Jason Zweig is an investing columnist at The Wall Street Journal and editor of Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor. He's also author of Your Money and Your Brain (2007), on the neuroscience and psychology of financial decision-making, and The Devil’s Financial Dictionary (2015), a satirical glossary of Wall Street jargon.
1. The entire book was written with tongue in cheek and there are some hilarious definitions. What inspired you to write a book of this nature?
2. I enjoyed the entry on the term “panic” and how it related in multiple ways to the Greek god Pan. Can you explain the multiple parallels that exist?
3. I like to imagine two intersecting continuums for intelligent investing. On one of them is a “be the casino” approach most like Joel Greenblatt vs. a highly concentrated, individual company research like how Charlie Munger ran his fund. On the second continuum you have an all-weather, always-invested-and-rebalancing approach most like Ray Dalio vs. a fear-and-greed, holding-cash-for-opportunities-approach of Seth Klarman. In which quadrant would you find yourself drawn to or at least want your money managed? [All Weather]
[Be the casino] ← → [Concentration]
4. I found it surprising to be reminded how much of the terminology of Wall Street is derived from gambling parlance. “Making a bet,” “blue chip,” etc. Do you believe that the markets are like large casinos or do they actually serve to allocate resources to worthy enterprises?
5. What is the one quality people should work hardest to cultivate in order to succeed as investors?