09 May 2022

In today’s episode, William Green speaks with Arnold Van Den Berg, who has run a renowned investment firm, Century Management, for almost half a century. Arnold, a Holocaust survivor who never went to college and taught himself to invest, explains how he overcame extreme adversity to become a successful money manager. Drawing on this experience, he shares powerful, practical lessons about how to master your mind and create a truly abundant life.

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  • How a teenage girl saved Arnold Van Den Berg’s life during the Holocaust.
  • How he learned to live a life guided by principles and the search for truth.
  • What his father taught him about the extraordinary power of the mind.
  • How Arnold transformed his body and mind to become a champion athlete.
  • Why “the single most important thing in life is what you believe.”
  • How Arnold taught himself to invest with no college degree or professional training.
  • What he learned from Ben Graham (and his own mother) about buying bargains.
  • Why the key to picking stocks is having the discipline to buy cheap.
  • How visualization helped him to become a successful money manager.
  • How to use hypnosis and affirmations to reprogram your subconscious mind.
  • What specific affirmation he repeats thirty times a day.
  • What advice Arnold has for people who are suffering now.


Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.

William Green (00:00:03):
Welcome folks. I’m excited to introduce today’s guest, Arnold Van Den Berg. Arnold is one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever encountered. As the founder of an investment firm called Century Management, he overcame tremendous adversity to build an exceptional record as a money manager over the last four decades or so. That’s a particularly amazing achievement given that he grew up in hiding in an orphanage during the Holocaust, barely made it through high school and taught himself to invest without any college education or any formal training. As you’ll hear, his life story is absolutely riveting. But what also makes Arnold stand out for me is that he’s such a likable, decent and generous spirited person and he has this irrepressible enthusiasm for helping other people, including me, come to think of it. That when I worked on my book, Richer, Wiser, Happier, one of the first things I did was travel to meet with him in Austin, Texas. And before I left, he made sure to hypnotize me on the floor of his office so that he could change the way I think and speak to myself. And I regard Arnold really is a wonderful role model and mentor, and a great example of what it means to live a truly abundant life, which obviously goes way beyond just financial success.

William Green (00:01:14):
In this episode, we don’t talk that much about investing at all, except mostly for a brief discussion of why he bought energy stocks a couple of years ago when they were dirt cheap and pretty much nobody other than him wanted to buy them. Instead, what we talk about in depths here is how Arnold transformed his life by taking control of his mind. And we talk in some detail about what you and I can learn from him about how to improve our own lives. I hope you find this conversation as captivating and inspiring and really as helpful as I did. Thank you so much for joining us.

Intro (00:01:49):
You’re listening to the Richer, Wiser, Happier podcast, where your host William Green interviews the world’s greatest investors and explores how to win in markets and life.

William Green (00:02:09):
Hi everyone. It’s a huge pleasure to introduce my guest Arnold Van Den Berg. In my book, Richer, Wiser, Happier, I write in great depth about Arnold’s extraordinary story. And I thought I’d start by reading you the paragraph in which I first introduce him, because it’ll give you a sense of why I’m so delighted that he’s here with us today to share his wisdom about investing in life. So here’s what I wrote about him. “When I think about what constitutes a successful and abundant life, the investor who embodies it best for me is Arnold Van Den Berg. He’s not a billionaire or a genius. He doesn’t own a yacht or a plane yet there’s nobody in the investment world whom I admire more. If I had to choose just one role model from all of the remarkable investors I’ve interviewed over the last quarter of a century, it would be him. He was dealt a terrible hand, but has defied overwhelming odds to achieve a life of prosperity that goes far beyond money.”

William Green (00:03:02):
Arnold, I wonder if you could start by telling us about the first, say, six years of your life so our listeners get a sense of why I believe the odds were stacked against you. And then we’ll talk more about how you overcame that and built this life that I regard as a tremendously successful and abundant life. So thank you. The stage is yours. Tell us about your youth.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:03:23):
Okay. Well, I guess we’ll start where I was born. I was born in Amsterdam, Holland. My folks lived on the Prinsengracht, which is the same street that Anne Frank lived on. We lived at 823 Prinsengracht. She lived at 267 Prinsengracht and everything was fine with my folks. My dad was born in Germany and my mom was born in Poland. And when Hitler started in Germany, they migrated to Holland and they built a fairly successful business and they were living in a real nice neighborhood. And then of course, what happened is Hitler and Germany invaded Holland and they started rounding up the Jews. And so we had to go into hiding just like Anne Frank’s folks went. They went into an attic. My mom and dad had some very good friends, Hank and Marie Bunt, who offered to hide them at a great risk to their life. If they were caught, they would be sent to a concentration camp, just like my folks have been eventually into that.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:04:24):
But anyway, there was a problem that came up as I visited the home afterwards. They had a closet with clothes hanging down and there was a fake wall behind it and they can sneak behind the wall and then it would close up and if anybody was searching the house, they wouldn’t be able to find it. The problem was, they had me. I was two and a half years old and my older brother who was five and a half, and it would be very difficult to keep me quiet when somebody is searching the house when you’re a small kid. And I always tell people, nothing has changed. It’s hard to keep me quiet now too. So they tried different things. We had a maid and her parents decided that they would take a chance to take us and we lived with them for a while. That didn’t work out. We went somewhere else, but finally there was no long term solution.

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Arnold Van Den Berg (00:05:14):
So my parents turned to the Dutch underground, which Marie and Hank Bunt and other friends of theirs contacted. And they found a 17 year old girl, which is just amazing. I used to think she was 19, but when you did your research, you found out she was 17, which is even more remarkable. And she took the risk of smuggling me through the German lines. We had to go on a train and to check your passport. The problem with the passport was that it was a fake and it wasn’t very well done. So if somebody took a real close look at the passport, they could see that it wasn’t a real one. So what they did is they put a man in front of the seat that we sat and he was supposed to keep the guard busy. When somebody comes on, the person that checks your passport comes on the train, checks everybody’s passport and then gets off when the whistle blows. So it was their hope to keep him busy, which the man did was tremendous.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:06:18):
And she said, well, she was sitting there, her heart was just beating back and forth. She thought it was going to jump out of her body because she didn’t know whether he was going to be able to do that. But fortunately he was. So we took the train and then at the place where the train ended, there was supposed to be a cart with a horse to pick us up and to take our luggage. But the only thing they could come up with was just a guy with a bicycle. He took the luggage on the bicycle and she carried me, but it was about two or three miles to the orphanage. So I got to the orphanage and then my brother threw another route, got to the orphanage as well.

William Green (00:06:57):
But this must have been terrifying for her, right? Because I remember you telling me that even when you guys arrived at the train station, if I remember rightly, there was some Nazis, just standing there talking among themselves. And this is a time when they’d been rounding up Jews, sending them to Auschwitz. I mean, not only would you have been sent to a concentration camp if you had been caught, but she would’ve been sent to a concentration camp.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:07:20):
We both would’ve been. Yeah. They picked up children. And matter of fact, my folks knows a friend of a friend where they were in line, the Germans were getting ready to ship into Auschwitz and she took her baby and handed it to a bystander who wasn’t Jewish. She said, “Would you raise my child?” And she figured she’d take a chance because she knew if the child went to Auschwitz, he’d be gone and so would she. People took a lot of risks and she took a lot of risk and the most amazing thing, as I told you many times, as I grew up, the thing that really got me to thinking is how could this 17 year old girl be willing to risk her life? But more importantly, how could her dad? Could I send my daughter on a suicide mission? And then her dad was a minister, a deep Christian. And he had people in his home and in his church and he moved them back and forth and the whole family was very much involved. And she said that just was something that they believed they had to do because that was God’s will. And so it was a deep faith that really impressed me of how deeply these people believed in what they were doing.

William Green (00:08:31):
And I remember many years later, you spoke to a psychiatrist, Dr. [inaudible 00:10:42], who will talk about later, I hope, who played a huge part in helping you as an adult. And he said something to you where you said to him, “I just don’t understand why they would’ve helped me.” He explained in a way that I think had a profound effect on you. Can you recall what it was that he said to you about why she would’ve saved you?

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:08:54):
Yes. When I got to him, I had told him that I was very depressed. I went through a divorce. I had married my high school sweetheart. We were going around for four and a half years. We were married four and a half years and we broke up and I was very depressed about it. I was very angry about all the things that were going on, which caused the depression later on, I found out. But one of the first things I wanted to find out from him, he was a very wise man who very well respected and I had a lot of respect for him. And I said, “Dr. [inaudible 00:09:28], can you explain one thing to me? I can’t figure out why this girl and her father and the family, but be willing to risk all of their lives and they had many children, to do this for us and they didn’t even know us? She’d never seen me before.” And he said, “Oh, that’s easy.” And I said, “It is? I’ve been trying to figure it out for about 25 years.” And he said, “If your principles are more important than your life, you sacrifice your life. If your life is more important than your principles, you sacrifice your principles.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:10:05):
And that’s what people do on a daily basis. They have certain things they believe but if something is more tempting, like somebody’s working for a company and you have a chance to make an easy buck, if their principles aren’t strong, they might go for it. So your principles are your deep beliefs and they guide your behavior in extreme situations. And he said, even in Auschwitz, he saw that operating. So that was a very profound effect on me. I thought, “Wow, what are these principles that they believe in that they would go to that extent?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:10:39):
And so I got deeply involved in studying religions, Christianity, Buddhism. I studied everything I could get my hands on. And that led me to an earlier breakthrough in my thinking. I was struggling to try to understand a principle and I couldn’t come to the conclusion. I talked to rabbis, I talked to ministers, I studied Bible prophecy, what the Christians believed about Jesus Christ, what the Jews believed about him. And there obviously was a conflict there. I mean, the conflict’s been going on for 2000 years. Is Jesus the Messiah or is he not? And obviously, the Christians believe he is and the Jews are still waiting for the Messiah. So that was a big conflict. And as I was struggling with that, I thought, “Geez, what would I do if Jesus is the Messiah, what am I going to do?” Can you imagine telling my parents this? It’d be like you talking to your parents saying you’re going to be a communist to move to Russia. So I was deeply conflicted with it.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:11:40):
All of a sudden something flashed in my mind. If you want to follow the truth, you have to go wherever it leads you. In that incident, I thought about that and I said, “That’s right. Why am I worrying about who’s right? The most important thing is I’m focusing on the wrong thing. I should be focusing on what’s the truth.” And that became pillar in my thinking, that was my first real deep principle that I said, “Okay, no matter what happens, I’m always going to follow the truth.” And that has opened up a whole new world to me because I always accepted things because you were raised that way and you believe that way, you go to school and they teach you that way. But all of a sudden, I started questioning things, looking at the other side. And if you question your belief, you’re going to come up with some things that you were taught and you accepted, but aren’t really truth. They’re not reality.

