Could the pursuit of knowledge, understanding and — to the extend possible — wisdom also be a path to success? even riches? I had my doubts but wanted this to be true.
My formal educational interests were fairly wide beginning with two years of religious and general Arts studies, then a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science and, after a few years of work in the tech industry, an MA in Cultural Anthropology and, after that, a selection of investment related courses.
I first became interested in investment while working in a joint venture between Apple Computer, Inc. an my University when an Apple executive commented on how much Apple “shares” had jumped that morning due to a product announcement. In the conversation that ensued, I too got thinking about how to not only promote Apple technology, but also share in its business fortunes (or misfortunes) by means of share ownership. This new interest in Apple as an investment soon expanded to other companies in the technology sector.
Beginning in 1991 with the tech sector, I became an active investor for my own household, family and some close business associates. My investment specific training began with the Canadian Securities Course (completed in 1995) and continued to include financial planning and various accounting and investment courses. I survived the 2000 tech crash (barely!) with the result that I am now a value investor looking for value in all the right places. I have moved far beyond the confines of investing only in technology related companies and now invest across the full range of securities.
Ben Graham, in his first version of Security Analysis (1934) quoted from Horace to describe what he had by then observed in the markets: “Many shall be restored that are now fallen and many shall fall that are now in honor.” A more apt characterization who can find?
In 2008, I resigned from my college teaching job to pursue this investment interest full time reasoning that, in the short term, I might reasonably do as well as I would as a full time instructor and, in the longer term, potentially much, much better.
Will I? Time will tell, but as a songwriter sang “The best roads in life are the ones that aren’t certain,” the ones that call us to explore, learn, trust our insights, our instincts, our all.
Nelson Mandela’s life was transformed in a prison cell when he read William Ernest Henley’s, “I am the master of my fate: I am the Captain of my soul” (1875). To paraphraseDag Hammarskjold, this feeling of control and taking ourselves seriously, while perhaps ridiculous, is also necessary.