There's a tremendous amount of insight from wise men and women from many eras and professions, even if they couldn't distinguish an income statement from a dirty napkin.
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
-- Albert Einstein
When Warren Buffett scooped up gobs of Coca-Cola
"If you hold a cat by the tail, you learn things you cannot learn any other way."
-- Mark Twain
And if you own a stock that tanks beyond recovery, you'll learn something that no collection of financial horror stories will teach you. Rather than kicking yourself when you make an occasional blunder, take it as an opportunity to learn an important lesson. Years of classroom study or outside reading can't teach you what the experience of actual investing will.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
-- Mark Twain
Those who convinced themselves home prices were guaranteed to march higher for eternity played a painful joke on themselves. It wasn't a lack of information about an impending pullback, it was that they had convinced themselves a pullback would never happen. If you ever find yourself holding a stock that's "certain" to do well, it's time for a reality check. As Ben Franklin said, "Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."
"All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone."
-- Blaise Pascal
With so much information pumped throughout the Internet, you could find a dozen investment ideas promising triumph before daybreak. Odds are, many of them will turn out to be rubbish. Investing success comes to those patient enough to wait for the fat pitch, not those who anxiously jump willy-nilly into anything and everything thrown their way.
"Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
-- Winston Churchill
Surprise, surprise, real estate isn't the first absurd bubble we've seen. Just eight years ago dot-com darlings like Yahoo!
"I've made up my mind ... don't confuse me with the facts!"
-- Chris Axon
This one ties in perfectly with Churchill's quote above. Last year, few cared that stocks like Crocs
"A jug fills drop by drop."
While many chase runaway investments that will make them spectacularly rich in short order, it's telling that one of the best companies to own over the last several decades -- Berkshire Hathaway
"This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
There's more than enough negativity right now to make you think the Four Horsemen are galloping toward Wall Street. Regardless of how nasty it gets, panicking will get you nowhere fast. By swimming against the current and digging through the carnage of stocks unfairly brutalized by the credit crunch, you can capitalize on investing situations that others were dumb enough to create.
There you have it. Influential, straightforward, and succinct. Check back next week for more simple quotes that will make you a better investor.
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