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Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money, Second Edition by Daniel Lapin

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Chapter 7. The Seventh Commandment: Learn to Foretell the Future

Who is wise? One who can tell what will be hatched from the egg that has been laid. Not he who can see the future—that is a prophet. Wisdom is seeing tomorrow's consequences of today's events.

—Babylonian Talmud, tractate Tamid

During the year immediately preceding my worst business failure, all I saw was sunshine and good times ahead. Many investors eagerly clambered aboard my swiftly growing enterprise. Potential partners sought participation. Things could hardly have looked more promising. Our company's growth rate was so heady that, with no hesitation, I violated the rule of diversification by placing virtually all my eggs into one basket. I invested all my assets into my own business on the assumption that no one else would look after it all as diligently as I would.

Then, an exciting acquisition opportunity came up, and I consulted a man who was the name partner of a professional firm, a person whom I considered to be perhaps the wisest businessman in California. He listened to my presentation and spent about five minutes paging through my spreadsheets. Then he passed all my material back across his desk to me, leaned back in his chair, and began to speak. I had such confidence in his judgment that, on hearing his words, I felt as if I had been hit by an express train. "Your company will be out of business soon," he said. He must have seen the look of shock on my face for he continued, "I cannot help you with the ...

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