Plenty has been written about investing by investors or about investors. Here’s one piece which tells us why we should chart our own course whilst learning from the best. Frederik Gieschen starts by saying why our first job is to know ourselves:
“…You have to understand your temperament and your relationship to money. Wrong about your temperament? Watch the market flush you out. Never contemplated your emotional relationship to money? Careful, you might self sabotage.
‘A series of market decisions does add up, believe it or not, to a kind of personality portrait. It is, in one small way, a method of finding out who you are, but it can be very expensive. This is the first Irregular Rule: If you don’t know who you are, this is an expensive place to find out’ — Adam Smith (George Goodman), The Money Game
Knowing yourself deeply, and following your unique path, acts as protection against the herd instinct, envy, FOMO, and the deafening drumbeat of public opinion.”
He then talks about why we can learn from great investors but not blindly copy:
“You are not the next Warren Buffett. Or the next George Soros, Peter Lynch, David Tepper, etc. … There is nothing wrong with picturing yourself in someone else’s shoes early on. And it is important to understand how and why some investors excelled. But you have to integrate those lessons into a path that is uniquely yours, in markets and life.
Michael Lewis once noted that the more Michael Burry studied Buffett, “the less he thought Buffett could be copied.”
‘Buffett, though he had every advantage in learning from Ben Graham, did not copy Ben Graham, but rather set out on his own path, and ran money his way, by his own rules. To succeed in a spectacular fashion you had to be spectacularly unusual.’ — The Big Short”
Why we should enjoy the process of investing and not just the outcome:
“Good investing is mostly ‘boring’ working with brief moments of excitement. I say ‘boring’ because the research process is boring to most people, but not to everyone. It is an endless loop of keeping up with the world and trying to understand things — a company, an industry, a trend, a technology, an event — by reading, crunching data, and talking to people. Every once in a while, things get exciting. Like when you find a great idea or when the market punches you in the face. And in exactly those moments, you have to resist and remain calm. It’s the inverse of how most people go through life: they run from the grind of mundane work and throw themselves into thrills.
If the process of learning about companies and markets feels like keeping up with your favorite sport or celebrities, you’re ahead of the game.”
Why some investing lessons can be learned by doing it than reading it about it:
“Finally, you don’t become a great investor by reading about other great investors. Don’t let learning turn into procrastination. If you want to become a better investor, invest. Remember what Charlie Munger said about the young man asking advice from Mozart:
‘A young man of 25 or so once asked to see Mozart and he said, “I’m thinking of starting to write symphonies, and I’d like to get your advice.”
And Mozart said, “Well, you’re too young to write symphonies.”
And the guy says, “But you were writing them when you were ten-years-old.”
And Mozart says, “Yes, but I wasn’t asking anybody else for advice on how to do it.’”
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