The Wise Investor
not. I watched the newspapers, the television, and
everything around me.
Second, I listened. I listened to what everyone
had to say, even the most flippant and off-hand
Often these comments taught me the most. I
listened to the famous and the obscure, the rich and
From every person I learnt something, even if it
was only how the rest of the world thinks.
Finally, and most importantly," he said after a
pause, "I made mistakes. Many, many mistakes."
John turned to his granddaughter, and said with half
a smile, "hell, Kate, I've made so many mistakes, if
you lined them up like matchsticks, you could pave a
road to China."
Kate laughed and hugged her grandfather. There
was, she knew, times when you had to laugh, smile
and relax. This was a flaw in John's character, and
for all his success, he still had trouble just playing
around. She sometimes wondered why he was like
this. Perhaps even he, himself, did not know.
The afternoon was growing old, the shadows
were lengthening and the air was cooling down.
John was in two minds whether to stop for the day,
or continue with his last topic. At length, he decided
to continue, as next week would begin a whole new
area of discussion. "Kate," he said, "there is only
one more topic I would like to talk on today."
"Very well, grandfather," Kate said with
resignation. It had been a long day for her, too, but
she wanted to finish their talks at a sensible place.
John breathed deeply for a few moments, then
looked up at Kate. For all his age, she thought, he
recovered his strength remarkably quickly.
"Think about the valley again, my dear. In the
valley, there were many businesses, trades and