Stock Market Quotes

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hermes has threatened me with slow mail. lousy Internet service and a horrible stock market if i publish this story. I hope he is just bluffing.
Rick Riordan (The Demigod Diaries (The Heroes of Olympus))
So much for Objective Journalism. Don't bother to look for it here--not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72)
How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure but it is news when the stock market loses two points?
Pope Francis
The main purpose of the stock market is to make fools of as many men as possible.
Bernard M. Baruch
Advertising is like a stock market for your business investment.
Pooja Agnihotri (17 Reasons Why Businesses Fail :Unscrew Yourself From Business Failure)
Life is like the stock market. Some days you're up. Some days you're down. And some days you feel like something the bull left behind.
Paula Wall (If I Were a Man, I'd Marry Me)
In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else's mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one's own place and economy. In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares. And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers... Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else's legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed? The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community - and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
People who succeed in the stock market also accept periodic losses, setbacks, and unexpected occurrences. Calamitous drops do not scare them out of the game.
Peter Lynch (One Up on Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money in the Market)
We need a moderately-priced stock market… The market, like the Lord, helps those who help themselves. But, unlike the Lord, the market does not forgive those who know not what they do. For the investor, a too-high purchase price for the stock of an excellent company can undo the effects of a subsequent decade of favorable business developments.
Warren Buffett
Don't look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack!
John C. Bogle (The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns)
If only one person were perfectly informed there could never be a general crisis. But the only perfectly informed person is God, and he does not play the stock market.
Robert Skidelsky (Keynes: The Return of the Master)
The art world had turned out to be like the stock market, a reflection of political trends and the persuasions of capitalism, fueled by greed and gossip and cocaine.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
The world clings to its old mental picture of the stock market because it’s comforting; because it’s so hard to draw a picture of what has replaced it; and because the few people able to draw it for you have no interest in doing so.
Michael Lewis (Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt)
Market moralities and mentalities-- fueled by economic imperatives to make a profit at nearly any cost-- yield unprecedented levels of loneliness, isolation, and sadness. And our public life lies in shambles, shot through with icy cynicism and paralyzing pessimism. To put it bluntly, beneath the record-breaking stock markets on Wall Street and bipartisan budget-balancing deals in the White House lurk ominous clouds of despair across this nation.
Cornel West (Restoring Hope: Conversations on the Future of Black America)
I hope you know that television and computers are no more your friends, and no more increasers of your brainpower, than slot machines. All they want is for you to sit still and buy all kinds of junk, and play the stock market as though it were a game of blackjack.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young)
His big claim to fame was that the Golden Fleece—that magical sheepskin rug I'm related to—ended up in his kingdom, which made the place immune to disease, invasion, stock-market crashes, visits from Justin Bieber and pretty much any other natural disaster.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson's Greek Gods)
They said the stock market crashed, or something, but since I'm deaf I didn't hear it (ha-ha).
Stephen King (The Stand)
How good are markets in predicting real-world developments? Reading the record, it is striking how many calamities that I anticipated did not in fact materialise. Financial markets constantly anticipate events, both on the positive and on the negative side, which fail to materialise exactly because they have been anticipated. It is an old joke that the stock market has predicted seven of the last two recessions. Markets are often wrong.
George Soros
Trading doesn't just reveal your character, it also builds it if you stay in the game long enough.
Yvan Byeajee (Paradigm Shift: How to cultivate equanimity in the face of market uncertainty)
Choosing individual stocks without any idea of what you're looking for is like running through a dynamite factory with a burning match. You may live, but you're still an idiot.
Joel Greenblatt (The Little Book That Beats the Market)
After all, what does the stock market sell us if not the unfounded hope of a rosy future?
Haruki Murakami (1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3))
The stock market is a financial redistribution system. It takes money away from those who have no patience and gives it to those who have.” — Warren Buffet
John F. Demartini (The Breakthrough Experience: A Revolutionary New Approach to Personal Transformation)
I suppose she chose me because she knew my name; as I read the alphabet a faint line appeared between her eyebrows, and after making me read most of My First Reader and the stock-market quotations from The Mobile Register aloud, she discovered that I was literate and looked at me with more than faint distaste. Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me any more, it would interfere with my reading.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
The market is a pendulum that forever swings between unsustainable optimism (which makes stocks too expensive) and unjustified pessimism (which makes them too cheap). The Intelligent Investor is a realist who sells to optimists and buys from pessimists.
Jason Zweig (The Intelligent Investor)
Arbitrage is not investing.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
If the stock market exists, so must previous lives.
Margaret Atwood (Good Bones and Simple Murders)
The U.S. stock market was now a class system, rooted in speed, of haves and have-nots. The haves paid for nanoseconds; the have-nots had no idea that a nanosecond had value.
Michael Lewis (Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt)
The stock market has predicted nine out of the last five recessions.
Paul A. Samuelson
The fact that a thesis is flawed does not mean that we should not invest in it as long as other people believe in it and there is a large group of people left to be convinced. The point was made by John Maynard Keynes when he compared the stock market to a beauty contest where the winner is not the most beautiful contestant but the one whom the greatest number of people consider beautiful. Where I have something significant to add is in pointing out that it pays to look for the flaws; if we find them, we are ahead of the game because we can limit our losses when the market also discovers what we already know. It is when we are unaware of what could go wrong that we have to worry.
