Smart People Saying Smart Things

I’m not really into motivational quotes, but I am all about smart people saying smart things. Below are a few I’ve compiled over the years.

“History never tells us what would have happened, only what did happen.”

-H.W. Baird, The Age of Gold

“We must be careful in praising or condemning because the future may hold surprises for us.”

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

“The market will not go up unless it goes up, nor will it go down unless it goes down, and it will stay the same unless it does either”

George Goodman (Adam Smith), The Money Game

“The charts tell a plain story, but they do not indicate the future”

William Biggs, It was a very good year

“It is uncertainty, far more than disaster, that unnerves and weakens markets.”

John Steele GordonThe Scarlet Woman of Wall Street

“Being right keeps you in place. Being wrong forces you to explore.”

-Steven JohnsonWhere Good Ideas Come From

“Many people watch the prices of stocks they have recently sold more closely than the prices of those they still own; thus they show themselves to be more concerned with justifying past actions than in planning future ones”

John BrooksThe Go-Go Years

“Information can be a weak motivator”

– Laurence Gonzales, Deep Survival

“We’d like to believe that our current stars are better than the guys we once watched. Why? Because the single best thing about sports is the unknown. It’s more fun to think about what could happen than what already happened.”

Bill SimmonsThe Book of Basketball

“If there were ironclad rules, we would all be following them.”

Josh BrownBe Terrified

“There is nothing reliable to be learned about making money. If there were, study would be intense, and everyone with a positive IQ would be rich.”

-John Kenneth Galbraith

“How do you make a billion dollars in oil. It’s really easy, you get up early, work hard, and strike oil.”

-Paul Getty

“The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.”

-Edwin Schlossberg

“If people don’t want to come to the ball park, you can’t stop them.”

-Yogi Berra

“Be silent; for there is great danger that you will immediately vomit up what you have not digested”

– Epictetus

“Hire good people, and leave them alone.”

– William McKnight 

“Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice for a minimum of 10 years.”

-Anders Ericsson

“What you should learn when you make a mistake because you did not anticipate something is that the world is difficult to anticipate. That’s the correct lesson to learn from surprises: that the world is surprising.”

-Daniel Kahneman

“It’s funny how sometimes prices seem to go against all the rules”

-Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Gold (seriously)

“A team championship exposes the limits of self-reliance, selfishness, and irresponsibility.”

-Bill Bradley

“He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, for that is what he will know.”

-Annie Dillard

“An arithmetic increase in the number of decisions results in a geometric increase in difficulty.”

-Laslo Birinyi

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

“We do the worst possible thing at the worst possible time because we are most certain that we are right just when we are most likely to be wrong.”

-Jason Zweig

“Nearly everyone interested in common stocks wants to be told by someone else what he thinks the market is going to do. The demand being there, it must be supplied.”

-Benjamin Graham

“Stronger than an Army is an idea whose time has come.”

-Victor Hugo