In this episode of Rule Breaker Investing, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner shares another motley collection of great quotations, with lessons on business, life, and Foolishness. His authors vary from the great William Shakespeare to one of his favorite investment writers, Philip Fisher.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Oct. 24, 2018.
David Gardner: "No great thing is created suddenly." Who said that? Do you remember our last "Great Quotes episode, Volume VIII" dating back to May 16th of this year? Anyone? Anyone? Well done! I know some of you got that right. The Greek stoic philosopher Epictetus. Or how about Teddy Roosevelt's, "The greatest thing in life is hard work worth doing." Why are we rocking other people's silver tongues this week? Why, it must be "Great Quotes, Volume IX."
Gardner: And welcome back to Rule Breaker Investing! I'm David Gardner. Thanks so much for spending a little bit of time suffering a Fool gladly this week. It's been an investing-heavy month for Rule Breaker Investing, the podcast, looking back over the first three weeks of October. Last week, "200 Stock Advisor Picks Later." That was a special podcast because it's not every week that I get to reflect on making my 200th consecutive monthly stock pick for Motley Fool Stock Advisor. That's what I did last week.
If you're a Stock Advisor member you now know what the stock was and if you're a Rule Breaker Investing podcast listener, you heard me with six conclusions thinking back through those 200 months which, by the way, quick math shows is about 16 and a half years and I hope you enjoyed those reflections.
The week before that was the "League of Extraordinary Stock Pickers." I got to interview a new friend -- somebody who had won the contest in Motley Fool Rule Breakers for picking Best Buys Now over the last year. I also reviewed "Five Great Stocks You've Never Heard Of," one of my five-stock samplers from a year before.
And then the first week of this month was "Get Started Investing," and as you'll remember, I hope, if you heard it, that was part one of two, so I had my friends David Kretzmann, Jason Moser, and Matt Argersinger in. They joined with me and our goal of that podcast was to get you get started investing.
I hope it was helpful for you. I also said it was part one of two because I'm going to ask you to help us back. If you continue to have questions, if we missed anything, if you'd like to add something or plus-up anything that we've said, we'd love for you to email us RBI@Fool.com. You can also tweet us @RBIPodcasts on Twitter.
And why am I asking for that? Well, we're going to take in those questions, and that's really going to be the main course of Get Started Investing two out of two, and we'll be doing that the very first week of next month, the first week of November. So RBI@Fool.com if you have any additional questions about getting started investing.
And so, yeah, it's been an investing-heavy month for this podcast and that's why I thought, "Yeah, maybe time to go back to a non-investing topic that has recurred more frequently than any other non-investing topic on my podcast, and that's just looking over some great quotations."
I'm a big fan of saving great quotes. I use Evernote. That's how I do it. I know there are a lot of ways to hold onto information, but for me I've always enjoyed Evernote, so when I come across a great quote from a CEO or a Greek stoic philosopher, I'll just drop it into Evernote.
I have notebooks lined up. I have one that's called Visceral Quotations. When I really feel it in my gut I put it in there. Or maybe business quotations. I have one Evernote called Fool/ Folly Quotations because there are, of course, so many great quotes about wisdom and folly. Very important for The Motley Fool to take note of. So I've got a lot of different quote notes and all in my quotes notebook. That's where I save my stuff and that's what I get to pull out once every few months, here, and this is, indeed Volume IX of my great quotes series.
And that means that I've done this eight other times before and, if you feel inspired or enjoy this, I like to think each of those past eight podcasts will age pretty well, because they're kind of done to be an evergreen resource to anybody. So if you find yourself moved, or if you enjoy the inspiration I'm going to share with you in our time together this week, feel free to look back at my May 16th "Great Quotes, Volume VIII." There's an all-Buffett one a year before that. You can go back through Rule Breaker Investing podcast investing history.
And these days, by the way, I should mention, you can even find transcripts of my past podcasts. My teammate producer Rick Engdahl working with [Brian Tai] here at The Motley Fool and some of our Fool techies has made it possible, now, through Transcripts.Fool.com to find transcripts for this and, indeed, most of our other podcasts. So you can find some great quotes that way more quickly and not have to listen to a Foolish old windbag if you like a little bit more efficient way of finding good stuff.
