What I learned from rereading A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market by Ed Thorp.
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1. The book reveals a thorough, rigorous, methodical person in search of life, knowledge, financial security, and, not least of all, fun.
2. I learned at an early age to teach myself. This paid off later on because there weren’t any courses in how to beat blackjack, build a computer for roulette, or launch a market-neutral hedge fund.
3. Even though the Goliath I was challenging had always won, I knew something no one else did: He was nearsighted, clumsy, slow, and stupid, and we were going to fight on my terms, not his.
4. I admired the heroes who, through extraordinary abilities and resourcefulness, achieved great things. I may have been inspired to mirror this in the future by using my mind to overcome intellectual obstacles.
5. Rather than subscribing to widely accepted views—such as you can’t beat the casinos—I checked for myself.
6. What matters in life is how you spend your time.
7. Life is like reading a novel or running a marathon. It’s not so much about reaching a goal but rather about the journey itself and the experiences along the way. As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Time is the stuff life is made of,” and how you spend it makes all the difference.
8. I also believed then, as I do now after more than fifty years as a money manager, that the surest way to get rich is to play only those gambling games or make those investments where I have an edge.
9. Since much of what we were doing was being invented as we went along, and our investment approach was new, I had to teach a unique set of skills. I chose young smart people just out of university because they were not set in their ways from previous jobs. Better to teach a young athlete who comes fresh to his sport than to retrain one who has learned bad form.
10. Whatever you do, enjoy your life and the people who share it with you, and leave something good of yourself for the generations to follow.
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