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Market Philosophy of The Puzzle Junkie

By Tom Dyson, publisher, The Palm Beach Letter
Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Roderick is the most extreme puzzle junkie I have ever met.

I used to sit next to him in high school and watch him struggle with the Times cryptic crossword every morning in class.

The Times cryptic crossword is the hardest daily crossword in any of the newspapers in Britain. Unlike regular crosswords - where the clues are based on nouns and definitions - cryptic crosswords are based on anagrams, word plays and rhymes.

‘Rodders’ filled it out every day.

Rodders loved statistics too. For years, he was the official scorer for the 1st Eleven Cricket team at our school. He’d spend his Saturdays sitting in the score box, marking down every play and recording all the runs in the day’s match.

Once, he was a contestant on a nationally televised game show calledCountdown where players unscramble anagrams and do long calculations in their heads. He lost to the returning champion.

He just had one of those brains. He loved to solve puzzles and play with numbers. He studied statistics at college and no one was surprised when he chose a career in the sports betting industry after graduation.

The reason I recall Rodders is because he’s an excellent trader... and even more impressive, he’s a consistent winner betting on sports. He quickly became one of the top traders and odds-makers at the largest sports betting firm in London.

I’ve managed to pinpoint the reason why Rodders is so comfortable with speculative games. It’s something we should all consider.

It’s all thanks to his addiction to puzzles.

For Rodders, the joy of playing the game – and the challenge it presents – is the real reason he plays. He just loves solving puzzles. Rodders considers speculation to be the ultimate puzzle.

Said another way, beating the game is more important to Rodders than winning money. In fact, money is the way he keeps score. I’m not saying he doesn’t want money... it’s just not his primary objective.

Because money isn’t his priority, Rodders escapes many of the trappings of greed. In other words, he’s immune to the market’s most potent weapon: the temptation to self-destruct.

If you’re just in it for the money or you view the market as a way to get-rich-quick, you’ll never have the urge to examine your mistakes. You’ll keep falling into all the common traps... reaching for the moon, not cutting losses, and over trading. Sooner or later you’ll blow up.

But if you’re a puzzle junkie, capital preservation becomes your most important consideration. ‘Don’t go broke’ is the golden rule. If Rodders loses all his money, his game is over. No more puzzles...

And that’s just about the worst thing that could happen to a puzzle junkie like him.

Take Warren Buffett or Bill Gross as examples. They are both billionaires... among the richest people on the planet. It’s not the money that gets them out of bed in the mornings...

It’s the challenge.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that Buffett and Gross both love playing cards. Buffett plays Bridge against Bill Gates. Gross paid his way through college by counting cards at the Blackjack tables in Las Vegas.

Not to say all rich investors and traders play cards and games. The point I’m trying to make is, guys like Bill Gross and Warren Buffett are so driven to beat the market, that they never stop thinking, working or reading. If they were just in it for the money, they wouldn’t have the motivation.

By virtue of the fact you read DailyWealth, I suspect you’re also a bit of a puzzle junkie. If you weren’t interested in the markets or motivated to find winning strategies, you wouldn’t be reading an investment e-letter.

So my advice to you is this: Forget about the money. Focus on the challenge, have fun, and learn as much as you can. The money will surely follow.

Good Investing,


Market Notes


Argentine land giant Cresud (CRESY) is up 12% in the past few weeks…

As True Wealth readers have known for several years, Cresud owns an enormous amount of the best real estate in Argentina. In addition to prime office and shopping space, the company is also a huge owner of farmland. It may be the best real estate bargain on the planet.

Cresud may be rising because the market finally realizes the company’s real value. But DailyWealth thinks Investor’s Business Daily has something to do with it as well…

With a readership in the six figures, “IBD” is one of the most widely read financial newspapers in the world. Cresud recently appeared on the paper’s list of stocks with outstanding fundamental and technical strength… which likely caused a flood of new buyers.

Whatever the cause of this rise, we guess Cresud has further to go…

The Rise of Cresud (2006 chart):

-Brian Hunt

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