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Thoughts and Quotes collection - Morgan Housel

Updated: May 11, 2023

Recently, Morgan launched a podcast series named "The Morgan Housel Podcast". I have been an active listener of that podcast series. Similar to his writing his podcast episodes are also a collection of thoughts on a particular topic where he explains how psychology affects our decision-making in many areas of our life, particularly to personal finance.

Cover for Morgan's Podcast

Morgan Housel is a financial writer, speaker, and investor who is known for his ability to make complex financial concepts understandable and relatable to a wide audience. He has written for publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Motley Fool and has authored two books on investing and personal finance.

The most famous one is "The Psychology of Money". The best thing about his writing is that he tries to distill complex financial ideas into simple, accessible language that anyone can understand. He is known for his clear, concise writing style and his ability to explain financial concepts in a way that is both informative and entertaining.

In Episode 10, "A Few Things I'm Pretty Sure About" where he explains why he loves quotes and how they simply explain a thing in very simple and fewer words. So he put down many of his thoughts and quotes from others in this episode. I will be listing down most of them in this post. So here we go:

  • The fastest way to get rich is to go slow.

  • Many beliefs are held because there is a social and tribal benefit to holding them, not necessarily because they are true.

  • Nothing is more blinding than success caused by luck, because when you succeed without effort, it is easy to think, I must just be naturally talented.

  • Social media makes more sense when you view it as a place people go to perform rather than a place to communicate.

  • Comedy is the best way to teach about human behavior. George Carlin, Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld have done more to enlighten other people than 99% of psychology PhDs.

  • The best measure of wealth is what you have minus what you want. And by this measure, some billionaires are broke.

  • The most valuable personal financial asset is not needing to impress anyone.

  • Most financial debates are about people with different time horizons talking over each other.

  • From school, I remember every good story I was told, but none of the formulas I memorized the night before a test.

  • It is easiest to convince people that you're special if they don't know you well enough to see all the ways you're not.

  • People like you more when you are working towards something, not when you have it. - the rapper, Jerick.

  • A lot of people seem to have a necessary level of stress, and when their life is going well, they make up imaginary problems to fill the void.

  • Few things are as persuasive as your own bullshit. Well, nothing is easier to identify than other people's bullshit.

  • Those we admire the most in sports and business and politics and entertainment tend to share one quality. They knew when it was time to quit, time to pass the baton, time to disappear, in a way that preserved or even enhanced their reputation. Nothing diminishes past success like overstaying your welcome.

  • The hardest thing when studying history is that you know how the story ends, which makes it impossible to put yourself in people's shoes and imagine what they were thinking or feeling in the past.

  • There are two types of people, those who want to know more and those who want to defend what they already know.

  • My jealousy of dogs, they can sit for hours doing absolutely nothing, appearing perfectly content.

  • A lot of people like making money more than they enjoy having money. The change, not the accumulated amount, is the thrill.

  • Matt Damon once said, "You retard socially and emotionally the moment you become famous. Your experience of the world is never the same." That, I think, maybe true and far more common for those who become wealthy.

  • Most beliefs are self-validating. Angry people look for problems and they find them everywhere. Happy people seek out smiles and they find them everywhere. Pessimists look for trouble and they find it everywhere.

  • Brains are good at filtering inputs to focus on what you want to believe. Few traits are as attractive as humility, but few are as common as vanity.

  • Everyone wants to be lucky and to be admired, but no one admires a person for their luck.

  • The stock market is rational, but investors play different games, and those games look irrational to people playing a different game.

  • A big problem with bubbles is the reflexive association between wealth and wisdom. So sometimes a bunch of crazy ideas is taken seriously because a temporarily rich person said it. Logic does not persuade people.

  • You only know someone well if you can correctly predict how they will react in a stressful situation.

  • Past performance increases confidence more than ability.

  • Happiness is the gap between expectations and reality, so the irony is that nothing is more pessimistic than someone who is full of optimism. They are bound to be disappointed.

