After a few decades investing in the markets I am coming to realize that to make money in such markets you have to first and foremost think independently and be humble. You have to be an independent thinker because you can’t make money agreeing with the consensus view, which is already embedded in the price. Yet whenever you’re betting against the consensus, there’s a significant probability you’re going to be wrong, so you have to be humble.
Early in my career I learned this lesson the hard way — through some very painful bad bets. The biggest of these mistakes occurred in the early 80s, when I became convinced that the U.S. economy was about to fall into a depression. My research had led me to believe that, with the Fed’s tight money policy and lots of debt outstanding, there would be a global wave of debt defaults, and if the Fed tried to handle it by printing money, inflation would accelerate. I was so certain that a depression was coming that I proclaimed it everywhere.
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