31 December 2022

On today’s show, Stig Brodersen talks with co-host William Green, the author of “Richer, Wiser, Happier.” They explore what they learned from the world’s best investors about living happier lives.

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  • How to live a life with integrity.
  • How to live a life with honesty.
  • How to live a life that is true to your personality.
  • What it means to be “poor rich.”
  • Why what we envy from rich people is independence.
  • How to live a life of subtraction and not of complexity.


Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.

[00:00:03] Stig Brodersen: In today’s episode, I speak with my co-host William Green, about what we learned from the world’s best investors and living happier lives. We talk about whether the one thing we truly envy about rich people is their independence, or whether it’s all about money. William and I also discussed the concept of being rich but still poor, and living a life with integrity, honesty, and being true to yourself. If you believe that money is only the means to a happier life and not the opposite, you don’t want to miss out on this episode.

[00:00:36] Intro: You are listening to The Investor’s Podcast, where we study the financial markets and read the books that influence self-made billionaires the most. We keep you informed and prepared for the unexpected.

[00:00:56] Stig Brodersen: Welcome to The Investor’s Podcast. I’m your host, Stig Brodersen, and today I’m here with my co-host William Green. How are you today, William?

[00:01:04] William Green: I’m delighted to be here with you.

[00:01:07] Stig Brodersen: William, you are here today partly as a co-host, but also as a guest, because whenever I think about you, William, and how you live your life, I really see you as an example to follow for everyone in our community.

[00:01:19] And the intention of this episode is that we, together with the audience, can live a richer, wiser, and happier life. So it’s going to be no small feat here going into this episode. And if I can just kick this off, I’d say that one of the things I admire most about you is your integrity. And then of course, you can go in and define what is integrity.

[00:01:38] So I’m just going to, I’m going to try and define it here. I’ve seen, or at least I’ve seen integrity, be defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. So having said all of that, William, want to kick this episode off by asking you whether you agree or disagree with the premise of the question.

[00:01:57] And, and if you do agree, how have you designed a life where you can live with integrity?

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[00:00:03] Stig Brodersen: In today’s episode, I speak with my co-host William Green, about what we learned from the world’s best investors and living happier lives. We talk about whether the one thing we truly envy about rich people is their independence, or whether it’s all about money. William and I also discussed the concept of being rich but still poor, and living a life with integrity, honesty, and being true to yourself. If you believe that money is only the means to a happier life and not the opposite, you don’t want to miss out on this episode.

[00:00:36] Intro: You are listening to The Investor’s Podcast, where we study the financial markets and read the books that influence self-made billionaires the most. We keep you informed and prepared for the unexpected.

[00:00:56] Stig Brodersen: Welcome to The Investor’s Podcast. I’m your host, Stig Brodersen, and today I’m here with my co-host William Green. How are you today, William?

[00:01:04] William Green: I’m delighted to be here with you.

[00:01:07] Stig Brodersen: William, you are here today partly as a co-host, but also as a guest, because whenever I think about you, William, and how you live your life, I really see you as an example to follow for everyone in our community.

[00:01:19] And the intention of this episode is that we, together with the audience, can live a richer, wiser, and happier life. So it’s going to be no small feat here going into this episode. And if I can just kick this off, I’d say that one of the things I admire most about you is your integrity. And then of course, you can go in and define what is integrity.

[00:01:38] So I’m just going to, I’m going to try and define it here. I’ve seen, or at least I’ve seen integrity, be defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. So having said all of that, William, want to kick this episode off by asking you whether you agree or disagree with the premise of the question.

[00:01:57] And, and if you do agree, how have you designed a life where you can live with integrity?

[00:02:04] William Green: Thanks, Stig. I think you may have a much more charitable view of me than is deserve, but I’ll take it. I appreciate your kind version of what I’m like. You don’t see me when I’m at my worst, but it’s certainly the case that I, well, a, I would say I, I do plenty of stuff that I’m not proud of and.

[00:02:22] That I am somewhat ashamed of and that I wouldn’t want people to see. And I think about this a lot because when I interview people, there’s a tendency to kind of lionize people and assume that they’re all kind of perfect and they’re better than us and you know, they are better than us in certain ways.

[00:02:39] I mean, everyone has some qualities, they’re really extraordinary. But what I find again and again is they’re all flawed. They all do stuff that, you know, where they get angry in certain situations or they’re jealous or they’re vain or whatever. You know, like we are all deeply flawed. And that’s been really helpful to me actually, to realize that we’re all imperfect.

[00:03:00] So then when I see my own imperfections, I try not to get too depressed about it because I see this gap between the way I talk and what I want to be and what I aspire to be and my actual behavior some of the time. And then you start to feel like a hypocrite and you start to feel kind of, you know, down on yourself and a little ashamed and guilty and embarrassed.

[00:03:22] And I’m not sure that’s a very helpful place to come from. So I try not to, I, I have a kind of infinite capacity for guilt, and I try not to go there too much increasingly because I think it’s better just to try to say, let, let me try to be kinder and more decent and more loving and more truthful. I’m pretty obsessed with David Hawkins, as you know.

[00:03:44] You very kindly sent me one of his books signed by him, and Hawkins has this very interesting scale. If you look at a book like Power versus Force, which I was introduced to by Monish, pare Hawkins has this scale where you can calibrate certain behavior and certain virtues. And things like shame and guilt calibrate incredibly low, whereas things like compassion, kindness, love, mercy, truthfulness really calibrate very high.

[00:04:13] And so what I kind of thought was, this is my interpretation of it, and I never really know what to make of hawks scale at all. I just thought if I can try to flood the zone with trying to be kinder and more decent and more compassionate, maybe that will make up for some of the ways in which I don’t behave that well.

[00:04:33] And there’s a beautiful line from Hawkins that I have on a, on a card blue tack to my wall next to my study, which says something like simple kindness to oneself and all that lives is the most transformational force of all. And I come back to that again and again as a kind of north star thinking. Okay.

[00:04:49] So yeah, there are all of these ways in which I wish I were better. I wish I behaved better. I wish I were kind of less, less flawed, but at least let me try to show simple kindness. To others. But then also that’s really curious, that quote in that it says simple kindness to oneself and all that lives is the most transformational force of all.

[00:05:08] So I take that as being, we should also be sort of compassionate to ourselves when we behave in ways that we think are not that great. And so it’s not about giving yourself a total cop blanche and saying, no, no, I can do whatever I want because I’m just going to be forgiven and, and it’s fine and I shouldn’t be ashamed of anything or guilty about anything.

[00:05:27] But I think coming from that place of thinking, we’re all pretty flawed. We all do lousy stuff and, but let me at least come back to this true north of trying to be kinder and I, I think because I’m kind of confused by the world because everything is so complex and my mind is kind of all over the. That idea of simply trying to be kinder, of having that as a, as a true north has actually been incredibly helpful to me.

[00:05:51] And so, so I don’t, you know, I, I try to be more truthful and stuff. I try to have more integrity and as Tom Gayer would say, you know, I’m probably directionally correct, I’m probably getting better, but I, I feel like if I’m kinder, consistently kinder, that covers a lot of flaws. So that, that to me has really become the guiding principle.

