Top Quotes

I keeps a collection of quotes that I pick up mainly from books, but also from the internet, movies, songs, and TV shows.  The top ten list changes over time with the backdrop and my mood. Below is the latest Top 10, as well as some classics from older books that I arranged by date of publication.




TOP 10

In no particular order

  1. Life will never surrender its secrets to a yardstick.” – Dee Hock

– got it from Visa founder’s book, Birth of the Chaordic Age (1999).

  1. If you’re afraid – don’t do it, – if you’re doing it – don’t be afraid!” – Genghis Khan (1162-1227)

– Ironically, died from injuries sustained in a fall from a horse.

  1. “It was never my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting.” – Larry Livingston

– from Reminiscences of a Stock Operator (1923).

  1. “The trick to money is having some.” – Stuart Wilde

– so, so true.

  1. “Bull markets are like sex—they feel best just before the end.” – Barton Biggs (1996)

– classic!

  1. “If you’re gonna eat shit, don’t nibble.” – Short Seller.

– Heard it in a messaging group 7 years ago and immediately added it to our whiteboard.

  1. “Find out what works, and do it.” – Charlie Munger.

– Heard him say it live in Omaha when asked for some sage advice. It was also uttered by Lee Kuan Yew.

  1. “Prophesy as much as you like, but always hedge.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes (1861)

– He died on a 7th of October, my anniversary.

  1. “Ten times silly is still silly.” – David Einhorn

– From his book, Fooling Some of the People All of the Time (2010).

  1. “My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.” – Janis Joplin (1943-1970)

– Sadly, she died at 27, engaged to be married, from heroin overdose.






by date of publication


MAXIMS: LA ROCHEFOUCAULD (1613 – 1680) – Translation by Stuart Warner

  • “We all have strength enough to endure the pain of others.”
  • “There are good marriages, but none are delicious.”
  • “We have more laziness in the mind than in the body.”
  • “Old fools are more foolish than young ones.”
  • “We arrive totally new at various stages of life, and there we often lack experience, despite the number of our years.”



  • “It is hard for the average man to oppose what appears to be a general drift of public opinion.”
  • “It is axiomatic that inexperienced traders and investors, and indeed a majority of the more experienced as well, are continuously trying to speculate on past events.”
  • “It is really astonishing what a hold the fear of a possible panic has upon the minds of many investors.”


  • “Sell down to the sleeping point.”
  • “Old turkey would cock his head to one side, contemplate his fellow customer with a fatherly smile and finally he would say very impressively, you know, it’s a bull market.” – Old Turkey
  • “My dear boy, if I sold my stock now, I’d lose my position; and then where would I be?” – Old Turkey
  • “It was never my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting.” – Larry Livingston


PICKING GROWTH STOCKS (1939) – by T. Rowe Price Jr.

  • “Throughout the four-year period from 1935-38 the fund has been fully invested – no attempt was made, in other words, to catch the swings of the market.”  – T. Rowe Price Jr. (1898 – 1983)
  • “Corporations, like individuals, have life cycles – risks increase when maturity is reached.” – T. Rowe Price Jr.
  • “Growth stocks can be defined as shares in business enterprises which have demonstrated favorable underlying long-term growth in earnings and which, after careful research study, give indications of continued secular growth in the future.” – T. Rowe Price Jr.


THE HEDGHOG AND THE FOX (1953) – by Isaiah Berlin

  • “History does not reveal causes; it presents only a blank succession of unexplained events.” – Isaiah Berlin
  • “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” – Archilochus (680 BC – 645 BC)


THE ART OF CAONTRARY THINKING (1954) – by Humphrey B. Neil

  • “Follow the course positive to custom and you will almost always do well.” – Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778)
  • There was no slump; the opposite occurred.” – Humphrey B. Neil (1891 – 1977)


