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Carl Icahn Quotes

Carl Celian Icahn

Carl Icahn quotes: the billionaire businessman’s best quotes.

“In life and business, there are two cardinal sins.  The first is to act precipitously without thought and the second is to not act at all.”

“When nobody wants something, that creates an opportunity.”

“In risk there is reward.”

“Don’t go in and tell somebody else how to run their business.”

“I’m a pretty one-track kind of personality, sort of obsessive.  I think that’s one of the hallmarks of success.  It’s a very competitive world and if you’re not going to be an obsessive type of individual, very involved in what you do, competition is going to get you sooner or later.”

“You have to be very involved.  Ideas comes to you, not necessarily working and sitting at a desk.  I have a certain ability to take advantage of the breaks, of the lucky breaks.  People let their egos get in the way and don’t take advantage of certain breaks, of certain great opportunities.”

“It’s like a game and you’re collecting money and you see how well you can do at it.  I always did arbitrage and I always did well.  It developed into creating a business and this is just creating something.  It’s just building up capital.  But it’s also doing something salutary.”

“I made an awful lot of money not having plans.  Ask a running back, ‘What was your plan when you saw three guys coming at you?’  He doesn’t say, ‘Well, Jesus, I had a plan.’  These things have a life of their own.”

“The consensus thinking is generally wrong.  If you go with a trend, the momentum always falls apart on you.  So I buy companies that are not glamorous and usually out of favor.  It is even better if the whole industry is out of favor.”

“If the system wasn’t so messed up, guys like me wouldn’t make this kind of money.”

“Very few people had the tenacity I had.  I’m a very competitive guy.  Passionate or obsessive, whatever you want to call it.”

“There’s an old Icahn rule, when you make over $1.5 billion on a situation, you sell a bit.”

“Some people get rich studying artificial intelligence.  Me, I make money studying natural stupidity.”

“I look at companies as businesses, while Wall Street analysts look for quarterly earnings performance.  I buy assets and potential productivity.  Wall Street buys earnings, so they miss a lot of things that I see in certain situations.”

“I have to look out for the shareholder’s interests, and I’m the largest shareholder.”

“In takeovers, the metaphor is war.  The secret is reserves . You must have reserves stretched way out ahead.  You have to know that you could buy the company and not be stretched.”

“In this takeover game, if you have the stock, you should win.  The guy who has the most stock and the fortitude to hold on to it can go ahead and can win this thing.  But it’s a tough game.”

“This takeover game gets in your blood, though, because when you’re in it, it’s like being in the middle of a tiger hunt, and the tigers are coming at you and you’ve just got a spear.”

“I’m only in this for the money.  I don’t care anything about the paper business.”

“If we can’t make money, I will cash in my chips.”

“When you start using the market as a casino, that’s a huge mistake.”

“The cardinal rule is to have enough capital at the end of the day.”

“Anyone that makes me a quarter of a billion dollars, I like.”

“I enjoy the hunt much more than the good life after the victory.”

“I like winning.  There’s also a certain joy in it.  I feel fulfilled by it.”

“I was always driven to excel.”

“I have always lived by my word, so to speak.  I think that’s the way to be.  The funny, ironic part is if you do that over the years, it really pays off tremendous dividends.”

“The CEO is, by far, the most important decision for a company.  The company is going to rise and fall with the CEO.”

“Now the guy that got to the top, the CEO, would obviously be stupid to have a number two guy who was a lot smarter than he is.  So by definition, since he’s a survivor and he got to the top and he isn’t that brilliant, his number two guy is going to always be a little worse than he is.  So, as time goes on, it’s anti-Darwinism, the survival of the un-fittest.”

“You learn in this business: if you want a friend, get a dog.”

“It’s a tough game.  There are a lot of times when they’re writing bad things about you and all, so the guy with the big money says, ‘Hey, who needs it?'”

“Don’t confuse luck with skill when judging others, and especially when judging yourself.”

“When friends and acquaintances are telling you that you are a genius, before you accept their opinion, take a moment to remember what you always thought of their opinions in the past.”

“My wife watches me like a hawk.”

“I’m no Robin Hood, I enjoy making the money.”

“Everything I have is for sale, except for my kids and possibly my wife.”

“What turns me on, is the excitement of it all.  I really believe in what I’m doing.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like to win.  But I love to rock boats that should be rocked.  Sometimes I wonder why I keep doing it.  I’ve got enough goddamn money.”

“I can’t sit here too long.  I gotta go buy some stock.”

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