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Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets by Lila Rajiva, Will Bonner

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Chapter 16. How Not to Be Chumped by Wall Street

You gotta ask yourself one question … do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

The hardest thing for a man to do is simply get through life with his grace and dignity intact. He is always imagining that his wife is having an affair with the plumber, that the Muslims want to cut his throat, and that he can get rich without working. The next thing you know, he is making a fool of himself. Fortunately, since it is only his private life, he merely makes his friends embarrassed for him.

A young man may be a fool by definition, but at least no one takes him seriously enough to care. But a middle‐aged man lives on the verge of disaster. Most of the time, he goes about his business without too many problems. But at any moment, he may feel an irresistible urge to step out of this routine—to buy a sports car or dye his hair. He will be lucky if he gets through it and returns to his senses. If not, people will laugh at him behind his back and tell their daughters to stay away.

Even if he is a sober and sensible man, he is always in danger of glancing at the headlines. Soon thereafter, you may find him at the local hardware store, buying duct tape and plastic to seal off his house against terrorists’ chemical weapons attacks. Or maybe you will see him walking around town with a plastic water bottle, convinced he must hydrate himself every hour of the day. Then there are the financial markets, where he is susceptible ...

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