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Buffett and an astronaut



September 16, 2009 – Comments (0)

I read in today's "Tuesday's Biggest Stock Stars" article Warren Buffett's quote: "Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing." Which reminded me of an answer an astronaut gave me when I asked him whether he was worried about the things that could go wrong during launch or the mission. (I was a reporter and he was [and is] Jay Buckey, who was a payload specialist aboard STS-90 in 1998.) His response was something like he wasn't worried because the crew had repeatedly practiced and prepared for every scenario.

Space flight and maybe investing seem particularly scary, to me anyway, because of all the unknowns and the magnitude of what's at stake (a "catastrophic failure" and the ability to live comfortably -- with food and medicine -- in retirement). And the risks are real; we've seen things go terribly wrong and perhaps experienced it in our portfolios.

Another NASA mantra is that failure is not an option. And I've learned at the Fool that not trying (not investing) pretty much guarantees failure since my money won't keep up with inflation.

It's always nice when something to do with investing jibes with something from my noninvesting life. It rings a little truer and lets me think in broader terms about what's being said.

 Kris (Motley Fool copyeditor)

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