William Green (00:12:36):
Let’s go back Arnold in time to the chronology of the story. Tell me, A, what the orphanage was like and B, what happened to your parents while you were in the orphanage? Because they must have been absolutely desperate trying to figure out whether you and your brother Sigmant who was hidden on a farm with a childless couple, they must have been desperate to figure out what had happened to you and whether you were safe, whether you were still alive, even.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:13:00):
Yeah, that was a very important point. What happened is when this girl took me on the train, my folks were told that the orphanage would call a neighbor because they didn’t have a phone where they were hid and the neighbor would come over and tell my folks that I had arrived. Well, they never got a call. And my mom was sitting there just agonizing for hours. She never got a call and she kept telling my dad, “He should have gotten here by now, the train, it landed an hour ago.” And then two hours ago and then four hours. And after a while they got to thinking something must have gone wrong because they never got the call. My mom says, “Why don’t we go to this butcher shop down the street because they have a phone there and we could borrow the phone and ask him if the kids got there?” And he said, “Mania, we can’t do that because the Germans are all over the place. And if they stop you, you’re dead.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:13:54):
So he tried to persuade her not to go. And he was able to do that for a few hours. But after a while she said, ” Hugo, if you don’t go with me, I’m going alone. I need to know. I can’t stand to suspense.” The final thing he said to her, “Mania, if God forbid they were caught, there’s nothing we can do. And if he didn’t get caught, if there was some delay we’re taking a risk, he’s going to end up not having any parents.” But the emotion took over. She said, “I’m going.” He said he had a very bad feeling about it, but he said, “I couldn’t let her go alone. So I went with her and sure enough, we went into the butcher shop and the butcher shop’s wife was a trader.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:14:38):
And in those days you had people turning in Jews for 15 guldens and some food rations, which they did. They turned them in. And when they got out, they walked down the street, [inaudible 00:14:51] picked them up and took them to Westbrook, which was a holding tank. So my mom never knew that I got there. They never knew because they were picked up and sent to Westbrook and then eventually to Auschwitz. She said, “The greatest torture in Auschwitz was not the cold and the hunger and the beatings and all that.” She said every night, she would think, “I wonder if the kids got there.” And she says, “Your imagination goes wild.” And just to show you the power of thinking and the subconscious mind, which we’re going to talk about later, look how powerful that was.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:15:28):
She taught me all my life, ” Arnold, it’s okay to get married, but don’t ever have any children.” And I heard this my whole life. Well, it turns out I have three brothers so there’s four boys. Not one of them had a biological child. And so when I got remarried again to Eileen, which she had two children, but we wanted another child. And for five or six years, no matter what we did, we got tested. Everything was great. We couldn’t have a child. So I remembered all the things that my mom told me about not having children, but when I was getting older, I thought, “I’m not going to tell her this, but I’m going to have children because it’s just going to upset her and I’m not going to deprive myself of a family.” That was one of the big things, one of my big goals in life is I wanted a family because we lost 39 members of the family. I never had a cousin, an uncle, grandmother, all that, which I would’ve liked to have. So I thought, “Well, I’m going to have a family.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:16:29):
Anyway, so I got to thinking about it and I realized that maybe it had gotten cut, I was studying the subconscious mind, maybe it had got stuck in there early enough to where I accepted it, where on a subconscious level, but on a conscious level, I was willing to do it. So I called up the psychiatrist, Dr. [inaudible 00:16:50]. He was not into hypnosis at the time, but after I left, he got into it. I was already into hypnosis at that time. So I said, “How would you like to do an experiment?” He said, “Sure, what is it?” I said, “Well, I really believe this thing about having a child is a mental block there. And I’d like to be regressed back and see if we can find that block and eliminate it because we want to have a child.” He said, “Great. I could see how that could happen.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:17:18):
So here I went to five years of therapy, but that never came up. Sure enough, we regressed back. On the third session, I woke up one morning, just had a gut feeling. I told Eileen, “You’re going to be pregnant this month.” Sure enough, she was pregnant and we now have a daughter, the biologic. Now here’s the thing, out of the four boys, I’m the only one that has a biological child. So it shows you how what you were taught as a young person, influences your mind without you even being aware of it. Now, how many times have you heard about people who can’t have a child, they adopt one and then they have one? Almost everybody has met somebody like that. Well, obviously, there was a fear or a concern or something that prevented it, but look how powerful the mind is that it can actually prevent you from having a baby.

William Green (00:18:11):
I remember you telling me another extraordinary story once that I don’t think I included in the book, even though I wrote about your story at some length, which was about you starving pretty much in the orphanage and then many years later driving to your parents home, we’ll go back to the chronology in a minute, but driving to your parents home and having this reaction where suddenly you realized there was an early memory embedded in your head. Can you tell us that story?

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:18:37):
Oh yeah. My wife and my children were on the way to visiting my parents who lived in Santa Cruz. At that time, I was living in LA. So as we approached the house, my wife Eileen says, “Arnold, why don’t we stop and get your folks a flower or plant?” I said, “Great, let’s do that.” So we found a nursery and I said, “Why don’t you look for the plant? I’m just going to look around, maybe I can find something that I like.” She said, “Sure.” So I’m walking along and I’m looking and all of a sudden I started smelling this plant and the minute I smelled it, my tears started coming down for no reason. And I was saying, “Geez, what’s the matter?” Tears were coming down. I was getting all choked up. I felt terrible. And all of a sudden, my back started going out.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:19:22):
And just as I, it’s almost like I’m crying, my wife turns around the corner and she says, “Arnold, what’s the matter with you?” And I said, ” I don’t know.” I just, all of a sudden, I’m starting to tear up. My back is hurting. I’m tense everywhere. I don’t know what’s going on. Anyway, we got into car. I could barely get in the car. We drove over to the folks’ house and I started thinking about it and I thought it has to be something psychological because I wasn’t doing anything. We got into the house and I said, “Mom, Pa, can I use your bedroom? I want to lay down on the bed, my back is going out and I think it’s psychological. So I’m going to do a little hypnosis and see if I can figure out what’s going on.” So as I was starting to go into hypnosis, all of a sudden it hit me before I was even in there.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:20:10):
That smell was the smell of the plants that we used to eat in the orphanage. And we used to go out in the field because we were so hungry and we would try to eat things and say, “Geez, try this. This tastes pretty good.” And another guy found something else. None of it tasted really good, but one tasted better than the other. So that was the trigger. As soon as I smelled it, that was it. While I laid down, did a relaxing drill. 10 minutes later, I got up, tears were gone, felt great. My back was back. I could barely get into the house, limping in there and I walk out, the back was fine and everything was fine. And it never bothered me again.

William Green (00:20:52):
So if I remember correctly, even water was pretty scarce in the orphanage. I mean, they were doing an extraordinary thing, right? They were hiding Jewish kids and taking care of them in a Christian orphanage. They were taking great risk, but this was a tough environment and you were in a terrible state if I remember rightly. By the time you got out of that orphanage, your health… Can you talk a bit about the conditions, the lack of water and what effect it had on you?

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:21:18):
Yeah. Now these people were wonderful people. Don’t forget. They wanted to do what’s best. They risk their life to hide Jewish kids in the orphanage, but there was no food and there was no water. It was very scarce. I remember one time all the kids were sitting around and the ladies took us outside and two women had snuck through the German lines to get a bowl soup for us. And as they came, it could choke me, as they came across the hill, we were all clapping because they were showing the pot of soup. So that’s how scarce it were. Water was scarce. Food was scarce. The Germans would come through. And even if they had anything, they would just help themselves. And that was just the conditions that was there. It wasn’t on purpose. It wasn’t intentional. It was just the conditions in a war zone.

William Green (00:22:07):
I remember you telling me at one point a story where you actually stole some water or you went and got some, not stole, but you went to the well and got water when it was unauthorized. Is that, I mean, you must have got four, five?

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:22:19):
What happened is they told us you can go outside and play, but don’t mess with the pump. The pump is where we got the water. They were all standing around the pump, everybody’s saying, “Geez, we’d like to get some water, but we’re not supposed to.” So I said to myself, I’m amazed that I was able to think that through. I said, “I’ll tell you what, I’m going to go ask her again and see what she says.” So I went around the corner as if I went to talk to her. I saw her looking through a window. She was on the sewing machine. I came back and I said, “Guess what? She said, ‘It’s okay.'” So we were pumping the water and everybody’s drinking. Everybody’s very happy. And I was like a hero. You know what I mean? I’m the one that got them the water.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:23:01):
And all of a sudden she comes out and she’s livid. She said, “I told you kids, you can’t drink that water.” And they said, “Well, Arnold said it was okay.” And she turns at me and she looks at me and I thought, “I’m in trouble.” And she hit me so hard I thought my head was going to come off. I mean, it was really a tough blow. She was very upset. It’s a funny story of how that affects you. Just to give you, the thing that I probably never told you. After the war, this lady came to visit us. She wanted to visit me because the war was over and everything was fine and so she wanted to come. So my mom says, “Guess what?” I came home from school. “We have a visitor and she’s very anxious to see you and I think you’re going to be very happy to see her.” And I said, “Who could that be?” She said, “No, I’m not going to tell you. We’re going to open the door.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:23:54):
So they opened the door. I’m standing a few feet away and that’s this woman. And I am so angry and ticked off. I just get angry and ticked off just to look at her. And I wouldn’t say hello to her and I walked out of the room and my mom was very embarrassed. And she said, “She’s come all the way here from another city to visit you and this is the way you treat her.” And I just didn’t give a damn. I just wouldn’t do it no matter what my mom said. I finally just walked out and my mom was very embarrassed and this woman probably never even remembered the incident because she’s a good woman. She was caring for the kids, but I never forgot it. And I didn’t even remember it at the time but when I saw her, it immediately brought back bad memories. So it goes to show you, when you hit a kid as a child, you can see the memories that then implants in that child. I’ve always been against hitting kids and doing things like that.

William Green (00:24:51):
So Arnold, to go back in time a bit further, when you were in the orphanage, your parents, I think, were sent to Auschwitz around May 1944, and your mother ended up in a different camp that was liberated by the Russians and your father, I think, was liberated by the Americans in May 1945. And can you talk about your memory of being reunited with them, what state you were in, whether you even recognized them? How they managed to survive? Because it’s kind of extraordinary that both of them even managed to survive Auschwitz. Very few people did and in Holland, remarkably few Jews actually survived.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:25:29):
What happened is they both were picked up by Westbrook. Then they were sent to Auschwitz on a train, which was about three day ride and it was subzero weather in Poland. It was horrible. There was no food on the train. There wasn’t even a bathroom. They had a bucket that they would put in on each car and people would stand there with a coat to hide them while they’re going to the bathroom. And then it spilled over and smell. It was just horrible ride. But anyway, they got the Auschwitz and they have selection. And both my mom and dad were selected to go labor because they were younger and they were strong people. So they were in there for about 15 months and probably one of the most memorable things that I learned besides the hunger and the beating and the cold and all of that was my dad was on the death march, where, when the Americans were coming through, they were moving to camps.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:26:28):
And he was 85 pounds. You can imagine. I’m one inch taller than him. And I weigh about a 157, a 160 pounds. So I was almost double the weight. And it was subzero weather. They had to march 24 hours, no breaks, two thin slices of bread. It was one slice equivalent of ours two slices. The water you picked up off the guy in front of you off the snow that was on his shoulder. And the snow was halfway up your knees. And if you buckled, if you got kind of tired or weak or something, and your knee hit the snow, they beat you. And if you don’t get up, they shoot you.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:27:11):
So the thing that really impressed me that had a profound effect on me is when my dad said, I said, “Pa, how did you make it?” I mean, I can’t even imagine today marching 24 hours in good health. He said, “I asked myself, Hugo, what’s the most important thing you can do here?” And he said, “I came to the conclusion that I could not weaken and fall down because I wouldn’t get up.” So he said, “I did all my concentration on just moving my leg and making sure that it was solidly planted because it was snowing and you can slip and then you can go down.” So he said, “I focused all my attention, just on my leg and the longer we went the harder it was to do. And every time I thought I couldn’t move my leg again, I just thought about it and I was able to move it.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:28:00):
And he said, “I didn’t think about how hungry I was. I didn’t think about how cold I was. I wouldn’t let any thought get in my mind, just totally focus on moving that leg.” And he said, “You know what’s interesting? There’s something about the mind that when you focus that much, it actually creates more strength and it allows you to do things you didn’t think you could do. Like, if I would’ve thought about marching 24 hours, I would’ve never thought I could make it, but I didn’t think about that. I just thought about the immediate. Move that leg, make sure it’s solid. And that’s how I got through.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:28:39):
And that really got me to thinking about the mind and what was that extra thing that gives you that energy? Well, as I was doing my studies, I come across Viktor Frankl, who was a psychiatrist, a Jewish psychiatrist in Auschwitz and he took the opportunity to study people in those extreme conditions. He was on the same death march, but they didn’t know each other, but he talks about the thing in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, page 37. I’ll never forget it. It hit me. He said that he was marching along and a friend of his next to him whispered, “I hope our wives are doing better than we are.” He said that immediately got him to focus on his wife. And he said he didn’t think about anything. As he was walking along, marching along, he thought about his wife. He felt her present. He felt that they were talking back. He didn’t know whether she was alive or not. Matter of fact, she wasn’t, she died in Auschwitz, but he didn’t know then. He said he felt her presence [inaudible 00:29:42] back. And he said, “A thought transfixed me. For the first time in my life, I realized what all the poets and philosophies have alluded to, that the greatest thing a man can achieve is love. The ability to give and receive love.” And he said, “The salvation of man was through love.”

William Green (00:30:04):
So your parents came to pick you up when you were about six from the orphanage.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:30:08):
That’s right.

