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Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin To Munger

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  2,464 ratings  ·  152 reviews
Peter Bevelin begins his fascinating book with Confucius' great wisdom: "A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it, is committing another mistake." Seeking Wisdom is the result of Bevelin's learning about attaining wisdom. His quest for wisdom originated partly from making mistakes himself and observing those of others but also from the philosophy of super-i ...more
Hardcover, 318 pages
Published 2007 by Post Scriptum AB (first published 2003)
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Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I give this book 5 stars not because this is one of the best books I have read but because this is one of the best summary of ideas I ingested in last 2 years. I don't know how a casual reader with no prior exposure to topics covered in the book would ingest the densely packed material but if you are an ardent reader in topics such as decision science, finance and probability this book is nothing but a collection of ideas from these areas. If you have read 'I give this book 5 stars not because this is one of the best books I have read but because this is one of the best summary of ideas I ingested in last 2 years. I don't know how a casual reader with no prior exposure to topics covered in the book would ingest the densely packed material but if you are an ardent reader in topics such as decision science, finance and probability this book is nothing but a collection of ideas from these areas. If you have read 'Thinking, Fast and Slow', 50% of seeking wisdom would be redundant for you. If you have read 'The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives' another 25% of the material in the book would be redundant. If you have taken a Master's level course in finance & investing or have worked in financial markets, another 15% of the material would be redundant for you. In rare cases, if you have read books such as 'The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics' and 'The Flaw of Averages: Why We Underestimate Risk in the Face of Uncertainty', whatever 10% stuff is left in the book would be repetitive. If you have read all the stuff mentioned above, this book is a good refresher of important concepts. If you haven't read the books mentioned above, this book may be nothing more than a text scratching the surface of tons of concepts. On that note, the book somehow is self contradictory where it talks about seeking wisdom but does exactly what prevents us from seeking it, i.e. shallow reading. ...more
Drew Johnson
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it

More a compiliation of Buffet and Munger's words of wisdom than a book. As compiliations go, its pretty good. Some of my favorites:

Beliefs have biological consequences
Fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain
Our brain operates more on pattern recognition than logic
Cost of doing nothing can be greater than the cost of an action
Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome
Human beings are good at interpreting new i
Stephen Hultquist
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very challenging read. It is dense, with vitally important insights packed on every page. How can we think clearly? Where do we find wisdom? Why do we trick ourselves?

All these questions and more are answered in these pages...

But, the book is organized so that you go through the steps of uncovering the mental processes first. It can be a slog at times, with so much learning when I just want to get to the "so how then do I live?" part...

That said, I t
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-development
This felt like an information dump to me. There's a lot of value, but it's heavily condensed and anecdotal making it really difficult to come away with anything that couldn't be better learned by reading it straight from Munger or Buffett or any of the other sources that are so heavily quoted.
Olivier Goetgeluck
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing

"All I want to know is where I'm going to die so I'll never go there."
- Charlie Munger

There are roads that lead to unhappiness. An understanding of how and why we can "die" should help us to avoid them.

The best way to learn what, how and why things work is to learn from others.

"I believe in the discipline of mastering the best that other people have ever figured out. I don't believe in just sitting down and trying to dream it all up yo
Raphael de Ocampo
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Seeking Wisdom is an engaging collection of insights across numerous fields. Ranging from psychology, biology, and even probability, the book engages the reader with new material at every page. Seeking Wisdom is a great introduction and reference to these ideas, and is ultimately a catalyst to further reading.

He who conquers himself is truly strong - Lao Tsu (Quoted in Seeking Wisdom)
Otis Chandler
Mar 06, 2017 marked it as to-read
Kevin highly recommended on instagram
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wisdom, work, business
As the title promises, the book is full of nuggets of (worldly) wisdom. Lots of it is applicable directly in the context of work, investing, and in life. Even people already familiar with Charlie Munger's ideas will have lots of new take-aways. To be clear though, the book goes far beyond only Darwin and Munger.

One of my personal highlights from the book was this paragraph (p.177-178):
You see that again and again - that people have some information they can count well and they have/>
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece. Not a word extra. Dense. Had to read repeatedly to make sense of some parts.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The very terrific book, the one that you may open at any page and start reading. The book contains multiple sections: influences (lot of things correlating with Influence by Robert Cialdini) , physics and math, misjudgments, guidance to better thinking (checklists, worst scenarios etc). The book is literally packed with quotes from Buffet, Munger and many others. The final section is the compilations grouped by topics from Munger and Buffet talks and letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

