Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 2002 / 23 Mar-Cheshvan 5763

Steve Young

Steve Young
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Was I totally responsible for the market's upsurge?

Yes ... But Failure Helped! | The market rallied 378 points on October 15! Thank you very much...sort of. But I digress.

At the beginning of October, I watch helplessly with the rest of America, the stock market continued to head south and with the nightmares of the crash month of October and the anniversary of "Black Monday," I felt something had to be done.

So, on Tuesday, October 15, I took my book "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," braved the cold, the bomb-sniffing dogs and the Ak-47 armed guards and stationed myself at the corner of Wall St. and Broad to pass my message of "Finding The Bull Within The Bear" to sleepy-eyed traders.

Looking like a preacher with a personal communiqué from G-d, many investors cut a path that kept a good football field distance between me and my message. Meanwhile, others, who did seemed to carry a message from somebody or something shouted what seemed to be unrecognizable expressions of support. I really bonded with the guy who blamed bacteria on aliens from North Dakota.

But other stock exchange workers took Great Failures..., pledged to do their best "find the bull within the bear," and signed my petition to urge Merriam-Webster to amend their definition of failure to include, "a steppingstone to success."

The night before I appeared on CNNfn to tell those more wise than I how to turn around their fortunes. Seemingly not the brightest booking. I admit that as my lack of capital dramatizes clearly that I don't have a flying idea of how the market works financially, but I do know how success is attained. It is accomplished not so much by overcoming adversity as much as using it to move ahead.

Ask any scientist who learns from every failed experiment. Ask any basketball star who becomes a better shooter from hours of missed shots in daily practice sessions. Ask any Broadway actress who warbles off-key in weeks of rehearsals. It's all about putting in the time and learning from our mistakes. Why should the market or life itself be any different?

Now all that might not be enough to change the downward course of economic events and I would agree, IF, what happened next did not occur.

Just prior to the opening of the market, Stock Exchange chief, Richard Grasso, sauntered outside the exchange, I gather, to find out what the hub-bub was all about. Y'know, it's not every day that hundreds of inspiring books begin to show up on the famous financial floor. But that's exactly what was happening.
The author and assistant outside the NYSE

The next few moments may just go down in history as some of the greatest in economic history. Mr. Grasso and I huddled for what seemed like hours (but was probably more like seconds.). I asked him to establish the affirmative message from my book as the work ethic on the floor. That, as Albert Einstein once said, "Within every difficulty lies opportunity"; that failure is our most neglected resource and the market could find the answer to their conundrum wrapped in the conundrum itself.

If you've read my book or heard me hawking it on TV and radio you know I spoke with a host of celebrated successes in all fields; sports, science, politics, sociology, entertainment, etc. and they all shared one common belief: that from their failures and adversities, came lessons and possibilities that they would have never received on a smoother path.

I knew that Richard (we bonded) would understand. He's just that kind of guy. Just look at his smile when he stands atop the Exchange floor at the beginning of every session next to that day's bell ringer. Better yet, check out Grasso's winning smile even at the end of a losing session. I knew he would appreciate the benefits of failure and the market certainly had plenty of failure from which to mine prosperity.

So, did my passing out my book and my meeting with Grasso succeed? As reported modestly at the top of the column...yes.

Now I'm not saying that I was totally responsible for the upsurge in the Dow, but I'm going to take most of the credit. I had to leave New York the next day and the Dow fell 200 points. You do the math.

Now, how do we help keep the market from dipping dramatically again? Just a thought. If you all purchase "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful," you will discover that you too can find the bull within your own bear, and as a fringe benefit, I'll be able to afford to stay in New York even longer.

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," . His website is Comment by clicking here.

10/09/02: Finding The Bull Within: Wall Street Needs To Rethink The "F" Word
10/01/02: Merriam-Webster Needs To Rethink the "F" word
09/25/02: Held up in the passing lane ... and life's other positive curve balls
09/23/02: Shrinking the waist problem: Using Good Old American Failure To Lose Inches
09/17/02: Earth to Florida: No more elections
09/11/02: The humor will return. Just not yet
09/09/02: Bush coalition on fast track
08/30/02: N'Sync's Bass gets NASA okay: Former astronauts Gagarin and Glenn form boy band
08/21/02: Insider's a good thing
08/05/02: America goes Madison Ave.: The Selling of America
07/29/02: ROCKIN' RENO: The Newest Political Strategy For Filling The Coffers
07/23/02: Is Wall Street the enemy? No, but that's where the enemy hides
07/10/02: Cooking the books
06/27/02: Apocalypse now!?
06/14/02: Coulter for the defense?
05/21/02: SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS SELF! NO ONE ELSE INJURED! Inept bomber is refused entrance into Paradise. 72 Virgins breathe sigh of relief
05/19/02: Hey world! How about trying the shoe on the other foot hypotheses
05/13/02: AM Radio and Enron
05/03/02: "Deep Throat" to Be Revealed ... But will America Swallow It!?
04/29/02: Britney Spears next in line to blast off into orbit
04/22/02: Former Liberal Seeks Conservative Book Deal
04/15/02: If you truly care about America, you'll read this column
04/01/02: My Uncle Miltie
03/27/02: The Fightin' Righties
03/20/02: Woody Allen refuses to cast self...
03/18/02: The Realies
02/19/02: Greenspan Announces Lower (Television Network) Interest Rates
02/15/02: Ken Lay sells soul to the devil: Beelzebub loses life's savings
02/12/02: Enron's Skilling mistakenly takes the Fourth, forcing him to spill his guts
02/06/02: BOOSTING THE SAGGING ECONOMY: Let Green Stamps be our financial brassiere
01/24/02: "I'M THE ONE!"
01/16/02: Goodbye "Rincoln Continental," we hardry knew ye
01/14/02: "But He Was Such A Good Boy" gene, found to be defective
01/04/02: PLAY BUZKASHI!
12/31/01: Come on war. You can do better!
12/26/01: NOT MY OSAMA!
12/24/01: TIME caves
12/20/01: Finally! Friends of Color
12/14/01: Bin Laden's Funniest Home Videos
12/10/01: What if Catching bin Laden is in dispute?
11/30/01: Back to normal...too bad
11/16/01: Osama not enough for some
11/09/01: Networks at war!
11/05/01: Bridges Over Troubled Water
10/29/01: The other terrorists
10/16/01: Diary Of A Young Defense Department Comedy Writer
10/01/01: Playlands, burgers, and family sanity
09/25/01: Dissent is walking on red, white and blue egg shells
09/21/01: OPEN LETTER THE MOST HIGH (RE: Falwell and Robertson comments)
09/17/01: Gary, we miss ya
09/10/01: Smelling out a real hero
09/04/01: Don't give up on that dream!
08/24/01: Pitch day at the Mouse
08/21/01: It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Unlimited" Is


© 2002, Steve Young