William Green (00:30:09):
If I remember correctly, you could barely walk. Right? You were shuffling along on your knees, because you were so malnourished. Did you recognize them? Did you know who they were? I mean, you hadn’t seen them since you were what? A couple of years old, three years old or something.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:30:23):
My dad explains that I was so weak that the bones were sticking through my skin and he was afraid to pick me up because he’s afraid that he might hurt the bones and I could walk a little bit, but most of the time I’ll crawl because I was so weak. So I was sitting out in front with the orphanage. There was a girl out there. We were kind of playing together and she said, “Arnold, you see those people walking up the driveway?” I said, “Yeah.” She says, “I’ve heard that those are your parents.” And I said, “Nah, they couldn’t be.” Because people used to come up, either one or two, pick up kids and we’d run to them because we’d hope that it was our parents and it never was. So I quit going, I quit running up.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:31:03):
… [inaudible 00:31:00], and it never was. So I quit going. I quit running up to the people. And so I could hardly believe my luck that they were my parents, but I didn’t recognize them. All of a sudden, somebody else, “Arnold, please come in.” She said, “You see, I think they’re your parents.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:31:18):
And I thought, “Wow.” I was getting excited.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:31:21):
So I walk in the room and my dad looks at me and he says, “That’s not my son. That’s not Arnold. He was much bigger when we dropped him off.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:31:29):
And the lady says, “No, no, that’s Arnold.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:31:31):
My mom looked at my eyes just a quick second. And she said, “That’s Arnold.” Well, that night they were putting me to bed. My dad was putting me to bed and I asked him if he could lift me up so that I could turn off the light and sing a song to the sun. And then he said he knew for sure that I was his son, because that was what he did with me before the war, and I must have remembered it.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:31:56):
And so he picked me up, I flipped the switch. And then I said, “[foreign language 00:32:01], that means, “Goodbye, sun.” And then he put me to bed. So that was an important part because he realized that I was his son. And then he took us … then my folks were both on bicycle. I was on my dad’s bicycle. And they bicycled to the farm where my brother was. He was hidden on a farm. And fortunately, he was in good shape because there was plenty of food there. He had to work very hard to help around the farm. And he was very strong. And when we saw each other, it was probably the happiest day in my life because we were together in the orphanage and he took good care of us.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:32:41):
And he really looked after me and I depended on him. We used to pray for the bread. They feed you the bread. They put one slice of bread with some candies on it. Then you’d say a prayer. And when you opened your eyes, the bread was gone because the older kids just took it off your plate. So I learned early survival that when you go to pray, you put your hands over that and you watch the food. So they don’t take it. But my brother took care of me. And one day he was gone, and that was the worst day of my life.

William Green (00:33:14):
So he initially was in the orphanage with you and then left and went to this farm?

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:33:20):
Yeah. He [inaudible 00:33:21]-

William Green (00:33:21):
So he had taken care of you on the orphanage, and then sudden … Because I remember you saying to me that you had this tremendous sense of abandonment where you … I mean, as a little kid, you were separated from Sigmund, your brother, but you also I think had a sense that because you didn’t understand, you felt that your mom had sent you away because she didn’t want you.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:33:37):
Yeah, that was a big psychological problem I had to work out. I had a lot of anger towards my mom because I felt she abandoned me to the orphanage. Consciously, as I grew up, I knew she didn’t. But subconsciously, that was a belief I had. But the worst thing, William, is it lowers your self esteem to a level that you don’t think you’re worth anything. And I had the biggest problem overcoming this self image because I did very poorly in school. My mom and dad enrolled me in a Hebrew class, which was almost like just a first grade or kindergarten. And I couldn’t function in the class. I couldn’t do anything. And the rabbi and my dad got me together and saying, “We’re going to send you to a different class,” because they were trying to shield me from the pain of failing. But I could tell, I knew they weren’t telling me the truth.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:34:30):
I said, ” How come I can’t go with the rest of the kids?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:34:32):
“Well, you’ve got a different way and you’re going to do real well in the other class.” And I just knew that I didn’t make it. Then when I went to regular school, I never did well. And my mom even hired a child psychologist to figure out what was wrong with me. And I either heard … I don’t know whether I heard him or she told me, but the conclusion from the child psychologist, that because of the malnutrition that affected my brain, and therefore I was going to have problems learning. And I believed that, that goes to show you, which will get into the subconscious mind, belief is everything. Once you believe it, you act it out. So I never bothered too hard in school because I knew I wasn’t very smart.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:35:17):
And I had a low self image and I had a lot of problems, I had a lot of anger because of that. And so it created a lot of problems in schoo.l and I never did well. I barely graduated high school. And the only reason I graduated is because I got into gymnastics, as I wanted to overcome my physical handicap. And over a long period of time, I was able to restore my physical health. I became a champion. There was an event called the rope climb, which is you walk in the gym and there’s a 20 foot rope climbing. And I had a horrible time, as you can imagine, being the weakest kid in the school. But I eventually overcame.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:35:55):
And I had an experience one time that changed my life, as far as the rope climb was, that I struggled for two or three years climbing two hours a day, and I wasn’t making much progress. But one day, all the kids were sitting around talking about, “What are you going to do? I’m going to go out for football.” One guy was going out for tennis. The other guy, basket … “Van Den Berg, what are you going out for?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:36:19):
“Well, I’m going to go out for the rope climb.” So there was a kid sitting there who was a body builder and very strong kid, had a big build. And he was going to go out for the rope climb too. So he looks at me and he said, “You’re going out for the rope climb? How in the world are you going to make it in the rope climb?” And my ego got involved, and all the guys were sitting around. So I challenged him to a race because I figured I’ve been climbing two years and he hasn’t even started. So I figured I ought to be able to beat him.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:36:48):
Well, it was such a terrible embarrassment. He had a race and he was already at the top and I was barely halfway up. And it just almost destroyed me. I went home and I thought, ” God, I’m never going to make it in this thing.” And then a thought flashed in my mind and it says, “Why would you quit? You were going to climb the rope to get stronger.” And I was definitely getting stronger. I was getting much stronger than I ever was. So I was making good progress. So the next year in the ninth grade I was able to compete, because this was a four year high school. And my coach went up to me and he said, “Arnold, there’s four guys going out for the rope climb, but we don’t have a fifth man. Would you like to be our fifth man?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:37:33):
Well, I was excited to make the team. The only reason I made the team is because they had four guys and I was the fifth. But these guys were climbing the 25 foot rope in six seconds. And the best I ever did was 8.6. Well, in a hundred meter sprint, 1/10th of a second separates the winners. I was two and a half seconds on a 20 foot rope. So you can imagine how bad I really … it was horrible. Matter of fact, I think some of the teammates were embarrassed about it. You’d start off sitting down on the floor and you’d shoot up and people would go, “Go, go, go, go.” And after a few seconds, the people would be up there. I was halfway up and they quit yelling, “Go, go, go.” And the gym got silent. So it was horrible. But after the season, I went up to the coach and I said, “Coach, I’m going to prepare for next year. What do you think I could do to improve my climbing?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:38:28):
He said, “It’s interesting. I’ve been thinking about you, and here’s the situation. There’s a new technique on the rope climb. And the guy who developed it has just made some breakthroughs that allow him to go much faster than anybody else. And people who are adopting the technique are getting much better. And I think if you adopted that technique, you could make big strides.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:38:50):
And I was so excited. I said, “What do I have to do to learn this?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:38:54):
He said, “Well, I don’t know, because it’s brand new. And this kid at Venice High School was climbing that way. Why don’t you go to Venice High School when they have the championship? He’ll be climbing there. And you could watch him and then you take notes, and then you come back and show me, and I’ll help you work it together.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:39:12):
William, I couldn’t be more excited. So the day of the meet, I got up, I took a bus there. I got there probably an hour and a half to two hours early just because I didn’t want to miss it. I’m sitting around. Finally, they opened the gym. I sit right in front so I can see the climbing rope. And he doesn’t show up. And I am so disappointed. I thought, “Oh my God, I’m not going to be able to learn this.” So as I’m sitting there, I’m looking at the clock. And things are just swaying, back and forth. I must have been in an altered state of mind or something, deep disappointment. But anyway, all of a sudden, the guy shows up. He’s pulling up his pants. He’s fixing his jersey. He sits down. He shoots up the rope in 4.6 seconds. Now, don’t forget. I climbed 8.6 second that year, so you can see.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:39:57):
William, I was in a different state of mind. I could see today, him shooting up that rope. I’ve never forgot that image. And on the way on the bus, I was sitting there practicing the technique, kicking my legs. And people looking at me at the bus going, “What’s the matter with this guy?” I didn’t care. Every night I would go to bed, but at 3:30 in the morning, I’d wake up because I thought, “My God, what if I forget?” You have to move your hands a certain way, and then you have to pull it down. Very intricate. So I thought, “I’m going to get up and practice in front of the mirror.” So I got up in front of the mirror and practiced it. Every night I would wake up.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:40:35):
Finally, I didn’t even care. I figured this way, I won’t forget it. I don’t know how much time went on, but I did this for about six to nine months. One day I woke up and I felt like Superman. I felt good. I felt strong. I just had a feeling inside of me that I was going to break my record. So I struggled through class all day. I couldn’t stand it to wait to get to the gym because gym starts at 3:00 and I’m sitting in class at 8:00, visualizing myself going up this rope. So finally, I get to coach. I sit him down, I say, “Coach, I’m going to” …

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:41:11):
He said, “Great, warm up.” I warmed up and I grabbed the rope and it just felt different. I lowered myself down. And when I pulled up, I shot up. It used to be you have to pull up, you’re pulling yourself up. And it felt like I was in a dream. It was almost effortless. And by the time I got up there, I used to have to pull way down and reach … oh, I could barely touch the top. I pulled down, and I could have hit it with my elbow. I knew this was a fantastic climb. I could just feel it. So I’m hanging up there, “Coach, what’s the time?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:41:47):
And he goes … He’s messing with his [inaudible 00:41:49]. “Come on down.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:41:50):
So I go across the gym. “What’s the matter? What’s going on?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:41:55):
He said, “Arnold, this is so good, I thought there was something wrong with the watch.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:41:59):
I said, ” There’s nothing wrong with the watch. I’m going to do it again.” I did it 10 times in a row. And it was just a real breakthrough. I was so-

William Green (00:42:09):
What do you think the transformation was? Because this became such a sort of fulcrum in your life, right? You had been this kid who used to get beaten up at school the whole time. You were emaciated from growing up malnourished. Something clicked, and you stumbled upon some technique that became fundamental in your life. When you look back now, in retrospect, what’s the moral? What did you figure out? Was it visualization? Was it practice? What happened that clicked?

