Street smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets by Jim Rogers - Summary

Review

Given how much Jim Rogers has traveled around the world, this book really tells how much he has learned during his lifetime. This book is really well written in the form of stories and strives to pass on some of the most noteworthy insights that he has assimilated during his life. You can tell that he really has the best of intentions and if you read between the lines, this books is really intended to be read by his children.

Index

The portrait of the investor as a young man

If history affirms anything, it is the proposition put forth by the Greeks that "nothing endures but change."

Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I’m not so sure about the former.

-- Albert Einstein

Persistence is what makes the difference.

All of a sudden my studies of history and current events were more than theoretical exercises—they had practical value.

Innocent abroad

But empires always overreach. They always overspend. And by 1918, the British Empire was already corroding from within.

When I arrived at Oxford in 1964, London’s financial district, the City of London, was all but ignored. The best and the brightest students at Balliol were seeking careers in government service and academia. A job in the City was for the idiot sons.

Until prices reach a point where growing food is profitable, the world’s farmers, who are currently aging and dying, are not going to be replaced.

So many people today are caught up in conventional thinking because it is easier and safer to echo perceived wisdom, to echo the opinion of the majority, with one’s intellectual processes circumscribed by such concepts as the state, culture, or religion.

On my own

Persistence and perseverance are absolutely essential to survival, but just as important is judgment.

[..] the advice I will give my children, is this: before asking how much you are going to get paid for a job, first decide whether it is the right job, whether it is the right place for you, because if it is the right place and you do the job right, the money will come. The money will find you, I assure you. The money should be the least of your questions.

Luck favors only the mind that is prepared.

-- Louis Pasteur

Beating the bear market

Short selling is in fact indispensable to the market. It adds liquidity as well as stability.

Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.

-- John Maynard Keynes

Every man is the architect of his own fortune.

-- Appius Claudius

Investment biker

In America, if you go broke, you can write off just about everything—everything but loans you received for your education, the very debt that probably launched you on the trajectory to bankruptcy in the first place.

The rise of commodities

It is a time-honored principle—but most people, for some reason, seem not to be aware of it—that whenever the market knows that somebody is coming, the market rises accordingly. Markets are very smart; they always run ahead. So gold, over the next several months, went down to $100 an ounce, losing 50 percent of its value, and we realized substantial gains.

Home on the hudson

The largest debtor nation in history

[..] when you fly into a New York airport, you are flying into a third world airport.

Incompetence is something you can always count on from politicians and bureaucrats.

"Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell"

Capital is agnostic. That is one of the truisms of the system under which we live. All capital cares about are security and getting the best return.

Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell.

-- Frank Borman (astronaut and former CEO of Eastern Airlines)

Journey to the east

America is not competitive, and you can trace it back to attitudes in homes and in schools.

Rags to riches then back to rags. A member of the family strikes it rich, and the person's grandchildren, maybe the great-grandchildren, wind up back on the dole.

Deng Xiaoping said that if you open a window some flies will come in, but doing so is part of admitting sunshine and fresh air.

Recommended to read by Rogers: A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

Nation of immigrants

We are now a country where the primacy of the individual is subordinated to the prerogatives of the state.

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff enacted in 1930 and the subsequent retaliatory tariffs leveled by US trading partners turned what would have been a worse-than-normal recession into the Great Depression.

Land of the free?

They [politicians and bureaucrats] speak out of both sides of their mouths, often at the same time, and will say whatever is most politically expedient at the moment.

Crisis in paper money

No one has ever repealed the laws of supply and demand

The Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing in the spring of 1989 started out as protests against inflation and rising prices. Not until the Western press showed up did students start shouting words like "democracy".

That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence built.

-- Abraham Lincoln

The sun is rising in the east

Read Adventure Capitalist by Jim Rogers.

Creative destruction

The old order changeth, yielding place to new, / And God fulfils himself in many ways, / Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

-- King Arthur

[..] money is the lance, not the grail.

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