on both of them, shaping their character and contributing to their success.

Q: What did Charlie learn from working at Warren's grandfather's grocery store?

Charlie recounts his experience working at Warren's grandfather's grocery store, where he learned the value of hard work. The environment was demanding, and Charlie and Warren were pushed to their limits. Their grandfather worked them tirelessly, except for himself. One lesson they took from this experience was that they did not want to work in a grocery store long-term.

Q: How often do Warren and Charlie communicate with each other?

Warren and Charlie communicate less frequently now because they don't feel the need to. However, they express great satisfaction with their partnership and the relationships they have built. Berkshire Hathaway has provided them with countless pleasant relationships, not just financially rewarding ones. They have created a unique culture that aligns with their values and encourages like-minded individuals to join them.

Q: What does Warren mean when he talks about the salary structure of directors at Berkshire?

Warren highlights the unconventional nature of Berkshire Hathaway's salary structure for directors. They attract high-quality directors by offering a yearly salary of only $900. This approach is in line with their belief system, as they consider it a model that works for everyone involved. It demonstrates their commitment to their principles and creates an environment where their ideas and practices can thrive.

Q: Do Warren and Charlie have any specific goals for the upcoming year?

Warren expresses his desire to continue improving Berkshire Hathaway. He emphasizes that his goal is for the company to do well rather than for them to personally excel. He mentions the possibility of pursuing one more big deal but recognizes the importance of finalizing existing deals before considering new ones. Charlie's goal is to ensure that the company's success and values persist long after they are gone. He believes that Berkshire Hathaway's unique culture will help prevent undesirable changes often associated with corporate bureaucracies.

Q: What sets Berkshire Hathaway apart from other companies?

Warren and Charlie believe that Berkshire Hathaway's success is attributed to its distinct culture and the relationships it has fostered. They take pride in the fact that the company has attracted exceptional managers who genuinely enjoy working for Berkshire Hathaway. Many of these managers share their values and see working for the company as more than just a job. The company's unique model has proven to be effective and has made Berkshire Hathaway an appealing place to work and do business.

Q: What gives Warren and Charlie the most pleasure in their partnership?

Warren and Charlie find great joy in the success of Berkshire Hathaway and the satisfaction it brings to its stakeholders. They derive pleasure from seeing people who sold their companies to Berkshire Hathaway being delighted with their decision. The company's annual meeting is also a source of happiness as it provides an opportunity to connect with individuals who appreciate their approach. Furthermore, they express contentment in the positive relationships they have built with managers and employees who share their values.

Q: How do Warren and Charlie envision the future of Berkshire Hathaway?

Warren and Charlie have a shared vision for the future of Berkshire Hathaway. They believe that the company will continue thriving and maintaining its values long after they are gone. They are confident that Berkshire Hathaway's success will not lead to complacency or structural defects commonly found in corporate bureaucracies. The company's strong culture and principles will ensure that it remains true to its origins and continues to be a model in American business.


Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger's successful partnership of 57 years can be attributed to their mutual respect, shared values, and the belief in win-win relationships. They emphasize the importance of behaving better each year and surrounding oneself with good people. Their upbringing in Omaha greatly influenced their character and outlook on life. Furthermore, their unique culture at Berkshire Hathaway and the relationships they have fostered have contributed to their satisfaction and success. They aspire to continuously improve Berkshire Hathaway and maintain its values, ensuring the company's longevity.

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