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:42:37):
Well, I’ll tell you what happened. And the psychiatrist explained it to me later. I was so positive that I was going to be the next champion. Matter of fact, when I saw this guy that night, when I went to watch him, the champion with the new technique, I was so excited. I said, “That’s going to be me. I’m going to be the next champion.” I just had the feeling that I could do it. And there was no rhyme or reason. I was so excited, I got caught up at the moment. It reminds me of a couple of other great athletes who had the same experience, which I can talk about later. So the point about it is when I had this breakthrough in the technique and it was just the beginning of the season, I said to the coach, “You know what, coach? I think I’m going to be the next league champion.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:43:23):
And he looked at me and he said, “Arnold, look, this was a great breakthrough, but there’s five guys on every school. And there’s a lot of guys you have to beat.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:43:32):
And I walked away and I said, “I’m going to do it.” I had the belief. And what I’ve come to learn in the subconscious mind and everything I’ve read for 45 to 50 years, single most important thing in life is what you believe. Your belief governs your feelings and your feelings create your attitude and your attitude creates reality. And that’s what happened to me, but I didn’t understand it.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:43:57):
So anyway, I was preparing. I prepared all summer. I climbed, I did the technique. I perfected it. By the time the opening season was, I was first man. And even though most of the guys were still ahead of me, every time I met somebody, even if they had a better time than me, I always beat him because I really believed it. And my buddies used to tell me, “Arnie, how you going to beat this other guy?” I was at that time on the 20 foot rope climbing 4.6 and he was climbing 4.3, and 3/10ths of a second is a lot on a 20 foot rope. So he was clearly better. So my buddy said, “How are you going to beat this guy?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:44:35):
I said, “I don’t know, but I just believe I’m going to do it.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:44:39):
And they looked at me like, “I know it’s worked in the past, but the other guys weren’t that much ahead of you, but this guy’s way ahead of you.” Well, anyway, the meet started and he was sitting last, and I was second to the last, because the best guy goes last. I sat on the rope. I had that same feeling. I just flew up the rope, and I hit 4.3. And this guy was sitting there, bored. But then when he heard that I climbed 4.3, it lit him up a little bit. He got real nervous. And the best he could ever do that meet was 4.6. We literally traded places. And even though in the league, I tied, I won the league. And then the next two years I won the league. There wasn’t even any competition. And I climbed into national AAU, which is all college seniors climbing in a national meet. And there was only three kids that qualified. I was one of them. And I placed ninth in the nation while I was in high school, in the national AAU, which was quite a dramatic change.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:45:43):
So when I went there to the psychiatrist, Dr. Rameljack, I was explaining what happened. And he was sitting there just silent. I said, “What’s the matter?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:45:52):
He says, “Arnold, you know what you did? You did everything that we teach in sports psychology. You visualized it, you repeated it. You were focused on it, and you believed it. And that’s the secret. And if you will do the same thing in your business” … At that time, I was starting Century Management … “The same thing’s going to happen.” As soon as he told me that, my right arm lit up. I got chills on my right arm. Whenever I hear something truth or profound, I get chills on my right arm. And I knew he was right.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:46:26):
So I was living in a studio apartment. I cleared out my apartment, did nothing but put all the books I could afford on the market. Started studying it. And that was my commitment. At that point, I knew. And here’s what’s really the most benefit of the rope climb experience. And people who’ve never experienced it’ll probably never believe it. But it gave me such a confidence in myself that if somebody would’ve told me I could learn to fly, I probably would’ve believed it because I experienced that kind of a transformation.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:47:03):
And people say, “How could you believe that you could make it in the market without having been trained or gone to college and doing all those things?” It was because I believed it. Matter of fact, a friend of mine wanted to help me when I was starting my business. I wrote about this. I gave a speech in 1982 about these principles to a group of college kids. And I told them the story about this guy who was taking a class at night. He says, “Arnie, you got to come to this class. The guy is just a whiz. He’s a mathematic. He writes all the formulas on the board. And he’s just fantastic. And I asked him if he would be willing to have lunch with you because he had a friend that wanted to be in the investment business.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:47:46):
So I said, “Sure.” So I was so excited to meet with this guy to get some encouragement, some direction. And at that time I was selling mutual funds, which is how I got into the business. So I sit down with him at lunch and he asked me, “Lindy tells me that you want to go into the investment business.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:48:04):
I said, “Yes, I’m going to start an investment counseling business.” You can imagine if that was you.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:48:11):
And he looks at me and he says, “What’s your background?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:48:14):
I said, “What do you mean, ‘What’s your background?'”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:48:15):
He said, “Well, have you been to college?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:48:17):
I said, “No, I haven’t been to college. I barely got through high school.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:48:21):
And he goes, “Oh.” And then he said, “Aren’t you going to go work for a company before you go into your own business?” I said, “Well, I work for a company that sells mutual funds, but I want to be the one that’s going to be managing the money.” Because the mutual funds got destroyed in the bear market of ’68 to ’74. And he looks at me like I’m nuts.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:48:43):
He said, “Arnold, I have a degree in economics. I have a degree in mathematics. And I’ve been as a broker for 10 years or something like that. And I don’t believe that I’m yet qualified to become an investment counselor, which is ultimately what I would like to do. And for you to even think about doing this without going to college, without getting training, I just can’t see. It’s not right. You’re going about it the wrong way.” So I was stunned. He said, “Matter of fact, I don’t think I’m qualified myself.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:49:17):
And I looked at him and I said, “What do you mean you’re not qualified? How could you not be qualified? What else is there?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:49:23):
And he just, “Well, you got to know portfolio management, you got to know the market. You got to know all these things.” And I was really stunned that this guy had no faith in himself, and yet I believed I could do it. And I went home. I was very depressed after the meeting. I took a nap.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:49:41):
And I woke up and I thought, “Wait a minute, this guy’s got all these things going and he doesn’t have the faith, but I’m going to be doing it.” And the next morning I woke up ready to go. But it taught me a lesson. The definition of an expert is somebody who can tell you all the reasons why you can’t do anything. I never paid any attention to it. I just made up my mind that I was going to learn everything I could about the business. And I’ve been doing it ever since. And I had [inaudible 00:50:12]-

William Green (00:50:11):
And you had no investment record. You had no assets. You were in debt. You barely made it through high school. You didn’t have an office. I mean, it was really all about self-belief, right? There was no rational reason to think that you could do this, was there?

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:50:24):
No. See, what happened is I started off selling mutual funds. I got my license in March ’68. And the market topped out in December of ’68. So here, I’m selling mutual funds, which I thought were just the greatest thing in the world. They had big track records, the top of the bull market. And I got all my friends involved. They didn’t have much money, but whatever it is. And then I see the market going down. And I was in there from ’68. It went down until June of 1970. Then it had a blip up for about a year, a year and a half. And then in ’72, it came straight down. And so by that time, I had six years of bear market. And my funds got slaughtered, but I gained a great insight. I had selected funds … And as I listened to the portfolio managers, I would go to the meeting. And if I thought somebody sounded great, then I would put some of the money in there.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:51:20):
And some of the funds got obliterated, but some of them held up very well. This is during a six year period. So I started thinking, “What is it about these funds that are doing so much better?” And I went to listen to the portfolio manager. I talked to them. And they were all disciples of Benjamin Graham. So every one of the funds that did well, they believed in Benjamin Graham. And I would talk to the portfolio manager and I said, “What are the books of … Who’s this guy, Graham?” I got everything I could think of that Benjamin Graham said, wrote about, or written. And I devoured those books and I read them over and over.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:51:58):
And one of the things that made me believe in Benjamin Graham is my mom was a good businesswoman. She always told me, “Whenever you buy something, there’s a wholesale and a retail.” So whenever I’d buy a shirt, I’d come home real proud. Or one time, the thing that stands out on my thinking is I brought a sweater that I had saved up for a long time. I think it was $30 at that time, which is about six or seven times what it’s worth. So you can tell, I bought it at Bullock’s. I came home and I said, “Ma, how do you like this sweater?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:52:28):
And she looked, “That is beautiful. What did you pay for it?” And I told her. She says, “Was it wholesale?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:52:34):
I said, “Ma, it’s Bullock’s. They don’t have wholesale in retail. You can’t go in and bargain with them. There’s the price. You pay it.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:52:42):
She says, “What do you mean? You mean to tell me if I went in there and I bought three of them, they wouldn’t give me a discount?”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:52:48):
I said, “No, they wouldn’t.” So she impressed in my mind that if you’re going to buy something, you got to buy it wholesale. So when I started reading about Benjamin Graham, and he talked about buying stocks at a discount, like a wholesale price and a private market value price, I thought, “God, I can’t even go into a store and buy a sweater wholesale. But here on the stock market, you can buy a company at a discount.” I just was lit up when I read it. And then I found out he was Jewish, so I figured he’s got to know what he’s doing. Right? [inaudible 00:53:22]-

William Green (00:53:22):
Yeah. His family came from Poland as well, same as your grandparents. He had a very similar background to you and me.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:53:29):
And the thing about it is he [inaudible 00:53:31]. But he was a brilliant guy. He was a mathematician. I mean, he wasn’t like me. The only thing we might have had in common is that we were Jewish, and our parents were from Poland, other than that, from an education standpoint. But it resonated with me. So what I did is … They teach about the private market value, what sophisticated buyers and sellers are willing to sell a company for. So what I did is I made a list of every acquisition. Every day, if there was an acquisition, I’d write it down and I would figure out the formula, what was the price to book? What was the price to cash flow? What was the EV to sales? They didn’t use EV to sales, but price to sale. And I got a good idea.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:54:11):
And so I took every industry and I categorized the companies, what multiples they paid. And then I would move my price down 40% to 50%. There was a couple of things that I had to learn about that. And one is that at the top of a market, even the sophisticated investors get caught up in the drama, and they bid it up. And at the bottom of the market, they get negative like everybody else, and so they pay less. But at the top of the market, the average price was 24 and a half times earnings. And at the bottom, it was 13 and a half. So once I learned that difference, I moved it down to where the average price was. I used 18 as a private market value instead of the 24, even though … And then I made the adjustments from that, and it worked pretty good.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:55:00):
And Graham taught about the good balance sheets and all the different formulas to make it stock. Well, after the market hit a bottom in ’74, while the companies were buying stocks at 13 and a half times earnings because they have to pay a fair price or they get sued, stocks were selling at five to seven times earnings and 7% dividend yields. Now, the average stock today sells for 19 times earning. So you can see what the difference was. And the average big cap stock sells for about 21 to 22. Once I made the adjustment … And that was by ’74. So by the time I went through this six year bear market and I studied everything I could get my hands on, on Benjamin Graham … And actually, here’s another lesson for any investor. Graham said that the performance of a stock is based on the price you pay for it. In other words, price determines performance.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:55:58):
Well, the proof of that is when I started in September of ’74, the market was three months away from a bottom. But I had studied Graham and I knew that five or six times, seven times earnings was as cheap as the market had been since the depression. So I knew I couldn’t go wrong, but everybody was just as bearish as you can imagine. And I told my wife, “From what you read economically, the world is going to end.” And I said, “The thing that you’ll learn after a while is that the only thing that ends are people. The world keeps going.” So I said, “Either the world’s going to end or we’re going to make a lot of money for our clients.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:56:41):
And so the first 10 years, I had a tremendous performance. I averaged 20% for the first 10 years in the business. It was 5% better than the S&P. It was good. And I was getting referrals from people who were in the nifty 50 and the big cap stocks of wonderful companies, which just got decimated. So the point that I want to make to people is, financial genius is a rising market. In other words, there’s a diminishing return to being educated, having all the knowledge. If you have all the knowledge and all the macro knowledge and you pay too much for a company, you’re going to lose money if you pay too much. So it gets down to understanding the value. And that has been the thing.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:57:26):
And the other thing I learned from that experience, everybody was as bearish you could. Brokers were bearish at the bottom, and everybody you talk to … I’d go to a party and I’d tell them I’m in the investment business. People would treat me like I had bad breath. They wanted to get away from me because they’d been hurt so much. And actually, in 1979, you had a cover story that said The Death of Equities. And they had a story about how stocks are not going to go. Six months later, it started the biggest bull market in history, that just kept going until just recently. So the point I’m making is being in there at the right time and having the basic discipline and having the belief is what …

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:58:11):
And my main thing that I always tell people is if you can buy a stock that’s bearish, but you can find out good reason to buy it, and if the president of the company, if the whole industry … The ultimate thing is to have everybody bearish, have everybody in the industry bearish, and have the stock, the people who are run the company bearish. When you get that kind of thing, it’s like, “Watch out [inaudible 00:58:35].” You buy them when blood is running in the street. It’s a tough time to get in. Many times you get in early, you get hurt. But if you truly understand what these companies are worth …

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:58:46):
Now, I’ll give you an example. Just recently, the oil market, the fossil fuel market got in such a terrible state that even for a couple of weeks, it was trading at $15 a barrel, which I figured out in 15 years, there was only a few days that it traded that low, so you know it’s low. Everybody’s bearish. ESG is against it. The major corporations against it, the pension funds are bailing out because it’s not fossil fuel. We’re into the renewable thing. And it created opportunities. I told my son, “I have never seen stocks this cheap, except in ’74.” Two years ago, you could get into the oil companies. They were as cheap as stocks were in ’74. That was a good example of how bearish things got.

Arnold Van Den Berg (00:59:37):
We got hurt terribly the first couple of years, but now we are going to be going into a full fledged oil crises. And it’s not going to get better, because one of the biggest things that I see is that the companies haven’t invested in the oil production, because everybody was against them. The banks are against them. The shareholders are against them. They haven’t invested for 10 years. And matter of fact, that applies to almost all commodities. We’ve had such a big bull market that nobody wanted to invest in commodities. Why would you want to invest in a mining company or an oil company, when you can invest in technology? And that makes sense, but there’s a turning point. So I believe that we are going into an oil crisis and it’s going to really show up big time by the end of ’22.

William Green (01:00:29):
Do you think, Arnold, the fact that you didn’t have a conventional education, that you didn’t get an MBA or an economics degree or anything, that you were teaching yourself, you were coaching yourself, figuring out Ben Graham’s rules, figuring out how to buy things at a discount, helped you to get to things like these energy investments? Because you were just applying common sense. You were thinking, “Okay, well, I should do what my mom, Mania, did. I should buy things at a discount.” That in a sense, it was an advantage that you didn’t have a conventional education going to Wharton or Columbia Business School or something?

