17 February 2009

They are different from you and me. . . .

Given that few of us feel very sanguine about the economic forecast for at least the next year, I thought I'd paste in a few quotations from those who would qualify as F. Scott Fitzgerald's "the very rich."

[By the way, the "different from you and me" quotation appeared in FSF's 1926 short story, "The Rich Boy." And the famous putdown, "The only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money," was actually addressed to Hemingway over lunch by the Irish-American critic Mary Colum and recyled by the novelist to belittle his friend/rival in "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" (Fitzgerald was named in the original Esquire version, but later the reference was changed to "Julian").]

This morning, as I was chatting about next week's rendezvous in Barcelona and the usual hundred other things with my sister Cheri, she mentioned this remark by John Paul Getty (1892-1976):

If you owe the bank $100, that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem.

While checking on the exact wording, I came across three other Getty quotations that I had heard before but forgotten:

The meek shall inherit the earth, but not the mineral rights.

Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.

Formula for success: Rise early, work hard, strike oil.

And one I hadn't come across:

Going to work for a large company is like getting on a train. Are you going sixty miles an hour or is the train going sixty miles an hour and you're just sitting still?

Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836, who made a killing on the London stock market by using couriers/carrier pigeons/semaphores to be the first to know the result of the Battle of Waterloo):

I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire. And I control the money supply.

Sam Walton (founder of Walmart, 1918-1992):

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

Now it's the turn of the most quotable of all, Warren Buffet (1930-):

I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.

It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.

We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.

Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.

You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong.

A very rich person should leave his kids enough to do anything but not enough to do nothing.

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