So anyway, I've got good stuff for you. I have five quotations lined up. That's typically what I've tried to do with this series [find five], and a motley mix of things that are investing, or business, or life-related. So I say without further ado, let's get started.
Great Quotation No. 1: This one comes from William Shakespeare. I bet you've heard of him. In fact, I hope you know that The Motley Fool's corporate name comes from Shakespeare. That was from Act 2, Scene 7 of As You Like It, but this time I'm going to The Winter's Tale, which is a tragicomedy.
It's really one of my favorite plays of all of Shakespeare's. It doesn't tend to get put on as often as something like Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet, but The Winter's Tale [no spoilers!] starts with a tragic few acts and then ends with a comic few acts. It's a wonderful story and one of Shakespeare's most famous stage directions is the quote that I'm pulling from The Winter's Tale and here it is: "Exit, pursued by a bear."
There's some debate as to whether in Elizabethan times they used a real bear onstage to chase Antigonus, the actor, who's exiting being pursued by a bear, or whether it was just an actor in a bear costume. And I'm sure in centuries since there's probably been a little bit of both. I, personally, would love to see a live bear onstage, but not if you're Antigonus, because Antigonus, as he gets chased off offstage, that's the last we ever see of him. He is presumed dead, presumably by that bear.
But why would I lead off with "Exit, pursued by a bear," and call that a great quotation?
Well, in a little bit of, I would say, "linguistic leisure domain," I made this an epigraph in the very first edition of The Motley Fool Investment Guide. Now, an epigraph, as you may well know, is a quotation that will lead off a chapter, or a section, or a part of a book, and I thought this is the perfect one to lead off our chapter on selling stocks and selling strategy. "Exit, pursued by a bear," because, of course, it's a wonderful pun on bear markets, which is why I wanted to talk a little bit, here, at the outset of this podcast about bear markets.
You know, most bear markets last somewhere between 12 to 18 months. They're much briefer than bull markets. Bull markets run over years. Bear markets are usually counted in months, but as I've often said in the past, stocks go down faster than they go up; and so, when bear markets strike, like a bear strikes with its paw down, stocks go down and often a lot faster than you or I would like.
And I would say, right now, here at the end of October 2018, I think we might be in a bear market.
Now, how do I conclude that? Well, I look at my own scorecard, picking stocks for Motley Fool Rule Breakers, and I look back over the last several months, and each of my picks is down and losing to the market, in some cases 20% or so. And when I see stocks lose about one-fifth of their value and it's happening fairly consistently, I start going, "Well, when did that start?"
And for me it was around mid-June, so doing quick math on my own family portfolio that I manage, I'm down about 15% from June to this week. So that's not a great performance. That's definitely a time that I wish the market hadn't done that over the last several months.
Although when I look at the S&P 500, which is a broader market measure than my family portfolio or your portfolio, I'll note that actually the market's about where it was as of June. This week, as of mid-June, it really hasn't moved. But it has surged higher than that in the meantime, and then fallen down over the last month. So those keeping score at home looking at the broad market will note that over the last 30 days, the market's down about 7% as I tape this podcast, here, on Tuesday, October 23rd.
So I think, at least for me and my style, for the Rule Breaker Investing approach, I think we're in a bear market right now. It's been lasting a few months. Some of the damage has already been done and there will probably be some more damage done. We'll see. I'm not one to make big market calls and I hope you realize that when I say that I think we're in a bear market. It doesn't change how I invest and I'm certainly not trying to alarm anyone. And I'm also just guessing, because we really never know until we look back 12 or 18 months later and say that was a bear market.
Of course, people are constantly predicting where the market will go and a lot of people thought there would be a bear market in 2013, and 2014, and 2015, and then 2016 and then 2017 and 2018. So there's always a lot of guesswork, but we really only know when "Exit, pursued by a bear" matters; once it's already happened.
So I wanted to lead off with "Exit, pursued by a bear," because I think it's a great pun for investors pulled right from my favorite playwright, William Shakespeare, and I want to point out what actually ends up happening to Antigonus when he exits pursued by a bear and, as I mentioned earlier, no spoilers really, but he'll never be seen again. And I don't think that's a great outcome for you or me as investors.
So when I see a bear, I don't exit. And I'm here to suggest that you should not exit, either, unless you're overinvested. Unless you've borrowed on margin, which you should never have done according to us here at The Motley Fool for the most part. Or, if you really did need the money for something else like a home payment or something else in the next three years.
