Wednesday, April 1, 2015

History can help us be a better investor

Understand history. Go back and read about previous markets, bull and bear, read about the '20s and the '30s. Read about the Panic of 1907. Read about all this stuff because it's exactly the same!

One reason, other than the fact that I grew up in the backwoods of Alabama, that I could recognize bubbles is because I had read about them. I realized, 'Oh my God, they said the same thing in the '20s!' They said the same thing in previous bull markets, no matter where it was. 'This time it's different.' They're always talking about this new technology, or new genius or new methods. Just go back and read market history, economic history — history. I tell kids all the time that they should study history if they want to be successful at just about anything, because it has all happened before.

Mark Twain said it rhymes, well, it does, if you understand history, all the big forces. I don't mean when the First World War started, but if you understand why the First World War started, the real reasons, not because somebody was assassinated. If you can understand the real workings of previous times, you're going to be much better able to understand our time because it's the same stuff. We're all the same people! We haven't changed. We still put our trousers on one leg at a time.

Jim Rogers is a smart investor who co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros in 1973. By 1983 the fund gained more than 4000 percent.