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Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger, 3rd Edition 3rd Edition

47 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1578644285
ISBN-10: 1578644283
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Editorial 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-investor and Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charles Munger. A man whose simplicity and clarity of thought was unequal to anything Bevelin had seen. In addition to naturalist Charles Darwin and Munger, Bevelin cites an encyclopedic range of thinkers: from first-century BCE Roman poet Publius Terentius to Mark Twain-from Albert Einstein to Richard Feynman-from 16th Century French essayist Michel de Montaigne to Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett. In the book, he describes ideas and research findings from many different fields. This book is for those who love the constant search for knowledge. It is in the spirit of Charles Munger, who says, "All I want to know is where I'm going to die so I'll never go there." There are roads that lead to unhappiness. An understanding of how and why we can "die" should help us avoid them. We can't eliminate mistakes, but we can prevent those that can really hurt us. Using exemplars of clear thinking and attained wisdom, Bevelin focuses on how our thoughts are influenced, why we make misjudgments and tools to improve our thinking. Bevelin tackles such eternal questions as: Why do we behave like we do? What do we want out of life? What interferes with our goals? Read and study this wonderful multidisciplinary exploration of wisdom. It may change the way you think and act in business and in life.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: PCA Publications L.L.C.; 3rd edition (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578644283
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578644285
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

180 of 189 people found the following review helpful By N N Taleb on July 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful book on wisdom and decision-making written by a wise decision-maker. This is the kind of book you read first, then leave by your bedside and re-read a bit every day, so you can slowly soak up the wisdom. It is sort of Montaigne but applied to business, with a great investigation of the psychological dimension of decision-making.
I like the book for many reasons --the main one is that it was written by a practitioner who knows what he wants, not by an academic.
Enjoy it,

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Aman on June 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A lot of people know Charlie Munger as a great investor. However what is perhaps more interesting about Mungers personality is his ability to use multiple models to explain reality. He has always championed independent thinking and multi disciplinary approach. This book is a wonderful collection of his simple yet big ideas.

The world would be a much much better place if every man woman and child read this book and applied these thoughts in everday living.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By William Cohen on July 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have a theory that books that are really worth reading, are usually difficult to find in the bookstore. As Bevelin quotes Oscar Wilde in this book, "The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing."

I work as a speechwriter and the discovery of Charlie Munger's speeches has opened up a whole new universe for me. I studied languages at Oxford University and it didn't teach me a single thing that has helped me run my own business. I love the idea of Munger's multidisciplinary approach, and he's a wonderful contrarian business intellectual. Bevelin provides a kind of Coles' notes to the Buffet/Munger theories.

On every page I have underlined excellent pearls of wisdom that will enhance any business presentation. Here are half-a dozen.

He that waits upon fortune, is never sure of a dinner.
Benjamin Franklin

Everything seems stupid when it fails.
Fydor Dostoevsky

He that complies against his will, is of his own opinion still.
Samuel Butler

The task of man is not to see what lies dimly in the distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.
Sir William Osler

I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles.
Benjamin Franklin

No victor believes in chance.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Expand your mind. Buy this book.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By James East VINE VOICE on May 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Though most of us probably became aware of this book thru either Charles Munger or from the investing community, nevertheless, it will provide more to one's own education than just improving your investment returns only. From this reviewer's perspective, the contributions in this book are to educate your mind for a better view of the world around you. This then may provide for better investment returns but actually provides more.

This excellent addition to the study of "mental models" is divided into four (4) parts.

Part 1 - What Influences Our Thinking
Part 2 - The Psychology of Misjudgments
Part 3 - The Physics & Mathematics of Misjudgments
Part 4 - Guidelines to Better Thinking

Part 2 & 4 are the corner stones of the book. Part 2 breaks out "28" mental models much like the "25" models in Poor Charlie's Almanack. To paraphrase a fellow reviewer, "This is a section you read first, then leave close by and re-read over and over, so you can slowly soak up the wisdom." Part 4 in essence expounds and adds more color to what both Parts 2 & 3 have previously explored.

Also, Appendix #4 on Checklists is a must read.

In Mr. Bevelin's introduction, he asks that we start the journey for wisdom and hopes that it is inspiring. Mr. Bevelin, a big thanks for your contribution!

Cautionary Note: If the reader is not at least somewhat familiar with "mental models" or has not read other fine books on the subject similar to Poor Charlie's Almanack, Influence, How We Know What Isn't So, or The Psychology of Judgment & Decision Making, one may be best suited to start there. After your spade work is complete, most assuredly come back as this book takes you to the next level.
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112 of 143 people found the following review helpful By Andres Jaramillo on January 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is really a self-congratulatory book about Munger, which Munger, in an act of false modesty, can't write himself. Bevelin's book is an unsophisticated aggregation of epistemological methods, written without fluidity and with the obvious intent of kissing Munger butt.
I am sure Bevelin is interested in the subject of "seeking wisdom" but he writes in a calcified way, and some of the ideas are so 19th century, that you can't help but feel you are reading the musings of a rich, old, mildly intellectual dabbler, in a musty grand study room that has been writing his ideas on note books for years (probably with quill pen and ink) and decided "I should write a book about this". His writings about evolutionary selection are insufferable in their shallowness, naivite and lack of sophistication as they apply to the subject of epistemology.
He also talks about very modern concepts and developments in the subject of cognitive psychology and persuassion theory, but his stuff is just bad explanations of Cialdini's great work (which by-the-way is a work I highly recommend and I have reviewed for this site) and of Tversky and Kahneman (called prospect theory). For a serious understanding of these theories, the deeper reader should instead spend his time reading "Influence" by Cialdini and "Judgment under Uncertainty: heuristics and biases" by Tversky, Kahneman and others.
In short the book is a collection of scraps of writing, by a mediocre intellectual, that has powerful friends (I can almost bet he is himself a powerful old-money, money manager) that he wishes to impress and kiss-up to.
The book reeks of self-published vanity, and reading it is not a good use of a serious thinker's time.
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