The Money Game by Adam Smith (pseudonym used by George Goodman), first published in 1968, is a timeless classic on investing and human behaviour.
It is a witty book wherein the author shares his insights on the irrationality with which most of us make our investment decisions. He also shatters common myths and misconceptions, revealing why nothing works all the time and illustrating how greed and fear fuel the market.
As I was re-reading the book, I came across this passage that details the dangers of trying to earn a lot of money to be able to achieve a certain level of happiness and peace in our lives. It is as relevant today as it was when the book was written 50+ years back.
It has been my fate to know people who have made considerable amounts of money, sometimes millions, in the market.[One of them] had a very good point when he said the end object of investment ought to be serenity.
Now if you think making a million dollars will give you serenity, there are two things you can do. One is to find a good head doctor and see if you can discover why you think a million dollars will give you this serenity. This will involve lying on a couch, remembering dreams, talking about your mother, and paying forty dollars an hour.
If your course is successful, you will realise that you do not want a million dollars but something else which the million dollars represents to you, such as love, potency, mother, or what have you.
Released, you can go off about your business and not worry anymore, and you will be poorer only by the number of hours you spent in accomplishing this times forty dollars.
The other thing you can do is to go ahead and make the million dollars and be serene. Then you will have both a million dollars and serenity, and you do not have to deduct the number of hours times forty dollars unless you feel guilty about making it.
It seems simple, and there is indeed a catch.
What do you do with the million dollars arrives and serenity does not?
Aha, you say, you will worry about that when you get to it, you are sure you can handle it. Perhaps you can.
Money, contrary to popular myth, does help people more than its spoils them, simply because it opens up more options.
The danger is that when you have your million, you then want two, because you have a button saying I Am A Millionaire and that is who you are, and there are, all of a sudden – as you will notice – so many people with buttons saying I Am A Double Millionaire.
The core idea of Mr. Goodman’s book is that money game is about the players, not the rules or the features of the board. And so how we play the game matters much more than how the game is stacked.
Some books never lose their relevance, no matter how old. The Money Game is one of them.
Here are few things I thought were worth sharing with you:
- An Investor’s Spam Filter (Anand Sridharan)
- Risk and Return in the Stock Market Are Not Evenly Distributed (Ben Carlson)
- Preparing Your Mind for Uncertain Times (The Atlantic)
- My Son Is Looking to Me for Answers—And I Don’t Have Them Anymore (Uri Friedman)
- Your Financial Portfolio and Japanese Principles (Fortune)
That’s about it from me for today.
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