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:01:01):
I would say this, you helped give me that insight when you wrote, “He didn’t have the skepticism of a typically college educated person.” I have members of my family who have seen what I did in the rope climb, how I’ve changed my life, how I became wealthy and built a business and all that. And they were much smarter than me. I have a brother that’s a CPA, Phi Beta Kappa MBA. And he came to work with me in the business. And after a few years, he left, he says, “Arnold, you ain’t ever going to make it. I have an MBA and this is the way the world works.” And I remember one time he was telling me that I had a client that was losing his business because he wasn’t pricing the product, the services of his people right. And I felt real bad for him because they were two hardworking people. The husband was a fireman and she was an accountant, she was a bookkeeper. And they were having terrible problems. And the problem was that they weren’t-

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:02:03):
They were having terrible problems. And the problem was that they weren’t pricing their services right. They were given too much to the people who were doing it. There wasn’t enough margin in the business to make a profit. Anyway, I met with them for about several hours in the afternoon because they were clients of mine. I was really trying to help them and I loved the people.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:02:19):
So my brother comes up to me after the meeting. He said, “How much you going to bill those people?” I said, “Oh, hey, I can’t bill those people because their business is going down and they don’t have much money. And I think you and I…” And he did help me to do the pricing form. “Can help them turn the business around. If the business turns around, then we can always talk about it.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:02:40):
He said, “Arnold, I did your tax return last year, and I didn’t want to say anything, but I’m going to have to say it to you. You’re working as hard as any human being, spending more time, and here you waste three hours with this person you’re not even going to bill.” He said, “You know what would happen if you were a lawyer, you wouldn’t care whether they made money or not. You bill them by their time. You can’t just give away your time.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:03:05):
And he said, “And by the way, I have housewives who sell real estate part-time and they make more money than you do.” So I said, “Well, Eig, here’s the difference? I don’t want to be a housewife and I don’t want to sell real estate part-time and I don’t want to be a lawyer. If you mark my words, one of these days, I’m going to make more money than any lawyer you know, because if you do a good job in business and you get a percentage of what you manage, there’s a lot of money to be made. So I am not worried about it.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:03:38):
And he said to me, “Arnold, your tax return tells me that your thinking is wrong. That you can barely pay your bills and you’re giving your time away.” And I said, “I’m giving my time away on the basis that when you do good work for people, it eventually pay off. And I believe the universe is fair. It’s going to compensate me. And I have no doubt about it.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:04:00):
Well, he left shortly afterwards and you can understand that because there’s no business school professor would tell him that when you do good, you eventually reap the rewards. It’s all about dollars and cents and this kind of stuff. And I’ve never run my business that way. But when you have a belief and you have the dedication, that can change a lot of things.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:04:23):
And I admit that it took me probably much longer than anybody else to build the business. But when you have the belief, the subconscious guides you to the right people, it guides you to circumstances. I got a quote here from one of the top astrophysicists that lived, he was on a par with Einstein. Listen, what he said. Sir Arthur Eddington’s quote is saying, “I believe that the mind has the power to affect groups of atom and even temper with the odds of atomic behavior. And that even the course of the world is not determined by physical law, but may be altered by the volition of human beings.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:05:03):
That means you can affect people around you. You can affect matter around you and you can affect things in the universe. Now, that’s what they teach in the subconscious, but now quantum physicist, and I don’t understand quantum physics, I’m only quoting what they say. They are validating what I have always believed the subconscious is capable of doing. And that is the secret. Once you understand that and you believe it and you act on it and you are guided by it, you’re going to be directed to the right circumstances that will create success. And I believe it starts in the mind.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:05:42):
So this is a book by JK Williams. It was written… He studied the subconscious for 50 years. Fantastic book. It influenced me greatly. First, You are the architect of your destiny. Every experience or condition in your life, poverty or riches, success or failure, health or illness is the result of action and purpose set in motion by you.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:06:06):
Second, “Within the air of your life, you have a creative power. You can make a mental image or a blueprint of the progress and expansion you want to achieve. And by impressing the concept on your objective, upon your subconscious mind, you can cause the condition you visualize in your mind to be created.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:06:24):
Now think about that. This is a guy that studied the subconscious mind for 50 years.

William Green (01:06:29):
This is in what book, Arnold?

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:06:31):[inaudible 01:06:31] energy.

William Green (01:06:31):
What’s the book called?

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:06:32):
The Wisdom of Your Subconscious Mind by JK Williams. So it was another instrumental book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. He taught the same thing in great detail. And Napoleon Hill was taught the principles by Andrew Carnegie, who came to this country with a few cents in his pocket and built the steel industry.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:06:54):
So when I read Think and Grow Rich, I thought, “Here is a guy, Andrew Carnegie who built this fortune, and this is what he advocates.” And then my own experience in the rope climb that just gave me the confidence that this was on the right tech.

William Green (01:07:09):
You literally, if I remember rightly told me that you cut out a photograph from Barron’s of some very dashing looking, prosperous looking, money manager in a three-piece suit, right?

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:07:19):
What I did is I wanted to visualize myself a successful money manager. So how do you do it? I first thought, “Well, I’m going to make X number of dollars.” And then I said, “No, I need a visual. I need a visual to say, I’ve got a successful business.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:07:34):
So one day I was reading Barron’s and here’s a guy standing there. I don’t even remember his name, but obviously he had a good record. He was dressed three-piece suit with a vest and the whole bit, standing in front of his desk, real proud as they told about what a brilliant guy he was. And I thought, “That’s it. That’s a picture in my mind to create a successful money manager.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:07:58):
So one day I get a call and guess what? This guy calls me and a friend of mine says, “They’re starting a new magazine, they want you to write an article for them.” So I was all excited to write an article about all the things I had learned about the market. And so they come and ask me questions. They interviewed me. And then the guy calls me up a couple of weeks later. And he says, “Arnold, we got the talking about you in your article. And we have decided not to use the article.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:08:27):
And I was a little disappointed, but I thought, “Okay, well, nothing gone.” So I said, “That’s okay, don’t worry about it. If you ever change your mind, I’m happy to do it.” He says, “No, no, no, no. We want to do the article about you.” And I said, What do you mean about me? Well, what are you talking about?” He says, “Oh, we think your ideas are fantastic and what you’re doing. And we’d like to write to you because it’d be a real inspiration.” This was a consulting magazine. I still have the magazine. It was in ’79.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:08:56):
So I said, “Okay, if you guys want to do it.” So they come in, he says, “We’re going to send a photographer, but you don’t have to pose. He’s just going to clip pictures as I interview you and there’ll be action shots.” I said, “Okay.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:09:07):
This is 40 years ago. So the guy brings in a big set of lights and two bags full of equipment. And he sets it all up in my office and then he packs it up and ready to go and I’m walking them out. And he looks at my wall and there was a wall there and it was beautiful panel. And he said, “Oh my God, I would love to have a shot standing next to that panel.” And I said, “Well, it’s okay with me, but you got to unpack all this equipment and set up the light…” He says, “Arnie, it’ll be worth it. I really can see this thing in my mind. It’s going to be great.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:09:42):
I was a little tired, after a couple hours of this. So I said, “Okay.” So I just backed up and stood against the panel wall and he took some pictures. So about two or three weeks later, they come back and say, “Arnie, we want to show you a print of the way the magazine’s going to look. We’re very excited.” So he brings it over in kind of an envelope, big envelope. And I opened it up and I pulled the picture out. Here I am on the cover and I’m just shocked. He said, “That’s the cover.” I said, I’m going to be on your cover.” I couldn’t believe it.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:10:13):
But what really struck me, on the picture that I visualized, there was sort of a shadow on the guy’s face. It kind of looked intriguing, but you couldn’t see totally. If I was a photographer, I wouldn’t have used that picture. But anyway, mine was the same way. It had the same [inaudible 01:10:32].

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:10:33):
Now here’s what’s interesting. I was telling a friend of mine who was a track coach this story. And I said, “I visualized what I was going to be and I became that.” And he wanted to be a coach for… He was an all-American track star and he wanted to do coaching for athletes who want to improve their running, like a fullback who can pick up his speed in running. So that’s his specialty.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:10:56):
So he said, “I’m going to do the same thing.” I said, “It can’t hurt.” To my shock, about a year or two later, I get a magazine sent to me. And here he is on the cover because his team broke the school record and they put him on the picture. And here he is standing there in the cover with his top runners. So he said, “I guess this stuff really works.” So that’s kind of an interesting thing, isn’t it? How you visualize and create your own reality.

William Green (01:11:25):
So let’s run through a few other techniques like this. So visualization is clearly key. You got very into hypnosis and self-hypnosis, and I wondered if you could give us a sense of how you would hypnotize yourself so that you could actually get yourself into a state of deep relaxation, where you could change your beliefs. Because you obviously had come out of the war and out of your experience at school and immigrating, with quite a lot of beliefs that weren’t helping you that much. And my sense is that you used self-hypnosis to change some of those beliefs. How did you do it? And what would you recommend to us if we were open to trying this technique?

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:12:02):
Anybody who studies the subconscious mind knows that the language of the subconscious mind is different than the language we use during the conscious time. So what happens is the language of the subconscious mind is images. It’s pictures. It acts on that. And then it acts on repetition. Take any advertising executive, will tell you that the secret is to make these dumb ads, which you just kind of look at and say, “Oh, this is BS,” but your conscious mind moves out of the way. But your subconscious minds hears everything.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:12:40):
If you studied the subconscious mind, you know that everything you’ve ever heard, everything you’ve ever smelled, everything you’ve ever experienced, like the time I smelled those flowers, that smell was in my subconscious mind and it recalled it after 40 years.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:12:57):
So what happens is a lot of people’s minds are full of things that are negative because they don’t remember them. And maybe it’s something that one of your parents said, maybe it’s something that your uncle said, maybe it’s something that you learn in school, whatever. It’s in there and you believe it and now your life is influenced by it.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:13:19):
But you can change that. They call it neuroplasticity. You can change your brain up until the day it dies by giving it different pictures, by giving it different affirmations and giving it different beliefs. And when that happens, you change your life in a very dramatic way. And it can happen to anybody. And it’s happened to people. You hear about people going to lords and getting cured. That actually happens. People go there because they believe they can get over their cancer or their heart disease and an instant, they can be healed if the subconscious mind really accepts it.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:13:59):
So here’s the way the mind works. You start off with a program. The program is what you heard or were told or taught as a kid.. That becomes your belief system. Your belief system creates attitudes and those attitudes create feelings. And the language of the subconscious mind is visualization, affirmations, and feelings. It’s how you feel about things that influence your mind.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:14:27):
So let’s say you want to lose weight and you’re eating all the wrong foods, right? And you know they’re the wrong foods.

William Green (01:14:36):
You know me well, Arnold, you hit on-

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:14:39):
No, I’m talking about [inaudible 01:14:39].

William Green (01:14:39):
… a very appropriate subject.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:14:41):
Well, anyway, the point I’m making is, you know they’re bad foods and now you have bad feelings about it. You say, “Geez, I shouldn’t have ate that. And why did I do that?” And you punish yourself and you keep… So you’re giving yourself affirmations that that food is no good for you. You’re programming your subconscious mind. The food isn’t what makes it bad. It’s your belief about what makes it bad.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:15:05):
Matter of fact, they made a study of people who ate good food and bad food and the people who ate the bad food, but enjoyed it and loved it and felt it was good for them, they could lose weight. But if they believed it was bad for them, they couldn’t. So there’s whole studies being done on this. So it’s your belief system. So what you want to do is you want to live your life to where everything you do, you feel good about.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:15:31):
And that’s why you don’t want to do negative things because not only is it a negative act, which makes an impression, but then you feel guilty about doing the wrong thing. And guess what happens when you feel guilty? The subconscious mind is getting an impression that you deserve to be punished. And so by doing wrong, you actually end up punishing yourself.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:15:53):
So they found out tests on criminals, that they do the stupidest thing, leaving themselves open to be caught. Why? Because subconsciously, they need to punish themselves. So they set it up so they get caught.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:16:07):
So what we want to do is live our life to where everything we do, we feel good about. When you do a favor for a friend, you feel good. That’s an impression. Later on, you think about it and you feel even better. Then you get a letter from the person thanking you. That’s another impression that makes you feel good. Then you filed a letter, and one day you see his name again, and it makes you feel good.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:16:30):
So doing things that are good, doing things good for the body is what makes it all possible. Now, let me give you this thought. There is some controversy, but they say we have no less than 6,000 thoughts a day. And some people feel they’re as high as 70 to 80,000. Deepak Chopra actually said, he believes that it’s between 60,000 and 80,000. And the reason there’s such a diversion, we have a lot of thoughts that are acted on our subconscious belief that we don’t even realize we make, but the subconscious is keep on repeating itself.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:17:05):
But let’s just take the 6,000. So let’s say every time you have a negative thought, you get a black dot and every time you have a positive thought, you get a bright orange, yellow thought. So at the end of the day, how many thoughts out of the 6,000? You know what the statistics are? 80% of the thoughts people have are negative.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:17:25):
Now think about how successful some people are, thinking 80% of the time negative thoughts. Just think if you switched that to where the majority or you moved the needle, where maybe instead of 20% of positive, maybe you can get them 40 to 50%. Your life would expand tremendously.

William Green (01:17:44):
So how did you do it in tangible terms? Because you must have been barraged with negative thoughts, right?