George Soros (The Alchemy of Finance)
Maria, lonely prostitute on a street of pain, You, at least, hail me and speak to me While a thousand others ignore my face. You offer me an hour of love, And your fees are not as costly as most. You are the madonna of the lonely, The first-born daughter in a world of pain. You do not turn fat men aside, Or trample on the stuttering, shy ones, You are the meadow where desperate men Can find a moment's comfort. Men have paid more to their wives To know a bit of peace And could not walk away without the guilt That masquerades as love. You do not bind them, lovely Maria, you comfort them And bid them return. Your body is more Christian than the Bishop's Whose gloved hand cannot feel the dropping of my blood. Your passion is as genuine as most, Your caring as real! But you, Maria, sacred whore on the endless pavement of pain, You, whose virginity each man may make his own Without paying ought but your fee, You who know nothing of virgin births and immaculate conceptions, You who touch man's flesh and caress a stranger, Who warm his bed to bring his aching skin alive, You make more sense than stock markets and football games Where sad men beg for virility. You offer yourself for a fee--and who offers himself for less? At times you are cruel and demanding--harsh and insensitive, At times you are shrewd and deceptive--grasping and hollow. The wonder is that at times you are gentle and concerned, Warm and loving. You deserve more respect than nuns who hide their sex for eternal love; Your fees are not so high, nor your prejudice so virtuous. You deserve more laurels than the self-pitying mother of many children, And your fee is not as costly as most. Man comes to you when his bed is filled with brass and emptiness, When liquor has dulled his sense enough To know his need of you. He will come in fantasy and despair, Maria, And leave without apologies. He will come in loneliness--and perhaps Leave in loneliness as well. But you give him more than soldiers who win medals and pensions, More than priests who offer absolution And sweet-smelling ritual, More than friends who anticipate his death Or challenge his life, And your fee is not as costly as most. You admit that your love is for a fee, Few women can be as honest. There are monuments to statesmen who gave nothing to anyone Except their hungry ego, Monuments to mothers who turned their children Into starving, anxious bodies, Monuments to Lady Liberty who makes poor men prisoners. I would erect a monument for you-- who give more than most-- And for a meager fee. Among the lonely, you are perhaps the loneliest of all, You come so close to love But it eludes you While proper women march to church and fantasize In the silence of their rooms, While lonely women take their husbands' arms To hold them on life's surface, While chattering women fill their closets with clothes and Their lips with lies, You offer love for a fee--which is not as costly as most-- And remain a lonely prostitute on a street of pain. You are not immoral, little Maria, only tired and afraid, But you are not as hollow as the police who pursue you, The politicians who jail you, the pharisees who scorn you. You give what you promise--take your paltry fee--and Wander on the endless, aching pavements of pain. You know more of universal love than the nations who thrive on war, More than the churches whose dogmas are private vendettas made sacred, More than the tall buildings and sprawling factories Where men wear chains. You are a lonely prostitute who speaks to me as I pass, And I smile at you because I am a lonely man.
James Kavanaugh (There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves)
Being wrong is acceptable, but staying wrong is totally unacceptable.
Jack D. Schwager (Stock Market Wizards: Interviews with America's Top Stock Traders)
This practice of overstating the case is called hyperbole. Hyperbole is usually harmless, but in some cases it has been known to precipitate unnecessary wars as well as a painful gaseous condition called stock market bubbles.
Maryrose Wood (The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1))
I'm telling you, this so-called 'prosperity' is going to be the downfall of Asia. Each new generation becomes lazier than the next. They think they can make overnight fortunes just by flipping properties and getting hot tips in the stock market. Ha! Nothing lasts forever, and when this boom ends, these youngsters won't know what hit them
Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1))
Buy a stock the way you would buy a house. Understand and like it such that you’d be content to own it in the absence of any market.
Warren Buffett
The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.” Stick to the good plan. Traditional
John C. Bogle (The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns (Little Books. Big Profits 21))
TURTLE SPENT THE night at the bedside of eighty-five-year-old Julian R. Eastman. T. R. Wexler had a master’s degree in business administration, an advanced degree in corporate law, and had served two years as legal counsel to the Westing Paper Products Corporation. She had made one million dollars in the stock market, lost it all, then made five million more.
Ellen Raskin (The Westing Game)
This practice of overstating the case is called hyperbole. Hyperbole is usually harmless, but in some cases it has been known to precipitate unnecessary wars as well as a painful gaseous condition called stock market bubbles. For safety's sake, then, hyperbole should be used with restraint and only by those with proper literary training.
Maryrose Wood (The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #1))
Some of the vamps formed into smaller groups, to chat or plot or whatever vamps did at undead nonfunerals. Oddly, they talked about the stock market and the latest flare-up in the Middle East, like any well-educated group of humans. It was almost as disorienting as hearing them quote Jesus. Then,
Faith Hunter (Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, #1))
Michael Jordan didn’t become a great basketball player because he wanted to do product endorsements. Van Gogh didn’t become a great painter because he dreamed that one day his paintings would sell for $50 million.
Jack D. Schwager (Stock Market Wizards: Interviews with America's Top Stock Traders)
Stock Traders are always trying to time the market. But an investor tends to be thinking bigger, more broadly, and more holistically.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
What happened was, I got the idea in my head-and I could not get it out ㅡ that college was just one more dopey, inane place in the world dedicated to piling up treasure on earth and everything. I mean treasure is treasure, for heaven's sake. What's the difference whether the treasure is money, or property, or even culture, or even just plain knowledge? It all seemed like exactly the same thing to me, if you take off the wrapping ㅡ and it still does! Sometimes I think that knowledge ㅡ when it's knowledge for knowledge's sake, anyway ㅡ is the worst of all. The least excusable, certainly. [...] I don't think it would have all got me quite so down if just once in a while ㅡ just once in a while ㅡ there was at least some polite little perfunctory implication that knowledge should lead to wisdom, and that if it doesn't, it's just a disgusting waste of time! But there never is! You never even hear any hints dropped on a campus that wisdom is supposed to be the goal of knowledge. You hardly ever even hear the word 'wisdom' mentioned! Do you want to hear something funny? Do you want to hear something really funny? In almost four years of college ㅡ and this is the absolute truth ㅡ in almost four years of college, the only time I can remember ever even hearing the expression 'wise man' being used was in my freshman year, in Political Science! And you know how it was used? It was used in reference to some nice old poopy elder statesman who'd made a fortune in the stock market and then gone to Washington to be an adviser to President Roosevelt. Honestly, now! Four years of college, almost! I'm not saying that happens to everybody, but I just get so upset when I think about it I could die.
J.D. Salinger (Franny and Zooey)
When there are multiple solutions to a problem, choose the simplest one.
John C. Bogle (The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns (Little Books. Big Profits 21))
Confidence is not "I will profit on this trade." Confidence is "I will be fine if I don't profit from this trade.
