I recently read Richer, Wiser, Happier: How The World’s Greatest Investors Win In Markets And Life (2021) by William Green, and I share my key takeaways of the worldly wisdom contained in this wonderful book. Enjoy!
William Green has interviewed over 40 superinvestors, including Sir John Templeton and Irving Kahn who are no longer alive. He took a lot of essential life and investing lessons and distilled them into a cookbook of delectable nuggets of wisdom.
The moral of the story can be bookended by key lessons from Mohnish Pabrai and Arnold Van Den Berg: Life is a game and have the purpose to enhance the lives of others and change people’s lives just to make it better.
These “iconoclasts, mavericks, and misfits” are unemotional, independent thinkers, and don’t care what the world thinks. They go their own way, unafraid to stand apart from the crowd/herd.
The prevailing themes I understood across these super star investors include how they:
-Lack a tribal gene per Francois Rochon.
-Are willing to be lonely but are adaptable to change as the world returns to its natural state of entropy (chaos and disorder).
-Are constantly willing to learn and self-improve, and have principles that they stay true to.
-Hang out with people smarter than themselves who make them smarter.
-Practice patience by buying something at a price beneath its real value (intrinsic value) and hold for the long term.
-Have the self-discipline of an inner scorecard they live by, living according to their own values.
-Strive to be useful and of service to humanity.
-Avoid catastrophic mistakes by not being stupid, and by avoiding life’s inanities and asininities.
Stoicism can help to build one’s resilience and ability to withstand adversity by controlling our inner selves to survive bad things that inevitably happen and then we can thrive.
Everyone has suffered, i.e. a divorce or losing a loved one, and being able to rise from these dark times is key to a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Beneath shameless cloning is a ferocity & intensity of learning and always focusing on simple, singular ideas.
They consider the downside and upside risks and try to be safe with money and invert the investment case. Fish where the fish are as Charlie Munger says is the number 1 rule.
They don’t try to maximize assets under management (AUM) or management fees, they tend to return capital to shareholders when they’ve reached their investing limits.
They know their boundaries and represent their shareholders or fund investors honorably. They do the right thing.
Most of them are not operating on Wall Street but do their investing practice in serene environments, like how Guy Spier is in Zurich, Switzerland, or Chuck Akre is in Virginia among foxes and deer.
The chapter on high performance habits especially resonated with me, because the habits these investors have developed have benefits that compound over time. These include being frugal, radically moderate, reading and learning with a maniacal focus, living below one’s means, making sure we look before we turn. Small, sustained changes lead to being able to reinvest profits (financially and life-wise) for long term prosperity.
I admire how gambling genius Ed Thorp prepared to preserve the health of his family before the events of 2020 unfolded.
I appreciate William Green’s candor about his own investing behavior. He owns 3 stocks including Berkshire, Seritage, and mining and property company, 2 Vanguard index funds, and a value oriented hedge fund (Aquamarine Capital) that he’s owned for at least 20 years, plus two more actively managed funds.
I’m a visual learner so I google image searched what some of the investors and people in the book looked like, including: Laura Geritz, Nick Sleep, Qais Zakaria, Bill Miller, Tom Gayner, Bill Ruane, Howard Marks, Jean-Marie Eveillard, Arnold Van Den Berg, Joel Greenblatt, Matthew McLennan, Irving Kahn, Sir John Templeton, Robert Pirsig, Jason Karp, Mario Gabelli, Ed Thorp, Francis Chou, Jeff Gundlach, François Rochon, Ken Shubin Stein, and Will Danoff.
There are so many more sagacious lessons I wish I could have touched on, but I’ll go through this book again and internalize the lessons by making a checklist of the key questions and principles and incorporating this into my investing practice.
This book is now part of my top 6 life changing investing books. And you could watch a video on my first top 5 life changing investing books!
I think that “the most important thing” is what Charlie Munger said, in “Take a simple idea and take it seriously.” I take my investing practice very seriously. It’s not just a hobby but a way of life for me.
What’s critical in investing is that to be a great investor is to care and have compassion for humanity. That’s what I believe separates other people from being great like the investors featured in Richer, Wiser, Happier.
I look forward to making more investor friends! Add me on Instagram: michellemarki.
If you’re interested in learning how to take control of your finances and start becoming an investor like Warren Buffett, check out my free PDF guide.