We've always said here at Fool HQ -- we're now in our 26th year as a business of saying this -- that you as an investor should only have money in the stock market that you can afford to lose and that you won't need for three-plus years, because the next three years [any given three-year period] could be bad and I'd hate to think that you were risking money that you actually needed for something else.
Of course, we're always playing the only game that counts, here, at The Motley Fool and that is the long-term game. So "Exit, pursued by a bear" is not only a fun pun uniting Shakespeare with investing, but it's a warning to us as investors not to exit. [With] most of the bears that you see over the course of your life -- and again, if you're making a lifetime commitment to being invested in the stock market, which is, I think, one of the best decisions you can make [and history and data proves that out] -- then you'll recognize that with almost every bear you see, you should stay on stage.
Before I go to Great Quotation No. 2, I should mention that I think a lot of people, in particular in recent years, have feared a bear market because they think it could be really bad. And why is that? Well, the last couple of bear markets have historically been horrible [2008-2009 and then, of course, 2001]. Those two markets [the Great Recession and then the dot.com bomb] really saw the markets lose about half their value and in some cases more if you're counting the Nasdaq.
Great companies like Amazon -- I remember back in 2001-2002 -- went from like $95 in 2000 down to $7 at its bottom and I think in 2001 the numbers are right around there. But my point is that was a drastic drop in one of the great companies of our time, and I think it's easy to be looking in the rearview mirror and think that's what bear markets look like. But that's really not the case. So I think people are probably overrating and a little bit too afraid of the idea of the next recession or the next bear market. A thought.
Great Quotation No. 2: This one comes from one of my favorite investment writers. An investor who wrote a great book. I was thinking about him recently [today] having not thought about him in some years because I was saying hello to Nick Sciple. Nick is a new Fool. I have a new Fool coffee with every one of our new Fools who come through Fool HQ. I've done that for a couple of decades. It's always a pleasure to see our new employees and what they're doing to help our cause to make the world smarter, happier, and richer.
And for some of you who listen to Motley Fool podcasts, you'll recognize that Nick does an Industry Focus podcast recently having taken over the microphone. He's a new Fool but one who has more exposure than most Fools because he's a podcaster. Nick was [talking] to me today [about] Phil Fisher who wrote a great book, Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and it's a classic. It turns out the year was 1958. I double-checked my math, here.
Nick said to me, "You know, a lot of what he says in there is how you and we invest at The Motley Fool. We might think we're doing The Fool thing. That we're radical and doing a new thing. A lot of how we think about things, like the best time to sell is never and those kinds of lines -- a lot of those derive from Fisher."
And I said to Nick, "First of all, thanks for reminding me of that, because of the few investment books I've read in my lifetime, one of them that I did read is Phil Fisher's book and I thought it was excellent." So before I give his quote, here, for Great Quotation No. 2, I'm going to say that dear Fool, if you've never read Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, I highly recommend you do so. Yes, it may read a bit dated, because it was written before the internet; yup, about 40 years before the internet showed up, but it really contains so much good thinking that feels fresh and like it was written yesterday.
Anyway, here's Great Quotation, No. 2. Great Quotation No. 2: "Finding the really outstanding companies and staying with them through all the fluctuations of a gyrating market proved far more profitable to far more people than did the more colorful practice of trying to buy them cheap and sell them dear." That's Fisher -- one of his writings, a great quotation -- reminding us that it is, in fact, as the old saw goes, time in the market and not timing the market. That's not a Fisher saw. That's just an old investment phrase. But that's the way to win.
So I'm obviously keying back to Great Quotation No. 1, "Exit, pursued by a bear," encouraging you not to exit because again, with Phil Fisher, "Finding the really outstanding companies and staying with them through all the fluctuations of a gyrating market proved far more profitable to far more people."
I don't think I need to say a lot more about this. I think it speaks for itself. It kind of keys to my first quotation, and it's one of our primary points that I've made on this podcast for a few years, now, and that Fool.com and so many of our writers, advisors, and analysts have made that point for a few decades.
I do want to say, before I move onto Great Quotation No. 3, what other investment books I would recommend or I have enjoyed, and I mentioned earlier that I haven't really read that many. I don't typically find investing books that interesting to read. I did read, How to Read a Financial Report. I believe that's by John Tracy.