Yvan Byeajee (The essence of trading psychology in one skill)
Mutual Funds do not allow for your intellectual growth, Stocks do. And in life, wealth always catches up with your intellect
Manoj Arora (The Autobiography Of A Stock)
I was having dinner…in London…when eventually he got, as the Europeans always do, to the part about “Your country’s never been invaded.” And so I said, “Let me tell you who those bad guys are. They’re us. WE BE BAD. We’re the baddest-assed sons of bitches that ever jogged in Reeboks. We’re three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car wreck and descended from a stock market crash on our mother’s side. You take your Germany, France, and Spain, roll them all together and it wouldn’t give us room to park our cars. We’re the big boys, Jack, the original, giant, economy-sized, new and improved butt kickers of all time. When we snort coke in Houston, people lose their hats in Cap d’Antibes. And we’ve got an American Express card credit limit higher than your piss-ant metric numbers go. You say our country’s never been invaded? You’re right, little buddy. Because I’d like to see the needle-dicked foreigners who’d have the guts to try. We drink napalm to get our hearts started in the morning. A rape and a mugging is our way of saying 'Cheerio.' Hell can’t hold our sock-hops. We walk taller, talk louder, spit further, fuck longer and buy more things than you know the names of. I’d rather be a junkie in a New York City jail than king, queen, and jack of all Europeans. We eat little countries like this for breakfast and shit them out before lunch.
P.J. O'Rourke (Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny about This?")
If you can follow only one bit of data, follow the earnings—assuming the company in question has earnings. As you’ll see in this text, I subscribe to the crusty notion that sooner or later earnings make or break an investment in equities. What the stock price does today, tomorrow, or next week is only a distraction.
Peter Lynch (One Up on Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money in the Market)
And back in the spring of 1720, Sir Isaac Newton owned shares in the South Sea Company, the hottest stock in England. Sensing that the market was getting out of hand, the great physicist muttered that he “could calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of the people.” Newton dumped his South Sea shares, pocketing a 100% profit totaling £7,000. But just months later, swept up in the wild enthusiasm of the market, Newton jumped back in at a much higher price—and lost £20,000 (or more than $3 million in today’s money). For the rest of his life, he forbade anyone to speak the words “South Sea” in his presence. 4
Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor)
If you keep a $495 car payment throughout your life, which is “normal,” you miss the opportunity to save that money. If you invested $495 per month from age twenty-five to age sixty-five, a normal working lifetime, in the average mutual fund averaging 12 percent (the eighty-year stock market average), you would have $5,881,799.14 at age sixty-five. Hope you like the car!
Dave Ramsey (The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness)
The grim irony of investing, then, is that we investors as a group not only don't get what we pay for, we get precisely what we don't pay for. So if we pay for nothing, we get everything.
John C. Bogle (The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns)
You have to distinguish between two things - the Swedish economy and the Swedish stock market. The Swedish economy is the sum of all the goods and services that are produced in this country every day. There are telephones from Ericsson, cars from Volvo, chickens from Scan, and shipments from Kiruna to Skovde. That's the Swedish economy, and it's just as strong or weak today as it was a week ago... The Stock Exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less. It doesn't have a thing to do with the Swedish economy.
Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1))
Predicting the stock market is really predicting how other investors will change estimates they are now making with all their best efforts. This means that, for a market forecaster to be right, the consensus of all others must be wrong and the forecaster must determine in which direction-up or down-the market will be moved by changes in the consensus of those same active investors.
Burton G. Malkiel (The Elements of Investing)
Shall I make you a cup of tea? He asked. It was the classic response to crisis practiced throughout these islands—in England, Scotland, and elsewhere. Emotional turmoil, danger, even disaster could be faced with far greater equanimity if the kettle was switched on. War has been declared! There’s been a major earthquake! The stock market has collapsed! Oh really? Let me put the kettle on….
Alexander McCall Smith (The Revolving Door of Life (44 Scotland Street, #10))
As for Ares's other sacred grove, the one in Colchis, things were run a little differently over there. The king was a guy named Aeetes. (As far as I can figure, that's pronounced "I Eat Tees.") His big claim to fame was that the Golden Fleece - that magical sheepskin rug I'm related to - ended up in his kingdom, which made the place immune to disease, invasion, stock market crashes, visits from Justin Bieber, and pretty much any other natural disaster.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson's Greek Gods)
You should waste it.” “What’s that?” “You should be at the beach, like today. You should get stoned and drunk and have loads of sex.” She takes another drag off her cigarette. “I think the saddest thing in the world is a twenty-five-year-old talking about the stock market. Or taxes. Or real estate, goddamn it! That’s all you’ll talk about when you’re forty. Real estate! Any twenty-five-year-old who says the word refinance should be taken out and shot. Talk about love and music and poetry. Things everyone forgets they ever thought were important. Waste every day, that’s what I say.
Andrew Sean Greer (Less)
The strategy of putting all your eggs in one basket and watching that basket is less risky than you might think.
Joel Greenblatt (You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits)
The expectation that you bring with you in trading is often the greatest obstacle you will encounter.
Yvan Byeajee (Paradigm Shift: How to cultivate equanimity in the face of market uncertainty)
But surely stock-market psychopaths can’t be as bad as serial-killer psychopaths,’ I said. ‘Serial killers ruin families,’ shrugged Bob. ‘Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies.
Jon Ronson (The Psychopath Test)
Money is just something you need in case you do not die tomorrow. Let this is a reminder for you not to obsess over profits and losses. In whatever you do, strive for enjoyment, focus, contentment, humility, openness... Paradoxically (and as an unintended consequence) your trading performance will improve significantly.
Yvan Byeajee (The essence of trading psychology in one skill)
Fifteen years ago, this would have been insider trading, but that quaint concept had disappeared a decade or two ago when so many brokers were doing it that it was impossible to jail them all. Now it was called smart trading.
Max Barry (Jennifer Government)
The slave trade was not controlled by any state or government. It was a purely economic enterprise, organised and financed by the free market according to the laws of supply and demand. Private slave-trading companies sold shares on the Amsterdam, London and Paris stock exchanges. Middle-class Europeans looking for a good investment bought these shares. Relying on this money, the companies bought ships, hired sailors and soldiers, purchased slaves in Africa, and transported them to America. There they sold the slaves to the plantation owners, using the proceeds to purchase plantation products such as sugar, cocoa, coffee, tobacco, cotton and rum.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Starting in 1792 with George Washington, there were financial crises every ten to fifteen years. Panics, bank runs, credit freezes, crashes, depressions. People lost their farms, families were wiped out. This went on for more than a hundred years, until the Great Depression, when Oklahoma turned to dust. "We can do better than this." Americans said. "We don't need to go back to the boom-and-bust cycle." The Great Depression produced three regulations: The FDIC-your bank deposits were safe. Glass-Steagall-banks couldn't go crazy with your money. The SEC-stock markets would be tightly controlled. For fifty years, these rules kept America from having another financial crisis. Not one panic or meltdown or freeze. They gave Americans security and prosperity. Banking was dull. The country produced the greatest middle class the world had ever seen.
