Charlie Munger: I Pick Up All This 'Gold' using This Method in Life | Caltech 2008【C:C.M Ep.236】

Charlie Munger: I Pick Up All This 'Gold' using This Method in Life | Caltech 2008【C:C.M Ep.236】



CHARLIE MUNGER: Now, I want to cite the example of another great Caltech man. When I was at Caltech right across the court was Thomas Hunt Morgan and I always thought the faint odor that I smelled was his damn fruit flies.


And later I started paying the research expenses of ecologist, Garrett Hardin. I really liked and he had trained here at Caltech under Thomas Hunt Morgan. And he told me something about Morgan that really fascinated me.


He said that in that day when they didn't have computers, and when the main calculating device was the Friden calculator. Everybody in Caltech had endless Friden calculators except Morgan and he pretty well banned the Friden calculator from the biology department.


And they said, why are you doing this? He said, I'm like gold miner in 1849 and I can walk along the banks of the river and I can use organized common sense and pick up these enormous nuggets of pure gold. And as long as I can do that I'm going to use my scant resources to pick up all this gold and I'm not going to revert to any placer mining.


You know, sifting the statistics for faint traces of something. And I love that because that's what I've done with my life. I just picked up the obvious things around the riverbank with organized common sense and I'm glad to quit claim with placer mining to people who like a lot of boring gravel sifting. (Laughter)


So I think that a lot of the people – we're trying to fix the social sciences will make it worse by going into these very involved computations because they get into math very soon that they can't handle. And they're walking right by great boulders of gold on their way to this non-productive math. This is not an intelligent way to go at the problem.


TOM TOMBRELLO: Yeah. Well, that's something you've said, you talked about earlier this attempted false precision.


CHARLIE MUNGER: Terrible. Warren and I always say – we cite Keynes – "Better to be roughly right than precisely wrong." (Laughter)


We see over and over again, people who know how to use these calculators computers now, and there's a big complicated problem with multiple inputs. Some of it can be carefully measured and some can't. So they just horribly overweigh everything that can be measured. This is truly asinine.




[YAPSS Takeaway]

Look at the obvious things, you don't have to know everything.

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