The Proverbs of Greed

Thomas J. "Tommy" Humphreys

(un)Original ideas on success and peace of mind

Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings...

Do as I say, not as I do!

I wish you all the success in the world and just slightly less than my own

It’s the obsessing that makes us successful, and it’s the obsessing that makes us miserable

Pessimism is like a bad neighbourhood we need to escape from, but keeps sucking us back in

To gain status, be the critic. To gain wealth, be the criticized


Wealth is in your head

All new ventures bring fortune, some in gold, others in wisdom

The journey to prosperity starts with a strong and unwavering commitment to succeed

Wealth is created in starting new ventures and reputations are earned in finishing them

The most important skill for wealth creation is not hard work. The most important skill for wealth creation is pattern recognition. Work harder if this does not come easily to you

He who helps the rich shall gain wealth, but he who helps the poor shall find true riches

Wealth is born in the establishment of ventures with friends, but only the toughest bonds endure the journey

Wealthy people often fear they won’t make more money, despite a track record to the contrary. Faith in future prosperity brings joy to life

Each step brings us closer to or farther from success, regardless of how far we have come. Build connections, hone intuition, and take ownership

Success is like drinking sea water. The more you drink, the thirstier you become

Every few summers it’s good to be thrashed by some rough seas and have your friend describe the annual costs to discourage the buying of a boat

Getting more is easier than wanting less

The secret to life is a low burn rate

Stock market

Stocks go up on mystery, down on history

The most persuasive label for stock promotion is "research" or “analysis”

Whether it’s venture or value investing, investors start as prey and gradually climb the food chain

He who seeks a perfect stock shall pay a premium, but he who seeks a problem solver shall find great value in his venture

The same asset in different hands can have dramatically different values. The key is to find capable hands the market doesn’t know or believe in yet

A bearish chat board is bullish for speculators, for optimism is already factored into share prices

When a penny stock is raising money, promoters often bid up the stock in the open market to make the financing terms appear sweeter. It’s unkind to sell into this support but can be a profitable strategy.

Never assume venture risk without the possibility of a big reward. Do not lend to a startup without the option to convert the loan into equity, no matter how high the interest rate offered

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush, but ten in the bush at two to one odds changes the game 

The way investors in public markets value companies changes. Shrewd speculators get in front of it. And the rest of us who stick around long enough get lucky from time to time

Exploiting a new sector is like skiing fresh powder: exhilarating for the early bird, but soon trampled by tourists

Fun deals are profitable. Seek out management teams finding joy in their work and teams

The exhausted mind is most vulnerable to the whispers of fear, avoid making big decisions on little sleep


Starting a new venture is simple, but finishing it is a whole other story

Just because I found a Picasso in the garbage can, does not mean I'm going to give it to you for free

A new venture either quickly gains momentum or it struggles to get off the ground, like trying to start a fire with wet wood. It cannot be forced to happen

All new business owners must pass through the trials of tax troubles and hardship before learning to never repeat the same mistakes

A wise man sees dangers on the horizon, but his primary concern is the sharks closest to the boat 

Business rivals will surpass you. Regard not their success, but strive to better yourself. Keep a cheerful spirit and press forward

Hard to beat a focused, capable team who enjoy each other 

Wisdom trumps enthusiasm. Wisdom and enthusiasm trumps all

Expect a profit, earn a lesson. Expect a lesson, earn a profit

Conference organizers should provide mints as an essential service

An original idea is an oxymoron. Action is everything

If the problem is solved, the money's been made

Real estate

The rich buy vast estates for privacy, only to depend on a revolving door of strangers to service the place

Better to ride the bus to the beach and enjoy it, than suffer the operating costs of a waterfront home

Land appreciates, buildings depreciate 

Never commence a renovation on a demo permit. Get the full permit before you demo anything

Home renovation is like a wild night out - it starts off great but ends in regret. And just like a hangover, you'll forget the pain and want to do it all over again the next day

Many people want money to help their kids buy houses. But my money mentors bought houses for their parents, not the other way 'round!

The greatest source of mental illness among rich people is overpriced home audio video equipment that never works as well as what the plebs get 


Three out of a thousand good looking prospects become mines, but all 1000 are promotable in the short term

The getting’s good in mining roughly 25% of the time, you just don’t know when. Miners fight over low-cost long-life assets because of this, and anything else is a gamble

New mines are found near old ones, ore deposits are rarely a one-off

Small mines carry the same risks as large ones, minus the big reward

Friends don’t let friends fund exploration without an edge


The CEO who doesn’t promote pays in increased dilution

It’s 100X harder to build a real company than to pump and dump a good story

A large-cap company needs a polished CEO, but a small-cap vying to become large may be well served by a wildman at the helm

“Print as much paper as you can.” To make a fortune on Bay Street, build one good deal then quickly launch a handful of more expensive companies while the market is temporarily behind you

You’ll never find the perfect deal for your first venture. But, a successful first deal makes the next so much easier. So, choose wisely, leave lots of money on the table, surround yourself with winners and go for it. The market will let you get away with murder on round 2


Communicate early, clearly, decisively and respectfully

The most tedious and overused word in the English language is “I”, strike it from your vocabulary

Storytelling is overvalued, consumers are only concerned with what’s in it for them

Stories beat facts. Stories with facts are a knockout punch

Having a short phone call is a superpower! Hang up, enjoy life


Cursed is the businessperson who only talks about their deals, and never asks about yours

There's a special place in hell for “friends” who only call when they need something, and I'll see you there

A people-pleaser is more likely to lash out in anger due to feeling overwhelmed, rather than establish clear boundaries from the start

Be the partner you would want to have

Youth seeking guidance from older friends, exchanging wisdom and energy that never ends


You can’t be a great founder and a great parent at the same time, one will always be neglected. Fortunately greatness is rarely necessary in both cases, showing up is enough

Weekends before 8pm and weekdays 5-8pm: Unreachable for parents of toddlers. After 8pm: Too tired to call back. Save yourself the trouble and stop calling


We drive ourselves crazy in pursuit of wealth and status, but the keys to a joyful day can be found in simple things - a good sleep, hard work, exercise, human connection, and acts of service. Though money may provide the means, it is not a necessity 

Why do we put others down other than to build ourselves up? 

A grudge you hold, holds power over you

Everyone deserves to have aspirational values, especially those who have made grave mistakes in the past

When in doubt over a decision, don’t do it

It is very hard to make a positive difference to humanity on a global scale. It is very easy to make a difference on a local scale. Don’t let grandiosity stop you from giving back

Reflection reveals the gap between our priorities and actions, be guided by clearly defined priorities, not unconscious impulses

Isolation may be sought, but integration is what makes the heart (or wallet) grow, like a flower blooming with sun and rain in good company

Life isn't always a hole-in-one. Sometimes you'll have a rough round on the golf course. To appreciate the special moments, you have to accept that they are rare. It's okay to just be okay most of the time

Every day is not a mountain to climb, as long as no harm is done to oneself and others, it's enough

Focus on energizing activities and relationships, avoid those that drain you

One potato chip is too many, a thousand is not enough

No wine is as sweet as a hangover-free morning

For the rich life, get a dog. For an even richer one, have some kids too 

Optimists get lucky, pessimists waive that right

The downside of losing weight is it’s very cold

And so, let us take heed to these words. Fare thee well, and may wisdom be ever at thy side.


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