Elizabeth Warren
I shared my office on 57th Street with Dr Jacob Ecstein, young (thirty-three), dynamic (two books published), intelligent (he and I usually agreed), personable (everyone liked him), unattractive (no one loved him), anal (he plays the stock market compulsively), oral (he smokes heavily), non-genital (doesn’t seem to notice women), and Jewish (he knows two Yiddish slang words). Our mutual secretary was a Miss Reingold. Mary Jane Reingold, old (thirty-six), undynamic (she worked for us), unintelligent (she prefers Ecstein to me), personable (everyone felt sorry for her), unattractive (tall, skinny, glasses, no one loved her), anal (obsessively neat), oral (always eating), genital (trying hard), and non-Jewish (finds use of two Yiddish slang words very intellectual). Miss Reingold greeted me efficiently.
Luke Rhinehart (The Dice Man)
We have left behind the rosy agrarian rhetoric and slaveholding reality of Jeffersonian democracy and reside in the bustling world of trade, industry, stock markets, and banks that Hamilton envisioned. (Hamilton’s staunch abolitionism formed an integral feature of this economic vision.) He has also emerged as the uncontested visionary in anticipating the shape and powers of the federal government. At a time when Jefferson and Madison celebrated legislative power as the purest expression of the popular will, Hamilton argued for a dynamic executive branch and an independent judiciary, along with a professional military, a central bank, and an advanced financial system. Today, we are indisputably the heirs to Hamilton’s America, and to repudiate his legacy is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.
Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)
That’s the thing about the collapse of civilization, Blake. It never happens according to plan – there’s no slavering horde of zombies. No actinic flash of thermonuclear war. No Earth-shuddering asteroid. The end comes in unforeseen ways; the stock market collapses, and then the banks, and then there is no food in the supermarkets, or the communications system goes down completely and inevitably, and previously amiable co-workers find themselves wrestling over the last remaining cookie that someone brought in before all the madness began.
Mark A. Rayner (The Fridgularity)
Wildlife, we are constantly told, would run loose across our towns and cities were it not for the sport hunters to control their population, as birds would blanket the skies without the culling services of Ducks Unlimited and other groups. Yet here they are breeding wild animals, year after year replenishing the stock, all for the sole purpose of selling and killing them, deer and bears and elephants so many products being readied for the market. Animals such as deer, we are told, have no predators in many areas, and therefore need systematic culling. Yet when attempts are made to reintroduce natural predators such as wolves and coyotes into these very areas, sport hunters themselves are the first to resist it. Weaker animals in the wild, we hear, will only die miserable deaths by starvation and exposure without sport hunters to control their population. Yet it's the bigger, stronger animals they're killing and wounding--the very opposite of natural selection--often with bows and pistols that only compound and prolong the victim's suffering.
Matthew Scully (Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy)
You can imagine how distraught I feel when I hear about the glorified heroism-free “middle class values,” which, thanks to globalization and the Internet, have spread to any place easily reached by British Air, enshrining the usual opiates of the deified classes: “hard work” for a bank or a tobacco company, diligent newspaper reading, obedience to most, but not all, traffic laws, captivity in some corporate structure, dependence on the opinion of a boss (with one’s job records filed in the personnel department), good legal compliance, reliance on stock market investments, tropical vacations, and a suburban life (under some mortgage) with a nice-looking dog and Saturday night wine tasting.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder)
The intelligent investor realizes that stocks become more risky, not less, as their prices rise—and less risky, not more, as their prices fall. The intelligent investor dreads a bull market, since it makes stocks more costly to buy. And conversely (so long as you keep enough cash on hand to meet your spending needs), you should welcome a bear market, since it puts stocks back on sale. 8
Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor)
set your own rules and stick to them; never argue with the market; never make a play you can’t afford; never give way to irrational exuberance. Above all, don’t be a sucker.
Jesse Livermore (How To Trade In Stocks)
The market is a pendulum that forever swings between unsustainable optimism (which makes stocks too expensive) and unjustified pessimism (which makes them too cheap). The intelligent investor is a realist who sells to optimists and buys from pessimists.
Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor)
I'm a rich man, Brick, yep, I'm a mighty rich man. Y'know how much I'm worth? Guess, Brick! Guess how much I'm worth! Close to ten million in cash an' blue chip stocks, outside, mind you, of twenty-eight thousand acres of the richest land this side of the valley Nile! But a man can't buy his life with it, he can't buy back his life with it when his life has been spent, that's one thing not offered in the Europe fire-sale or in the American markets or any markets on earth, a man can't buy his life with it, he can't buy back his life when his life is finished... Big Daddy: (pp. 65)
Tennessee Williams (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)
A man must know himself thoroughly if he is going to make a good job out of trading in the speculative markets. To know what I was capable of in the line of folly was a long educational step. I sometimes think that no price is too high for a speculator to pay to learn that which will keep him from getting the swelled head.
Jesse Livermore (Reminiscences of a Stock Operator)
The scary thing is that the more open our markets get, the faster people can move their money around and the more trading is based on this kind of speculation instead of serious analysis. And that’s scary because—recall—the whole point of the stock market is to decide the crucial question of what we, as a society, should build for the future. As Keynes says, “When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.