[00:06:13] And I, I fail on that front as well, constantly, especially when I’m, when I’m stressed or it’s hard to behave very thoughtfully and kindly when you’re stressed. But again, I think I’ve been directionally correct and I, I’m not saying that in a, in a self-congratulatory way. I think actually partly I’ve been directionally correct because I understood this simple idea and it, it goes back.

[00:06:37] Charlie Munger saying, take a simple idea and take it seriously. And this is something again that I learned from Monish, is when you discover a principle that you think is true, you really want to go a thousand percent on it, as Monish would say. So Monish discovered the power of things like compounding or cloning, which he’ll define as just looking at, looking at the things that other people who are smarter and wiser than us do.

[00:07:01] And then replicating them with this ferocious attention to detail. And he took things like that incredibly seriously. Likewise, when he, when he read power versus force, he decided, I’m going to be more truthful. Because if you are truthful, you calibrate higher and you’re more powerful. People sense whether you are lying or whether you are being truthful.

[00:07:21] So he just decided, I’m simply not going to lie. I’m just going to be truthful. And so for me, the really simple idea that I tried to internalize is I’m going to try to be kinder.

[00:07:32] Stig Brodersen: I wanted to just provide one comment to what you said about Manus and the whole thing about not lying. And, and I, I’m definitely guilty in charges and I guess everyone listening to this have lied at some point in time in, in their life.

[00:07:44] And I just, I, I can’t remember where I read it, but someone wrote that one of the benefits of always telling the truth is that you don’t have to remember what the lie was and who you lied to. And I don’t know if this comes across as me being very untruthful whenever I was younger, but it actually made a huge impact on me.

[00:08:00] It’s such a stress reliever that if you tell the truth, and again, telling the truth also comes with a lot of stress. So please do not get me wrong, but this entire mindset of if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember like who knows what and who do they know? And like it’s so liberating in its own way.

[00:08:19] William Green: It’s liberating and really scary. So if you think about it, we start this interview and it’s a little bit like, I remember as a teenager going to meet some. Girl I was dating at the time and being like, I’m not going to say this because I know if I’m angry like this, it’s just going to blow up the whole relationship.

[00:08:35] And then of course you immediately say the thing that you weren’t intending to say. So I come into this conversation, I’m like, I’m immediately telling you that I behave in ways that I’m kind of ashamed of. And that shameful that I wi, you know? And there’s a part of you that’s like, oh my God, this stuff that I should be concealing from the world is now out there front and center.

[00:08:55] And that’s kind of terrifying in some ways. And at the same time, really liberating. And I, I, I was really struck when I went to Omaha last time for the Berkshire meeting, the guy whose name I’m spacing on who handles the insurance portfolio, you know who I mean, the, the legendary IG Jane who’s added something like $50 billion of value or something out outrageous.

[00:09:17] He’s given his moment in the spotlight. And so he comes out Buffett Munger asking questions. And as I remember, uh, g Jane has given his first opportunity to answer a question. And the very first thing he does is tell you how Geico is underperforming, how they’re worse than their biggest rival. And it was just an amazing thing to see that culture where instead of coming out and telling you how wonderful they are, they come out and tell you the thing, the thing that they could easily be concealing.

[00:09:47] And it was one of those things where I thought they’ve so deeply internalized that as part of their culture, not concealing the things that are wrong. I mean, as Charlie always says, they’re, they’re rubbing their nose in their mistakes. That’s an amazing quality to have. And so, I dunno, you don’t want to be self-flagellating about these things, I think.

[00:10:07] But the relief of not hiding the stuff that’s a little bit torry or unpleasant or unflattering, there is something very liberating and at the same time, scary.

[00:10:21] Stig Brodersen: So one thing I struggle with, whenever I was, I was younger, let’s say a teenager, early twenties, there are a lot of different social events that I don’t like.

[00:10:31] Weddings or, you know, 50th birthdays and anniversaries and baptism, like bunch of different things. And whenever I got invited to those things, I went there because you know that’s what you’re supposed to do. And I didn’t like it. It wasn’t like I had anxiety and really disliked, it was just more. You know, I kind of felt, why, why am I doing this?

[00:10:51] I don’t really speak to the host because that’s the only person you’re not speaking to whenever you have these kind of events, because there were so many, you get to six sit like six hours next to person, you’re never going to see again. Doing all that really just didn’t make any sense. And so what I’ve started doing was I said to the wonderful host who invited me to whatever the event was, said, I don’t want to, I don’t, I don’t enjoy those type of events, but you know, I, I’m going to bring a pizza and a six pack and I’m going to come the following Tuesday because I want to, I want to hang out with you.

[00:11:17] I want to have a conversation with you. It’s, it’s not you. I’m saying no to it. It’s, it’s the actual event and to me it almost give me excited doing that to begin with. because I was like, the person is probably going to be angry at me. But what happened was that the person was like, Yeah. That, that probably makes sense.

[00:11:31] Yeah. I would love to see you next Tuesday. Let’s, let’s have pizza and beer and, you know, it, it was just one of those that things, and I know this is just a small thing in, in the bigger thing that we were talking about today. It’s been so liberating that I don’t need to have any kind of anxiety by telling that to someone now, or like the, the weeks leading up to an event.

[00:11:48] I can just not go, but still want to be very sincere in the relationship with that person.

[00:11:54] William Green: It’s a beautiful insight and, and I, it’s related to something that happened when I was interviewing Bill Miller at his home in the outskirts of Baltimore. Where for, for my book, Richard Weiser, happier, I spent probably two days interviewing, bill and I, I’ve interviewed him probably 18, 1900 hours over the last 22 years.

[00:12:13] So we got to know each other really pretty well over the. There was one point where we were talking about how he lives these days and how authentically he lives, and he said, he said when he was invited to be a keynote speaker at some event, some big gala event, he said, well, what’s the dress code? And they said, black tie, you’ll have to wear a tuxedo.

[00:12:36] And he is like, no, I threw out my tuxedo and I’m never going to buy another one. And there was something really wonderful to me about the fact that Bill had become so aligned with his own nature that he’d got to a point where he knew what he was like. He knows what interests him, he knows what he is best at.

[00:12:57] And he’s structured his life really in a way that reflects his own nature and his own preferences, his own interests, his own talents. And one of the issues with this, that. Hey, I’m sure our, our listeners will be coing onto immediately is the fact that you can be a little bit of a sociopath, right? I mean, you can be really antisocial and you can start to say things that you shouldn’t say or that are unkind.

[00:13:22] And I do think that’s a risk, and I think Bill happens to be a really good and decent and kind person, but I think he, he knows himself well enough that he’s structured his life in this very aligned and authentic way. And I see the same thing with, with Monish. And I, I wrote about this a a lot in my chapter about Monish because Monish doesn’t really care.

[00:13:45] About fitting in with social norms, right? So he structured this incredibly aligned life where, for example, it sounds like a really ridiculous thing, but he, I talked about how he would take a guilt-free nap in the afternoons, whereas iso take a nap in the afternoon. It’s literally for like about seven minutes.