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:17:52):
I was angry. Anger is the worst thing, if you ever want to improve your life, you first of all have to get rid of anger because everything in anger is negative. Let me give you an example. Five minutes of anger creates cortisol, which is a negative thing in your body for six hours. Think about that. Five minutes of anger, you got six hours of poison in your body that affects your health and your thinking and everything. And you know what cortisol does to your brain? It stops the things that create good feelings and creates bad feelings.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:18:28):
So anger is one thing I had to work on. It was the most difficult to overcome. To get to the meat of the thing, I read an article. What got me interested in hypnosis is I was so depressed, William, that every day at 3:30 in the afternoon, I had to lay down on the floor because it was like I worked all night at 3:30 in the morning. I was so fatigued and tired. And I was trying to build the business and then things weren’t going well, which didn’t help.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:18:58):
So I read an article one time about if you hypnotize yourself for 20 minutes, it’s the equivalent of three hours sleep. So I thought, “Wow, if I can do that every day…” So I started doing it. Within a week, I was able to do it. I’d hypnotize myself. I put myself out for 20 or 30 minutes and I could work until 10:30 and be perfectly clear. So as I-

William Green (01:19:23):
How? What did you do, Arnold?

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:19:26):
The whole key to life and success and using the brain is to get your brain waves… Like right now, we’re talking in what they call the beta stage. And the beta stage is your brain is doing between 15 to 100 cycles per second. Okay? Moving. Now, when you get into the alpha state, which is a deep, relaxed stage, your brain wave goes from seven to 15. And then as you get into the theta stage, it goes from four to five to six.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:19:57):
So what you’re doing is you’re slowing your brain down and you’re getting very relaxed. And as you get into the alpha and theta stage, you actually increase the capacity by 50% because in the beta stage, you’re only using the left part of your brain. And as you get more relaxed use into the creative part, which reaches into the universal mind and creates all the things that the quantum physicists tell you you can do.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:20:23):
And so I didn’t understand the cycles per second, but I knew if I got into a hypnotic state, which is a deep, relaxed state, then the subconscious mind is susceptible to suggestion because you have nothing filtered. You don’t have your conscious mind to say, “You can’t do this.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:20:41):
Let me give you an example. This is by William Tiller, one of the top scientists in neuroscience. “Most people don’t affect reality in a consistent, substantial way because they don’t believe they can. They write an intention and then erase it because they think that’s silly. I mean, I can’t do that. And then they write it again, and they erase it. So time average, it’s a very small effect. And it really doesn’t come down to the fact that they believe that they can’t do it.” It starts off with belief.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:21:12):
Now, where do you get belief? You got belief by your parents telling you were wonderful and you were going to become a great writer. And you had other people who told you you’re never going to amount to anything. It’s in there. So you believe it. So your belief system starts off with a program. Well, we can write our program. Under neuroplasticity, they teach you can change that.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:21:34):
So what you do is you set a goal. You start thinking about the things you’re going accomplish rather than the things you fear about. So your goal… it’s like they have a missile that they can shoot a plane down. It goes by the exhaust. So they shoot it up in the air and the missile seeks out the exhaust of the plane then hits the plane. You could fire it this way and the planes that way and it’ll reverse [inaudible 01:21:56]. So the mind is a servomechanism.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:21:59):
Once you give the subconscious a goal, you start working on it. Well, how do you get it to do that? You repeat things over and over. What do the advertisers do? What they do is they have a stupid little ad and you kind of look at it and dismiss it. But all the time, you’re relaxed. You’re getting into a relaxed state and your subconscious mind is hearing it. And the more it hears it, the more there’s a chance that you’re going to buy their product. And believe me, it works because they wouldn’t be spending $300,000 for a few minutes in the Super Bowl if that doesn’t work with millions of people.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:22:37):
Repetition is one. So you first, you set a goal. What kind of person do you want to be 20 or 30 years from now? Now when I studied the subconscious and the body, I realized we are all a precision instrument and the body is just as important as the subconscious mind.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:22:55):
Matter of fact, I have a quote, let me read it to you, by Candace Pert. And she wrote a book called Molecules of Emotion. Listen, what she said, “The way to reduce your stress, meditation, honesty, and play.” Now here’s what she said about honesty. And that’s such an important part. She said, “Honesty brings us back to center, the ground of personal integrity. And when violated, leaves us anxious and filled with self-doubt.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:23:27):
So you start off getting rid of the anger, you start off trying to seek truth, and you start off believing that if you do the right thing, you’ll be rewarded. And I have a saying that I always tell all the family. “You never go wrong doing the right thing.” So it’s a matter of starting to live your life, to become the kind of person you want to be.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:23:49):
So the first thing to get down to the basic, you set a goal. The second thing is you start doing everything you can to get at that goal. The third thing you start doing is repeat. I’d repeat to myself every day. I am happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise. So when I have a negative thought, I’m not going to let it take root. I’m going to replace it with a positive thought. I’m happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise. So I am instructing the subconscious mind, at the end of the day, I want a lot of bright little yellow dots on my board because that’s going to help shape my future. Right?

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:24:25):
And so you start off with a goal, you start off with a repetition, you find a picture of what you want to be. So the point I’m making is is you set a goal, you work towards it, you spend every minute you can working on that goal, you want to make it very narrow goal. You don’t want to do a lot of different things. You want to focus on it.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:24:48):
It’s kind of like I tell young people, “If you ever had a magnifying glass and you put it to the sun, and then it burns the paper, right?” So what have you done? You focused the sun on a very specific thing. If you do the same thing with your mind, the same thing’s going to happen. That’s where my dad got the idea that by focusing, he created energy and you do, the subconscious mind can do it. You set the goal, you visualize it, you repeat it, you learn everything you can, and you do everything you can. And the more you do it, the more you believe it.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:25:21):
And when I had that experience with the rope climb, when I did this great climb, and I said to myself, I told my coach, “I’m going to be the next champion.” I actually believed it. It wasn’t just saying. And hypnosis is just using a magnifying glass. You’re laying on the floor… Matter of fact, I didn’t sleep much last night, because I was so excited about the Olympics and I watched Nathan Chen win the gold in the figure skating. It was hard for me to go to sleep. I didn’t sleep much last night.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:25:52):
So when I came in here and I had to give this talk, I laid down before we went on the air and I put myself out for 10 or 15 minutes and I feel great. I didn’t have much sleep, but I could make up for. What you do is you magnify, whatever you do, you repeat it under hypnosis. And I have regressed people back to where the time they were six months old and they told me about their life. I used it to train my son in hypnosis and he actually won a meet. He was a shot putter. Won a meet with a sprained ankle in a cast.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:26:26):
I put him under hypnosis before the meet. I kept him under hypnosis, all the meet, and he actually won the meat and threw six inches of the best he’d ever thrown in his life. And I had people tell me he could never be a shot putter because he… The heaviest he got was 5’9″ 295. And these guys are 6’4″, 240 pounds. But he was able to compete with them and beat them because of the fact that he believed he could.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:26:52):
And even coaches told him. I’ll give you an example. I’m training my son when he first started in shot put. And I built a little shot put area in the back so he could shot put in the afternoon. And the football coach next door to me called me over one time and he said, “I saw Scott shot putting in the heat two or three hours. And I said to myself, this kid doesn’t have a chance.” And I said, “Why not?” He says, “Well, what I do is I’m the track coach when football season’s over. And I get the biggest guy on the football team and I run my hand across their heads. And the biggest one, they become my shot putters. And those are the guys that Scott are to going to be competing against and are about a head bigger than him.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:27:35):
And I said, “Well, you know what, Sheldon? We will have a contest. And what Scott and I are going to do is we’re going to take all those guys that you run your head across and we’re going to kick their ass.” And we did. Top guy was a 6 foot 7 guy who went to the lineman at USC. But Scott beat him because the guy had no technique. He had no discipline. He didn’t visualize anything. And he just wasn’t up to the task.

William Green (01:28:07):
So it’s interesting what you said just now. He had no technique. So it’s similar to what happened to you with your investing. You had to do the work, right? You had to do all of the study of private values, figure out what companies were worth. You had to study Ben Graham, but you also had to do this other stuff. The inner game of getting your mind under control, talking to yourself in the right way, changing your beliefs. So it’s a combination, right? It’s not enough just to get your head straight and then not have the technique or not have the knowledge. It’s both.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:28:36):
Yes. I think you hit an important point that I want to point out. And that is, most people think that I’m hardworking. Okay. And that I worked harder than anybody else in the road club. And I believe that that was true. But what got me to work that hard? You see, most people, motivation come from the outside. He give you a rah-rah, the coach gives you a pep talk and you go out and do it for a couple of days and then you drop off, right? That’s why the average person can’t do these things.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:29:09):
But here’s the difference. When you are… And I have something that I wrote for my subconscious. You’ll appreciate this as writer. It’s a whole page and I only change one word. And here’s the secret. Most people are outward-driven. They go to a rally and they have a guy tell them, “If you set your goals and we do this, it’s all going to work.” And then they’re not grounded from the inside. So after a while, they get tired and they don’t do it. And that drops off.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:29:36):
But here’s what I wrote. So I was giving a talk and they wanted me to talk about how you use these things. It’ll take about a minute and 36 seconds. Can I read it to you?

William Green (01:29:45):
Yeah, sure.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:29:46):
This’ll absolutely lit up.

William Green (01:29:47):

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:29:47):
So I had the whole speech written, but I didn’t have the ending. And you know how you get writer’s block, I’m sure you know better than I do. You just can’t get it together. So I went away from it. One day I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and here is my closing. Remember the thing that governs success in any field is determination to see something through to a successful conclusion. Yet, this is exactly where most people fail.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:30:13):
The average person will get discouraged and quit many times shorter one’s goal. What is the difference between an individual who dodgily hangs in against all odds, reason and hope? It is my belief through personal observation and experience that there’s no difference between the individual from a chemical, genetic or intellectual standpoint. The difference is that the person who’s likely to give up the first sign hardship does not have a well defined goal. If you’re going to build a building, you got to have a blueprint, all the details. You can’t just say, “I want to build a building.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:30:45):
And if the person does have a goal, they may not impress it deeply on the subconscious mind. They might want it, but not badly enough to the point where they are willing to make an all-consuming, burning desire. Naturally, if it’s a weak desire, it’ll be sacrificed at the first sign of hardship. Only a deep commitment, a burning desire and a sacrificial attitude towards that goal will be deep enough to make an impression on the subconscious mind.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:31:11):
If that is accomplished along with the faith that it can be achieved, you will never lack drive or motivation. You will be pulled by a force that will drive you relentlessly towards that goal. It will no longer be necessary to force the thing to do you have to do. You will receive energy that you never knew you had. Because of these forces, you and you alone will have the power to shape your future. And I wrote that in 1979. Now we’re talking about 40 years ago.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:31:42):
So the point is that most people are driven from outside motivation. That doesn’t work. Let me ask you a question. When you get thirsty, do you have to write yourself a note to make sure you drink water?

William Green (01:31:56):

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:31:57):
Okay. When you are hungry, do you have to tell yourself, it’s about 2:00 now, I should have eaten at 1:00? No, when you’re-

William Green (01:32:04):
No, I’m good at eating even when I’m not hungry, Arnold.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:32:08):
Okay. So the point I’m making, all of these instincts are for your survival. They are programming your subconscious mind. And when you program these things that you want to do, as deeply as your hunger is in your deal, then you never think you’re working. I never feel when I am studying these things or looking these things that I’m working. Matter of fact, I get excited when I learn a new thing and that’s because I have to do it.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:32:40):
One great dance teacher said, “I don’t want people who would like to dance. I want people who have to dance.” Because if they like to do it… Yeah, I’d like to do it and you’d like to do it. But when you have to dance, when it’s so much part of your inner drive, you can’t help but drive. When I was climbing ropes, I never thought I was working hard. I was working on the technique and when I was get…

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:33:03):
I thought I was working hard. I was working on the technique and when I was getting better, there’s nothing that gave me greater joy. And so, hardcore-

