Essentia’s 12 Quotes of Christmas

What better way to kick-off the holiday season than 12 pieces of timeless wisdom for your investment decision-making in 2020 and beyond.

These 12 quotes – old and new – come from a range of different disciplines but can all be applied to the kind of reflection and process improvement that are so important to active investment management today.


“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.”

– Epictetus (55–135 AD); Greek stoic philosopher

“If you’re a good active investor, you will always value the process over the outcome.”

– Jim O’Shaughnessy; Founder & Co-CIO OSAM, author of What Works on Wall Street

James O'Shaughnessy
Viktor Emil Frankl

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

– Viktor E. Frankl (1905–1997); neurologist and psychiatrist 

“The secret is to make peace with walking around in a world where we recognize that we are not sure and that’s okay. As we learn more about how our brains operate, we recognize that we don’t perceive the world objectively. But our goal should be to try.”

― Annie Duke; professional poker player and author of Thinking in Bets

Annie Duke

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”

– Lao Tzu (601BC-unknown); ancient Chinese philosopher and writer

Lao Tzu
E.O. Wilson

“We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.”

– E.O. Wilson; biologist, naturalist and writer

“Las Vegas is busy every day, so we know that not everyone is rational.”

– Charley Ellis; Founder of Greenwich Associates, author of Winning the Loser’s Game, and Essentia Analytics NED

Charley Ellis
Jesse Livermore

“Success in investing doesn’t correlate with IQ once you’re above the level of 25. Once you have ordinary intelligence, what you need is the temperament to control the urges that get other people in trouble in investing.” 

– Jesse Livermore (1877-1940); legendary American investor and inspiration for Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

― W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993); engineer, statistician, academic and author of Out of Crisis

W. Edwards Deming
Warren Buffett

“In any sort of a contest – financial, mental, or physical – it’s an enormous advantage to have opponents who have been taught that it’s useless to even try…”

― Warren Buffet; investor, philanthropist and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

“I’m of the view that we can never achieve perfect objectivity, rationality or accuracy in our beliefs. Instead we can strive to be less subjective, less irrational, and less wrong.” 

– Nate Silver; author of The Signal and the Noise

Nate Silver
Benjamin Graham

“Investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”

― Benjamin Graham (1894-1976); investor, economist and author of The Intelligent Investor

Enjoy this post?

Sign-up to receive our thought pieces on applied behavioral science and investor innovation.

Insight for investment managers

Read our latest research into investment alpha and how active managers can outperform passive funds.