And since I was an undergrad English major, and I never took an accounting course, as I graduated college already a stock market investor, I thought, "You know, I should get a better handle on financial statements." That was a great way for me of uniting my understanding of what's on an income statement, which is basically showing the profits of a company [or losses]. And then second what's on a balance sheet, which is basically the bank account for that company. And then finally the cash flow statement, which is kind of like looking at cash in and cash out from that bank account. Like what you're spending on a daily basis.
So those three financial statements -- the income statement, the balance sheet, and the statement of cash flows -- that's a wonderful book to understand how they work together. It speaks to sort of a fifth-grade math level; things like addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication which is about as complicated as I like my math to get. And by the way, I really do like math. I think we should all like math. But that book stays right there with us and I think can really help anybody get a better grip on financial statements, so I definitely want to mention that one.
Of course, I want to mention Peter Lynch's book, One Up on Wall Street, which was formative for me. This was written about 30 years ago, so while many of the companies that he's writing about will sound like old-time companies that you may not have heard of anymore; again, the lessons and his wonderful wit comes through and helps all of us as investors. He also wrote, Beating the Street as a follow-up. That's another book that I've read.
I'll mention three other books really quickly. One is William O'Neil's book, How to Make Money in Stocks. I've said it's both some of the greatest and some of the worst writing that I've ever seen in a single book to help and hurt investors. Where I think O'Neil is brilliant -- O'Neil, by the way, the founder of Investor's Business Daily, a publication I've certainly appreciated over the course of my life -- where he has it nailed is he looks at studies that show what the great stocks are of an era, and he looks at the traits that lead to those stocks. And in many cases he teaches us contrary things.
So when I first read, How to Make Money in Stocks by William O'Neil, I was probably more focused on 52-week lows as the time that I would start to look to buy a stock. Like the stock is at a low, so I should be more interested, I thought, in the stock because of that reason. But in fact O'Neil shows through studies, and some really good writing, that you should be looking at 52-week highs because [this is one of my themes for 2018 on this podcast] "winners win!" What do winners do? That's right. They win.
And, as it turns out, that's often true of stocks. So stocks at 52-week highs typically go on to make more highs and new highs in the coming months or years vs. stocks that are bouncing around from low to high and back to low again. So I like to find companies that grow and I'm happy to pay for them when they're at their 52-week high. That's what O'Neil convinced me.
However, a lot of his book includes advice about trying to time the market and guessing where the market's going. I hope you didn't take me too seriously, earlier, when I said I thought we might be in the fourth month of a bear market because first of all, I don't care that much about it. I'm going to be invested anyway. And second, I really don't know.
But I think O'Neil tries to persuade you that you can know, and he uses a whole bunch of different metrics that, taken together, read confusingly to me. There's too many different ways or indicators of figuring out where the market's headed. He also advises [and I think this is really bad advice] to never take a big loss. So if a stock drops 7%, he's often said and written in the past you should just exit that regardless of the research that you did, or what you believe in the company because you want to avoid those losses.
And I hope I've demonstrated through my work at The Motley Fool and through this podcast that taking losses is fine. It's natural and in a lot of ways I say we need to lose to win. I'm not going to belabor that point here because I've made it elsewhere.
The last two books I want to mention quickly. Benjamin Graham's book, The Intelligent Investor; Benjamin Graham, of course, the great influence on Warren Buffett. I read about half of that book as a young man and I just didn't keep reading it. I found it pretty boring, backward looking, and its methodologies around valuation while interesting, never compelled me. And in a lot of ways, Rule Breaker Investing succeeds because a lot of other people follow Benjamin Graham.
And I can't not mention Jack Bogle, one of my personal heroes. It's somebody that I've had on this podcast before. I've never really read any of Bogle's investment books. I'm not a huge index fund fan, even though we, here, at The Motley Fool have turned many people onto index funds as a better answer to the mutual funds that they owned before the simplicity and low cost of a good index fund.
But what I love Bogle for is his emphasis on character and his thinking about business. So a book like, Enough, while not really an investment book I thought I should mention briefly, here. I'm not giving you my Mount Rushmore of investing books because I really haven't read enough ever to be able to sort through and have a grand Mount Rushmore.