[00:14:06] But I tend to feel guilt about it. But Monish Monish is like, no, this is, this is how I like to live my life. And he dresses in shorts and a t-shirt or whatever when he is coming in and into the office and he won’t have meetings with his shareholders and he won’t mark the fun because he says, yeah, I don’t like all of the mumbo jumbo of marketing.

[00:14:29] And I think there’s something kind of wonderful about that and, but there’s an issue with it as well, right? Which is, it helps to be rich, right? I mean, if you have the money, you can tructure your life in a way that’s very true to who you are. But I think it’s that that is true. And at the same time, for me, it’s been very powerful to know that this is a goal, to know that I want to structure my life in a way that’s true and authentic to who I am.

[00:14:57] And one, one of the aspects of that is that I figured out over the last few years that I’m not really optimizing for money. That’s just not the thing I’m most obsessed with it. It matters much more to me who I’m working with, whether they’re decent, whether they’re kind, whether they’re honest, whether they’re caring, whether they’re sharing what they’re trying to do with their work.

[00:15:24] Like whether, whether it’s just about, you know, their own ego or whether there’s actually something kind of a little more altruistic and decent about it. And that’s idiosyncratic, right? That I care that much about that. But it just happens to be where I’m coming from. And that’s been a really wonderful thing.

[00:15:44] Like at a, at a certain point I just decided I’m not going to work with anybody that I dislike ever. And maybe that was inspired by Monish. There. There was a time where I was, I was working on a project with someone who I thought was kind of really unpleasant and started to threaten me in certain ways. As you know, I’m always late with everything, with deadlines and the like.

[00:16:07] Partly because I’m sort of obsessed with trying to get things as good as possible. Partly because I’m scrambling with too many things and I’m not very, not very good at managing my time and productivity and the like. And this guy started to threaten me and say, well, if you don’t meet the deadline, I can sue you.

[00:16:22] And I just, I was working so unbelievably hard to do something that was kind of beautiful and good. And I was doing things that I think from his perspective, he didn’t know how hard they were to do and how extraordinary it was that we were pulling off these things that were kind of really difficult.

[00:16:40] and then the guy starts to threaten me. Ammani said to me, if you had had more money, you just would’ve sworn at him and walked away, and I couldn’t really do it, and I never want to get in that situation again. Where, and that’s really important to me. It, it’s hugely important to me. So I’m not saying any of this in a sort of totally self-congratulatory way.

[00:17:03] I think. I think if there’s a, if there’s a takeaway, it’s that you just want to be asking yourself what you’re really optimizing for. What, what do you really care about? What actually makes for a rich and abundant life for you? And for me, spending time working with extraordinary people who I like and doing work that’s fulfilling and that I think has some sort of higher purpose that’s helpful in some way, just happens to be fulfilling.

[00:17:33] and I, I, I think earlier in my life, my desires were just very different, right? I mean, I, I’m 54 now, so I spent a lot of time as a journalist, probably 20 something years working at magazines and the like, and I just was, I, I, I was desperate for people to see how smart I was and how good I was at what I did.

[00:17:53] And there was a lot of, I, I mean, I still have plenty of ego, but, but I was really driven by this pretty fragile need to get ahead, to be recognized, to climb the ladder to, and I may, maybe it just changes as you get older. I’m not, I’m not so motivated by that stuff anymore.

[00:18:12] Stig Brodersen: You know, I, I think to some it changes whenever they, they go get older and, and to others.

[00:18:18] It’s, it’s not, I remember Preston and I reading the book by T. Boone Pickens, and the title of the book was The First Billion the Hardest. So you, you just get it there from, from that. And so I remember the, the, the first time you, you told me that story, this was. More than a year ago you told me this story about this person who threatened to, to, to sue you.

[00:18:37] And it also made, it made an impact on me. I know we talked about it a few times since because it, it’s so telling up the way that, that both of us wants to want to live our life. And so whenever I, I read T. Boone Pickens’ book, what stood out to me was just how different he, he saw the world, which sort of like goes into a philosophical question of is it because I’m seeing the world all wrong?

[00:18:59] Because, like, to T. Boone Pickens, it seemed like everyone was his enemy. And it’s almost like, you know, I wouldn’t say T. Boone Pickens and Carl Icahn with the same person, but the type of person who would make a living out of, he’s not making friends, he’s defeating his enemy. And that was how he saw life and work. And to me that just seems like a terrible way of living a life.

[00:19:20] But it, which again is like, they might be looking at us, William and, and, and they’re saying, I have a billion dollars, so . Yeah. Why do I care? And it’s fun defeating enemies, whereas I might be living a life where I just don’t want to have enemies. And perhaps that’s, I don’t know, that’s bad. I,

[00:19:38] William Green: I don’t know.

[00:19:39] I spent a lot of time with multi-billionaire in the UK who I, I worked on a project with many years ago, and so I got to know him a lot. And he used to talk about poor, rich people. And so he obviously knew an enormous number of the richest people in the world. He, at one point own the most expensive house in the world himself.

[00:19:58] And he was a very remarkable, self-made guy. Very brilliant. And I thought that was really interesting, the idea of poor, rich people. And he felt that he was surrounded by them, these people who, who seemed rich, but in some way they were internally poor. It’s a very, very interesting concept. And I don’t know, it’s, it’s complicated because I remember, uh, years and years ago, I, I took a flight.

[00:20:23] With Monish and Guy Spier, who were very, very close friends and both close friends of mine, and we were flying back from Omaha and they had, they just had the Sunday brunch with Buffett and Munga, so they were both sort of high, like they were just really excited on top of the world. And Guy had rented a net Jets plane, which I, I, I, you know, I’ve never seen him do another time.

[00:20:43] I’m sure he is done it other times. And so I was flying back with them in this sort of luxurious way, and we spent most of that flight talking about the inner scorecard. And th this concept of Buffett. So you want to live by an inner scorecard and not really care how other, other people live or other people judge you.

[00:21:00] You’re, you are living in a, in a, by your own standards, admonishes view. Was that if you’re a sociopath, you should basically live that way. He, he was talking at the time about Putin. He was like, you know, Putin’s a sociopath. You should live in alignment with who he is. And guy’s view, of course is very different than that and Guy like, you know, no, you should behave decently and honorably and trans transform the way you behave.

[00:21:23] It’s a complex one, right? Because you want to, you want to behave in a way that’s aligned with your true nature. But what if your nature is kinda lousy? It’s difficult. Like I have my own set of prejudices here that there are certain things I’m prepared to sacrifice in order to live in a way that I want to live.

[00:21:42] And so I’m very happy to walk away from money. That’s partly because I got to a point where I was comfortable enough and secure enough that I could do it. And I think part of what was really painful for me, you know, I went through a difficult period as you know, where I’d been editing the international editions of Time Magazine.

[00:22:01] And then during the financial crisis I got laid off and had very high expenses because I was living in. In London, in this beautiful house that was paid for by time. And they sent my kids to lovely private school. And then suddenly it’s like, oh my God, I’m, I’m sort of cast out of the kingdom, out of this job that I really loved, and my profession was falling apart.

