The Zurich Axioms

Max Gunther

  1. Worry is not a sickness but a sign of health. If you are not worried, you are not risking enough.
    1. Always play for meaningful stakes.
    2. Resist the allure of diversification.
  2. Always take your profit too soon.
    1. Decide in advance what gain you want from a venture, and when you get it, get out.
  3. When the ship starts to sink, don't pray. Jump.
    1. Accept small losses cheerfully as a fact of life. Expect to experience several while awaiting a large gain.
  4. Human behavior cannot be predicted. Distrust anyony who claims to know the future, however dimly.
  5. Chaos is not dangerous until it begins to look orderly.
    1. Beware the historian's trap.
    2. Beware the Chartist's illusion
    3. Beware the correlation and causality delusions.
    4. Beware the gambler's fallacy
  6. Avoid putting down roots. They impede motion.
    1. Do not become trapped in a souring venture because of sentiments like loyalty and nostalgia.
    2. Never hesitate tp abandon a venture if something more attractive comes into view.
  7. A hunch can be trusted if it can be explained.
    1. Never confuse a hunch with a hope.
  8. It is unlikely that God's plan for the universe includes making you rich.
    1. If astrology worked, all astrologers would be rich.
    2. A superstition need not be exorcised. It can be enjoyed, provided it is kept in its place.
  9. Optimism means expecting the best, but confidence means knowing how you will handle the worst. Never make a move if you are merely optimistic.
  10. Disregard the majority opinion. It is probably wrong.
    1. Never follow speculative fads. Often the best time to buy something is when nobody else wants it.
  11. If it doesn't pay off the first time, forget it.
    1. Never try to save a bad investment by "averaging down".
  12. Long range plans engender the dangerous belief that the future is under control. It is important never to take your own long-range plans, or other people's seriously.
    1. Shun long-term investments.