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Gordon Gekko's 10 Tips to Investment Banking

Oliver Stone's fictional character Gordon Gekko, featured in two movies about Wall Street: 1987's Wall Street and 2010's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was a very outspoken guy. Motivated by greed (often misquoted, more later), his high stakes shenanigans landed him in prison for insider trading and securities fraud. His thought that it is NOT just about the money, but the way the game is played to acquire the money does have some merit.

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The Forbes Fictional 15 comprises a list of the richest men in fiction: Gordon Gekko only rates number 14, just ahead of the wheelchair vet Jeffrey Lebowski (The Great Lebowski), but way below Scrooge McDuck (comic book fame) at number one, immortal vampire Carlisle Cullen (Twilight Saga), and the child genius Artemis Fowl II (books of same name) who is head of an Irish crime family. Gekko is even much less wealthy than a guy who owns the Iron Man technology (Tony Stark of the Iron Man movies), a dragon who plunders just for plunder's sake (Smaug of Hobbit fame) and a woman CEO who claims wealth only comes from hard work or marriage and she did both! (Jo Bennet of the TV show The Office). Curious to who else made the list? Richie Rich, Jed Clampett, Bruce Wayne, Mr. Monopoly, Arthur Bach, C. Montgomery Burns and Chuck Bass.

Gordon Gekko's best advice, hidden sometimes between outrageous behaviour and bad language, are listed here:

1. Greed is Good.Often heard and badly misquoted. What Gordon Gekko really said was: "The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good." Lack of a better word? Yes! He could have used the synonyms hunger or insatiability, instead. What he wanted to prove was that the opposite of moderation was key. If one looks at the rest of his speech, he stressed that greed in ALL forms is good; for life, for love and for knowledge as well as money.

2. Lunch is for wimps. Interpretation: don't depend on lunch meetings to schmooze and lose; keep the mind on more important matters.

3. If you need a friend, get a dog. He's right; keep your personal life and business deals separate and apart.

4. Don't sell out your ethics for money. Avoid jail or prison at all costs.

5. The most valuable commodity is information. Referring back to number one; greed for information is good. The right tools to get the best information fastest is essential to stay ahead of the competition.

6. KISS; Keep it Simple, Stupid. The KISS method has been around for years; don't try to beat the market, but join it.

7. Employ One-to-One Marketing. Act like you are the ONLY one in the room, the ONLY one who can make the deal, the ONLY one to be successful.

8. Read Sun-Tzu's The Art of War. This book on warfare provides essential information also on military thinking, legal strategies and business tactics.

9. Do the opposite of what others are doing. When it relates to buying and selling Real Estate, try to outsmart the competition by doing the opposite (armed with information of course!).

10. Get the best cell phone technology available. Viewers chuckled when they saw Gekko being released from prison and retrieving his 1983 brick of a cell phone, the Dynatac from his personal possessions. However, it was the best of the best and cost over $3k when Gekko bought it. In today's world, that is over $8k! An iPhone for $1,000 is a steal! (skip the diamonds and gold).

See where Wall Street ended up in our Top 10 Favourite Finance Films.


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