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The link between value investing and Stoicism.


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After writing this I realise that its pretty much a pointless ramble but oh well.

I have noticed quotes and sayings over the years but never thought anything of them and definitely never made a connection. Recently however, I have been reading into to stoicism for the first time (would recommend) and noticed a few things that I would consider to be a part of a value investors mindset or values. Especially after finishing Richer, Wiser, Happier the links between these great investors and stoic philosophies is clear. Am I right in thinking there is a link or it more the fact that these great investors are well read?

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  • 4 months later...

I think learning about Stoicism is a huge benefit to investing mindset.

  • We can't stop strong emotion from happening during an emergency moment, but we CAN recognize when everyone is losing their head and ask ourselves whether panicking is helping the situation.  I think Marcus Aurelius was caught in a squall at sea and everyone was freaking out and he was the guy who got calm first and helped everyone else to do what was necessary to keep the boat from sinking.
  • Buffett's Inner Scorecard analogy seems like a pretty stoic concept.
  • The practice of negative visualization (imagining what could go wrong) seems similar to Charlie's "Invert, always invert!" 
  • Focusing on those things inside our own control and not worrying about things outside of control -- that sounds so much like the advice to stay in the circle of competence.

I wouldn't be too surprised to find Stoic influences in the life of Ben Graham or his mentors.  Ok, I just googled "Ben Graham stoicism" and found this nice essay:




(quote is from Graham's "The Intelligent Investor")


“The investor’s chief problem – and even his worst enemy – is likely to be himself. (“The fault, dear investor, is not in our stars – and not in our stocks – but in ourselves” …) [Hence] by arguments, examples and exhortation … we hope to aid our readers to establish the proper mental and emotional attitudes toward their investment decisions. We have seen much more money made and kept by “ordinary people” who were temperamentally well suited for the investment process than by those who lacked this quality, even though they lacked an extensive knowledge of finance, accounting, and stock-market lore”


If you've already read Meditations, my favorite book on Stoicism after that one is "How To Think Like A Roman Emperor" by Donald Robertson.  The Audible version is great for me because I love listening to UK accents and he sounds Scottish.  It's got a lot of biographical details about Marcus Aurelius' life that brought him more to life.  Some very good stories in there.  

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