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  • Writer's pictureJalal Ali

Foundation of Relationships: Fairness and Consideration



Today, I thought I would share with you an excerpt from a book titled, 'Poor Charlie's Almanack: Wits and Wisdom of Charlie Munger'.

The excerpt below is shared by Charles Munger, Jr., son of billionaire Charlie Munger. Charlie Munger is the Vice Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway, and partner of Warren Buffett.

My two important takeaways from the excerpt are:

  1. Children learn by imitating adults rather than being told. Developmental psychologists have found a long ago that the best way to teach a child is to demonstrate so that they can copy you. However, in this world of technology, we need to invert our thinking. Rather than focusing on what habits and behaviors we want to inculcate in our kids, we need to ask ourselves: Which of our habits and behaviors do we not want our kids to copy? For many of us, being addicted to our phones and social media will be an obvious one.

  2. Every successful and happy long-term relationship needs a strong foundation of ​Fairness and Consideration.


From Charles T. Munger, Jr. On the last day of a family ski vacation in Sun Valley when I was fifteen or so, my dad and I were driving back in the snow when he took a ten-minute detour to gas the red jeep we were driving. He was pressed for time to have our family catch the plane home, so I was surprised to notice as he pulled into the station that the tank was still half-full. I asked my dad why we had stopped when we had plenty of gas, and he admonished me: "Charlie, when you borrow a man's car, you always return it with a full tank of gas."

My freshman year at Stanford, an acquaintance lent me his car, more because friends we had in common twisted his arm than that he knew me all that well. The tank was half-full, and the Audi Fox was red. So I remembered the jeep and topped the tank before I brought the car back. He noticed. We've had a lot of good times since, and he stood as a groomsman at my wedding.

After Stanford, I learned that on that vacation we had been staying at Rick Guerin's house and driving Rick Guerin's jeep. Rick is one of my dad's friends who, on his return to Sun Valley, certainly wouldn't have been troubled, and was unlikely even to notice, if his jeep had less gas than when he left it. My dad still didn't skip a point of fairness and consideration. So I was taught that day not only how to get a good friend, but also how to keep one.

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