Aaron Swartz (The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz)
The idealized market was supposed to deliver ‘friction free’ exchanges, in which the desires of consumers would be met directly, without the need for intervention or mediation by regulatory agencies. Yet the drive to assess the performance of workers and to measure forms of labor which, by their nature, are resistant to quantification, has inevitably required additional layers of management and bureaucracy. What we have is not a direct comparison of workers’ performance or output, but a comparison between the audited representation of that performance and output. Inevitably, a short-circuiting occurs, and work becomes geared towards the generation and massaging of representations rather than to the official goals of the work itself. Indeed, an anthropological study of local government in Britain argues that ‘More effort goes into ensuring that a local authority’s services are represented correctly than goes into actually improving those services’. This reversal of priorities is one of the hallmarks of a system which can be characterized without hyperbole as ‘market Stalinism’. What late capitalism repeats from Stalinism is just this valuing of symbols of achievement over actual achievement. […] It would be a mistake to regard this market Stalinism as some deviation from the ‘true spirit’ of capitalism. On the contrary, it would be better to say that an essential dimension of Stalinism was inhibited by its association with a social project like socialism and can only emerge in a late capitalist culture in which images acquire an autonomous force. The way value is generated on the stock exchange depends of course less on what a company ‘really does’, and more on perceptions of, and beliefs about, its (future) performance. In capitalism, that is to say, all that is solid melts into PR, and late capitalism is defined at least as much by this ubiquitous tendency towards PR-production as it is by the imposition of market mechanisms.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
Not even much survives as memory. Many of the most notable names of the summer—Richard Byrd, Sacco and Vanzetti, Gene Tunney, even Charles Lindbergh—are rarely encountered now, and most of the others are never heard at all. So it is perhaps worth pausing for a moment to remember just some of the things that happened that summer: Babe Ruth hit sixty home runs. The Federal Reserve made the mistake that precipitated the stock market crash. Al Capone enjoyed his last summer of eminence. The Jazz Singer was filmed. Television was created. Radio came of age. Sacco and Vanzetti were executed. President Coolidge chose not to run. Work began on Mount Rushmore. The Mississippi flooded as it never had before. A madman in Michigan blew up a school and killed forty-four people in the worst slaughter of children in American history. Henry Ford stopped making the Model T and promised to stop insulting Jews. And a kid from Minnesota flew across an ocean and captivated the planet in a way it had never been captivated before. Whatever else it was, it was one hell of a summer.
Bill Bryson (One Summer: America, 1927)
No,” said a third student. “Novartis is a public company. It’s not the boss or the board who decides. It’s the shareholders. If the board changes its priorities the shareholders will just elect a new board.” “That’s right,” I said. “It’s the shareholders who want this company to spend their money on researching rich people’s illnesses. That’s how they get a good return on their shares.” So there’s nothing wrong with the employees, the boss, or the board, then. “Now, the question is”—I looked at the student who had first suggested the face punching—“who owns the shares in these big pharmaceutical companies?” “Well, it’s the rich.” He shrugged. “No. It’s actually interesting because pharmaceutical shares are very stable. When the stock market goes up and down, or oil prices go up and down, pharma shares keep giving a pretty steady return. Many other kinds of companies’ shares follow the economy—they do better or worse as people go on spending sprees or cut back—but the cancer patients always need treatment. So who owns the shares in these stable companies?” My young audience looked back at me, their faces like one big question mark. “It’s retirement funds.” Silence. “So maybe I don’t have to do any punching, because I will not meet the shareholders. But you will. This weekend, go visit your grandma and punch her in the face. If you feel you need someone to blame and punish, it’s the seniors and their greedy need for stable stocks.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
In the morning I walked down the Boulevard to the rue Soufflot for coffee and brioche. It was a fine morning. The horse-chestnut trees in the Luxembourg gardens were in bloom. There was the pleasant early-morning feeling of a hot day. I read the papers with the coffee and then smoked a cigarette. The flower-women were coming up from the market and arranging their daily stock. Students went by going up to the law school, or down to the Sorbonne. The Boulevard was busy with trams and people going to work.
Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises)
After the stock market crash, some New York editors suggested that hearings be held: what had really caused the Depression? They were held in Washington. In retrospect, they make the finest comic reading. The leading industrialists and bankers testified. They hadn’t the foggiest notion what had gone bad. You read a transcript of that record today with amazement: that they could be so unaware. This was their business, yet they didn’t understand the operation of the economy. The only good witnesses were the college professors, who enjoyed a bad reputation in those years. No professor was supposed to know anything practical about the economy.
Studs Terkel (Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression)
Go into the London Stock Exchange – a more respectable place than many a court – and you will see representatives from all nations gathered together for the utility of men. Here Jew, Mohammedan and Christian deal with each other as though they were all of the same faith, and only apply the word infidel to people who go bankrupt. Here the Presbyterian trusts the Anabaptist and the Anglican accepts a promise from the Quaker. On leaving these peaceful and free assemblies some go to the Synagogue and others for a drink, this one goes to be baptized in a great bath in the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, that one has his son’s foreskin cut and has some Hebrew words he doesn’t understand mumbled over the child, others go to heir church and await the inspiration of God with their hats on, and everybody is happy.
Voltaire
So one way to create an attractive risk/reward situation is to limit downside risk severely by investing in situations that have a large margin of safety. The upside, while still difficult to quantify, will usually take care of itself. In other words, look down, not up, when making your initial investment decision. If you don’t lose money, most of the remaining alternatives are good ones.
Joel Greenblatt (You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits)
Now the situation is different, I admit: I have a wristwatch, I compare the angle of its hands with the angle of all the hands I see; I have an engagement book where the hours of my business appointments are marked down; I have a chequebook on whose stubs I add and subtract numbers. At Penn Station I get off the train, I take the subway, I stand and grasp the strap with one hand to keep my balance while I hold the newspaper up in the other, folded so I can glance over the figures of the stock market quotations: I play the game, in other words, the game of pretending there's an order in the dust, a regularity in the system, or an interpretation of different systems, incongruous but still measurable, so that every graininess of disorder coincides with the faceting of an order which promptly crumbles.
Italo Calvino (The Complete Cosmicomics)
Then, in the 1980's, came the paroxysm of downsizing, and the very nature of the corporation was thrown into doubt. In what began almost as a fad and quickly matured into an unshakable habit, companies were 'restructuring,' 'reengineering,' and generally cutting as many jobs as possible, white collar as well as blue . . . The New York Times captured the new corporate order succintly in 1987, reporting that it 'eschews loyalty to workers, products, corporate structures, businesses, factories, communities, even the nation. All such allegiances are viewed as expendable under the new rules. With survival at stake, only market leadership, strong profits and a high stock price can be allowed to matter'.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America)
It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight! It is no trick at all to be right on the market. You always find lots of early bulls in bull markets and early bears in bear markets. I've known many men who were right at exactly the right time, and began buying or selling stocks when prices were at the very level which should show the greatest profit. And their experience invariably matched mine--that is, they made no real money out of it. Men who can both be right and sit tight are uncommon.
Edwin Lefèvre
Trading is not the same as investing. Trading includes a lot of fear, lack, and scarcity thinking. Traders aim to buy low and sell high in the quickest turnaround time possible, always fearful of potential outcomes and always needing to incessantly monitor the status of things and micromanage results. However, Investing includes a lot of faith, vision, trust, and endurance. Investors look at larger societal patterns and systems. Investors have wealth consciousness and they expect to earn exponentially larger profits over a longer timeframe.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
Dark pools were another rogue spawn of the new financial marketplace. Private stock exchanges, run by the big brokers, they were not required to reveal to the public what happened inside them. They reported any trade they executed, but they did so with sufficient delay that it was impossible to know exactly what was happening in the broader market at the moment the trade occurred.
