It’s Always Darkest Before Dawn

From an interview of George Soros by Gregor Peter Schmitz of the German magazine WirtschaftsWoche in The New York Review of Books, February 11

George SorosSoros: …There is ISIS and the terrorist attacks that threaten to undermine the values and principles of our civilization. The terrorists want to convince Muslim youth that there is no alternative to terrorism, and if we listen to the likes of Donald Trump they will succeed.

Schmitz: I can’t help but ask. Do you know Trump?

Soros: Going back many years Donald Trump wanted me to be the lead tenant in one of his early buildings. He said: “I want you to come into the building. You name your price.” My answer was, “I’m afraid I can’t afford it.” And I turned him down….

Schmitz: …You paint a bleak picture of our future.

Soros: But it is a biased view and deliberately so. Recognizing a problem is an invitation to do something about it. That is the main lesson I learned from the formative experience of my life, in 1944, when the Nazis occupied Hungary. I might not have survived if my father hadn’t secured false identification papers for his family (and many others). He taught me that it’s much better to face harsh reality than to close your eyes to it. Once you are aware of the dangers, your chances of survival are much better if you take some risks than if you meekly follow the crowd. That is why I trained myself to look at the dark side. It has served me well in the financial markets and it is guiding me now in my political philanthropy. As long as I can find a winning strategy, however tenuous, I don’t give up. In danger lies opportunity. It’s always darkest before dawn.

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2 responses to “It’s Always Darkest Before Dawn

  1. Michael Gundy

    Like our very own Eric Koch, George Soros has an opinion on everything. Not always right, but always well thought out and seasoned with wit, experience and a dash of cynicism. Both know the noble yet ugly sides of we mere creatures. Long my our pundits pontificate.

  2. Justphilanthropy

    I appreciate that Soros doesn’t equate “winning strategy” with “certainty.” He’s a betting man, as we all are, and he’ll risk for the better return if it stands a chance. While that view is not uncommon in finance, it is in philanthropy.