[00:22:18] Journalism was going through a terrible period. And I remember thinking at the time, I, I started to do some work that I really didn’t like. I, I mean, for one thing I took, I, I was very lucky. I got a job of decent paying and decent job, but at a company that I disliked intensely. And I quit that job and walked away with two kids in private school and these very high expenses, and that was scary as hell, but part of it, so I, I really felt that intense pressure between the practicalities of needing to do certain work just because you’ve got to support your family.

[00:23:00] and the desire to live in a way that was aligned with who I am. And I, I worked with people I regarded slightly dishonest and slightly they were bullies. I thought I, I’m not trying to be sort of super judgmental of them. It was more, it was kind of, they, they, they had an ultimate boss who was a bully and I think it was almost like a, an abused family.

[00:23:25] And so people who were hurt and scared themselves would then behave not so well with their underlings. And I may be wrong about this or may be unfair, but it was certainly the wrong environment for me. And, and so I had this kind of crisis where I remember thinking my family had fled from Ukraine and Russia and Poland in the first part of the 20th century as Jews in places where there were Paul Grimms and there was a lot of persecution.

[00:23:56] and they didn’t have it easy. It was hard. And I remember just thinking maybe there are certain times in your life, maybe your entire life, where you just capitulate and you just, you capitulates the wrong word. It felt like capitulation to me, where I just accept the fact that I have to do what it takes.

[00:24:17] I’ve got to do work that I don’t like. That doesn’t have any higher purpose at all, and that’s just what you do to take care of your family. And I really thought about World War II and these periods where you just had to do what you had to do for your family. And it was kind of crushing, I mean, to think, wow, this just may be my fate.

[00:24:38] And I remember a friend of mine saying, you know, look, not everyone gets to live the dream. And it was very painful. It really felt like a kind of capitulation. And then at some point I was like, no, I’m not doing that. I just kept doubling down on the things that I actually found fulfilling, like writing books.

[00:24:54] And I, I mean, part of what happened is, part of what happened is I started to work with Guy Spier on his book, The Education of a Value Investor, and then I started to work on other books, like The Great Minds of Investing. And then that led to my book Richer Wiser, Happier.. And so it set me on this amazing trajectory, but it was scary and I really felt that tension.

[00:25:15] So the between the desire to live a life that’s aligned with who you are, And the pressure to make a living and take care of your family. And it’s not easy having felt that tension. But I have to say, when I, when I look back, I’m, I’m just so immensely relieved that I took the path of living in a way that’s truer to who I am.

[00:25:38] And I think about this a lot with my kids, right? I have a 21 year old daughter, Madeline, and a 24 year old son, Henry, and I’m off, they’re both very creative and I think they both want to be musicians and writers and the like, and these are, these are not known as the most secure, stable professions, right?

[00:25:58] You want your kid to be a hedge fund manager or an investment banker or something, I guess, you know, you want them to be secure. And I’m like, no, no, buy the lottery ticket because you don’t, you don’t want to look back at the end of your life and think, I didn’t take the risk of living in a way that’s aligned with who I am.

[00:26:15] I worked with Tony Robbins on some things along the way, and so I got to know Tony fairly well. And I, I remember Tony saying at one point talking about how you define what a beautiful life is for you. And I remember him saying at some point, well, so for someone it’s going to be having a spouse and two kids.

[00:26:34] For somebody, it’s going to be having a beautiful garden. And I remember him sort of adding at the end of this list, saying, and for some people it’s to get closer to their God. And I just thought that was a really, really interesting discussion because you realize just how idiosyncratic and personal, your definition of what a good life is, what a fulfilled life is, what what, what’s truly aligned.

[00:26:57] And so the none of these questions are, are easy and they’re extremely personal and idiosyncratic. But it, but for the, for the people who are listening who are kind of teachering on the edge, deciding how should I live my life? I, I would just encourage you. To push towards living a life that’s deeply aligned with what’s important and valuable to you.

[00:27:21] And, and I think when I see, when I see the most successful investors, like really the most successful, not the people who are very, very good and, you know, uh, pretty well known, but the ones at the absolute top of their game, they’re really profoundly aligned with their own idiosyncrasy. You, you look at someone like Bill Miller or Howard Marx or a Charlie Munger, they’re deeply aligned with who they are.

[00:27:47] They’ve structured their lives in a way where they’re, they’re doing what they’re good at, what they’re best at, what they care most about. I remember Bill Miller talking about how he doesn’t pump his own gas. He doesn’t, he, he had this dog that he really loved. This bulldog that I think passed away. He, he’d got a bulldog because Ernie Keeney, the, his mentor and friend who had hired him like Mason all those years ago, said to him, well, you know, you, you, you need a new dog.

[00:28:13] And so obviously if you want to bull market, it should be a bulldog. And so Bill gets this, this bulldog that he absolutely adored, but he didn’t really walk the dog like, I think his sister kind of more or less took care of the dog and he didn’t decorate his home. You know, his sister decorated his homes both in Florida and, and the outskirts of, of Baltimore.

[00:28:34] And again, you can say, well, it’s just because he could afford to do this stuff. And that’s sort of true. But I think knowing that you want to structure your life in a way that where you are doing the things you are best at and you care most about is really helpful because it may not require a huge amount of money to do that.

[00:28:53] Stig Brodersen: I once heard a casino host say to her fellow staff, okay, so all you remember, rich people are eccentric, poor people are weird. I, I obviously, I, it made me think of this. Again, I, I’m not referring to, to bill as I’m saying this, but I think it’s important for us to remember that not in the sense of casino is, is great, or what a casino boss is saying is the right way to look at life.

[00:29:15] But I think we as a society, and we tend to look at risk people like, oh, that’s so cool. They’re, they’re going their own ways. But then if, if they don’t have money, then we just, they’re just outcast. And I also think it says something about us more than necessarily the, the other person we are, we’re looking at.

[00:29:31] William Green: Yeah, I totally agree. I think the question is, when you look at the things that are really important to you in your life, how much would it actually cost to do them? And in, in many ways, I think what you find is it’s not that expensive. I, I remember Tony Robbins again going through these things and saying, well, so you want to, you want to have a boat or you want whatever, you know, like structure it in a different way.

[00:29:54] Like, you borrow a boat or you rent something. Or, I’m not expressing this very well, but I think it’s a really important idea to look at what it is in the lives of people who seem to have everything, but you really crave and clone that. When I look at what the super rich people I write about have, I can’t tell you how little I envy the big houses and the planes and stuff like that.

[00:30:20] The thing that envy is a, is a bad word, because as, as Charlie Munger says, it’s the dumbest of the seven deadly sins because it’s not even fun. But when I look at the things that I really crave that the multi-billionaires have, it’s independence, it’s, it’s really the ability to live your life in a way that’s true to who you are.