In closing on this one, I find myself reading books often about business, not about investing. Or about culture, or life, or technology, or the future; again, as opposed to reading investing books. I'm sure your mileage may well vary. We're all different, but I'm just sharing out how I think about these things.
Great Quotation No. 3: Great Quotation No. 3 comes from one of my favorite CEOs; maybe one of your favorite CEOs, too. I won't even name him yet. Maybe you can guess from the quote itself. This is like a paragraph -- several sentences strung together.
He begins, "I see all the imperfections in Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). I see all the things that aren't working. At the office I'm the one that says, 'We suck. Don't get me wrong. We're better than everyone else, but we suck compared to what we are going to be.' Of course, in general, I'm constraining myself from saying these things because they are too easy to take out of context. But as an entrepreneur, that's how you have to look at your product. Compare yourself to what you want to be, what you will be, in five years, and that should be so much better than what you have today."
So yes, you've probably guessed by now that's the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings. And what's fun about that quotation -- I'm going to say a little bit more about it as an entrepreneur in a second -- but what's fun about that quotation is he didn't say it last month or last year. I pulled that quote in 2013, dropped it into my Evernote file and saved it until today to share it with you, because it's kind of fun, now, since it is five years after he said that quote.
And by the way, if you want to read that whole article, it was an interview with him. It's at TheNextWeb.com. If you just google "thenextweb" [all one word], "Reed Hastings," "2013" you'll see the article I'm talking about entitled, Inspiring Entrepreneurs: What Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has learned in his business career.
But that was published just about five years ago this month, and so Reed was thinking about what Netflix is today when he said that. And if you think back to where Netflix was in 2013, it was definitely on a comeback. It was already a winner and a great winner from the previous decade. But do you remember Qwikster in 2011 and how badly Netflix got thrown for a loop? A self-inflicted wound, really, by in part CEO Reed Hastings who acknowledged his mistakes at the time and since has described it as just one bad chapter in Netflix's history.
But I love the quotation not just because this has been one of the best stocks you could have owned over the last five years; but of course I love it as a fellow entrepreneur and I know many of you are entrepreneurs listening, as well. And so don'tcha love it? We see all the imperfections -- we should anyway -- in the things, the widgets that we're creating. The products and the services. We see all the things we should that aren't [with Reed Hastings] working.
At the office we're the ones that say, "We suck!" I certainly think you should be. You don't want to say it too loud and, as he said, you don't want to say it out of context. If you say it all the time somebody will start quoting you from The Wall Street Journal or Fortune magazine and all of a sudden you'll generate a headline about how much your company sucks, in this case.
But I think the key is that you're always looking to improve -- and especially if you're a visionary like Reed Hastings, or like some Motley Fools I know, or like you -- because I bet I'm speaking to some visionaries out there, then you're seeing. You know what you're trying to become, and so you're guided by a sense of what needs to be fixed. And a restlessness, if you will. A desire to get there and to be that thing years from now that you will be.
And now we can look backwards five years after Reed said that this month and see how Netflix is kind of king of the world these days. I'm a regular listener of many Motley Fool podcasts, and I think a recent Market Foolery was entitled something like, Netflix, [Destroyer] of Worlds within the last week. You can hear that podcast from our Market Foolery team, but that is kind of how Netflix is acting these days.
And I like to think, before we move to Quotation No. 4, that Reed Hastings still thinks the exact same thing today. Don't you think Reed might still say the exact same thing? That here in 2018 he sees all the imperfections in Netflix. He sees all the things that aren't working at the office, and he's still the one saying, "We suck!" I'd like to think that he is and I'm going to be really interested in seeing what Netflix becomes over the next five years.
So yes, Great Quotation No. 3; this one's for the entrepreneurs, whether you are one or just have one in spirit inside you. It's for all of us entrepreneurs. Constant improvement and always striving toward the vision that you see, whether it's your own company or a company that you work for; always looking to get better. And it's always inspiring to see people say that and then actually do it for all of us. It's even more inspiring when you own shares of the companies that go on to do that as they win, and I know I'm speaking to many fellow Netflix shareholders.
