The Wisdom of the Ancients

I believe in the wisdom of the ancients, and three matters much more than any other...

1. The first, and most important is Charlie Munger, but as few of our employees have read him, I really can’t expect you to. []

2. In contrast to the volumes of Charlie Munger materials, it is worth reading a brief quote from another great American (set out below) and a brief memo from the legendary Englishman, David Ogilvy.

3. And finally, a quote from “Puggy” Pearson, Four-time winner, World Series of Poker: “Ain’t only three things to gambling: Knowing the 60-40 end of a proposition, money management and knowing yourself. Even a donkey knows that.”

Remember the above before you propose to send a business plan full of weasel words or make an investment that doesn’t explain how it clears the three hurdles for a good poker hand.


10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy:

Ogilvy counsels, the better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well. Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches. Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well:

1.      Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.

2.      Write the way you talk. Naturally.

3.      Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

4.      Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

5.      Never write more than two pages on any subject.

6.      Check your quotations.

7.      Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.

8.      If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.

9.      Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

10.  If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

This, and much more of Ogilvy’s timeless advice — including his 10 criteria for creative leaders and his core principles of creative management — can be found in The Unpublished David Ogilvy, a fine addition to this ongoing archive of notable wisdom on writing.