[00:30:40] So for someone like me being in control of my time, that’s something that I learn from Bill Miller, right? Bill Miller says I have control over the content of my time. And so the other day, for example, I’m friends with Josh Tarof, who’s a really lovely young hedge fund manager. Not that young. He’s in his forties, but he looks about 17 from, from all his clean living.

[00:31:04] And Josh introduced me to a really, a really lovely hedge fund manager who I, I’m, I’m going to have come on the show soon and is a professor at Columbia as well. And he’s just a really remarkable guy. And I knew that this was going to be really interesting. And so I took the train into New York City and then he was across town staying at this really nice hotel.

[00:31:26] So it probably took me an hour and a half to get there on a really rainy day. And I spent three hours with him just talking over breakfast, and then I went home. And so, Just to be able to spend sort of six hours in the middle of the week going to meet a stranger who’s really interesting and really smart and really thoughtful and really eccentric because he’s also very spiritual, as well as being incredibly scientific and smart and thoughtful, and a really good investor.

[00:31:58] That’s just such a delight for me not to have to go into an office, not to have to report to anyone, not to have to explain what I’m doing with my time. I had no idea whether it was going to lead to anything, but in fact, it’s led to a really nice friendship with a really interesting, really special guy. And he will come on the podcast and he’ll share.

[00:32:19] His insights and that’s a really lovely thing. But that to me, the ability to go do things like that, to chat with people who I can learn stuff from and who are decent and who are interesting, that’s the absolute core of a good life. The fact that I’ve come in here, it’s to my office here in New York, just north of the city and I’m chatting with you this morning.

[00:32:41] That was a really beautiful thing. You know, you’re a friend, you’re someone I like a great deal or, or you’re someone I’ve partnered with at work and we get to chat about life and build our friendship and that’s just so that to me that’s just a really the tho those are really idiosyncratic things that lie at the heart of a good life for me.

[00:33:00] So again, I just think anyone who’s listening, just ask yourself what’s weird and idiosyncratic in your own value system.

[00:33:10] Stig Brodersen: One thing I admire about you there, there are many things, but one thing I would like to highlight is, How good you are at connecting with other people. And I remember the first time you and I met in 2015, I think it was, it was a guy who introduced us back then.

[00:33:25] It’s what, seven years ago now? So I, I don’t strictly remember, but we, we got in touch and we were talking about your book that came out at the time called The Great Minds of Investing. But I, I think what, what stood out to me even more than the book, even though it’s a, it’s a wonderful book, is I, I just remember how present I felt you, you.

[00:33:44] Pres and I, at the time, we, we did have guests on, we also talked to each other about different books. That was more or less what we did in the beginning, but it, it was very clear to us that whenever we had authors on, we were the 13th interview of 52 or whatever they were doing. Right. And like, and it was another one.

[00:34:03] And it was, you know, people were nice, don’t get me wrong. But then there was a check mark and then we’re done with the investors podcast and then until the next, and we knew that you were doing a book loans at the time. And so obviously you, you were speaking with other people than us. But you really made an effort in being present and in, in a way, way, I want to say that if a person is present, you can’t really fake it, whether it’s business or like hanging out with your kids or whatever.

[00:34:27] It’s like you can’t fake it. Either you are there or, or you’re not. To me was absolutely wonderful. And for example, just, just as we were starting recording today and, and you’re saying, oh, just like I’ve, I’ve set aside all the time, you need to just, just let me know. And that was just so wonderful. Again, to compare you with Warren Buffett.

[00:34:46] I’m, I’m going to do that quite a few times here today, William, if I can. But monies have told the same story about meeting Buffett, who clearly is a very busy person. You are clear, very busy person. But that was what Buffett said. Whenever, you know, guy Mons bought this, that lunch, like, oh, you know, , whenever you get second me, you know, you can just set me home.

[00:35:03] And what a wonderful way of styling a relationship compared to, you know, we also have guests on who say, I just want to make sure it’s, it’s only like 60 minutes. You’re going to send it to the compliance team. I’m going to give you, you know, a red light coming up where there was five minutes to go. What, whatever it is.

[00:35:19] Like, it’s so, it’s so interesting how you approach life and how you are present and it’s not that it’s more time consuming to be present. If anything, it’s probably less time consuming and more efficient. But I’m trying to rope myself into actually asking you a question here because I wanted to ask you, William, because I think this is applicable not just to us here on our team, but also to, to our listeners who are, who can use this professionally and personally, all this thing about being, being present, is that something that comes natural to you if you ever it, or is this something that you are conscious about whenever you, you start a new relationship?

[00:35:54] How can I be most present?

[00:35:57] William Green: First of all, thank you. That’s very kind. I’m a, I’m a pretty intense person. I , I think. And so I think when I’m in a conversation, I’m really there. I mean, I, I’m not really thinking about anything else. I’m very intensely engaged and I’m looking at, I, I find this when I’m in an interview where, when I, when I do these podcast interviews, for example, you’d be kind of shocked if you knew how stressed I get before some of them.

[00:36:24] I mean before, before something like my interview with Daniel Goldman, who I’m friends with. I was really, really stressed. And part, part of the reason is I admire him a great deal and he’s, he’s older than me and he’s sort of a role model and a mentor. And so I guess there was some part of me that wanted to impress him and not disappoint.

[00:36:42] But even when I did my interview with Geier, who was one of my closest friends, I was really nervous before that. So it’s, it’s kind of strange. And then I, I get into the interview and as it starts, or as the person comes on, this deep sense of peace descends on me. And I think it’s because, and, and actually a kind of joy to be honest, and I think it’s because I’m so deeply present in the conversation that it is like a flow state where everything else, all of my anxieties, my worries just disappear and I’m fully there.

[00:37:18] And so maybe it’s a quirk of my wiring that that happens, but I, I, I do feel very present. And when, when I think of I, in the, in the introduction to the Great Minds of Investing, I wrote about my friend Michael O’Brien, who took the photos for the book, and he’s an extraordinary photographer. And I, I was interviewing him about his technique and he said to me that he would be taking photos of, say, I think he had less time with, with Buffett than with Most, but say Buffett, Munger Howard marks, Irving Kahn, all of these extraordinary people. And he’d get very close up and he wouldn’t allow them to smile and he wouldn’t speak while he was taking all of these photos. And he said to me he might take 200, 250 photos of someone quickly without speaking. And he said he would sort of motion if he wanted them to move their chin, or, and he said, because he was so engaged, they were engaged.

[00:38:16] and I, I recognize something in that when Josh Waitzkin, who wrote this great book, The Art of Learning talks about thematic interconnectedness. I think that’s the phrase anyway, where when you find a theme going through one discipline and running through another. So for example, he’d find the parallels in, in chess and jujitsu and Tai Chiwan push hands and investing.

[00:38:39] And this was one of those moments of thematic interconnectedness where I saw, oh, that’s what Michael O’Brien is doing. He’s so captivated and so engaged, and so present person he’s photographing mirrors it. And so I think it’s a, I think it is a hard thing to fake. Either you are there or you are not, but it, but it helps if you’re doing something that’s profoundly interesting to you.