Great Quotation No. 4: And I'm going back to one of my favorite business authors. He's really an author as much, I should say, on leadership and that's Warren Bennis. In fact, I featured Warren Bennis, one of his quotes, in my last Great Quotes, Volume VIII in May of 2018. Back then it was, "People are not interchangeable," Bennis wrote, "and unique, gifted talent needs to be well-managed." That's another good thought for entrepreneurs. If you have some odd, idiosyncratically brilliant, and helpful person, recognize their uniqueness. Really, we're all unique and the most gifted leaders will recognize their gifted talents and well manage them. That was Bennis then. This is Bennis now.
Same book: On Becoming a Leader. Here's what I wanted to share with you this week. "What determines the level of satisfaction in post-middle-aged men is the degree to which they acted upon their youthful dreams." "What determines the level of satisfaction in post-middle aged men -- I suspect it's not just true of post-middle-aged men -- is the degree to which they acted upon their youthful dreams."
Now the reason that Bennis said that is because in the book he's talking about a study, so he's reflecting on a study that was done. But I suspect it's true of women as well as men, and I suspect it's true of people of all ages. Now, to act on your youthful dreams you probably need to be a little older than a youth but that might be true of you if you're 28 or 32 right now, just as well as if you're 48 or 62.
I think it's a reminder to all of us that we should think about what really drives us and motivates us in life, and often they're visions that we had or desires we had as young people. And to the extent that you have acted on that for better or for worse -- to the extent that you pursued that dream -- you're much more likely, I think, to be a happy listener of this podcast this week than if you did not. And in fact, Bennis goes on in the very next sentence of the book to say, "It's not so much whether they were successful in achieving their dreams as the honest pursuit of them."
So I guess Quotation No. 4 is just here to challenge you; to invite you to ask that question of yourself. Maybe pick up an old photograph back before there were computers and digital photographs. Maybe you have a photograph of yourself, as a younger person, printed out in some shoebox somewhere. A Kodachrome special. Look yourself in the eye and remember what you were dreaming about in that picture and then I ask you to ask yourself whether you have done it. Have you acted on it?
And the good news is whatever age you are as you hear me this week, you have an opportunity to act on those things if they're good things to act on starting tomorrow. There's no reason, I don't think, other than some of the natural constraints we might have, like the job that you're trying to hold down, or you only have three vacation days left in 2018. I realize there are natural constraints.
But really what I'm speaking to, here, are the constraints that we often throw up in our own paths. Not somebody else's rules but, in fact, how we think about ourselves and how we often limit ourselves. One of my favorite quotations [in fact I included this in our May Great Quotations, Volume VIII podcast as well] is, "Don't be limited by other people's limited imaginations." So sometimes we create a box around ourselves based on what other people tell us about ourselves. But bad news -- sometimes we even just do it to ourselves.
So I'm here with Great Quotation No. 4 to prick you a bit. To poke at you and encourage you to do that for yourself and realize that even if it doesn't work out you'll probably, post-middle-age, feel more satisfaction that you've tried. Or, as my friend Jeff Bezos has said, he calls it the "regret minimization framework." Bezos says, "When you're 80 years old, look back to the decisions that you're making now and try to minimize the regret that you're going to feel at the age of 80."
And I realize some of my listeners are over 80, so you're probably knowingly nodding along with me and thinking about when you're 90 or 95; looking back to today and trying to make good decisions. But sometimes that means you should do something that you haven't been doing. Other times it means you should not do something. I'll leave it up to you to decide when you should or shouldn't act on youthful dreams.
But with Jeff Bezos and Warren Bennis, I encourage you to examine from the future your present self and think about what's going to lead to your greatest satisfaction because we here, at The Motley Fool, as I've mentioned before, are here to help make you smarter, happier, and richer; and this one is kind of about the happy.
And speaking of happy, I'm going to happily close, here, with one of my favorite quotations for Great Quotation No. 5. I should mention, by the way, even though I've kind of hailed back to a few previous podcasts when I used quotes; every one of these Great Quotes, Volume X podcasts has a unique set of around five quotations, so I'm never duplicating. Every one of them I hope will stand on their own.
So yes, I've saved one of my favorite quotations until now to end with this week's podcast and it's from Dr. Seuss, Theodor Geisel. How can you not? One of the most quotable people of my lifetime. How can you not love Dr. Seuss? And this one comes from McElligot's Pool.