William Green (01:33:09):
I think you were always, Arnold, you were, kind of, maniacally driven. Because I remember you once telling me a story where, in your early days as an investor, you realized you really loved chess and at a certain point, you said, “I’ve got to give this game up, it’s just taking up too much of my mental space.” And then I think you told me once, that you played a game of golf, and I think your phrase to me was, you said, “I realized this game was going to shackle my mind.” And that’s pretty strange, right? I can totally understand it, because I’m pretty maniacal and obsessive my myself, but most people are not like that. If someone finds a hobby they like, like chess or golf, they’re like, “Oh that’s great, I’m going to pursue my hobby.” Whereas, you actually gave it up, because you liked them.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:33:48):
I’ll tell you the thinking. My goal was to become a money manager, when I was playing chess. And I would play a guy and sometimes we’d play for two or three hours, the chess game. Now the professionals, they use a time clock. They can play 10, 15, 20 minutes, but I don’t like to play that way, because it’s an enjoyment. You try to figure things out. When I thought about the fact that I have a reading list, that I wanted accomplished, to be successful in the money management business. And I’m looking up that my goal is to finish this book, at this date, and this book. And now I spend three hours on a chess game, I thought, “My God, I could have read a half a book or a third of a book.” I can’t afford that. That’s not being maniac. That’s just saying, “If you want to achieve a goal, you have to use every spare moment to that goal.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:34:37):
Now, when I started… My friend invited me to play. We didn’t even play a whole game. We just went to the driving range to shoot it. And he’s trying to tell me all the techniques and I thought, “Oh my God, this is going to take a lot of work.” Golf is a mental game. So I thought, “I’m going to be studying the market, and if I play golf, I’m going to take that time that I could be reading more books on the market, or research reports, or annual reports, or 10K, and I’m going to be playing golf.” So people said, “Well, when you’re in the money management business, you should play golf, because you meet clients that way, and all that.” I said, “No, no. The subconscious mind is going to get me the clients if I do a good job.” The most important thing you have to decide that, remember, is only a deeper commitment of burning design and sacrificial attitudes as a goal, be deep enough to make an impression of…

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:35:32):
I can’t play chess, and then play golf, and then read a little bit about the market, and hope to become a good money manager. What does Warren buffet do, besides study the market, and read all day, and do all those things? He used to play golf, I don’t ever hear about him playing golf. I don’t hear about him doing anything else, because that he gets more pleasure out of doing good, in that area, than he would ever get playing golf. If I played chess today, I wouldn’t get as much enjoyment out it. It’s because I get more enjoyment out of learning what we’re talking about, and helping people. Do you realize that these simple principles that we’ve talked about can change people’s lives, and I have done it. And you’ve seen some of the letters. I just sent you a letter recently where we took a guy, who had 20 years of back problems, and in one session, he cured his back problem, because they’re stress-related. You can do this through getting into the alpha state, for getting into hypnosis.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:36:34):
So why would I want to waste my time playing chess? What does that do for me, or anybody else? Except maybe give me some ego satisfaction if I win a guy.

William Green (01:36:44):
Someone Arnold, named Barry Schwartz, who’s a Chief Investment Officer at a firm called Baskin Wealth Management, asked me on Twitter. He’d love to know more about John Sarno, and how he’s used self-talk techniques to eliminate chronic pain. And I think that’s related to what you were telling me about this guy whose back pain you cured. Can you say anything about that? About how…

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:37:05):
Yeah. I had this friend of mine who said to me, “You know Arnie, I used to have back problems, and I read this book by Dr. Sarno.” He’s a back surgeon. And he came to the conclusion that the reason people have back problem, 95%, I think it was even as high as 98, but let me be conservative and say 95, 95% of the people who have back problem don’t have anything wrong, physically, with their back. And the way he discovered it, he started noticing that he had people who had slipped disc, terrible x-rays, and they played tennis, and had no problem. Then there were people who had perfect x-rays, and they were in so much pain that they were in a wheelchair. So he said, “It can’t be the physical, what we’ve been taught in medical school. It’s got to be something more than that.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:37:54):
He started getting together with psychiatrists, and he came to the conclusion, that when the subconscious mind gets overloaded with pressure, it does things to you to make you get your mind off the problem. When your back is out, if you’ve ever had a back problem, you’re laying there in so much pain. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, all you’re thinking about is the pain. And while you’re thinking about the pain, the subconscious reprograms attention, you get more relaxed. You go to a chiropractor who relaxes you, and then the back gets better. Well, I had a lot of problem with my back many years ago, and I figured that it had to be mental pressure, because there was really nothing wrong with my back. So one day I wake up, you ask the subconscious, and it’ll give you the answer. I woke up. The reason your back goes out, is when you get behind in your work.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:38:43):
Somebody who’s conscientious is going to get a back problem, when they get behind in their work. Other people may get a back problem because something else creates tension. Everybody has different things that creates tension, but the problem is not the back. The problem is the subconscious mind. Once you read that, and you study it, and you can relax yourself. And this guy, the recent guy that I sent you the letter, I found a book about five years ago, that laid out everything that you and I are talking about. And the name of the book is The Genie Within, and it’s by Mr. Carpenter. And I just talked to Mr. Carpenter the other day, and I read his book and I thought, “My God, if I was going to write a book, this would be the book I would write.” Except that he’s a much better writer than I am.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:39:32):
I called him up and I congratulate him. And I said, “I want you to know that I can…” I have read everything in the last 45-50 years on the subconscious. And from a practical standpoint, not theory, from a practical standpoint, which is what I want to give to people. This is the best book I can give anybody. There’s a lot of books, with a lot of theories, and a lot of other things. But if you want to know what to do, this is how you do it. And I said, “It’s a wonderful book.” And he said. “You know, Arnold, I’m really…” I feel bad about it because I didn’t write the book to make money. I wrote the book to help people, because I was eight years old, dying from a heart disease that was incurable. The doctor sent me home to die, and there was a gentleman who was part of the family, who believed in the Christian Science Church.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:40:18):
And they believe in healing, through the mind. He said, “Why don’t you get one of the practitioners from the church to come, and he could heal your son?” They confided in him that they didn’t really believe in it. He said, “Well, what do you got to lose? The kid’s going to die.” So they said, “Oh, you’re right. Since you believe in it so much, why don’t you bring the guy over?” So they brought the guy over, and the guy cured him. In a matter of three months, he was well, went to school, and now he’s 80 years old. He said he wanted to find out what this guy did to heal him because he was just a little kid at the time. And he said, “He read everything.” And I went through his bibliography, and he and I have almost read all the same books.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:40:59):
And he said, “I finally put a course together.” Which, and he said, “The sad thing is that I’ve only sold 70,000 copies, and that it isn’t the money, because I didn’t write it to make money.” I wanted to reach people with this and people don’t seem to take to it. And I said, “Well, you only sold 70,000 copies until you met me. But now I guarantee your sales are going to go up.” Because I said, “I’m going to give you an order right away.” I gave an order for a hundred. I said, “I’m going to give this book to anybody who will read it.” And he said, “Oh, that’s wonderful. I’ll give you a discount.” I said, “I don’t want the discount.” I want to pay the full price because I believe that the universe rewards those who do good work, you’ve done a brilliant job. And you deserve to get the money, whether you need it or not.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:41:48):
If you don’t want it, give it to your favorite charity. But I feel good about paying. Now’s the only time I make an exception for the Benjamin Graham rule about getting a discount. I said, “I feel good about paying for the book because I know that the author deserves it.” And so, I pass it out. I send it to this guy in New York, and he has one technique where he gets you into alpha, and theta state. He said, “This guy.” He read in the letter, he put himself in the theta stage. And his background was gone that he had for 20 years. I had this guy, who was a friend of mine, who was a PhD in psychology, and a PhD in statistics. And he had back problems from the time he was 16 years old, until that time at 43. And every time he’d be in my office, he’d be stretching, because his back would be tight.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:42:34):
So when I heard about this guy, Dr. Sarno, who cured people through the mind, I said, “I got to read this book.” So I sent for, and I said, “Ken, I think we can cure it, really.” He said, “Arnold, I’ve been to the best doctors at UCLA. I teach there, and they haven’t been able to help me. I said, “This guy’s a back surgeon. He’s done it for 25 years.” And he cures most of the people, 95% of them, without doing any surgery, or any back work. He tells you, “Don’t go to chiropractors. Don’t go to the doctors. Don’t do back exercises. Just get yourself to believe that you can get rid of it, and you talk to your subconscious mind.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:43:14):
Here, let me read you the first page, what he says, this is exciting. What Dr. Sarno tells his patients, “Resume physical activity. It won’t hurt you. Talk to your brain, tell it you won’t take it anymore. Stop all physical treatments for your back, they may be blocking your recovery. Don’t repress your anger or emotions, they can give you a pain in the back. Don’t think of yourself as being injured. Psychologically conditioned, contributes to the ongoing back pain. Don’t be intimidated by back pain. You have the power to overcome it.” That’s his basic formula. You do the same thing we’ve been talking about. You visualize yourself with a strong back. You visualize yourself, lifting weights, carrying your kids, doing whatever you want to do. And you keep on repeating yourself, “I am going to be happy, healthy. And you concentrate on the back. You don’t do back exercise. You go for a walk. You go for a run. You lift weights, but don’t do it because of your back, because you don’t have a back problem. You got a mental problem.”

William Green (01:44:17):
There’s one other book, before I let you go Arnold, that I wanted to ask you about, which obviously has had a transformative effect on your life, which is, From poverty to Power, by James Allen. And that’s clearly become, almost like your Bible, over the years. I don’t know if your…

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:44:33):
It should be everybody’s Bible.

William Green (01:44:35):
Well, I don’t know if you’re even aware of this, but my book actually ends with a quote from him, because I have this section of notes on additional sources and resources. And I ended it with this thing that almost nobody will notice, which is, it says in the last paragraph here, a common theme that runs consistently through many of the books that have shaped Van Den Berg, is the belief that our consciousness determines our reality. He has spent half a century experimenting with different techniques to change his thoughts, influence his subconscious mind, and transform himself from within. Everything comes back to what he learned from his favorite book of all, From Poverty to Power. As Alan wrote 120 years ago, “It matters little what is without, for it is all a reflection of your own state of consciousness. It matters everything what you are within. For everything without, will be mirrored and colored, accordingly.” And the reason I ended the book with that-

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:45:25):

William Green (01:45:27):
Is that I have a great teacher who would just say, “This is a great catalyst,” named Ralph Burke, who would just say over and over again, everything is consciousness. So, instead of me proselytizing in the book and saying, “Look, everyone should study with my teacher.” It was a way of me saying, “Wow, this is interesting. You look at all of these different spiritual paths and they all came down to this same fundamental revelation, that everything is consciousness, that your consciousness creates your reality.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:45:54):
That’s right. This guy, J.K. Williams said, “You are the architect of your destiny. Every experience and condition in your life, poverty, rich, success or failure, health or ills, is a result of action and purpose set in motion by you.” So, you create your… Now I don’t know anything about quantum physics, but I read what the quantum physics teach, and they teach the same thing that the subconscious teaches. That is a confirmation that all-

William Green (01:46:22):
Yeah, that your thoughts can affect your body, essentially. And everything, that they can…

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:46:28):
Yeah, and Dr. Candy’s purge said that your body is your subconscious mind. Your body influences your mind, and your mind influences your body, and together they are a precision instrument. And if you will just focus on your desire rather than on your fears, you will realize your reality. I am living my reality. This is what I wanted to do. And what I want to do now, is I have 550 pages of notes on the subconscious mind, not just what I wrote, but articles, and different things. And I’m organizing them in a way that… I call it the Collection of the Subconscious. And I hope to be able to distribute that to people in the next couple of years, because that’s 45-50 years of personal experience, and beliefs. And, if you ever talk to Scott, you can tell him that I used to hypnotize all of his friends the day before the track meet. In every room, I had a different guy, and I’d go from one to the other. And they all just improved dramatically, way beyond what I even expected, just by changing their belief. It’s powerful, William. They can change people’s lives.

William Green (01:47:41):
Yeah. What’s striking to me, Arnold, I think is… And I’ve said this to you before, is that I think for people like me who came through these elite schools, like Wheaton, and Oxford, and Columbia, and stuff, we were intellectual snobs. And so I came out of those schools, celebrating rationality and logic, and thinking that anyone who talked about things that were a little bit more mystical, or a little bit more self-helpy, were kind of idiots. And so for me, a lot of what’s had to happen over the years is actually for me to unlearn my intellectual arrogance.

William Green (01:48:13):
Part of what I love about your story is that you spent the last 50 years as, kind of, a guinea pig, where you actually did this stuff, you would read something like James Allen saying, “You need to change your life from within. You need to change your consciousness.” You’d read these guys saying, “Well, hypnotize yourself, and you’ll be able to change your thoughts.” And you actually did it. And you did it so much, not just 10,000 hours, but probably 100,000 hours. You did it so much that you actually experienced the transformation, and I have this suspicion that if you’d been more-

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:48:44):

William Green (01:48:45):
Yeah. If you’d gone through a conventional education, instead of educating yourself, you actually wouldn’t have been so naive, as to believe all of this nonsense. And so it wouldn’t have worked, and because you were naive, you believed it. And so it worked, there’s something really beautiful and paradoxical about it. That it was your open-mindedness that enabled you, actually to-

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:49:06):
No, it was my naivety. You got it right the first time. With my ignorance, the fact that I would think that I could change my life by changing my thinking. That is contrary to all the logic that you ever could teach in school. Now, let me tell you in the book, What the Bleep Do We Know, all these quantum physicists are saying that you can create your reality, by the way you think, and quantum physics explains that in a very, in a rational…

William Green (01:49:32):
But I think you are making a mistake on… When you start to veer into quantum physics, and stuff. Because I think we are looking for validation, in an area that we don’t really understand. And the validation is the fact that you did this stuff, and it’s worked.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:49:43):
Definitely worked.