[00:39:02] If I were sitting around reading. 10 Ks or something like that. I just wouldn’t be that interested. It just isn’t what excites me. But the opportunity to talk to, I I, I just scheduled another interview with Ray Dalio for, for a few weeks from now. That scares me. I’m anxious about it. I’m like, what am I going to ask?

[00:39:22] What I, how do I prepare? I’m already worrying about it, but I’m going to prepare like crazy. And then again, I think the anxiety will kind of dissipate and I’ll just be deeply present there. So, so some of it, some of it I think is just doing stuff that you deeply care about and that suits you and that really truly engages you.

[00:39:46] And then I, but, but these must be skills you can learn. ‘Cause I remember my friend Ken Shub Stein, who I write about in, in my book as well, he would talk about, he is a very interesting guy who’s now, he’s stopped being a professional investor and has become a neurologist, A really fascinating guy. And he would pick a topic each year to study.

[00:40:05] And one year his topic was learning to listen. I, I thought that was a really interesting thing that he made it his study for that year, that he was going to become a better listener. And he is a remarkable listener. And so I do think these skills must be learnable. You must be able to get better at them.

[00:40:23] Stig Brodersen: So on that note, William, your network is absolutely amazing.

[00:40:29] I’m sure everyone who has read Richer, Weiser, happier, they all been thinking, how do you get access to all of these people? And not to, to put words in your mouth, I guess I sort of AI just by, by saying that, but it really makes me think of Buffett’s advice on how to find a good spouse, find good friends, start by being a good spouse or being a good friend.

[00:40:50] You know, that’s, that’s, that’s step number one. So I would say that you. Such a high quality person, which is also why it’s no surprise that you are surrounded by high quality people. So perhaps my question is actually different than what I imagine to be in the sense that, can you give advice to the audience about how do you, how do you build and invest in relationships with high quality people?

[00:41:13] William Green: I think part of it is knowing that it’s hugely important and, and so for me, for many years I neglected my friendships. So, so I, I grew up in London and then I moved to New York when I was maybe 2021. And so I let a lot of those college relationships sort of wa a little bit. They, they, they lost some of their, their intensity just because I wasn’t there.

[00:41:36] Then I lived in New York, then I moved to Boston, then I moved back to New York, then I moved to Hong Kong for five years to work for Time Magazine. And so I built some very strong relationships. . And then I moved to London and, and then I moved back to New York. And so every time I moved, I would let certain deep relationships with her a little, I would neglect them.

[00:41:58] And I think partly, partly what happened to me is that by, by writing my book and really thinking hard about Munger and Buffett and Ed Thorpe and all of these people I was writing about, I started to realize how misguided that had been. And there, there was a moment when I asked Munger what we could learn from him and Warren about a happy life.

[00:42:22] And he just immediately started talking about relationships. There was no, there was no segue. He just started talking about how they’d been surrounded by great people. And he said, I’ve, I’ve been a good partner, Tim, and he’s been a marvelous partner to me. And then talked about that whole idea of if, if you want to have a good partner, be a good partner.

[00:42:41] And I just thought about that and I thought, so if I’m going to clone the spirit of this, what sort of a, I I, I’d always thought, well, how come I don’t have better friendships? Like I’m a pretty nice person and I’m kind of sociable and I like people and how come I have so few really good friendships? And then I started to realize, well, because I’m not a really good friend, I, I’m not really showing up for people.

[00:43:05] So the realization that relationships are not a side issue, it’s not a distraction while you get ahead with your career. And it sounds so obvious and mundane, but that was a really important thing for me to realize. Right. Just to know that it’s a priority. An an Ed Thorpe, likewise, who as our listeners know, is not only one of the greatest investors of all time, but one of the greatest gamblers of all time.

[00:43:29] He’s the guy who figured out how to count cards and how to beat the casino at roulette and blackjack. I mean, a brilliant guy. I said to him when I had this three hour breakfast with him in New York for the. Book I said to him, so if you were approaching life as a game, given that you’re the most unbelievable game player, how do you stack the odds in your favor to have a successful and happy and truly abundant life?

[00:43:51] And he said to me, this thing that I mentioned in the epilogue of the book, which is he said, who you spend your time with is probably the most important thing of all. And Munger had actually, I think, bought a copy of Ed So’s book for Monish and he said to Monish, it’s a love story. And that’s a really interesting insight because Thor was married for more than 50 years to a remarkable woman who then passed away and he since remarried.

[00:44:18] But there’s interesting that Munger saw it as a love story, because really it’s about markets and this extraordinary life of this, this game. . And so once I started to think about, okay, so here’s Munger, one of the smartest, most rational people on Earth talking about the importance of relationships. Here’s Ed Thor, one of the smartest, most success.

[00:44:36] Uh, and he’s probably the only person in the book who might be brighter than, than Munger. And again, it’s all about relationships. So then I started to think I’ve been kind of misguided all these years. I was so busy trying to get ahead, and then I was moving and, and my work is kind of, it’s very, it’s very all consuming, writing a book.

[00:44:57] I I, I spent five years on Richard Weiser Happier, and I’m totally obsessive and I think of it as being in a tunnel. I, I sort of neglected everything with the possible exception of my family. Because I was working from home, so I saw a lot of them. But pretty much everything else I was neglecting. I neglected my health.

[00:45:17] I neglected exercise, was a really good excuse not to exercise. So I realized how outta whack I got. And so since coming out of that tunnel a couple of years ago, a year and a half ago, I started to think, okay, so how do I reboot? Not dissimilar to what Guy Spier writes about in the Educational Value investor, which I, I helped him with, where he talked about realizing how misaligned he’d become while living in New York.

[00:45:40] And then he’d moved to Zurich and he really rebooted his life, restructured his life in a way that was more true to her, who he was. And so I started to think, okay, if I, if I’m going to realign myself, reboot my life, where have I been going wrong? What have I been not focusing on? So it was clear that I wasn’t focusing enough on relationships.

[00:45:59] It was clear that I wasn’t focusing enough on my physical. So, I mean, I, I, I got a Peloton and, and during, at the start of the Covid crisis and people, people constantly mock Peloton and it’s got somehow a bad repetition. I can’t tell you how life changing the Peloton has been for me. I just having it in my laundry room next to my washing machine and my dryer, the least elegant.

[00:46:22] I mean, people make out at some sort of yuppy thing. You know, I did 2,500 miles on the Peloton last year, I think by, I called it the tour de laundry room. So this is how glamorous it is, but it’s made a huge difference to my happiness, my stress levels, my fitness levels. So understanding that health was going to be important was really key.

[00:46:41] Understanding that equanimity and peace of mind was going to be really key to happy Life was a really important part of rebooting my life. So knowing that things like meditation are not, Digression, but actually are at the core of what you, what you do, or prayer or walking in nature or whatever it is that gives you equanimity, that gives you that kind of emotional resilience.

[00:47:08] That’s really key. I knew that family was really important. So that’s just, that’s just critical. So I, I, I, I, my mother’s in London, I talk to my mother almost every day. I, I talk to my daughter constantly. I’m seeing my son this Saturday. You know, that, that sort of thing. Knowing that that’s, that’s not, that’s not a diversion from what’s important.

