I am retired and take educated guesses on all things financial.

September 27, 2008

September 27, 2008: A Good Example

I was fortunate to have a teacher who played under the greatest symphony and opera conductor of the 20th century, Arturo Toscanini. A brilliant tyrant, he never conducted using a score on the over five hundred works in his repertoire.Entire works, includind full operas, were memorized. You can Wikipedia or Google him to review his amazing career.

In his mid-70s during the 1952 NBC Symphony season (yes, there was culture on mainstream television at one time), one of his orchestra principal players had lunch with the Maestro:

"I played for him for six years. He yelled at me a lot, but as a father. After awhile I became, from those in the orchestra, possibly closer than anyone else to Toscanini. Away from the podium, he was like a child. He loved music. In his study, he would show me Puccini's snuff box (he premiered many of Puccini's operas), Verdi's eye glasses (ditto) and the like. He treasured those things.

One day I was visiting him and he asked me to stay for lunch. I could tell he was very tired, and when we had finished our business, I told him that I didn't have to stay. I said, "Maestro, you look tired. Why don't you take a nap?

He said, "I've been up since five o'clock this morning studying this symphony". The symphony was Beethoven's Fifth.

I said, "How many times have you conducted that?"

He answered, "Oh, hundreds."

I said. "And you're still studying it?"

I loved his answer. He said. "Well. I'm always afraid I may have missed something." This is how he really felt about music."

And that is how all of us should feel about our approach towards investing.

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