In one study, behavioral scientist David Stromehtz found that including cheap mints with diners’ checks increased the tip by up to 21 percent.
In another, sociology professor Phil Kunz sent 578 Christmas cards to random strangers, and received 117 cards in return. A significant number of respondents even included handwritten notes, long letters and photos of family pets and children, and only six said they couldn’t remember Kunz.
Munger’s rule mirrors a popular sentiment held by Adam Smith, the pioneer of Western economic philosophy. In his influential book, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” Smith wrote:
“No benevolent man ever lost altogether the fruits of his benevolence. If he doesn’t always gather them from the persons from whom he ought to have gathered them, he seldom fails to gather them from other people, and with a tenfold increase. Kindness is the parent of kindness.”
While following the golden rule can have an impact on your career or business endeavors, Munger noted that it should be an overall way of life. Putting good into the universe, he told graduates, is about more than acquiring riches.
The billionaire cited the anecdote of a wealthy man who passed away. At his funeral, the minister requested that people come forward to say something nice about the deceased, yet no one did. Finally, one man stepped up and he said, “Well, his brother was worse."
“That is not the way you want to go,” Munger said, to laughter. When it comes to the delivering good in the world, he told the crowd, “there is no ethos in my opinion, that is better for any lawyer or any other person to have.”
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