[00:47:29] And then realizing that friendships are really key has also been a really important part of that, that rebooting and realigning of my life. And so, something like you, you and I discussed briefly by email a few weeks ago. I think I said, I, I was heading into the city, have lunch with Bill Brewster, who has a, a terrific podcast business brew.

[00:47:52] It’s a really lovely guy who I met a few years ago at a Markel brunch in Omaha, and we ended up having lunch there. And then that’s led to a friendship where I, I think I’ve been on his podcast a couple of times and he was coming into New York and, and again, I dropped everything and I took the train in and I saw Bill and I had lunch with him.

[00:48:11] And I, I don’t know, it was just a really lovely, lovely thing to get, to spend time with a very high quality individual like Bill, who’s smart and thoughtful and generous spirited, and he’s honest and truthful and he’s working on himself and he’s sharing, and I, I, I don’t know, I think in the past I would’ve felt really guilty about that and would’ve thought, what a waste of time for me not to be working.

[00:48:38] And because as I said before, I have a highly developed sense of guilt. I would’ve felt that it was a distraction. And I now realize that that’s this, this term that I often think of myself. It’s the, the eye of, the eye of the bullseye. Relationships when we look back at the end of a long life, when, hopefully a long life, when, when Munga and Ed Thorpe are looking back in their eighties, in Ed’s case and nineties, in Munger’s case, at what constitutes a successful life, relationships are at the center of it.

[00:49:07] And so that’s really had a big effect on me. And so this is one of the great ironies is that when I, when I think about what I’ve learned from the greatest investors who are these great money makers, it’s not really anything to do with money. The thing that I’m really cloning, I mean, yeah, it’s got a lot to do with money.

[00:49:22] I, I’ve cloned a lot of stuff there as well. But in a way, one of the most profound things I’m getting from them is this emphasis on, on relationships. You mentioned

[00:49:31] Stig Brodersen: before, and I, I’m para paraphrasing here, so please forgive me that the, the quality of, of your life is how you spent your time and who you spent your time with.

[00:49:40] I had a conversation with Manish some time ago, and he talked about how. He was very deliberate with his time in a different way than Guy, for example, was that guy would be meeting up with what Monish would refer to as yo-Yos and . And so you’re smiling, you, you know what I’m, what I’m referring to. So people who reach out to you and say, hello, hey, let’s have a cup of coffee.

[00:50:07] Like, no, no set agenda. And I look at, whenever I speak with Manish, whenever I speak with Guy, they, they seem to be very in line with who they are as, as, as people. And they also seem to be very deliberate with how they spent the time. But they dudes spent their time very, very differently. Manish would not meeting up with what he would call yo-yos, whereas, whereas Guy would, and I think perhaps many people in, in, in the audience have been, have been floating between those two, at least.

[00:50:35] I, I can say that, that, that I have, I’ve had periods of my life where I’ve been very deliberate with who I met up with and for, for how long and what was the reason why we’re doing it, but also. Times where, let’s see what happens. We are meeting this nice guy, bill Brewster at the Macel brunch, and now he’s coming to the city, and so now let’s drop everything half so I can meet with that person.

[00:50:56] And so I, I kind of feel like both approaches probably resonate with people, but in different ways using, using guidelines who refer to quite a few times here on, on the episode also because they’re, they’re, they’re mutual, a friend of ours, but also because the, the audience most likely know them. How do you think about those two approaches?

[00:51:15] And again, in this framework of, of, of building relationships living that, that richer, wiser, happier life,

[00:51:22] William Green: it’s striking that they’re both acting in ways that are true to their own personality. And I, I think that’s critical, right? So Monish, Monish said, said to me, and I, I wrote about this in the book, that if he, if he has a dinner with somebody, he’ll ask himself afterwards.

[00:51:40] Did I enjoy that dinner? and he is like, if I didn’t enjoy that dinner, I’ll never have another dinner with that person. And again, it goes back to this thing I’ve saying before about how when you live a life that’s really aligned with yourself, it can be really antisocial. I mean, Monish very truthful. A lot of people would find that really harsh.

[00:52:00] But another thing that Monish said that’s a really important filter for him is he says, is building a relationship with this person going to me make me a better or worse person? That’s an incredibly helpful filter, but it does also leave out the fact that you also want relationships with people who you can lift up and help.

[00:52:21] And actually, if you think about it, Monash’s entire life really is structured around that, given what he’s doing with DSH and his foundation where he’s taking thousands of kids who are incredibly smart and deserving, and often from really poor. Underprivileged families around India, and he is lifting them out of poverty and giving them the opportunity to take the entrance exam to the Indian Institutes of Technology and to medical school.

[00:52:44] And so I think in some ways Monish Monish sounds tougher than he is. So he says these things sort of true in terms of Yeah, he, he does ask himself that about when he is having a meal with someone. He does ask himself whether the person is going to make him better, but he’s much softer actually than that makes him seem, there’s a generosity of spirit and a kindness to manage that it’s really easy to miss.

[00:53:15] And it was very striking to me when, if you look at my chapter about Charlie Munger in my book, he’s when, when I was going to interview, Munger Mon said something to me in advance where he said, he’s got a very tough exterior. , but actually he’s got a very soft heart. He’s got a huge heart and, and he, Charlie, has been an incredibly nurturing friend and mentor to Monish.

[00:53:39] I think that’s interesting. I think in some ways unconsciously, Monish was also talking about himself. I think he’s got a tough exterior, but a really big heart, very kind person. And so actually he’s structured his life where he’s got rid of a lot of yo-yos in terms of his social life and who he’s doing business with, and yet he’s also lifting up tens of thousands of people at the same time.

[00:54:04] That’s a really interesting thing. And look, look at, look at the number of talks that Monish does where he goes to talk. To universities, to university students. Why is he doing that? It’s not for his own ego. I mean, there, there’s an aspect of ego in all of these things, right? Like we, we like people to listen to us and to think we’re smart and all of that.

[00:54:22] Like, like I, I, I think there’s, there’s ego to Warren and Charlie, right? They, they like being in the spotlight in Omaha and having people listen to them and stuff. But at the same time, they’re incredibly sharing with their wisdom and their insight, just incredible. And so I don’t, I don’t think any of us are sort of these saintly figures who are just pure of heart with no agenda and no ego.

[00:54:46] But directionally, you look at people like Warren, Charlie Monish, Howard Marks, Joel Green Black guy, they’re spending an enormous amount of their time sharing their insights and their, what, what they’ve learned to lift up other people. So I think, yeah, you want to, you want to try not to spend too much of your time with yo-yos who are going to make you a worse person.

[00:55:10] but at the same time, the ability to lift up other people and help other people and pass on what you’ve figured out and to support other people, that’s an incredible gift in life. And I, so I, I actually think, I, I think Monish is doing that the whole time. And I think for Guy, guy is, guy is more obviously soft on the exterior guy is constantly trying to help people and lift people up.