Michael Lewis (Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt)
But do you know what happened during this period? Where do we begin ... 1.3 million Americans died while fighting nine major wars. Roughly 99.9% of all companies that were created went out of business. Four U.S. presidents were assassinated. 675,000 Americans died in a single year from a flu pandemic. 30 separate natural disasters killed at least 400 Americans each. 33 recessions lasted a cumulative 48 years. The number of forecasters who predicted any of those recessions rounds to zero. The stock market fell more than 10% from a recent high at least 102 times. Stocks lost a third of their value at least 12 times. Annual inflation exceeded 7% in 20 separate years. The words “economic pessimism” appeared in newspapers at least 29,000 times, according to Google.
Morgan Housel (The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness)
We do not need to be rational and scientific when it comes to the details of our daily life—only in those that can harm us and threaten our survival. Modern life seems to invite us to do the exact opposite; become extremely realistic and intellectual when it comes to such matters as religion and personal behavior, yet as irrational as possible when it comes to matters ruled by randomness (say, portfolio or real estate investments). I have encountered colleagues, “rational,” no-nonsense people, who do not understand why I cherish the poetry of Baudelaire and Saint-John Perse or obscure (and often impenetrable) writers like Elias Canetti, J. L. Borges, or Walter Benjamin. Yet they get sucked into listening to the “analyses” of a television “guru,” or into buying the stock of a company they know absolutely nothing about, based on tips by neighbors who drive expensive cars.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets)
Here is an all-too-brief summary of Buffett’s approach: He looks for what he calls “franchise” companies with strong consumer brands, easily understandable businesses, robust financial health, and near-monopolies in their markets, like H & R Block, Gillette, and the Washington Post Co. Buffett likes to snap up a stock when a scandal, big loss, or other bad news passes over it like a storm cloud—as when he bought Coca-Cola soon after its disastrous rollout of “New Coke” and the market crash of 1987. He also wants to see managers who set and meet realistic goals; build their businesses from within rather than through acquisition; allocate capital wisely; and do not pay themselves hundred-million-dollar jackpots of stock options. Buffett insists on steady and sustainable growth in earnings, so the company will be worth more in the future than it is today.
Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor)
The accepted version of history is that the Federal Reserve was created to stabilize our economy. One of the most widely-used textbooks on this subject says: "It sprang from the panic of 1907, with its alarming epidemic of bank failures: the country was fed up once and for all with the anarchy of unstable private banking."23 Even the most naive student must sense a grave contradiction between this cherished view and the System's actual performance. Since its inception, it has presided over the crashes of 1921 and 1929; the Great Depression of '29 to '39; recessions in '53, '57, '69, '75, and '81; a stock market "Black Monday" in '87; and a 1000% inflation which has destroyed 90% of the dollar's purchasing power.24
G. Edward Griffin (The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve)
What imperialists actually wanted was expansion of political power without the foundation of the body politic. Imperialist expansion had been touched off by a curious kind of economic crisis, the overproduction of capital and the emergence of "superfluous" money, the result of oversaving, which could no longer find productive investment within national borders. For the first time, investment of power did not pave the way for investment of money, since uncontrollable investments in distant countries threatened to transform large strata of society into gamblers, to change the whole capitalist economy from a system of production to a system of financial speculation, and to replace the profits of production with profits in commissions. The decade immediately before the imperialist era, the seventies of the last century, witnessed an unparalleled increase in swindles, financial scandals, and gambling in the stock market.
Hannah Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism)
[A Chinese Restaurant.] Roma is seated alone at the booth.Lingk is at the booth next to him.Roma is talking to him. * * * Roma: . . . Eh? What I’m saying, what is our life? (Pause.) It’s looking forward or it’s looking back. And that’s our life. That’s it. Where is the moment? (Pause.) And what is it that we’re afraid of? Loss. What else? (Pause.) The bank closes. We get sick, my wife died on a plane, the stock market collapsed . . . the house burnt down . . . what of these happen . . . ? None of ’em. We worry anyway. What does this mean? I’m not secure. How can I be secure? (Pause.) Through amassing wealth beyond all measure? No. And what’s beyond all measure? That’s a sickness. That’s a trap. There is no measure. Only greed. How can we act? The right way, we would say, to deal with this: “There is a one-in-a million chance that so and so will happen. . . . Fuck it, it won’t happen to me. . . .” No. We know that’s not the right way I think. (Pause.) We say the correct way to deal with this is “There is a one-in-so-and-so chance that this will happen . . . God protect me. I am powerless, let it not happen to me. . . .” But no to that. I say. There’s something else. What is it? “If it happens, AS IT MAY for that is not within our powers, I will deal with it, just as I do today with what draws my concern today.” I say this is how we must act. I do those things which seem correct to me today. I trust myself. And if security concerns me, I do that which today I think will make me secure. And every day I do that, when that day arrives that I need a reserve, (a) odds are that I have it, and (b) the true reserve that I have is the strength that I have of acting each day without fear. (Pause.) According to the dictates of my mind. (Pause.)
David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross)
Would you believe me if I told you that there’s an investment strategy that a seven-year-old could understand, will take you fifteen minutes of work per year, outperform 90 percent of finance professionals in the long run, and make you a millionaire over time?   Well, it is true, and here it is: Start by saving 15 percent of your salary at age 25 into a 401(k) plan, an IRA, or a taxable account (or all three). Put equal amounts of that 15 percent into just three different mutual funds:   A U.S. total stock market index fund An international total stock market index fund A U.S. total bond market index fund.   Over time, the three funds will grow at different rates, so once per year you’ll adjust their amounts so that they’re again equal. (That’s the fifteen minutes per year, assuming you’ve enrolled in an automatic savings plan.)   That’s it; if you can follow this simple recipe throughout your working career, you will almost certainly beat out most professional investors. More importantly, you’ll likely accumulate enough savings to retire comfortably.
