Collection: Charlie Munger - #246 | Charlie Munger on Sir Isaac Newton



[Transcript]

QUESTION

In my lifetime, I've noticed a big shift in the incentive structures and everything from university admission to youth sports, as well as the workplace in rewarding specialization. Do you think that — is there any alternative way that you can think of to reward multidisciplinary success as opposed to the very high degree of specialization that seemed to be what gain people status and financial reward?


CHARLIE MUNGER

Well, of course, we should have a high degrees of specialization. And if you get a nice little cancer in some ghastly place, you will not want a guy that really understands Proust.

[who wrote the longest novel ever published] You know what I mean. And —


But of course, it's my argument that you can be quite competent in your specialized field and also have the common sense over a broad area, if you work at it appropriately.


Let's take the case of Newton, more than half of the powerful creative period in Newton's life was totally wasted on alchemy and theology. And in the remaining half, he managed to create a quite a distinction in his chosen profession. He had power to burn.


Now let's assume you're not Newton. You're just a good guy who's going to be a good mechanical engineer. You know, don't you think you could get a general competency just as you might be a good engineer and also play golf? There's plenty of time to do it. Without ruining your specialized competency.


All you have to have is the will and the technique, and every hour you delay and doing it, it's just — you're just increasing the chances that you'll remain in the shallows. Now, most people are happy in the shallows. After all, there's always somebody that's in a shallower place.


(Source: https://youtu.be/S9HgIGzOENA)

 

[YAPSS Takeaway]

"All you have to have is the will and the technique, and every hour you delay and doing it, it's just — you're just increasing the chances that you'll remain in the shallows." ~Charlie Munger