Fred Schwed, Jr. Quotes



Best 28 Quotes by Fred Schwed, Jr.

Where Are the Customers' Yachts? Quotes

“A man who borrows money to buy a common stock has no right to think of himself as a constructive social benefactor. His is just another fellow trying to be smart, or lucky, or both.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“Admittedly, it is preposterous to suggest that stock speculation is like coin-flipping. I know that there is more skill to stock speculation. What I have never been able to determine is – how much more?”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“All of these theories are true part of the time; none of them true all of the time. They are, therefore, dangerous, though sometimes useful.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“As a science, I should say that chart reading shares a pedestal with astrology; but most chart readers are educated men and have too much mental discipline to take astrology seriously.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“At the close of the day’s business, they take all the money and throw it up in the air. Everything that sticks to the ceiling belongs to the clients.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“Before October 1929, nobody objected to short sellers except their families. The families objected to going bankrupt”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“Dictatorships always immediately ban short selling, since it is axiomatic with them that no professional pessimists are going to be tolerated.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“For one thing, customers have an unfortunate habit of asking about the financial future.

Now, if you do someone the single honor of asking him a difficult question, you may be assured that you will get a detailed answer. Rarely will it be the most difficult of all answers – I don’t know.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“His business might be defined as the lending of money exclusively to people who have no pressing need of it.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“History does in a vague way repeat itself, but it does it slowly and ponderously, and with an infinite number of surprising variations.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“In our moments of sober thought we all realize that booms are bad things, not good. But nearly all of us have a secret hankering for another one.

'Another little orgy wouldn’t do us any harm', is the feeling that persists both downtown and up.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“Investment and speculation are said to be two different things, and the prudent man is advised to engage in the one and avoid the other.

This is something like explaining to the troubled adolescent that Love and Passion are two different things. He perceives that they are different, but they don't seem quite different enough to clear up his problems.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“It seems that the immature mind has a regrettable tendency to believe, as actually true, that which it only hopes to be true.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“Like all of life’s rich emotional experiences, the full flavor of losing important money cannot be conveyed by literature. You cannot convey to an inexperienced girl what it is truly like to be a wife and mother.

There are certain things that cannot be adequately explained to a virgin by words or pictures. Nor can any description that I might offer here even approximate what it feels like to lose a real chunk of money that you used to own.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“One can’t say that figures lie. But figures, as used in financial arguments, seem to have the bad habit of expressing a small part of the truth forcibly, and neglecting the other part, as do some people we know.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“Orderly markets, like horse races, exist on differences of opinion.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

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“Our beliefs shape how we feel about the results of our actions.”


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“Speculation is an effort, probably unsuccessful, to turn a little money into a lot. Investment is an effort, which should be successful, to prevent a lot of money from becoming a little.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“The burnt customer certainly prefers to believe that he has been robbed rather than that he has been a fool on the advice of fools.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“The croupier at the roulette table does not claim that he knows something about the order in which the numbers will come up.

He just sees to it that the bets are properly paid off and that the house isn't gypped – which is a job requiring competence.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“The indignation school of writers never tires of pointing out the millions that are stolen in the Street. But while the millions are being stolen, the billions are being lost.

Nothing crooked — just bad luck and bad brains met together in an effort to do something that couldn’t be done in the first place.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“The notion, a debatable one, is that the man who knows the problems necessarily knows the answers. This book has not been successful if it has not suggested some big-league problems, such as:

1) Should our financial machinery be scrapped?
2) Should it be further tinkered with, and if so, how much further?
3) Is capitalism doomed?
4) What active stock selling under five dollars looks hot just now for a quick turn to pay for the Buick the wife just bought?

There isn’t an assistant instructor in economics in any faculty who can’t answer these and similar questions rapidly and categorically, and if that is not enough there are a million laymen eager to do so. So I don’t feel that my vote is much needed.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“The S.E.C. has not been loath to join the popular hue and cry against the friendless short seller. From this we have a right to deduce that they not only want an orderly market, but a market which shall forever gently rise.

Of course, that conception is just plain silly, like Voltaire’s suggestion that a community ought to be able to support itself by everybody taking in everybody else’s washing.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“The subject of choosing profitable financial investments does not lead itself to competence.

There is almost no visible supply. If there were, it would have been discovered long ago.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“There have always been a considerable number of pathetic people who busy themselves examining the last thousand numbers which have appeared on a roulette wheel in search of some repeating pattern. Sadly enough, they have usually found it.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“They told me to buy this stock for my old age. It worked wonderfully. Within a week I was an old man.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“Those classes of investments considered 'best' change from period to period.

The pathetic fallacy is that what are thought to be the best are in truth only the most popular – the most active, the most talked of, the most boosted, and consequently, the highest in price at that time.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“To them having a sizable cash balance in an account for any length of time is unbearable. Suppose stocks should go way up? They would be left high and dry with nothing but some dirty money.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

“When 'conditions' are good, the forward looking investor buys. But when 'conditions' are good, stocks are high. Then without anyone having the courtesy to ring a bell, 'conditions' get bad.”

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

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“During the 1950s, I decided, as did many others, that many practical problems were beyond analytic solution and that simulation techniques were required.”


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