SPECULATION AS A FINE ART (1965) – by Dicken G. Watson

  • A danger known is half overcome. A fault recognized is half conquered.”
  • “Fools try to prove that they are right.  Wise men try to find out when they are wrong.”
  • “Many lean.  Few lift.”
  • “Wealth is a good inheritance, but a sound stomach is a better.”
  • “The man who knows it all has much to learn.”
  • “The test of a man is what he is in an emergency.”
  • “Genius consists of seeing instantly the vital point.”
  • “Don’t fool with nature; she strikes back.”
  • “Misery loves company, but company doesn’t reciprocate.”
  • “Never explain. Let your life be the explanation.”
  • “Patience is sustained courage.”
  • “Do you want a secret kept? Don’t tell it.”
  • “A sure thing is a dangerous thing.”
  • “The temporary may become the permanent.”
  • “Eternal vigilance is the price of success.”
  • “Look after the principal; the interest will look after itself.”
  • “Better capital in a man’s head than capital in the bank.”
  • “When you begin to doubt, begin to get out.”
  • “Better talk good sense than good English.”
  • “Second class people – those just below us.”


LOOKING OUT FOR #1 (1977) – by Robert Ringer

  • Long-term thinking is a critical aspect of looking out for number one, because short-term pleasure can be self-destructive if not weighed against long-term consequences.” – Robert Ringer in Looking Out for #1 (second sentence of the book)
  • The fact is the world doesn’t have problems.  People have problems.” – Robert Ringer
  • Money tends to grow exponentially in smart hands.” – Robert Ringer
  • The trick to money is having some.” – Stuart Wilde

A ZEBRA IN LION COUNTRY (1997) – by Ralph Wanger

  • If you want to stand out from the pack, you have to stand outside the pack.”
  • “The fact that a stock has already moved up sharply doesn’t mean that it can’t still have plenty of room left to climb.”
  • “There is a steady flow of wealth from hopeful gamblers to the men who know what the odds really are.”  
  • “The further you stray from stocks you really understand, the more likely you are gambling rather than investing.”
  • “The main question an investor should ask himself is, “What is my attitude towards risk?” And that probably hasn’t changed since you were twelve years old.”
  • “Too many people assume their money will be safe in countries where they wouldn’t drink the water.”
  • “If you can see where the con men are flocking, you can tell which groups are about to peak.”
  • “The best company in a marginal business is worth more than the third-best company in a major industry.”
  • “Have a reason to own every stock you own. As soon as that reason comes into doubt, ask yourself if it isn’t time for a change.”
  • “Earnings can stumble – and on balance, they will.”
  • “Bull markets come in all lengths.”
  • “The extrapolation method of forecasting is natural, plausible – and wrong.”
  • “Every market timer has a set of signals he follows because they worked the last time.  The trouble comes when they don’t work the next time.”
  • “Most of what happens in the market in the short run is just random noise.”
  • “No soothsayer should be able to look at another without laughing. “
  • “In bleak periods falling stock prices are not part of the problem.  They are part of the solution.”


ONE WAY UP WALL STREET: THE FRED ALGER STORY (1999) – by Dilip Mirchandani

  • Once you cut the fee for one, you have to for everyone.  It is all public information.” – Fred Alger (1964 – 1994)
  • You have to organize your portfolio around the half-dozen stocks that might do better than anyone anticipates to maximize your chance of getting lucky.” – Fred Alger
  • To be a good portfolio manager, you have to be a good analyst. But a good analyst doesn’t necessarily make a good portfolio manager.” – Fred Alger



  • I find all this money is a considerable danger.” – John Paul Getty Jr. (1932 – 2003)
  • In war there is no substitute for Victory.” – General Douglas McCarthy (1880 – 1964)


BIRTH OF THE CHAORTIC AGE (1999) – by Dee Hock

  • Life will never surrender its secrets to a yardstick.”
  • “When we fish for absolutes in the seas of uncertainty, all we catch are doubts.”
  • “You can’t tickle yourself.  It’s a social act.”
  • “True power is never used.  If you use power, you never really have it.”
  • “Watch a baby cry and the parents jump. We are all born leaders.”
  • Iron rusts from misuse; stagnant water loses its purity. Even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)



  • If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” – Proverbs 24:10 of King James Version (1611)
  • The rabbit runs faster than the fox, because the rabbit is running for his life and the fox is only running for his dinner.” – Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene
  • Charlie talks as much as he always did, the only difference is, now people listen.” – Nancy Munger (1924 – 2010)


WHEN GENIUS FAILED (2000) – by Roger Lowenstein

  • I love a hedge, sir.” – Henry Fielding (1736)
  • Prophesy as much as you like, but always hedge.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes (1861)

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