William J. Bernstein (If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly)
On Rachel's show for November 7, 2012: We're not going to have a supreme court that will overturn Roe versus Wade. There will be no more Antonio Scalias and Samuel Aleatos added to this court. We're not going to repeal health reform. Nobody is going to kill medicare and make old people in this generation or any other generation fight it out on the open market to try to get health insurance. We are not going to do that. We are not going to give a 20% tax cut to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and kid's insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut. We'll not make you clear it with your boss if you want to get birth control under the insurance plan that you're on. We are not going to redefine rape. We are not going to amend the United States constitution to stop gay people from getting married. We are not going to double Guantanamo. We are not eliminating the Department of Energy or the Department of Education or Housing at the federal level. We are not going to spend $2 trillion on the military that the military does not want. We are not scaling back on student loans because the country's new plan is that you should borrow money from your parents. We are not vetoing the Dream Act. We are not self-deporting. We are not letting Detroit go bankrupt. We are not starting a trade war with China on Inauguration Day in January. We are not going to have, as a president, a man who once led a mob of friends to run down a scared, gay kid, to hold him down and forcibly cut his hair off with a pair of scissors while that kid cried and screamed for help and there was no apology, not ever. We are not going to have a Secretary of State John Bolton. We are not bringing Dick Cheney back. We are not going to have a foreign policy shop stocked with architects of the Iraq War. We are not going to do it. We had the chance to do that if we wanted to do that, as a country. and we said no, last night, loudly.
Rachel Maddow
How often does it occur that information provided you on morning radio or television, or in the morning newspaper, causes you to alter your plans for the day, or to take some action you would not otherwise have taken, or provides insight into some problem you are required to solve? For most of us, news of the weather will sometimes have consequences; for investors, news of the stock market; perhaps an occasional story about crime will do it, if by chance it occurred near where you live or involved someone you know. But most of our daily news is inert, consisting of information that gives us something to talk about but cannot lead to any meaningful action...You may get a sense of what this means by asking yourself another series of questions: What steps do you plan to take to reduce the conflict in the Middle East? Or the rates of inflation, crime and unemployment? What are your plans for preserving the environment or reducing the risk of nuclear war? What do you plan to do about NATO, OPEC, the CIA, affirmative action, and the monstrous treatment of the Baha’is in Iran? I shall take the liberty of answering for you: You plan to do nothing about them. You may, of course, cast a ballot for someone who claims to have some plans, as well as the power to act. But this you can do only once every two or four years by giving one hour of your time, hardly a satisfying means of expressing the broad range of opinions you hold. Voting, we might even say, is the next to last refuge of the politically impotent. The last refuge is, of course, giving your opinion to a pollster, who will get a version of it through a desiccated question, and then will submerge it in a Niagara of similar opinions, and convert them into—what else?—another piece of news. Thus, we have here a great loop of impotence: The news elicits from you a variety of opinions about which you can do nothing except to offer them as more news, about which you can do nothing.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
Investment Owner’s Contract I, _____________ ___________________, hereby state that I am an investor who is seeking to accumulate wealth for many years into the future. I know that there will be many times when I will be tempted to invest in stocks or bonds because they have gone (or “are going”) up in price, and other times when I will be tempted to sell my investments because they have gone (or “are going”) down. I hereby declare my refusal to let a herd of strangers make my financial decisions for me. I further make a solemn commitment never to invest because the stock market has gone up, and never to sell because it has gone down. Instead, I will invest $______.00 per month, every month, through an automatic investment plan or “dollar-cost averaging program,” into the following mutual fund(s) or diversified portfolio(s): _________________________________, _________________________________, _________________________________. I will also invest additional amounts whenever I can afford to spare the cash (and can afford to lose it in the short run). I hereby declare that I will hold each of these investments continually through at least the following date (which must be a minimum of 10 years after the date of this contact): _________________ _____, 20__. The only exceptions allowed under the terms of this contract are a sudden, pressing need for cash, like a health-care emergency or the loss of my job, or a planned expenditure like a housing down payment or a tuition bill. I am, by signing below, stating my intention not only to abide by the terms of this contract, but to re-read this document whenever I am tempted to sell any of my investments. This contract is valid only when signed by at least one witness, and must be kept in a safe place that is easily accessible for future reference.
Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor)
The realms of dating, marriage, and sex are all marketplaces, and we are the products. Some may bristle at the idea of people as products on a marketplace, but this is an incredibly prevalent dynamic. Consider the labor marketplace, where people are also the product. Just as in the labor marketplace, one party makes an offer to another, and based on the terms of this offer, the other person can choose to accept it or walk. What makes the dating market so interesting is that the products we are marketing, selling, buying, and exchanging are essentially our identities and lives. As with all marketplaces, every item in stock has a value, and that value is determined by its desirability. However, the desirability of a product isn’t a fixed thing—the desirability of umbrellas increases in areas where it is currently raining while the desirability of a specific drug may increase to a specific individual if it can cure an illness their child has, even if its wider desirability on the market has not changed. In the world of dating, the two types of desirability we care about most are: - Aggregate Desirability: What the average demand within an open marketplace would be for a relationship with a particular person. - Individual Desirability: What the desirability of a relationship with an individual is from the perspective of a specific other individual. Imagine you are at a fish market and deciding whether or not to buy a specific fish: - Aggregate desirability = The fish’s market price that day - Individual desirability = What you are willing to pay for the fish Aggregate desirability is something our society enthusiastically emphasizes, with concepts like “leagues.” Whether these are revealed through crude statements like, “that guy's an 8,” or more politically correct comments such as, “I believe she may be out of your league,” there is a tacit acknowledgment by society that every individual has an aggregate value on the public dating market, and that value can be judged at a glance. When what we have to trade on the dating market is often ourselves, that means that on average, we are going to end up in relationships with people with an aggregate value roughly equal to our own (i.e., individuals “within our league”). Statistically speaking, leagues are a real phenomenon that affects dating patterns. Using data from dating websites, the University of Michigan found that when you sort online daters by desirability, they seem to know “their place.” People on online dating sites almost never send a message to someone less desirable than them, and on average they reach out to prospects only 25% more desirable than themselves. The great thing about these markets is how often the average desirability of a person to others is wildly different than their desirability to you. This gives you the opportunity to play arbitrage with traits that other people don’t like, but you either like or don’t mind. For example, while society may prefer women who are not overweight, a specific individual within the marketplace may prefer obese women, or even more interestingly may have no preference. If a guy doesn’t care whether his partner is slim or obese, then he should specifically target obese women, as obesity lowers desirability on the open marketplace, but not from his perspective, giving him access to women who are of higher value to him than those he could secure within an open market.