  • The most important decision most people will ever make is whether, when, and whom to marry. But that topic is almost never taught in school. It can't be because everybody is different and you can't reduce it to a formula or a statistic.

  • I've often wondered how many personal bankruptcies and financial troubles were caused by spending that brought no joy, to begin with. It's a double loss. Not only are you in trouble, but you didn't even have any fun getting there.

  • Nothing leads to success like unshakable faith in one big idea. And nothing sets the seeds of your downfall like an unshakable faith in one big idea.

  • There are two types of successful people. Those with imposter syndrome and sociopaths.

  • Reality will pay you back in equal proportion to your delusion. - Will Smith.

  • Many people check their portfolios every day, but their blood pressure every few years if even that.

  • The pessimists can be wrong if just a few big things go right.

  • The most important communication skill is knowing when to shut up.

  • It's good to have people in your life who you don't want to disappoint. - Warren Buffet.

  • Not caring about temporary things and obsessing over permanent things is underrated.

  • Lots of things are factually true, but contextually nonsense.

  • Economies run in cycles, but people forecast in straight lines.

  • You are twice as gullible as you think you are. Four times if you disagree with that statement.

  • Bad luck is easy to identify when you fail, but good luck is easy to ignore when you succeed.

  • Men resist randomness, markets resist prophecy. - Maggie Mahar.

  • People tend to be obsessed with harm posed by others, like terrorism and crime, while oblivious to much greater self-inflicted harms, like a poor diet and no exercise. We underestimate the importance of control.

  • So much of what people call conviction is actually a willful disregard for facts that might change their minds.

  • In school, they tell you your paper must be a minimum of five pages long. In the real world, you have five seconds to catch someone's attention before they are bored and move on.

  • If you only wish to be happy, this could easily be accomplished, but we wish to be happier than other people. And this is always difficult for we believe others to be happier than they are. - Montesquieu

  • With the right incentives, people can be led to believe and defend anything.

  • Good marketing wins in the short run and good products win in the long run.

  • Judge talent at its best and character at its worst. - Lord Acton

  • If your net worth goes from $0 to $1 million, that is ecstasy. If your net worth goes from $10 million to $11 million, that is despondency. So can we agree that all wealth is relative?

  • There are three legal investing strategies. You can be smarter than others, you can be luckier than others, or you can be more patient than others. That's the whole list.

  • The most productive hour of your day often looks the laziest. Good ideas rarely come in meetings. They come while you're going for a walk or sitting on the couch or taking a shower.

  • Nothing destroys relationships in love and careers like being needy.

  • Schools are good at measuring intelligence but not great at measuring passion and endurance and character, which tend to be way more important than intelligence in the long run.

  • The majority of what you know comes from the experiences that you've had and the people you've met, both of which are largely outside of your control.

  • Average performance sustained for an above-average period of time leads to extraordinary performance. I think that's true not just in investing, but in careers, relationships, and parenting.

  • I recently came across something called the Rule of Thirds. It says that one-third of the days you should feel amazing. One-third of days should feel just okay. And one-third of the days should be crappy. That's a good, balanced, realistic life. The same traits needed for huge success are the same traits that increase the odds of failure. So we should be careful praising winners or criticizing failures because they often made similar decisions with different degrees of luck.

  • The average generation is disappointed in their kids, partly because things typically get better over time, and you become resentful as you see the younger generation bypassing problems that you yourself had to overcome.

  • Vaccines can be amazing at one point in time, but lose effectiveness as the virus they were targeting adapts and evolves into something new. The same is true for business and investing strategies. What works wonders in one era might flop in the next as the world evolves.

  • A good test when reading the news is to constantly ask, "Will, I still care about the story in one year, two years, five years?"

  • A good bet in economics is that the past wasn't as good as you remember. The present is not as bad as you think, and the future will be better than you anticipate. Thank you again for listening.

These are the collections of Morgan's thoughts maybe more than 50 points and all are insightful and simple. I will be adding more posts like this in the future. Thank you.

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