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The Top 10 Charlie Munger Book Recommendations

Regardless of the field you’re working in, you could do worse than taking a leaf out of Charlie Munger’s well-read book. Here are some of his favorite reads!
by Joshua H. Phelps | Jul 30 2020

Charlie Munger, who sadly passed away at the end of 2023, was more than just Warren Buffett’s partner at Berkshire Hathaway. He was a man of great knowledge and wisdom, with a career spanning over forty years in fields like business, law, and architecture. Despite not being as famous as Buffett, Munger made a huge impact in his own right.

Munger loved to read, and he often shared his favorite books with others. He believed that reading a lot was key to becoming better at investing and understanding the world. His book choices covered many topics, including business, psychology, and life stories of famous people.

Even though Munger is no longer with us, his recommended books are still valuable for anyone interested in learning and growing. In this article, we’ll look at some of these books that you can find in the Blinkist library. Munger’s love for reading and his selection of books continue to inspire and teach us, showing how much we can learn from the pages of a book.

For those curious about how Munger’s keen business sense contributed to his substantial wealth, delve into “Charlie Munger Net Worth: A Closer Look at the Investing Legend” for an in-depth exploration of his $2.2 billion net worth and investment strategies. Read more about Charlie Munger’s Net Worth.

“I don’t think you can get to be a really good investor over a broad range without doing a massive amount of reading. I don’t think any one book will do it for you.”
– Charlie Munger

And this holds true whether you are investing money in a stock portfolio or mental capital in your passions.

From the book recommendations by Munger, it is clear that no one category of books will suffice. Psychology, science, biography & memoir, and (yes) investing are just a few of the sections in the Blinkist library where you would find Munger’s recommended books.

This diverse reading habit is a trait Munger shares with many highly successful people. To understand more about how books can be the most profitable investment for success, explore “The Reading Habits of Highly Successful People Revealed“.

Perhaps it would make more sense to read massively in one particularly relevant category. Wouldn’t it have benefited Munger more to stick with the investment section? Books on negotiation tactics and marketing also seem like natural fits for a leading businessman. So why all the others? Why would an investor take up readings on genetics or anthropology or astrophysics?

Munger’s interest seemed to lie in better understanding the processes that guide the human experience. What makes people tick? What separates those at the head of the pack from the rest?

“There are answers worth billions of dollars in a $30 history book.”
— Charlie Munger

And the books recommended by Munger span different levels of understanding. From the microscopic realm to the literally universal. Yet somehow it all seems to loop back upon itself. What came before continuously impacts where we are.

Self-Made Man: Some Assembly Required

Hailed by Munger as “perfectly marvelous,” Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers unveils a host of factors that allow people to jump to the forefront of their fields. While hard work seems like a given, what about birth month? Birth year? Like many other Gladwell works, Outliers shows how seemingly small variables can have broad ramifications in our lives.

Charlie Munger’s Book Recommendations

Take a SIP

Sometimes a radical shift stays within an industry. Digital photography, for instance. Sometimes rifts come from world-historical moments. Like a pandemic. What can you do as a company or an individual in the face of these irrevocable changes? Andrew S. Grove, the former CEO of Intel uses his experiences navigating through these Strategic Inflection Points (SIPs), as he calls them, in his book Only the Paranoid Survive.

I Cut, You Choose

Roger Fisher’s classic work on negotiations, Getting to Yes, has only become more relevant since it was published in 1981. Many organizations traded in top-down decision-making for more democratic approaches. And this means balancing many more views and desires and needs among the parties involved, rather than seeing negotiation as a zero-sum battle. Fisher explores the strategies best-suited to an optimal outcome.


Ron Chernow’s “Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.” provides a comprehensive look at one of America’s most iconic business magnates. Chernow paints an intricate portrait of Rockefeller, tracing his journey from a humble background to becoming one of the wealthiest figures in history. The book offers invaluable lessons on business acumen and the complexities of industrial power.

Don’t Pass on Passive

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle provides a guide to investing Munger considers “a useful contribution to [Bogle’s] fellow citizens.” Bogle looked at different investment types to find out which yielded the best results. And while “active” may sound better as a strategy for playing the market, it often underperforms. Bogle’s analysis also touches on how to avoid pitfalls in your own investment strategy.

Catch a Code

Not long after the Y2K Bug became a distant memory, word came that scientists had a map of the human genetic code. Since then, our understanding has become even further refined and stirred up controversies around the uses of genetic research. Matt Ridley’s Genome explores those findings plus some of their potential consequences.

The Selfish Gene

Richard Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene,” a landmark work in biology and evolution, challenges conventional views on how genes behave. This thought-provoking 22-minute read explores the idea of the gene as the principal unit of selection in evolution, presenting a fascinating perspective on how traits are passed down through generations. Dawkins’ work is essential for anyone interested in understanding the intricate workings of life and evolution.

Fluency in Influence

We tend to think of ourselves as powerless against marketers. Why do I have to stop for nearly every book sale sign that I encounter? Robert B. Cialdini’s Influence lays bare some of the industry’s favorite psychological tactics, so that you’ll know how to spot and resist them. They can also be helpful tools when you’re going after something you want.

Pass it Along

Maybe your DNA has more agency than you imagine. This is the argument in Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene. However, that does not mean that survival is solely based on strength. The book presents a nuanced understanding of the ways genes ensure their survival and change over time. Somewhat paradoxically, overly selfish behavior can hinder a gene’s survival.

Getting to Yes

Roger Fisher’s “Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In” offers a groundbreaking approach to negotiations. This 18-minute read dives into strategies for reaching mutually beneficial agreements without resorting to hardline tactics. It’s a key resource for anyone looking to navigate business or personal negotiations with grace and efficiency.

Third Time’s the Charm?

How often have you compared chimpanzees to humans? After all, less than two percent of our DNA separates our two species. Jared Diamond’s The Third Chimpanzee shows us how that shared lineage and our divergences have shaped humanity. The book takes a frank view, acknowledging the highs and lows of which people are capable.

With all his interest in high achievement, Charlie Munger did not believe such success stands beyond most people’s reach. We never know where we will find the inspiration that becomes our next big idea. And, for Munger, it iwasn’t just about that big idea.

If you get into the mental habit of relating what you’re reading to the basic structure of the underlying ideas being demonstrated,” his quote goes, “you gradually accumulate some wisdom.” Through his book recommendations in this list, the sense of that basic structure begins to emerge and in finding how these seemingly disparate notions tie together, we achieve that wisdom.

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