Charlie Rose: What is variant perception?
Michael Steinhardt: Variant perception is the effort to become sufficiently knowledgeable about whatever the subject is, that at a time to be at variance from consensus, because one of the few sure ways to make money in the market is to have a view that is off consensus and have that view turned out to be right.
Charlie Rose: Now is that contrarian?
Michael Steinhardt: That’s not enough you have to be right. A contrarian is a plus, but it’s not enough. To be a contrarian is easy, but to be contrarian and to be right in your judgement when the consensus is wrong is where you get the golden ring and it doesn’t happen that much, but when it does happen you make extraordinary amounts of money. And in order to do that you have to be intellectually advantaged. You have to go through that same routine in terms of intensity, focus and commitment and the sorts of things that makes anybody in any area I think superior.
Charlie Rose interview with Michael Steinhardt (2001)
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