The story of Max Planck and his chauffeur

“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. I think I’ve just described practically every politician in the United States.

And you are going to have the problem in your life of getting the responsibility into the people with the Planck knowledge [and away from the people with the chauffeur knowledge]. And there are huge forces working against you. My generation has failed you a bit…..but you wouldn’t like it to be too easy now would you?”

Charlie Munger

Charlie Munger – USC Law School Commencement – May 13, 2007

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