One Great Lesson Charlie Munger Can Teach You: On Mozart and Moats | Exploring Markets

One Great Lesson Charlie Munger Can Teach You: On Mozart and Moats

Charlie Munger sat down at his 2015 Daily Journal Meeting. He would talk, and then take questions from the audience.

Munger has a long history of speaking wisdom to groups of people. And this year, once again, he would not disappoint.

A hand shoots up. A man sits in the middle of the room. He jumps quickly and without hesitation asks Munger a question.

"Mr. Munger" the man said, "what do you think is the most misunderstood moat in business right now? What can you say about that?"

Charlie Munger looked around. The room held its breath. Waiting. Would Charlie Munger talk about the next great investment? Would he mention a business idea that we never thought of?

"Everybody would really like to have a misunderstood moat." Munger replied. "You’re the greediest fellow that’s spoken. You only want to know whether or not I have a moat that you can understand that other people don’t."

Munger paused right there. He took a sip of water.

"A modest wish!" He exclaimed. "You’re going to ask a 91-year-old man? This reminds me of one of my favorite stories!"

Munger now leaned back a little more in his chair. He started to speak.

"A young man comes to Mozart and says, "With your help I want to compose symphonies." Mozart looks at him. A bit perplexed and says, "You’re too young to be composing symphonies." The young man suddenly feels thrown off. Too young? He quickly replies, "Look, you were doing symphonies when you were 10 years of age. Well, I’m 21!" Mozart grins politely, "Yes, but I wasn’t running around asking other people how to do it."