Nati Harnik/Associated Press
- The annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting was held on Saturday.
- Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett and vice chairman Charlie Munger doled out business and life advice.
- Munger’s “great lesson in life” is to cut out toxic people who can hinder your path to success.
Success can hinge on the company you keep, according to billionaire Charlie Munger.
Munger, who is Warren Buffett’s business partner, doled out a mix of business and life advice alongside Buffett while speaking at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting on Saturday. While discussing their thoughts on the recent banking crisis and the rise of AI, the duo’s business savvy occasionally took a philosophical turn into ruminations on friendship and how to know when it may be time to cut ties with someone.
Munger, in particular, stressed that toxic people could hinder someone’s path to success.
“The great lesson of life is get them the hell out of your life — and do it fast,” Munger said.
“It’s so simple to spend less than you earn, and invest shrewdly, and avoid toxic people and toxic activities, and try and keep learning all your life, and do a lot of deferred gratification,” he added, as Inside previously reported. “If you do all those things, you are almost certain to succeed. If you don’t, you’re going to need a lot of luck.”
Before Munger’s comments, Buffett echoed a similar sentiment. Buffett said people need to recognize that others can manipulate them, and avoid falling into that behavior as well.
“I’ve never known anybody that was basically kind that died without friends,” Buffett said. “And I’ve known plenty of people with money that have died without friends.”
Buffett and Munger’s friendship may be a prime example of this. Buffett previously told CNBC in 2021 that early on in both of their careers they strived to “associate with people we wanted to associate with, and if we associated with jerks, that was our problem, but we didn’t have to. “
“What really is great is if you can do what you want in life and associate with the people you want to associate with in life,” Buffett told CNBC, referring to Munger. “And we both have that spirit all the way through.”
While Munger made it clear toxicity could stall someone’s individual success, this attitude can also be detrimental to a workplace environment. A toxic work culture is the most significant factor that can drive an employee to quit, according to research from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Poor pay and job insecurity can also drive away employees, but the study found these factors weren’t as influential as a toxic work culture, according to the research. And one in nine US workers have said they’ve experienced a toxic workplace. That’s around 30 million people in the US workforce.
In order to foster a healthier workplace environment, company leaders and managers can play a crucial role in setting the tone of a company culture and encouraging those attitudes to trickle down to the rest of the company, according to the research.
And if that toxic manager or employee doesn’t seem to be changing, per Munger’s advice, it may be time to cut them loose.