Our Daily Bleg: Wall Street Proverbs, Please

Here’s the latest guest bleg from Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations. His past blegs can be found here; send us your own bleg requests here.

The Motley Fool used my blegging for modern proverbs as an inspiration to write about “investing proverbs.”

Wall Street is indeed a rich source of memorable quotations, including: “Buy on the rumor, sell on the news”; “Sell in May and go away”; and “The trend is your friend.” Can Freakonomics readers suggest other investing proverbs?

P.S. — A number of readers have called upon me to include an answer section for my blegs. I intend to address this within the next few weeks.

Raju Mandal

If you want excitement, watch a movie , it is cheaper


An ounce of emotion is equal to a ton of facts (John Junor).
Markets climb up a wall of worry and sail down a river of hope (???).
No one ever made a dime panicking (Jim Cramer).
Losers average losers (Paul Tudor Jones).


vol is toast, bring out the jam.

they're prices, not house numbers.

i don't pay you to think, i pay you to do.

The road to hell is paved with positive carry

I asked for the two-way price, not the high and low on the year

want a friend, buy a dog.

Its not the despair that gets you, its the hope.


"Always leave a little bit on the table for the next guy."


In a sh*t storm, even turkeys fly


From the subprime mess, "A rolling loan gathers no loss."

John R

I'm a software engineer, but for the first five years of my career I worked for a hedge fund and sat with the traders at the trading desk. There are two bits of wisdom that I still recall, years later:

1) Never confuse brains with a bull market.

2) Never pay interest on a depreciating asset.

Dan M

Buy the dips, sell the rips.


ziggurat (#12) listed some opposing pairs, reminding me of the law of cliches:

"For every cliche, there is an equal and opposite cliche."

Sail Boffin

Think big, think positive, never show any sign of weakness. Always go for the throat. Buy low, sell high. Fear? That's the other guy's problem. Nothing you have ever experienced will prepare you for the absolute carnage you are about to witness. Super Bowl, World Series - they don't know what pressure is. In this building, it's either kill or be killed. You make no friends in the pits and you take no prisoners. One minute you're up half a million in soybeans and the next, boom, your kids don't go to college and they've repossessed your Bentley. Are you with me? -- Louis Winthorpe III


Just to go with volume, a slight tweak to #2.
Bears make money; bulls make money; pigs lose their shirt. Which I like better than slaughter, although now that I think on it, slaughter makes more sense than fashion losing hogs.

I thought there were more of these aphorisms. I guess not.


October: This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February. (Mark Twain)

Those who live by numbers can also perish by them and it is a terrifying thing to have an adding machine write an epitaph, either way. (George J.W. Goodman)

Bylo Selhi

Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.

the Gooch

Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.

--Gordon Gekko

Adam J. Fein

The stock market is like a beauty contest. Don't pick the prettiest girl; Pick the one everyone else thinks is the prettiest. (Keynes?)



"Even a dead cat can bounce"


"Trees don't grow to the sky."

"Even a dead cat will bounce if it drops from high enough."

"No one ever went broke taking profits."


"Where Are the Customers' Yachts?" (Fred Schwed)


I remember an SNL skit after the '87 crash. It was Wall Street Week with a guest named "Futureman" he had the best investing mantra ever:

"Read old newspapers, look at historic charts, go back in time, buy low, sell high."


"Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful" -- Warren Buffett

"Buy the rumor, sell the fact"