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No. of Recommendations: 165
As a child I always wondered why my father and his friends were not running the country. I couldn’t understand why dad wasn’t the coach of the All Blacks or why all referees were vision impaired idiots who did not know the rules. I was puzzled why only imbeciles were elected to run the country. My dad and his friends clearly knew better than all the coaches and politicians, their eyesight and in-depth knowledge of the rules of most sports were better than any referee. My dad and his friends knew how to fix the country and right all the wrongs. Why would no-one listen to them?

As I grew I felt blessed that I had inherited my father’s insights and wisdom. I came to know all the answers. Then slowly I became aware that everyone seemed to know the answers. Strangely their answers were different from mine. Even more peculiar was that they weren’t interested in my answers; they only wanted to tell me theirs.

I then started university and was stunned the psychology lecturers could be so adamant they were right about either nurture or nature. I wondered if confidence in your ideas was essential to learning and pushing forward the boundaries of knowledge. I started to worry as my own certitude began to wane. I often challenged my professors to see if they had any doubt, if they did they never let on. My doubts grew. I started looking into overconfidence and began to realise it was part of the human condition. That only exacerbated my growing uncertainty. My uncertainty grew to such a level that despite being 6’5” I pondered whether I was really taller than 99.6% of the population. I wrote an essay on the possibility of height not being an empirical measure.

I’m a lot more knowledgeable now and yet answers seem even more elusive. The difference is I’m now content with my doubt and I believe it may even help me in being happy. Doubt is pervasive and I do not wish to encourage anyone to follow my path. I’m writing this in the hope that the next time you’re about to shout your indignation, or abuse someone at TMF, you’ll stop and ponder why you think you’re so right and why you need to convince others. Discussion is great, but the most important part is not to prove you are smarter or right. The important part is to listen and see if you can learn anything. To see if your answer can be improved, if only slightly.

My name is Dean, I don't know the answers. I may not even know the right questions.
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No. of Recommendations: 3
good story Dean,

It also ties in to why SHLD is not OT. There are so many famous value investors,(including Eddie himself) that strogly believe that Sears is a great value investment. I never understood what they see. Sears and K-mart are crap, and real estate is dropping like a stone. Of all the stocks in the world why would Bruce Berkovitz, Mohnish Pabrai, and Eddie Lambert think this is one of the 5 or 10 best investment ideas that exists on this earth?
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My name is Dean, I don't know the answers. I may not even know the right questions.

Are you sure? I thought your name was whatismyoption
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The last I heard the liquidation value is far above the price per share. The value, per Berkowitz, isn't in the real estate, it's in the inventory and in the brands.
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Jeopardy has shown me I don't know all the right questions. Nice post, Dean.

Don
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Excellent post Dean !

In the early days of the 'Dynamic Value Investing' board I had many battles with posters, and I could not understand why they did not agree with me. I have learned a great deal about myself and my investing has improved immensely from those disagreements. Humility is a very big and necessary part of a successful investor IMHO.

'Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.' Douglas Adams

Manucastle:O)
(You are also a Manchester United supporter. Now that is very wise !)
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No. of Recommendations: 13
It must be very hard for you not knowing all the answers any more.

My life is much more certain now, as I foresaw this problem and took action to forestall it.
I bought the correct answers to all possible questions from an old soothsayer.

Alas, he neglected to tell me which answers were for which questions.

Jim
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No. of Recommendations: 3
excellent post, thank you

Before the advent of anonymous message boards, most of us were able to maintain the fiction that there was a certain, average, mainstream way of thinking. That most people thought more or less like we did. Why is this? Because most people are polite, and their inner thoughts are not usually expressed in conversation.

Oh how the diversity of opinion has been revealed! I am constantly amazed at the ideas my fellow humans come up with. And the intensity with which they defend those ideas.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
My name is also Dean, I'm much shorter than you are, I'm pretty sure height is an empirical measure, and I wish I had written your post.

Since I didn't write your post, I gave you a rec and made you a favorite.

Thanks
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No. of Recommendations: 4
"I’m writing this in the hope that the next time you’re about to shout your indignation, or abuse someone at TMF, you’ll stop and ponder why you think you’re so right and why you need to convince others."

Great post. I struggle with that final point. My problem is not shouting or being abusive so much as the inability to let a thread end without having the final word. The persons on the other end of the debate might not even be sincere in their comments -- still it is hard for me to stop typing and say to myself: I've made my point, it's counterproductive to write a single character more. As you put it, why is it I feel the need to convince others?

It's difficult for certain personality types (like mine) to walk away from a thread when it turns rude and insulting. However, when I do, I feel good about it. I'm just now learning that. The recipe for getting the maximum enjoyment out of the boards seems to be: Make your point, move on. For some that comes natural. For others, like me, it is a challenge.
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No. of Recommendations: 0
As you put it, why is it I feel the need to convince others?


Maybe it's a way of keeping score, and if you don't keep score, how do you know who wins? 8>)

Joe
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Well done, Sir!
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No. of Recommendations: 9
I am totally flattered by your comments, thankyou. I'm glad so many people enjoyed it, but I would like to apologise. I just received an email saying my post was selected as Post of the Day. You know and I know that this post http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=27421675 , WARREN BUFFETT AS HIMSELF 2/6/09 by mhirschey, is the more deserving post. That post ticked all the TMF boxes and is a fine example of the quality of this board. PLUS I'm giving Mark's post credit for bumping GE 14% higher today, or was that all the students rushing in with $3B in orders.

Thanks
Dean
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Kind of reminds me of the quote:

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."

-Bertrand Russell
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Oh, Bertrand Russell! Oh, Hewlitt Johnson! Where, oh where, was your flaming conscience at that time?

-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Simply brilliant, Dean. There's nothing more I can add.

Paul
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<Discussion is great, but the most important part is not to prove you are smarter or right. The important part is to listen and see if you can learn anything. To see if your answer can be improved, if only slightly.

My name is Dean, I don't know the answers. I may not even know the right questions. >

Fantastic! Should be required reading for everyone! In fact, I will add it to the METAR FAQs, even though you posted it on a different board.

whatismyoption added to your Favorite Fools list

Wendy
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