Charles Munger: Multitasking Is A Terrible Way To Think

Johnny HopkinsCharles Munger, Warren BuffettLeave a Comment

During the 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Munger and Buffett discussed the internet and multitasking. Here’s an excerpt from the meeting:

CHARLIE MUNGER: Well, he asked are we going to be using the internet.

Warren is a big internet user compared to me. And — but —

WARREN BUFFETT: I love it. (Laughs)

CHARLIE MUNGER: He plays bridge on it.

WARREN BUFFETT: I use a lot of — I use search. It’s been a huge change in my life, and it costs me a hundred dollars a year, or something like that.

If I had to give up the plane or I had to give up the internet: the plane costs me a million-and-a-half a year, the internet costs me a hundred dollars a year. You know, I wouldn’t want to give up either one of them, but I’d give up the plane.

CHARLIE MUNGER: Interesting. (Laughter)

WARREN BUFFETT: Charlie’s given up both.

CHARLIE MUNGER: Are we going to be doing more — I think everybody’s going to be doing more things on the internet. It is growing in importance. And so like it or not, we’re dragged into modern reality.

WARREN BUFFETT: Doesn’t sound like he likes it, does it? (Laughs)

CHARLIE MUNGER: No, I don’t like it.

I don’t like multitasking. I see these people doing three things at once, and I think, God what a terrible way that is to think.

I am so stupid, though, I have to think hard about a thing for a long time. And the idea of multitasking my way to glory has never occurred to me. (Laughter)

But at any rate, the internet is here and it’s going to be more and more important and everybody’s going to think more about it and do more about it, like it or not. And, of course, the younger people are way more prone to use it than we are.

But Berkshire — you have what, how many Bloombergs now?

WARREN BUFFETT: In the office?


WARREN BUFFETT: Do we have two or three. Mark?

I don’t know. They don’t tell me about them. They sort of hide them when I come in the room.

CHARLIE MUNGER: We’re into the modern world.

WARREN BUFFETT: We have — [CFO] Marc Hamburg tells me we have three — but we’ll re-evaluate that situation when I get back to the office. (Laughter)

What’s that?

Oh, we’re not paying for one. I like that. (Laughter)

Let’s see if we can not pay for two. (Laughter)

No, the internet — and it’s changed many of our businesses. I mean, it’s changed GEICO’s business very, very dramatically. And it’s affecting — it affects them all, to one degree or another.

It’s amazing to me — I mean, people get pessimistic about America. Just think in the last 20 or 25 years—well, just 20 years on the internet—how dramatically it’s changed your life.

You know, the game is not over yet. There’s all kinds of things that are going to happen to make life better.

And Charlie may not think the internet makes life better, but when I compare trying to round up three other guys on a snowy day to come over to my house to play bridge, versus snapping the thing on and having my partner in San Francisco there and two other friends, and so on, in 10 or 20 seconds, I think the world has improved.

CHARLIE MUNGER: Well, if I had your partner, I’d think it had improved, too. (Laughter)

You can watch the entire discussion here:

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