How to have the pleasure of dying rich

Hat Tip: Joe Kusnan
When there is a stock-market boom, and everyone is scrambling for common stocks, take all of your common stocks and sell them. Take the proceeds and buy conservative bonds. No doubt the stocks you sold will go higher. Pay no attention to this— just wait for the depression which will come sooner or later. When this depression— or panic— becomes a national catastrophe, sell out the bonds (perhaps at a loss) and buy back the stocks. No doubt the stocks will go still lower. Again pay no attention. Wait for the next boom. Continue to repeat this operation as long as you live, and you’ll have the pleasure of dying rich.

Once there was a dark Diwali in India

Circa November 1675.

Guru Tegh Bahadur was kept in an iron cage and taken to Delhi . The Guru was put in chains and Aurangzeb ordered him to be tortured until he would accept Islam.

This fictionalized account appears in Kushwant Singh’s Delhi:

Strange things happened in Dilli that autumn.Dassehra passed without any Ram Lila or the burning of the effigies of Ravana and his brothers.The Hindus said the badshah had forbidden the celebration of Hindu festivals.The Muslims said that this was a lie and said they knew why Hindus were not celebrating their most important festival.


A few days later came Diwali.Not a light in anyone’s house ! Not a sound of a cracker ! No fireworks !No one sending sweets to anyone !The whole world was like a dark,moonless night.You know how much darker the night looks when you expect millions of oil lamps twinkling and there are none !So no Diwali for the Hindus.


And the Mussalmans feeling as if ants were crawling up their bottoms!The mullahji of the Sarai mosque asked Lakhi Rai very discreetly why he had not lit any lamps on Diwali night.’The death of a very near and dear one’,he replied.’All the Hindus seem to have lost someone near and dear to them,’ exclaimed the mullahji very sarcastically.’I hope it is not because someone very near and very dear is going to die,yes?’

Guru Tegh Bahadur refused to convert to Islam and was beheaded in public at Chandni Chowk on 24 November 1675. The Guru is also known as “Hind Di Chadar” i.e. “The Shield of India”, suggesting that he gave up his life to protect the religious freedom of non Muslims in Mughal India.

It’s high time we renamed Aurangzeb Road in Delhi to Guru Tegh Bahadur Boulevard.


Anecdotes BookExcerpt

Aditya Puri of HDFC Bank: Where is the laddoo?

Am reading this book on HDFC Bank called “A Bank for the Buck” by Tamal Bandyopadhyay.

Came across this interesting snippet (Page 150 !) :

“This is a bank that does not know anything beyond business.When we make presentations to our MD Aditya Puri, he says, “Teri unchi English mere ko samajh me nahi aati hai;mere ko ye bata ki laddoo kidhar hai.” Everybody in HDFC Bank understands what laddoo stands for.

The presentations don’t last more than four to five slides.Aditya loves talking to the point.”Paise kidhar hai woh dikha,mujhe aur kuch nahi samajhta hai, seedha baat pe aa.Mujhe tu global gyan mat de.”


Am reminded of this famous movie scene from Jerry Maguire “Show me the money”


Anecdotes BookExcerpt Observations

Geoge Soros on the difference between broking and market making

Recently, I had an opportunity to deal with Over The Counter (OTC) securities.Since they are not listed, prices are quoted in a large band with riders such as minimum ticket size etc.More often than not, prices are unreliable and vanish when you actually place the order.

In such a scenario, the role of the broker/intermediary becomes critical.But how much should he paid?I find this anecdote from George Soros’s life instructive:

My friend’s father asked me to change some dollars and being conscientious I went to the pain of visiting both of the two markets for this sort of thing,the old Stock Exchange and an orthodox synagogue in another part of town.It turned out that there was a significant difference in the exchange rate, and I was able to get some 20 percent more at the synagogue than at the the Stock Market, which was the only rate that my friend’s father knew about.So I brought him the larger amount and said that I deserved a higher cut, but he refused.

“He said,’You are a broker and it’s your job to get the best rate, that is what you are getting paid for.’ I remembered that years later when I became a market maker in over-the-counter securities.,” George Soros observed.”Because if you are a market maker and can make someone an extra 20 percent and raise your own cut by half a percent that’s different and better than being just a broker.So in the end by his refusal to raise my compensation he encouraged me to be a market maker rather than a broker, which turned out to be quite useful and I suppose I was paid for that experience.”

-from the book Soros by Michael Kaufman




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