In Box

Epiphanies: George Soros

My father’s ability to cope with [the Nazi occupation of Hungary was]… the formative experience of my life. And what I learned from him was that there are unjust laws. There are times when rulers impose laws that you must not follow. If you follow them, you die. You have to break the law. Some ...

My father’s ability to cope with [the Nazi occupation of Hungary was]… the formative experience of my life. And what I learned from him was that there are unjust laws. There are times when rulers impose laws that you must not follow. If you follow them, you die. You have to break the law.

Some of the abuse [I received because of my opposition of George W. Bush in 2004] was beyond belief. I was accused of being a drug pusher because I was taking a stance against the war on drugs. But I found it amusing as well as annoying.

I was called in by the Jewish Council [at age 13] to serve as a runner. I was given little slips of paper, which were addressed to four or five people. They were requested to report to the rabbinical seminary with food and a blanket. I went home to my father, and he saw that it was a list of Jewish lawyers who were being summoned for deportation. My father was also a lawyer. So, he told me to deliver the notes but tell the people that if they followed the order, they would be deported. So I delivered them. And there was one lawyer who said, ‘I’ve been a law-abiding citizen all my life. As long as I follow orders, they can’t do anything to me.’ And he reported. And those who reported were deported.

It is more difficult to give money away than to make it. When you make it, you have a simple criterion: the bottom line. You know what’s right and what’s wrong from how profitable each decision is in the market. When you give money away, you are concerned with the common good. This cannot be added up.

[Bush’s reelection was] a catastrophe for America and the world. In that respect, I haven’t changed my view.

Read more of Soros’s Epiphanies — including his biggest business regret — here.

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