Munger is not the standard model for the kind of partner who prefers to lie low and fade into the background. Everywhere else in his life, Charlie Munger plays the alpha role—with his family, in board meetings for the variety of companies and charities with which he’s involved, with me when I visited him at his office. I usually don’t have trouble getting a word into a conversation. Talking to Charlie Munger is different—I did a lot more listening than talking.
“That’s one of the beauties of the partnership,” says Charlie. “I am in so many activities where I am the dominant personality. Most people do not ‘fit into’ that mode—they can only operate in that mode. Yet I am particularly willing to play the secondary role. Warren’s a more able man in doing what we’re doing, so it’s the appropriate response. There are some times you should be first, some times you should be second, and some times you should be third.”