Planck knowledge vs Chauffeur knowledge

“After winning the Nobel Prize, Planck toured around giving a speech. The chauffeur memorized the speech and asked if he could give it for him, pretending to be Planck, in Munich and Planck would pretend to be the chauffeur. Planck let him do it and after the speech someone asked a tough question. The real chauffeur said that he couldn’t believe someone in such an advanced city like Munich would ask such an elementary question and as such, he was going to ask his chauffeur (Planck) to reply].

In this world we have two kinds of knowledge. One is Planck knowledge,the people who really know. They’ve paid the dues, they have the aptitude. And then we’ve got chauffeur knowledge. They have learned the talk. They may have a big head of hair, they may have fine temper in the voice, they’ll make a hell of an impression. But in the end, all they have is chauffeur knowledge

Source: Charlie Munger – USC School of Law Commencement – May 13, 2007

The internet is filled with opinions and superficial analyses that are an inch deep and a mile wide. A steady diet of this can lead to a lot of chauffeur knowledge. Couple this with over-confidence bias and you have the recipe for lousy returns at best and permanent loss of capital at worst.

Don’t succumb to this tendency. Spend the majority of your time reading source documents and forming your own opinions, and stay within your circle of competence – even if it is quite small. Rose Blumpkin got very rich focusing on one tightly defined retail niche. There are no short cuts to Plank knowledge, but that is where the money is.

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  1. Pingback: Chauffeur knowledge « Dankrad's Homepage

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