William Green (01:49:43):
It’s like Charlie Munger. Charlie Munger always says, “I observe what works, and doesn’t work, and why.” And you’ve been in a 50 year experiment to see whether rewiring your brain works. It’s work.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:49:56):
Yes. But the neuroscience is now validating, what I ignorantly believed, you can now read the neuroscientist. And they will tell you the same thing. Now I’ll give you an example. I told you an example of my brother. He is absolutely brilliant. And he thought it was just hocus pocus nonsense. And if you talk about Jesus, whether as a Jew, you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, or a great philosophy. Whatever you want to do, what he taught, is it was all about belief. I have a whole file of quotes on faith, and most of them are from the New Testament, where he says, “When you pray, believing it, you will receive it.” So even he taught, and Buddha taught, all of these things, that you can reach these things through the mind.

William Green (01:50:47):
Yeah. It’s all a mind game. It’s all-in in a game.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:50:50):
Everything is mental. This is the wonderful thing, and I think it can change people’s lives. And I can tell you, I, literally, have changed people’s lives. Not that I did it. I just gave them the information, and then they did it themselves. I couldn’t do it for them.

William Green (01:51:09):
You did hypnotize me as well. I don’t know if you remember, Arnold, you knocked me out on the floor of your office, where you are at the moment, and played me the Four Seasons, and lulled me. But no, what was cool is that we talked about affirmations before you did it. We talked about what I was looking to do in my life, but then I think, because you got me in a somewhat relaxed state. It was hard for me to relax, because I was about to get a plane home from Texas to New York, and was waiting for a taxi to arrive.

William Green (01:51:34):
But I do think you kind of embedded some of these ideas, these more positive thoughts in my head, when I was in a relaxed state. And what I’ve done is, I wrote some of them down in a book that I look at most mornings, and then I kind of reworded some of them in the present tense. And so, I go over them most days. And I, so when you are talking about that idea of repetition, I think whether it’s through prayer, or affirmations, any of these things, repetition has great power.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:52:03):
Oh, absolutely. That’s what the advertising business use. Let me give you one quick example, because this is one of my favorite. I’m surprised I didn’t mention it earlier. There was a French pharmacist, in turn of the century, called Emile Coue. I don’t know how to pronounce it.

William Green (01:52:18):
Yeah, Coue, I think.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:52:18):
Coue or… Or, whatever.

William Green (01:52:18):
Coue, something like that.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:52:22):
But anyway, what he discovered, is that he had a pharmacy, and if you came in and said, “I’ve got a rash in my skin.” He said, “Oh, I got just a thing for it. This stuff really works.” If he really believed in it, and he sold it to people, it always worked, then he had other medicine he wasn’t sure about. So he says, “Well, I don’t know about this, but why don’t you try it? It never worked.” After years of watching this, he came to the conclusion that it wasn’t the medicine that cured people. It was his belief in the medicine. He decided he didn’t need the medicine to cure people, he got that changed in belief. He had to change their belief. He sold his pharmacy, and then he got people into a relaxed state. He had a beautiful rose garden.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:53:05):
He’d play music and he’d walk around, teaching them how important the thought process was, and he healed people. And the thing is he never wrote too much, I’ve got everything he wrote, and what his students wrote. But what he did, is he was treating 40,000 people a year. And I figured out that’s one, every six minutes. The point, they asked him, “Why don’t you write?” He says, “Look, I can change a person’s life in six minutes. Why would I want to take three months to write about? Look at all the people I’m changing their lives.” And he was phenomenally successful. They started the school in Nancy, France called Autosuggestion. Now here’s the thing, he used hypnosis. But he figured that if he uses hypnosis, uses the word, people have negative things, because they watch these guys on the stage, do all these weird things.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:53:59):
And so he decided not to use it hypnosis. He called it Autosuggestion. Well, it was hypnosis because he would get them to relax. He would play the music. He would joke around, everybody feeling good. And then he would give them the suggestions, and it would go into the subconscious. And he had them repeat every day, and I do it every day, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” Just a standard term, 30 times a day, every day. I mean, if you got 6,000 thoughts, you can do this 30 times a day. I do it in the shower. I do my trampoline workout in the morning, 45 minutes. Then I do some yoga moves to loosen up. Then I get into shower, take a hot shower. And then I take a cold shower for one minute. And while I’m doing the shower, I’m giving myself affirmations. And I come out, and I took a cold shower today, and believe me, it was cold. And I thought, “God, this is really invigorating.” You know? It just gets your mind into a good, positive state of mind.

William Green (01:55:01):
You also told me once to write down affirmations, 15 times. I did this for a while. Before my book came out, there were a couple of affirmations about my book. Why don’t we-

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:55:10):
You ever heard of the Dilbert cartoon, comic strip?

William Green (01:55:12):
Yeah. I think that was where you got the idea, that you told me.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:55:17):
It was Scott Adam’s. Now, here’s another story about Scott Adams. Scott Adams wrote a book, The Dilbert Future. He said that he was a hypnotist, before he became a cartoonist. And while he was studying hypnosis, he met this woman who was way advanced, and really believed in it. She said, “If you change your thoughts, you’re going to change your life.” So he said, “Okay, let’s experiment.” He obviously was a skeptic.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:55:40):
She said, “Pick something that is unlikely to happen.” So he said, he’d like to get rich in the stock market. He went into hypnosis, did the affirmation. And he found out that if you do the affirmation 15 times a day, for six months, you’re going to see results, no matter what. So anyway, he did it. He woke up one day and he said there was a sign that said he should buy Chrysler, from the subconscious. He said he didn’t know anything about the market, didn’t even have a brokerage account, didn’t know anything. But he said, he read about Chrysler, and it was going bankrupt. And they had whatever his name was, it’ll come to me. And he couldn’t understand why you could make money on a company that’s going to go bankrupt. But he did it because sometimes-

William Green (01:56:23):
Oh, is this when Lee Iacocca was coming in as the CEO, yeah.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:56:26):
Lee Iacocca, that’s right. Yeah. So anyway, took him two weeks to get the account set up. And in the meantime, the stock just skyrocket, and was one of the best performing stocks, that year. So he said, “Okay, he missed it.” But now he set up a stock brokerage account. He’s going to do it again. He didn’t want to be a money manager. He wanted to be a cartoonist, but he didn’t have any talent for a cartoonist. So, he did another stock, same thing happened. He bought it and it doubled, when it doubled, he thought, “Geez, this is terrific.” He sold it. And then the stock just ripped seven or eight times what he would’ve paid for. He said, that taught him that the subconscious worked.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:57:05):
So what he did then, I, Scott Adams will become a great cartoonist. And he said, “That was about as likely to happen, as for me to become an investment counselor. Because he had no talent in cartoons. He couldn’t draw, but he always wanted to do that. He thought it was neat. Well, anyway, he became one of the top cartoonists. These cartoons are in 20,000 papers, and he said every goal that he set, he accomplished, and his book is called the Dilbert Futures. So the point is, if you go to ancient studies, like the Bhagavad Gita, or the Upanishads, or the Hindus, or the Buddhist, or the ancient Hebrews, or the Christians, or the philosophers, they all point to the same thing.

William Green (01:57:49):
Yeah. It’s all the power of the mind. I wanted to ask you one last thing, that someone on Twitter asked me to ask you, before I let you go, Arnold. Which is someone called Niraj Duda asked me, despite the challenges you faced, including the Holocaust and setting up your business, and divorce, all of these things that you went through. Despite all those challenges, would you want to live the same life again?

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:58:11):
No, I would not. Matter of fact, I wrote down one of the things I wanted to tell you. You say I was dealt a bad hand. In one hand, I was. On the other hand, I would never want to go through what I did. However, I would never have learned, or accomplished, what I did because of, through suffering… And Benjamin Disraeli said, “There’s three ways to learn. Studying, suffering, and observing.” And so my suffering, I probably suffered more than most people, even things I don’t remember, but I gained insights that I couldn’t have today. And I don’t think I would have the belief that I could overcome. If I was just in a regular… You know what our Andrew Carnegie said, “I don’t feel sorry for the poor boys of this world. I feel sorry for the rich kids, because they have been deprived, a motivation to accomplish things.”

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:59:09):
If your parents were millionaires and they’re going to leave you millions of dollars, you think I would go through what I did for 10 years to work for nothing, to build the business. There’s no way. Do you think I would go lift stuff on a garbage truck when I was 14 years old, when the other kids, the parents gave them money for dates. I remember being over a friends in his house, and the mother handed him money for dates. I said, “Your mother handed you money for dates?” Can you imagine my dad, me asking him for money for a date.

Arnold Van Den Berg (01:59:37):
When at 13 years old, he came up to me and he said, “Well, son, you bar mitzvah. Congratulations. You’re now a man.” I said, “Thanks Pop.” And he said, “Now that you’re a man, men take care of their own responsibility. So, you pay your own clothes, you pay for your own school dues and you pay for expenses on your car.” Well, if he hadn’t have done that, I don’t think I would’ve done those things. So no, I would not want to live the life over, but I thank God that I did.

William Green (02:00:07):
So, it’s been worth it in many ways, the pain and suffering, it’s a-

Arnold Van Den Berg (02:00:11):
Yeah, but you don’t think about that when you’re going through it. You just think I’m going through hell and there’s no future, but the suffering creates insight. And what I want to tell any of your listeners who are suffering, think about it, and think what’s causing your pain. And then think about what you can do, in your mind, to alleviate that pain and start working towards it. And as you work towards it, you create an inner joy. And let me give you a quote on that, “The more your love, in life, becomes unconditional, the more joy and in goodness that you get.” And Abraham Lincoln had a saying that everybody passes off as just a simple thing, but it was very profound. He said, “When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” Well, if you study this stuff, you realize the way you feel is what gives you the joy. If you are getting better, if you are doing good, if you are living the right way, you are going to feel better. And when you feel better, you experience joy instead of pain.

William Green (02:01:19):
Arnold, thank you very much. This has been wonderful talking to you. I’ve really enjoyed it. And you’re a great human being, and I’m grateful to have you in my life. So, thank you.

Arnold Van Den Berg (02:01:29):
Well, same here, William. Thank you for the insights you gave me, on the fact that I was able to do that, because I was ignorant, that brings warmness to my heart. Thank God I wasn’t too educated for that.

William Green (02:01:42):
You were open-minded where, whereas I had the arrogance of a highly educated person, who thought I knew everything. And so yeah, I’ve had to unlearn a lot of that, and you’ve been a part of my reeducation. Thank you Arnold.

Arnold Van Den Berg (02:01:55):
Thank you, William.

William Green (02:01:58):
All right, folks. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. If you’d like to learn more about Arnold, you might want to check out the epilogue of my book, Richer, Wiser, Happier, which tells his story in much greater depth. You may also be interested in some of the books that Arnold and I discussed in this episode. In the show notes, I’ve included links to all of the books he mentioned. Personally, I would particularly recommend reading from Poverty to Power by James Allen, which is Arnold’s favorite book.

William Green (02:02:22):
Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who wrote to me on Twitter to suggest questions to ask Arnold. Ended up using a question from Barry Schwartz, about how to harness the mind to heal back pain. As a way of saying thanks, I’m sending Barry a signed copy of my book. That said, if you do have back pain, please consult your doctor before you do anything that could jeopardize your health, based on this podcast. I’ll be back very soon with guests like Bill Miller, and Mohnish Pabrai, and Guy Spier. In the meantime, please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @williamgreen72, and do let me know how you’re enjoying the podcast. I really appreciate you listening. Thanks so much. Take care.

Outro (02:03:00):
Thank you for listening to TIP. Make sure to subscribe to We Study Billionaires by The Investor’s Podcast Network. Every Wednesday we teach you about Bitcoin, and every Saturday we study billionaires, and the financial markets. To access our show notes, transcripts, or courses, go to This show is for entertainment purposes only. Before making any decision, consult a professional. This show is copyrighted by The Investor’s Podcaster Network. Written permission must be granted before syndication or rebroadcasting.


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  • William Green’s book, “Richer, Wiser, Happier” – read the reviews of this book.
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl.
  • The Wisdom of Your Subconscious Mind by John Williams.
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
  • Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert.
  • Healing Back Pain by John Sarno MD.
  • The Genie Within by Harry Carpenter.
  • Mind is the Master by James Allen, including “From Poverty to Power”.
  • The Dilbert Future by Scott Adams.
  • William Green’s Twitter.
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