Some quotes from Other People’s Money

In Other People’s Money John Kay has included some brilliant quotes. Here is my selection of some of the best:

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It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it. Upton Sinclair

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A British bank is run with precision

A British home requires nothing less

Tradition, discipline and rules must be the tools.

Without them: disorder, catastrophe, anarchy

In short, you have a ghastly mess.

Mary Poppins, Walt Disney production

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 I would like to pay tribute to the contribution you and your company make to the prosperity of Britain. During its one-hundred-and-fifty-year history, Lehman Brothers has always been an innovator, financing new ideas and inventions before many others even begin to realise their potential. Gordon Brown, chancellor of the exchequer, with Dick Fuld, opening Lehman Brothers’ new London headquarters, 5 April 2004

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No sooner did you pass the fake fireplace than you heard an ungodly roar, like the roar of a mob … It was the sound of well-educated young white men baying for money on the bond market. Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

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When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results. Warren Buffett, 2008, on the global financial crisis

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We are investment bankers. We don’t care what happens in five years. Vincent Dahinden, head of global structured products, Royal Bank of Scotland, in Institutional Investor, 12 February 2004. Royal Bank of Scotland was bailed out by the UK taxpayer four years, eight months later.

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Lucky fools do not bear the slightest suspicion that they may be lucky fools. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness

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Robbing a bank’s no crime compared to owning one. Bertolt Brecht, Happy End

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I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the Pope or .400 baseball hitter. But now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody. James Carville, Clinton policy adviser

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Just going after the company is also both technically and morally suspect. It is technically suspect because, under the law, you should not indict or threaten to indict a company unless you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that some managerial agent of the company committed the alleged crime; and if you can prove that, why not indict the manager? And from a moral standpoint, punishing a company and its many innocent employees and shareholders for the crimes committed by some unprosecuted individuals seems contrary to elementary notions of moral responsibility. Jed Rakoff, former federal judge for the South District of New York

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C. LEVIN (D, MICHIGAN): When you heard that your employees in these emails and looking at these deals said ‘God, what a shitty deal’, ‘God, what a piece of crap’, when you hear your own employees or read about these in emails, do you feel anything?

MR D.A.VINIAR (CFO, GOLDMAN SACHS): I think that is very unfortunate to have on email.

US Senate, permanent subcommittee on investigations, 27 April 2010

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