Because I believe that so much of an investor’s success is a function of his personality, I believe that it is useful for a reader of this book to have a substantial understanding of my DNA and my life experiences. If I had been born with a different personality or been mentored by different educators or bosses, my investment styles, decisions, and successes likely would have been quite different from what they are. Therefore, before trying to understand why I made certain investment decisions, I have provided substantial background about me. The background is divided into eight sections.
1. WILLINGNESS AND ABILITY TO BE AN INDEPENDENT THINKER AND A CONTRARIAN
I always have been an independent thinker who is willing and able to make decisions that are counter to the conventional wisdom.
According to my parents, I was an independent thinker at a young age. Evidently, when in first grade, I gave my parents a difficult time by questioning the existence of a myriad of intangibles, including God, Santa Claus, and the tooth fairy (even though the tooth fairy regularly placed quarters under my pillow whenever I lost a first tooth). I was the consummate Doubting Thomas. In high school, college, and, especially, Harvard Business School, I enjoyed the intellectual process of pioneering positions that were original or that were counter to those of other students and, sometimes, even to those of my teachers.
One example of my contrary and contrarian nature ...