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Mungerspeech_june_95

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[The article Mr. Munger is referring to is called "On Teaching Professional Judgment" by Paul Brest and Linda Krieger. It was published in the July 1994 edition of the Washington Law Review.]
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 449-450 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:56:39
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5. Fifth: The final question is: If the thought system indicated by this list of psychological tendencies has great value not recognized and employed, what should the educational system do about it?
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 443-444 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:54:33
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Charlie,? she said, ?What one word accounts for your remarkable success in life?? And I knew I was being manipulated and that she?d done this before, and I just loved it. I mean I never see this woman without a little lift in my spirits.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 427-428 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:53:26
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4. Four: What special knowledge problems lie buried in the thought system indicated by the list?
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 421-421 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:52:38
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Nine: the great example of Charles Darwin is he avoided confirmation bias. Darwin probably changed my life because I?m a biography nut, and when I found out the way he always paid extra attention to the disconfirming evidence and all these little psychological tricks. I also found out that he wasn?t very smart by the ordinary standards of human acuity, yet there he is buried in Westminster Abbey. That?s not where I?m going, I?ll tell you. And I said, ?My God, here?s a guy that, by all objective evidence, is not nearly as smart as I am and he?s in Westminster Abbey? He must have tricks I should learn.? And I started wearing little hair shirts like Darwin to try and train myself out of these subconscious psychological tendencies that cause so many errors. It didn?t work perfectly, as you can tell from listening to this talk, but it would?ve been even worse if I hadn?t done what I did. And you can know these psychological tendencies and avoid being the patsy of all the people that are trying to manipulate you to your disadvantage, like Sam Walton.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 410-418 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:51:04
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Eight: the use of post-mortems at Johnson & Johnson. At most corporations if you make an acquisition and it turns out to be a disaster, all the paperwork and presentations that caused the dumb acquisition to be made are quickly forgotten. You?ve got denial, you?ve got everything in the world. You?ve got Pavlovian association tendency. Nobody even wants to even be associated with the damned thing or even mention it. At Johnson & Johnson, they make everybody revisit their old acquisitions and wade through the presentations. That is a very smart thing to do. And by the way, I do the same thing routinely.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 406-410 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:49:58
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Seven: the Harvard Business School?s emphasis on decision trees. When I was young and foolish I used to laugh at the Harvard Business School. I said, ?They?re teaching 28-year-old people that high school algebra works in real life?? We?re talking about elementary probability. But later I wised up and I realized that it was very important that they do that, and better late than never.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 403-406 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:49:30
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Six: the use of granny?s rule. I love this. One of the psychologists who works for the Center gets paid a fortune running around America, and he teaches executives to manipulate themselves. Now granny?s rule is you don?t get the ice cream unless you eat your carrots. Well granny was a very wise woman. That is a very good system. And so this guy, a very eminent psychologist, he runs around the country telling executives to organize their day so they force themselves to do what?s unpleasant and important by doing that first, and then rewarding themselves with something they really like doing. He is profoundly correct.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 399-403 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:49:11
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Five: The rules of the U.S. Constitutional Convention: totally secret, no vote until the whole vote, then just one vote on the whole Constitution. Very clever psychological rules, and if they had a different procedure, everybody would?ve been pushed into a corner by his own pronouncements and his own oratory and his own? And no recorded votes until the last one. And they got it through by a whisker with those wise rules. We wouldn?t have had the Constitution if our forefathers hadn?t been so psychologically acute. And look at the crowd we got now.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 395-399 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:48:31
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Four: Clinical training in medical schools: here?s a profoundly correct way of understanding psychology. The standard practice is watch one, do one, teach one. Boy does that pound in what you want pounded in. Again, the consistency and commitment tendency. And that is a profoundly correct way to teach clinical medicine.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 393-395 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:48:06
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Three: The system of Alcoholics Anonymous, that?s certainly a constructive use of somebody understanding psychological tendencies. I think they just wandered into it, as a matter of fact, so you can regard it as kind of an evolutionary outcome. But just because they?ve wandered into it doesn?t mean you can?t invent its equivalent when you need it for a good purpose.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 390-393 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:47:19
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Two: the use of simulators in pilot training. Here, again, abilities attenuate with disuse. Well the simulator is God?s gift because you can keep them fresh.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 389-390 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:46:57
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One: Karl Braun?s communication practices. He designed oil refineries with spectacular skill and integrity. He had a very simple rule. Remember I said, ?Why is it important?? You got fired in the Braun company. You had to have five Ws. You had to tell Who, What you wanted to do, Where and When, and you had to tell him Why. And if you wrote a communication and left out the Why you got fired, because Braun knew it?s complicated building an oil refinery. It can blow up?all kinds of things happen. And he knew that his communication system worked better if you always told him why. That?s a simple discipline, and boy does it work.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 385-389 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:46:28
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3. Three: What good, in the practical world, is the thought system indicated by the list? Isn?t practical benefit prevented because these psychological tendencies are programmed into the human mind by broad evolution so we can?t get rid of them? [By] broad evolution, I mean the combination of genetic and cultural evolution, but mostly genetic.
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2. The second question: Isn?t this list of standard psychological tendencies improperly tautological compared with the system of Euclid? That is, aren?t there overlaps? And can?t some items on the list be derived from combinations of other items? The answer to that is, plainly, yes.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 377-379 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:45:01
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the typical American board of directors. They only act, again the power of incentives, they only act when it gets so bad it starts making them look foolish, or threatening legal liability to them. That?s Munger?s rule. I mean there are occasional things that don?t follow Munger?s rule, but by and large the board of directors is a very ineffective corrector if the top guy is a little nuts, which, of course, frequently happens.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 374-377 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:44:56
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So McDonald-Douglas schedules one of these things in a hangar, and they make the hangar dark and the concrete floor is 25 feet down, and they?ve got these little rubber chutes, and they?ve got all these old people, and they ring the bell and they all rush out, and in the morning, when the first test is done, they create, I don?t know, 20 terrible injuries when people go off to hospitals, and of course they scheduled another one for the afternoon. By the way they didn?t read[?] the time schedule either, in addition to causing all the injuries. Well?so what do they do? They do it again in the afternoon. Now they create 20 more injuries and one case of a severed spinal column with permanent, unfixable paralysis. These are engineers, these are brilliant people, this is thought over through in a big bureaucracy. Again, it?s a combination of [psychological tendencies]: authorities told you to do it. He told you to make it realistic. You?ve decided to do it. You?d decided to do it twice. Incentive-caused bias. If you pass you save a lot of money. You?ve got to jump this hurdle before you can sell your new airliner. Again, three, four, five of these things work together and it turns human brains into mush.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 359-367 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:43:36
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The Milgrim experiment. It?s been widely interpreted as mere obedience, but the truth of the matter is that the experimenter who got the students to give the heavy shocks in Milgrim, he explained why. It was a false explanation. ?We need this to look for scientific truth,? and so on. That greatly changed the behavior of the people. And number two, he worked them up: tiny shock, a little larger, a little larger. So commitment and consistency tendency and the contrast principle were both working in favor of this behavior. So again, it?s four different psychological tendencies.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 349-353 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:41:04
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The system of Alcoholics Anonymous: a 50% no-drinking rate outcome when everything else fails? It?s a very clever system that uses four or five psychological systems at once toward, I might say, a very good end.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 347-349 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:40:23
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Moonie [as in Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church] conversion methods: boy do they work. He just combines four or five of these things together.
Mungerspeech_june_95 - es6.mike@gmail.com - Your Highlight Location 346-347 | Added on Saturday, 1 June 13 02:40:13
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