It was pointed out to me by one of our Motley Fool members some years ago. He said, "Have you ever read McElligot's Pool?" and I said, "No, I've not." I've read a lot of the others -- Green Eggs and Ham -- of course. I'm not really a big fan of Oh, The Places You'll Go, by the way. I think a lot of people dearly, deeply love Oh, The Places You'll Go, but for me it's just a little threadbare. It meanders on and on. You'll go here and you'll go there and it's not as exciting to me.
I realize for some people it's a meaningful graduation gift that they receive or give, so I definitely don't want to rain on anybody's parade that's a "Seussian" parade, but I'm going to join the parade, here, and say beyond the big, popular books, I'm going to encourage you to take a look at McElligot's Pool, which starts this way, and here's Great Quotation No. 5:
Great Quotation No. 5: "Young man," laughed the farmer, "you must be a fool!
You'll never catch fish In McElligot's Pool."
And why is that one of my favorite quotations from Dr. Seuss? Well, for two reasons. The first is, of course, it's a "fool" quote. It's there in my Fool and Folly quotations file on Evernote. This is one of my favorite "fool" quotes because, indeed, the farmer. Laughing.
I take that to be anybody who thinks you can't succeed in life. And for us, especially here at Fool HQ, we're surrounded by academia and a lot of people who think that you could never beat the stock market averages. You shouldn't bother fishing in that pool. You must be a fool because you're never going to catch winning stocks or beat the market in McElligot's Pool. So of course, the farmer laughing even motivates me. To think that the farmer was there with the little kid, laughing at the kid.
Guess what? No spoilers, but you can imagine that maybe the kid does catch fish in the Dr. Seuss story, McElligot's Pool. That's the way it starts. "Young man," laughed the farmer, "you must be a fool! You'll never catch fish In McElligot's Pool." So reason No. 1 I love this quote is that it's a great fool quote. It stands toe-to-toe with any Shakespearean fool quote, at least in my head.
But reason No. 2 is that it's a reminder for all of us [and this kind of keys to my point with Quotation No. 4], that the most satisfying wins we're going to have in life often happen when other people thought we couldn't do it. And I know a lot of you recognize that in your own lives. If you think about your peak moments, often it was that you were being doubted. People told you, you couldn't do it. And again, for us here at The Fool, we so strongly believe in the greatness of investing; the power of investing for you in your life and for our world at large.
You're right. I'm going to brand myself right here a conscious capitalist. Yes, I don't really like socialism, for example. There are aspects of socialism that I think are healthy and can be good, but anybody who tells me that business isn't great or picking great businesses won't succeed runs contrary to all of my life's experience and what I stand for, what our company stands for, and what we're here to help you with every week to think better about and act better about.
So when people tell you that you're a "fool" because of what you're about to do with your money or your business... Of course, if the farmer is very wise and a mentor of yours, you might want to listen hard, and lean in, and feel challenged by that; but often if it's just a farmer standing near a pool... I mean, it's not even like a fisherman was saying that to the kid [it was just a farmer], then I do encourage you to consider taking that risk and not be a post-middle-age person with regrets. So there's a little bit of Dr. Seuss to close.
And, in fact, one day I think I'm going to try to write one more investment book. We've written a lot in the past, but I feel like I have one more book in me. I've been saving quotes and thoughts, and observations about the stock market and if I ever do get around to finally writing that book, I'm pretty sure this will be an epigraph for that book. Might be the frontispiece. Might be right up front or might be there for a chapter, but I've subsequently found McElligot's Pool subsequent to writing some of our past books, so this is new material for me, even though it's old material to many Seuss fans.
Well, there you have it. Rule Breaker Investing, the podcast, the week of October 24th. Next week we're going to have -- yup! -- it's the final Wednesday of the month, so it's time for Mailbag. I did mention earlier you could write us RBI@Fool.com and I specifically asked earlier for you to direct any "get started investing" questions to that email address. That's what we'll be doing in two weeks.
But I also want to encourage you, if you have any thoughts about this podcast, about The League of Extraordinary Stock Pickers or some of my conclusions about 200 Consecutive Monthly Stock Picks made by my brother and made by me in Motley Fool Stock Advisor; anything we talked about this month always fair game for the Rule Breaker Investing Mailbag. So that's what's coming your way next week.
In the meantime, have a great week! Fool on!
As always, people on this program may have interest in the stocks they talk about, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. Learn more about Rule Breaker Investing at RBI.Fool.com.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. David Gardner owns shares of AMZN and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AMZN and Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.