An Investing Lesson From The Greek Philosopher Epicurus

I’m a sucker for ancient Greek and Roman philosophers that made observations about life two thousand years ago that still hold up today. One of my favorite is the observation that the Greek philosopher Epicurus famously made about “the rich man’s new vase.”

It goes like this:

(1) A rich man buys a new vase, and feels a moment of pleasure with his new purchase.

(2) The feeling of joy begins to dissipate, and so he shows his friends the new vase he bought. The joyous feeling returns.

(3) The rich man repeats this demonstration—showing the new vase to his friends—until all of his friends see it. The feeling of joy fleetingly returns each time he shows it to a friend, but after the final friend sees it, the new vase no longer brings the rich man joy.

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