Wall Street: Got What it Takes?

As I was reading Where Are the Customers’ Yachts, there was a little aptitude test which I found amusing that looks at whether you have what it takes to do well in Wall Street, Old School Style. Ready to take it yourself?

A Little Aptitude Test

Note that this book was first published in 1940 and during this time, there were no computers or internet so the Street made money by selling securities manually and in person.

“If you have to hesitate in answering them, count the answer wrong.”

  1. Do you perceive quite clearly what is the objection to playing roulette wheel that has two zeros on it?
  2. If a man has tossed a coin “head” four times in succession, which do you think he is more likey to toss the fifth time, heads or tails?
  3. When do you consider that it is a good purchase to draw one card to an inside straight? (An inside straight draw is a hand with four of the five cards needed for a straight, but missing one in the middle. For example, 9-x-7-6-5. )
  4. If you answered (3) correctly, do you find that when you are actually playing poker for money, you can always resist making that draw?
  5. If a stock which is not paying any dividend is split two for one, how much good does that do the stockholder?
  6. What is the primary purpose of a business enterprise?

Here are the answers.

  1. If not, don’t bother to be a financier; be a roulette player.
  2. If you think he is more likely to toss either heads or tails, look into the interior decorating game.
  3. When you are playing for soybeans. (When you don’t have anything on the line)
  4. If not, stay home with your money and start practicing being a miser.
  5. If you think it does him any real good, come and join the sales department, but steer clear of the trading department.
  6. The primary purpose of a business is to make money.

How’d you do? Got what it takes?
Seems like I certainly don’t.

Advice of the Day

There are two rules for success:
1. Never tell people everything you know.


  • Great quiz, but answer 3 is flawed. If the pot is offering the right odds (eg., in Hold’em, greater than 11 to 1), you can stay in to see that inside straight draw. 🙂

  • Thanks for the insight and taking the time to comment Joe. Fan of your site and looking forward to the book!

  • Interesting read and test. Thanks for sharing it.
    Best Wishes,

Ready to try Old School Value?