Friday, July 23, 1999

The Business of Investing


Maybe you are in a job where your decisions do not affect the entire company. Or your efforts may not directly affect the size of your paycheck. Do you work in one of those cross-functional work teams that are so popular these days? Possibly your role in an organization is to provide support for decision-makers. Are you the introspective sort? (Maybe you really don't want to run the company.) Or, finally, have you peaked in your career (the pyramid always gets more narrow at the top)?

It's easy to long for a simpler time, when America was populated with farmers, cowboys, and shopkeepers. Huck Finn chafed under the rules of 19th century society -- his story ends with a plan to "light out for the Territory." I wonder what he found when he got there.

Fools should realize that today is all we have. We can enjoy the process of investing -- the data gathering and analysis. Some of us probably even enjoy the record keeping and appreciate the design of a good spreadsheet (accountants, I hear your adding machines!). I'll bet many of us enjoyed winning at Monopoly when we were kids.

To invest successfully requires courage, patience, decisiveness and a bit of entrepreneurial spirit. Investing is like running a small business. One of the most enjoyable parts of investing is making decisions and reaping the rewards.

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