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Bulls, Bears and Pigs

The Intelligent Investor - Jason Zweig WSJ

"All this puts me in mind of an old Wall Street proverb: "Bulls make money, bears make money, but pigs get slaughtered."

Versions of the saying have been circulating since 1905, according to lexicographer Barry Popik. The general idea — you can make money being optimistic, you can make money being pessimistic, but you'll be wiped out if you get too greedy — has probably been around for millennia.

My favorite modern version of the saying comes from the financier André Kostolany: "I can’t tell you how to get rich quickly. I can only tell you how to get poor quickly: by trying to get rich quickly."

It can pay to be a bull, and it can pay to be a bear. But it's always dangerous to be a pig, and there's no better time to remember that than December."

Note: One may need a WSJ subscription to read.



  • J. Zweig wrote an intro to "The Intelligent Investor" by Ben Graham in a not-too-long-ago iteration. I used to read him when I was getting the WSJ print version. Good shit. Though I'm down very recently like most others, my overweight in bonds has kept me pretty sanguine about it all.
  • edited December 2021
    @Mark - Thanks. No problem accessing full piece. While I get the WSJ via Kindle, it’s not easy to access it directly online. No problem here.

    One of the more entertaining reader comments from your post …

    “Following Elon Musk’s Twitter ‘determine’ whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock, it occurs to me that I should be grateful that the CEO of my largest investment, Berkshire Hathaway, last used Twitter in 2016 and is highly unlikely to tweet material information this weekend, or to tweet anything at all!”

    I agree with the “Bulls … Bears … Pigs” cliche. However, one can find quotable quotes to back just about any investing point of view. Many will recall some of these in entirety.

    - Be fearful when others are greedy and …..

    - When the tide goes out …

    - Rule #1: Don’t loose money

    - The trend is …

    - Don’t fight the …

    - If you would know the value of money …
  • "A fool and his money are soon parted" is my fav.
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