[00:55:38] So Guy creates a lot of complexity in his life because he’s allowed so many people in and that’s difficult. And I, this is something I wrestle with the whole time because I try to reply to people when they write to me and it’s really hard and I have this sense that I’m constantly dropping the ball.

[00:55:57] And someone will write me a really kind message. And I have this vague sense that I’ve not replied to lots of people. And there are certain people who’ve told me that my book or a podcast episode or something has changed their life and it’s really touching and really lovely. And then you have this general sense that, you know, if there are 20 balls that you are juggling, you’ve dropped like seven of them.

[00:56:18] And so, so that’s a, that’s a problem that as you open yourself up more to trying to help more people, trying to talk to more people, trying to be kind to more people, you create additional complexity in your life. And that’s a, that makes it very difficult to focus and do deep work. I, I think that’s a real problem.

[00:56:43] There’s a, there’s a real, there’s a real tension here. And once in a while I start to realize, I’ve become out of whack, misaligned, and I’m like, no, I’ve got to simplify my life. And in, in that chapter about Munger, where I also write about Ken Shuben, who I mentioned before, my friend who became the new neurologist, one thing that Ken said to me that’s had a really profound impact on me is that he said, when, when his life starts to get really complex and he starts to get really stressed and things are difficult, for example, during the financial crisis or other periods of his life that have been challenging, he really simplified and he would go through his calendar and he’d cancel all sorts of meetings.

[00:57:26] He’d try to reduce complexity and he would, he would get back to four basic things that he knows are good for his brain and his ability to think. And those are exercise, good nutrition, meditation, and good sleep. And that’s very clarifying. When you have. A super-rational hedge fund manager with a background in brain science who’d also been teaching the Advanced Investment Research course for 10 years at Columbia.

[00:57:55] This is Ken Chuin saying to you, these are the four things that we know scientifically help you to think well. So when you are getting overwhelmed and when there’s too much complexity in real life, because you’re letting too many people in too many things, too many responsibilities, get back to this kind of simplicity that’s very helpful.

[00:58:12] And the last few days, my eye has been twitching like crazy, and I don’t really know why, but I have this sense and I’m just juggling too many things. It’s too much stuff. And I have this fear that I’m, I’m messing up on some front and that’s sort of my body telling me that I’ve, I’ve got to simplify a little bit.

[00:58:31] I’ve got to calm down, I’ve got to streamline, I’ve got to get back to those basic things like exercise. Not too many assignments, not too many responsibilities. It’s a, it’s a long-winded answer to your question, but I think it, it gets at some of the complexity and nuance of this problem that, yeah, you want to, you want to be helping people.

[00:58:50] Yeah. You want to let more and more people into your life. Yeah. Relationships are the most important thing. But also if, if there’s too much complexity in your life, things start to go haywire and you start to get misaligned. And so I think if there’s a takeaway, our listeners should really be thinking about what are the few absolutely core things that you don’t want to neglect.

[00:59:13] And so for me, just knowing the fact that I need to do things like meditation or prayer or whatever, that’s going to help with my equanimity, that I need to do exercise much as I love any excuse not to exercise, that I, I need to spend time with my family. That it, given a choice between relationships with strangers who write to me or with friends who I like, who are in town, but who I don’t see very much.

[00:59:38] If I’m going to have to neglect anyone, it it, there are these concentric circles, I guess, and the, the concentric, the, the inner circle of your wife, your kids or your closest friends or your parents or whatever. That’s the eye of the eye of the bullseye. So, so at least knowing the once in a while you have to pull up the drawbridge a bit and say, no, I’m, I’m getting away from the core task.

[01:00:05] Because otherwise you start to go a little bit crazy. And I, I feel that a little bit at the moment. I, I don’t know if you find this stigma, just the fact that the podcast comes up every couple of weeks, like there’s this constant pressure to, to find guests, to prepare, to edit, and then if you’re juggling other stuff, I mean, you know, you’re running the business as well, which is incredibly time consuming.

[01:00:25] And so you have the complexity of the stuff. I just, so it’s real. It is, it’s a real challenge to get the right balance where. You’re developing deep friendships and the, like, you’re helping other people, but you’re not driving yourself absolutely bonkers. So,

[01:00:42] Stig Brodersen: William, this has been absolutely amazing, as you know, and, and perhaps the listener do not know, I, I prepared nine questions for this interview, and we went through three, and so we’ve been covering a lot of ground and most of the questions weren’t really prepared.

[01:00:57] Who knows? It probably gives us a more organic and nicer con conversation, but I, I can definitely say for myself, I would, I would love doing this type of, of interviews. Again, let’s put it out there, see if the audience like this type of conversation and whether we should do this type of riffing again, and let’s see where, where it takes us.

[01:01:14] William Green: I’m always delighted to come chat with you, STIG, and it, it’s, it’s just fun that it’s, it gives us an opportunity to do our, our internal work aloud, right? We’re both wrestling with these questions of how do you, how do you have a successful life? How do you. How do you deal with the complexity of all of these relationships?

[01:01:34] How do you balance being able to focus on your deep work that you have to do with trying to help strangers and be available to strangers and be a better friend and deal with family and, and so I, I feel like we are wrestling with very similar problems and they’re very nuanced and it’s fun to be able to talk them through and to articulate stuff.

[01:01:55] And so, so yeah. I love the opportunity to chat with you about these things and about what we’re learning along the way. I ha I have a great friend, a guy called Matt Luma, who’s who I work in a shared office space. Very remarkable guy. And he, he told, he, he’s a very serious student of Buddhism and he talked to me at one point about this phrase, friends along the path.

[01:02:20] And I love that idea that we’re. We’re, we’re friends along this path and it’s not like we’re sages who’ve figured everything out. We’re actually trying to wrestle with these issues of, yeah, what, what should we learn from Munger and Buffett? What do we want to clone? Is Monash’s approach better than guys or actually, are they doing the same thing?

[01:02:38] And so, yeah, it’s a really wonderful thing to be able to talk about these things with you and I and more than anything I, I, I really wanted to thank you as well for being such a good friend and, and partner and friend along the path because I, it’s just been a, a real joy to get to know you over these years and to get to spend time with you.

[01:02:55] And, you know, you, you’ve been very flattering to me during this conversation. I really appreciate it and I think you may underestimate what an extraordinary human you are. And it’s just been, it’s been great to get to know you and it’s, it’s, it’s fun to be a friend, a friend along the path with you.

[01:03:12] Stig Brodersen: Well, thank you for saying so, William. I don’t even know what to say, so perhaps we should just in the episode, it’s always great speaking with you, William. Thank you so much for saying so.

[01:03:22] William Green: It’s been a real pleasure. Hope to see you again soon.

[01:03:25] Stig Brodersen: Likewise.

[01:03:27] Outro: Thank you for listening to TIP. Make sure to subscribe to Millennial Investing by the Investor’s Podcast Network and learn how to achieve financial independence.To access our show notes, transcripts, or courses, go to theinvestorspodcast.com. This show is for entertainment purposes only. Before making any decision, consult a professional. This show is copyrighted by The Investor’s Podcast Network. Written permission must be granted before syndication or rebroadcasting.


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