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Hairdressers and Taxi Drivers

Everyone tries to be smart. Everyone wants to be clever. Everyone wants to get ahead. So you read newspapers, magazine articles and blogs to get to know what the pundits are saying about the latest economic data. You study the consumer reviews to make sure that you buy only the best value; and you work hard to obtain the right information to make the most informed decisions possible.

You just want to get that edge over the rest of the crowd.

So the name of the game is to keep all good ideas to yourself. Here's an example: Last time I went to vote I had to wait in line for a really long time. A friend of mine hobbled up next to me on his crutches. I was number 688 and he was number 734. Since they were only up to number 465, we both had a long wait ahead of us. Not so. Once they saw his crutches, Dave was given VIP Gold-Club, Presidential treatment. He was in and out of the voting booth in about five minutes. Next time they hold elections, I’m going in with a pair of crutches.

Look what I just did -I gave away my idea! At the next elections 300 people will turn up with crutches! Silly me. Now my brilliant scheme isn't worth the pixels it's written on.

Makes you wonder about all that information out there. Take the wall Street Journal, for instance. Here is a newspaper with a massive readership. Most of the world reads the Journal. So if the Wall Street Journal publishes an article in which they announce that investing in Brazilian offal exports is the next sure thing, you can bet your bottom dollar (and you just might) that they are misinforming you big time.

How so?

They say that those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach, administrate (click here for the whole spiel). Like stockbrokers, if these supposed "experts" were any good at their jobs, they would be multi-millionaires. Why would they bother writing 2000 words about the latest financial Garden of Eden, when they could keep all that information for themselves and away from the hungry masses?

I'll tell you why: Hairdressers and taxi drivers.

Once Bob the taxi driver passes on the tip that stock in Paradise Ferrets is hot, it's too late. They don't mind telling you because once that info hits the papers, the opportunity is long gone. The financial analysts have already plundered that investment. There will be nothing left for you except the dregs. And the next time you let Pierre prune your mop, you'll find out that it's best to sell right now - everyone is doing it! By this time the price has dropped like polonium-filled potato and you've committed the ultimate sin of buying high and selling low.

So how do you get ahead of the game? What's the winning formula? I know the secret, but that would be telling, wouldn't it?

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