Dec 26, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm in the process of reading this book now. Be warned, Peter Bevlin hasn't paid for a proper editor. I mean, I assume that the author knows the difference between "to and too," but page 82 would suggest otherwise. Make sure to follow Munger's advice as well, or you might have a "very louse career" (282). These sorts of errors are completely disreputable, and have heightened my skepticism about the entire book. Also, some of the writing has a hodge-podge feel to it, and in the Third Edition it f ...more
Alejandro I Sanoja
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Can wisdom really be achieved? Can we really be wise? Or is it that we just can be a little less ignorant, a little less imprudent or thoughtless? “Seeking Wisdom” guides you from the most simple thoughts and ideas to others very complicated, and just when the complexity level rises so much that you feel you are close to that desired wisdom, it slams you to the ground back to the very basics, to the fundamentals, to sentences and quotes with few words but with infinite information; which is wher ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ill science if you're looking to improve your own rational understanding of human behavior, psychology and strategic thinking. The historical references to great thinkers and Munger's 24 Standard Causes of Human Misjudgment alone make this worth a read. What's most interesting to see is Munger's own account of how he formed these relationships in building a greater latticework of understanding.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Missing punctuation and typos of simple words throughout the book made it hard to read.

The book is almost exclusively quotes, Peter Bevelin was less "author" and more "quote curator."

Do not recommend reading.
May 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
A very good book. It breaks the psyche down in a very rational way.
Sanford Chee
May 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Part 1 'What influences our thinking' traces modern man's cognitive limitations and biases through the lens of evolution.
Part 2 'The psychology of misjudgements' has been better covered by Charlie Munger and more comprehensively dealt with in Donelli's 'Art of Thinking Clearly'

Part 3 'The Physics and Mathematics of Misjudgements' deals with more standard limitations of cognition
- Systems thinking:
Alex Martinelli
I noticed the repetition of a common topic in many of the recent books I read. Mostly essays about how people think, why they behave as they do, how to get better ourselves, be more productive, build better routines, be more successful in life, for social and work aspects. One of the common topic always tackled, even if in different ways, is the one of cognitive biases. From one side this repetition seems a positive presence, because despite the many reads, cognitive biases seem hard to overcome ...more
Edwin Ferran
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
excellent framing of first how the mind works in terms of making decisions, then provides a thought-provoking list of "28 Reasons for Misjudgements and Mistakes" that I found very applicable to the work on organizations and systems. Some examples:

## 1. Bias from mere association - automatically connecting a stimulus with pain or pleasure; including liking or disliking something associated with something bad or good. Includes seeing situations as identical because they seem similar.
Akhil Jain
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
My fav quotes (not a review):
page 2 |

"Stay away from garages on big highways. Such mechanics know they'll never see you again. Go to a neighborhood garage, where wordofmouth serves as advertising."

Page 3 |

"We do not improve the man we hang. We improve others by him."

Page 4 |

"When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."

Page 5 |

"If we want people to take a risk, we should make them feel behind (losing)."

Page 5 |
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
I am not the intended audience for the book.

Most of the stuff I read in the book I already know, so I recognize the point he is trying to communicate.

However, I also know that for a person whom this knowledge would be beneficial, the author will not do justice in explaining these concepts to an uninformed person such that he will understand. It doesn't have the depth of understanding to inform the uninformed reader.

Also 70% of the material from the book is drawn from oth
Lucas Remmerswaal
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Munger is one of the great thinkers of our time and will be remembered for many years to come. part one, deals with what influences our thinking. Part two, the psychology of misjudgements. Part three the physics and mathematics of misjudgements. Part four, guidelines to better thinking. Charlie Munger says "Be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent." - be consistently not stupid by reading the "13 Habits that made me Billions"
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
My rating is no reflection on the author's book, writing or topic itself. It is based on my enjoyment of the book. A lot of the piecemeal scientific/mathematic information in the book I knew in more depth than was presented in the book so I didn't get much out of that part. I am not a CEO or an investor so the rest didn't appeal. I did get some good quotes though.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: life-lessons
This book reads like information dump. It has a lot of valuable life lessons but it is organized in a highly dense and anecdotal vision that take away from its value. The reasoning is rigorous as it merely details the facts. If you are looking for an engaging read then this is not it.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
May contain wisdom but it is presented in a dull and boring manner. The only interesting parts of the book are the appendices which have a speech by Munger and longer paragraphs from Buffet and Munger's writings.
Dave Bolton
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read. Incredibly articulate writing about thinking and how we can improve our own, as well as minimising mistakes. Quite hard to get a hold of this book -- it cost me a fortune to have it sent from, but it was worth every cent.
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great book on how to use simple mental models to make good decisions.
Describes all the big ideas from Newton, Ben Franklin, to Munger. No equations or math required.
Matias Ketonen
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Much wisdom and tools for thinking. Took pages and pages of notes. A book to return to.
May 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very good book that I wish was still in print at a reasonable price. Combines wisdom that you'd see in a book of cognitive biases with "How to Win Friends and Influence People"
Tyson Strauser
Seeking Wisdom is a hard-to-find collection of observations that analyze how some of the world's best thinkers approach problem solving. Great read!
Yang Ming Wen
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
You will double your wisdom by only reading half of the book!
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