The intelligent investor is a realist who sells to optimists and buys from pessimists.

Benjamin Graham: The intelligent investor…..

The biggest mistake in investing is believing the last three years is representative of what the next three years is going to be like.

~ Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates

Recency Bias | Ray Dalio

The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.

The aim of propaganda is to annihilate the truth | Garry Kasparov

Wisdom, in short, whose lessons have been represented as so hard to learn by those who were never at her school, teaches us only to extend a simple maxim universally known and followed even in the lowest life, a little farther than that life carries it. And this is not to buy at too dear a price.

Now, whoever takes this maxim abroad with him into the grand market of the world, and constantly applies it to honors, to riches, to pleasures, and to every other commodity which that market affords, is, I will venture to affirm, a wise man; and must be so acknowledged in the worldly sense of the word: for he makes the best of bargains, since in reality he purchases everything at the price of a little trouble, and carries home all the goods I have mentioned, while he keeps his health, his innocence and his reputation, the common prices which are paid for them by others, entire and to himself.

~ Henry Fielding: The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749).

Probably the most important lesson one can ever learn: wealth and success are important, but not as important as your health, your family, your friends and your reputation.

True wisdom, Henry Fielding

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher….”

The enemy within ~ Abraham Lincoln

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor Frankl spent three years in Theresienstadt, Auschwitz and later Dachau concentration camps (1942 – 1945). His mother and his brother Walter died at Auschwitz. His wife was moved to Bergen-Belsen, where she died. The only other survivor among his immediate family was his sister, Stella, who had emigrated to Australia. He published Man’s Search for Meaning in 1946.

Frankl concludes that the meaning of life is in every moment of living. Life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death. He observed that a prisoner’s psychological reactions are not simply the result of his treatment, but from how he chooses to respond. The hold that a prisoner has on his inner self requires having hope in the future; if he loses that hope, he is doomed.

Viktor Frankl: The power to choose your response

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Abraham Lincoln: Sharpen the axe

The habit of ubiquitous interventionism, combining pinprick strikes by precision weapons with pious invocations of high principle, would lead us into endless difficulties. Interventions must be limited in number and overwhelming in their impact.

Margaret Thatcher: Interventions

In every act observe the things which come first and those which follow…. If you do not, at first you will approach it with alacrity…. but afterward you will be ashamed. A man wishes to conquer the Olympic games…. But observe the things which come first and the things which follow…. You must do everything according to the rule: eat according to strict orders, abstain from delicacies, exercise yourself at appointed times, in heat and cold, you must not drink cold water, nor wine as you choose…. And sometimes you will strain the hand, put the ankle out of joint, swallow much dust, sometimes be flogged, and after all this be defeated. When you have considered all this, if you still choose, go to the contest. If you do not (consider) you will behave like children, who at one time play as wrestlers, another time as flute players…. but with your whole soul you will be nothing at all.

~ Epictetus: Enchiridion (A.D. 55 – A.D. 135)


Imaginary portrait of Epictetus. Engraved frontispiece of Edward Ivie’s Latin translation (or versification) of Epictetus’ Enchiridon, printed in Oxford in 1751. Original title of the book: “Epicteti Enchiridion Latinis versibus adumbratum. Per Eduardum Ivie A. M. Ædis Christi Alumn. […] Oxoniæ, Theatro Sheldoniano, MDCCXV. […]” The subscription is an epigramm from the Anthologia Palatina (VII 676) and reads: Δοῦλος Ἐπίκτητος γενόμην, καὶ σῶμ’ ἀνάπηρος, καὶ πενίην Ἶρος, καὶ φίλος ἀθανάτοις. “I was Epictetus the slave, and not sound in all my limbs, and poor as Irus, and beloved by the gods.” (Irus is the beggar in the Odyssey.) Source: Wikipedia

Epictetus: Commitment

Please give up the idea that the Fed can do what it wants. It looks like it can in the short-run, but in the long run markets do what they want, and the Fed has to respond, rather than lead.

~ David Merkel

“Putin is not some evil genius from a James Bond movie, he’s the despotic leader of a failing state under immense fiscal strain.”

~ David Llewellyn-Smith from Macrobusiness, commenting on the arrangement between Saudi Arabia and Russia to freeze crude oil output.

Putin: Despotic leader of a failing state….

….Discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

Eric Hoffer spent more than 10 years as a young man, homeless on Skid Row, before becoming a migrant worker, following the harvests in California. He later prospected for gold and worked as a longshoreman which he only quit at the age of 69. From these unlikely beginnings, Hoffer evolved into an acclaimed moral and social philosopher. He wrote 10 books, including the The True Believer (1951) and The Ordeal of Change (1963), and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom before his death in 1983.

Eric Hoffer: Discover what your enemy fears most

To paraphrase Liam McCurry:

Both terrorism and the media sell fear — and business is business.

Both terrorism and the media sell fear….

In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

One of my favorite quotes.

Eric Hoffer: In times of change….

“….The terrorist uses force because he knows he will never get his way by democratic means.

Through calculated savagery, his aim is to induce fear in the hearts of people. And weariness towards resistance.

In this evil strategy, the actions of the media are all important. For newspapers and television, acts of terrorism inevitably make good copy and compelling viewing. The hijacker and the terrorist thrive on publicity: without it, their activities and their influence are sharply curtailed. There is a fearful progression, which the terrorists exploit to the full. They see how acts of violence and horror dominate the newspaper columns and television screens of the free world. They see how that coverage creates a natural wave of sympathy for the victims and pressure to end their plight no matter what the consequence. And the terrorists exploit it. Violence and atrocity command attention. We must not play into their hands…….

And we must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend. In our societies we do not believe in constraining the media, still less in censorship. But ought we not to ask the media to agree among themselves a voluntary code of conduct, a code under which they would not say or show anything which could assist the terrorists’ morale or their cause….”

Margaret Thatcher
Speech to American Bar Association
1985 Jul 15

Margaret Thatcher: Terrorism (1985)

The prevailing wisdom is that markets are always right. I take the opposition position. I assume that markets are always wrong. Even if my assumption is occasionally wrong, I use it as a working hypothesis. It does not follow that one should always go against the prevailing trend. On the contrary, most of the time the trend prevails; only occasionally are the errors corrected. It is only on those occasions that one should go against the trend. This line of reasoning leads me to look for the flaw in every investment thesis…. I watch out for telltale signs that a trend may be exhausted. Then I disengage from the herd and look for a different investment thesis. Or, if I think the trend has been carried to excess, I may probe going against it. Most of the time we are punished if we go against the trend. Only at an inflection point are we rewarded.

~ George Soros

George Soros: Assume that markets are always wrong…

As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

~ Sir Benjamin Disraeli, Endymion (1880)

Benjamin Disraeli: Success