Top 2009 Resolution: Don’t Be Stupid
by Daniel Henninger
Wall Street Journal
January 8, 2008
Bernard Madoff revealed our thoughtless ways.
Back in olden times, mankind found it useful to live by mottoes. A motto reduces the helpful lessons of life to three or four words, maybe two, as in the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. Or, apropos now: Look before you leap.
The most famous motto in our time has been Google’s Don’t Be Evil. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but here’s a motto for the next four or five years: Don’t Be Stupid.
It would not have occurred to me to posit Don’t Be Stupid as a motto for our times had not 2008 ended with the Bernard Madoff story. Up to then, we were all preoccupied with the economic meltdown that began in mid-September with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and other household gods of global finance.
The economic crisis, originating in the subprime mortgage lending phenomenon, was said to be complex. Madoff’s story, however, was simple. For years, uncounted numbers of the most sophisticated people here and in Europe conveyed to Mr. Madoff tens of billions of dollars because this solitary investor, unlike virtually every other professional investor, achieved returns in excess of 10% annually in all economic seasons. Continue reading “ADHD Investing”