These quotes come from the (out of print) book, The Merchant Bankers by Joseph Wechsberg. Fortunately for me I had just read this book when I received the most important interview question of my entire life: “Chris, what would you do with a hundred million dollars?” My response was: “...that is a phenomenal question and speaks directly to my investment philosophy. Why don’t I write that down for you and we can discuss it?” The answer was apparently acceptable because I got the job and my philosophy was soon part of the organization’s policy book. Here are the quotes - they speak for themselves - keep in mind most of these rules have been around for hundreds of years!
- “One can’t avoid being wrong once in a while, the important thing is not to be wrong too often.” Jocelyn Hambro (1700s).
- “The desire for instant gratification leads to consistent disappointment.” Robert Farrell (late 1900s).
- “The banker’s three cardinal qualities: First to be able to put oneself in the situation of the customer, second, courage as one approaches a task, and third, caution to know the extent of the risk.” Hermann Abs (1700s).
- “Between success and failure there is a margin no wider than a razor’s edge.” Mattioli (1700s).
- “Without complete integrity, there can never be complete confidence.” Rothchild (1700s).
- “You can do all the business in the world, if you do it for nothing.” Barings (1800s).
- “If I cannot understand something by reading my notes on the subject, I won’t buy it.” Lehman (early 1900s).