Malcolm Collins (The Pragmatist's Guide to Relationships: Ruthlessly Optimized Strategies for Dating, Sex, and Marriage)
The true investor scarcely ever is forced to sell his shares, and at all other times he is free to disregard the current price quotation. He need pay attention to it and act upon it only to the extent that it suits his book, and no more.* Thus the investor who permits himself to be stampeded or unduly worried by unjustified market declines in his holdings is perversely transforming his basic advantage into a basic disadvantage. That man would be better off if his stocks had no market quotation at all, for he would then be spared the mental anguish caused him by other persons’ mistakes of judgment.†
Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor)
You make plans and decisions assuming randomness and chaos are for chumps. The illusion of control is a peculiar thing because it often leads to high self-esteem and a belief your destiny is yours for the making more than it really is. This over-optimistic view can translate into actual action, rolling with the punches and moving ahead no matter what. Often, this attitude helps lead to success. Eventually, though, most people get punched in the stomach by life. Sometimes, the gut-punch doesn’t come until after a long chain of wins, until you’ve accumulated enough power to do some serious damage. This is when wars go awry, stock markets crash, and political scandals spill out into the media. Power breeds certainty, and certainty has no clout against the unpredictable, whether you are playing poker or running a country. Psychologists point out these findings do not suggest you should throw up your hands and give up. Those who are not grounded in reality, oddly enough, often achieve a lot in life simply because they believe they can and try harder than others. If you focus too long on your lack of power, you can slip into a state of learned helplessness that will whirl you into a negative feedback loop of depression. Some control is necessary or else you give up altogether. Langer proved this when studying nursing homes where some patients were allowed to arrange their furniture and water plants—they lived longer than those who had had those tasks performed by others. Knowing about the illusion of control shouldn’t discourage you from attempting to carve a space for yourself out of whatever field you want to tackle. After all, doing nothing guarantees no results. But as you do so, remember most of the future is unforeseeable. Learn to coexist with chaos. Factor it into your plans. Accept that failure is always a possibility, even if you are one of the good guys; those who believe failure is not an option never plan for it. Some things are predictable and manageable, but the farther away in time an event occurs, the less power you have over it. The farther away from your body and the more people involved, the less agency you wield. Like a billion rolls of a trillion dice, the factors at play are too complex, too random to truly manage. You can no more predict the course of your life than you could the shape of a cloud. So seek to control the small things, the things that matter, and let them pile up into a heap of happiness. In the bigger picture, control is an illusion anyway.
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart)
In many ways the effect of the crash on embezzlement was more significant than on suicide. To the economist embezzlement is the most interesting of crimes. Alone among the various forms of larceny it has a time parameter. Weeks, months, or years may elapse between the commission of the crime and its discovery. (This is a period, incidentally, when the embezzler has his gain and the man who has been embezzled, oddly enough, feels no loss. There is a net increase in psychic wealth.) At any given time there exists an inventory of undiscovered embezzlement in — or more precisely not in — the country’s businesses and banks. This inventory — it should perhaps be called the bezzle — amounts at any moment to many millions of dollars. It also varies in size with the business cycle. In good times people are relaxed, trusting, and money is plentiful. But even though money is plentiful, there are always many people who need more. Under these circumstances the rate of embezzlement grows, the rate of discovery falls off, and the bezzle increases rapidly. In depression all this is reversed. Money is watched with a narrow, suspicious eye. The man who handles it is assumed to be dishonest until he proves himself otherwise. Audits are penetrating and meticulous. Commercial morality is enormously improved. The bezzle shrinks. … Just as the boom accelerated the rate of growth, so the crash enormously advanced the rate of discovery. Within a few days, something close to a universal trust turned into something akin to universal suspicion. Audits were ordered. Strained or preoccupied behavior was noticed. Most important, the collapse in stock values made irredeemable the position of the employee who had embezzled to play the market. He now confessed.
John Kenneth Galbraith (The Great Crash 1929)
The most realistic distinction between the investor and the speculator is found in their attitude toward stock-market movements. The speculator’s primary interest lies in anticipating and profiting from market fluctuations. The investor’s primary interest lies in acquiring and holding suitable securities at suitable prices. Market movements are important to him in a practical sense, because they alternately create low price levels at which he would be wise to buy and high price levels at which he certainly should refrain from buying and probably would be wise to sell. It is far from certain that the typical investor should regularly hold off buying until low market levels appear, because this may involve a long wait, very likely the loss of income, and the possible missing of investment opportunities. On the whole it may be better for the investor to do his stock buying whenever he has money to put in stocks, except when the general market level is much higher than can be justified by well-established standards of value. If he wants to be shrewd he can look for the ever-present bargain opportunities in individual securities. Aside from forecasting the movements of the general market, much effort and ability are directed on Wall Street toward selecting stocks or industrial groups that in matter of price will “do better” than the rest over a fairly short period in the future. Logical as this endeavor may seem, we do not believe it is suited to the needs or temperament of the true investor—particularly since he would be competing with a large number of stock-market traders and first-class financial analysts who are trying to do the same thing. As in all other activities that emphasize price movements first and underlying values second, the work of many intelligent minds constantly engaged in this field tends to be self-neutralizing and self-defeating over the years. The investor with a portfolio of sound stocks should expect their prices to fluctuate and should neither be concerned by sizable declines nor become excited by sizable advances. He should always remember that market quotations are there for his convenience, either to be taken advantage of or to be ignored. He should never buy a stock because it has gone up or sell one because it has gone down. He would not be far wrong if this motto read more simply: “Never buy a stock immediately after a substantial rise or sell one immediately after a substantial drop.” An
Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor)
The worst continued to worsen. What looked one day like the end proved on the next day to have been only the beginning. Nothing could have been more ingeniously designed to maximize the suffering, and also to insure that as few people as possible escape the common misfortune. The fortunate speculator who had funds to answer the first margin call presently got another and equally urgent one, and if he met that there would still be another. In the end all the money he had was extracted from him and lost. The man with the smart money, who was safely out of the market when the first crash came, naturally went back in to pick up bargains. The bargains then suffered a ruinous fall. Even the man who waited for volume of trading to return to normal and saw Wall Street become as placid as a produce market, and who then bought common stocks would see their value drop to a third or a fourth of the purchase price in the next 24 months. The Coolidge bull market was a remarkable phenomenon. The ruthlessness of its liquidation was, in its own way, equally remarkable.
John Kenneth Galbraith (The Great Crash 1929)