Sir John Marks Templeton (29 November 1912 – 8 July 2008) was an American-born British stock investor, businessman, philanthropist and founder of the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities.
- The four most expensive words in the English language are "this time it’s different."
- As quoted in The Four Pillars of Investing : Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio (2002) by William Bernstein
- We are trying to persuade people that no human has yet grasped 1% of what can be known about spiritual realities. So we are encouraging people to start using the same methods of science that have been so productive in other areas, in order to discover spiritual realities.
The Quotable Sir John
- High ethics and religious principles form the basis for success and happiness in every area of life.
- I focus on spiritual wealth now, and I'm busier, more enthusiastic, and more joyful than I have ever been.
- I have no quarrel with what I learned in the Presbyterian church — I am still an enthusiastic Christian. But why shouldn't I try to learn more? Why shouldn't I go to Hindu services? Why shouldn't I go to Muslim services? If you are not egotistical, you will welcome the opportunity to learn more.
- I served for 42 years on the board of trustees of the largest Presbyterian seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, and we had brilliant people — teachers and students both — but they did not come up with many new concepts. They weren't invited to come up with new concepts. Anybody who had come up with a new concept would have been under suspicion for being out of step with the tradition or out of step with the teachings of the church.
- I thought, I'm only going to be on this planet once, and only for a short time. What can I do with my life that will lead to permanent benefits?
- If we become increasingly humble about how little we know, we may be more eager to search.
- I'm really convinced that our descendants a century or two from now will look back at us with the same pity that we have toward the people in the field of science two centuries ago.
- In my 45-year career as an investment counselor, humility did show me the need for worldwide diversification to reduce risk. That career did help me to become more and more humble because statistics showed that when I advised a client to buy one stock to replace another, about one-third of the time the client would have done better to ignore my advice. In other endeavors, humility about how little I know has encouraged me to listen more carefully and more wisely.
- The correct description is that we try every day to become more humble when we talk about divinity, we try to realize how little we know and how open minded we should be. It's self centered to think that human beings, as limited as we are, can describe divinity.
- The main focus in my life now is to open people's minds so no one will be so conceited that they think they have the total truth. They should be eager to learn, to listen, to research and not to confine, to hurt, to kill, those who disagree with them.
- The objective of our religious foundations is to teach people that they are hurting themselves when they say they believe something. What we should realize is we know almost nothing about God and therefore we should be eager to search and to learn.
- The other boys at Yale came from wealthy families, and none of them were investing outside the United States, and I thought, 'That is very egotistical. Why be so shortsighted or near-sighted as to focus only on America? Shouldn't you be more open-minded?
- The question is not is there a God, but is there anything else except God? God is everyone and each of us is a little bit.
- We hope that there will be nothing that conflicts with anybody's religion or faith. We would never say a person's religion is not effective. We say, "Would you be interested in something more effective?" We always put things in an optimistic, progressive perspective. Do you want to make your prayers more effective? Not that they are not effective, but do you want to help them become more effective?
- We may find the Divine to be 3,000 times what we think it is now. It's like asking the tulip there to explain you. The tulip is a beautiful creation, with millions of atoms cooperating with each other to produce great beauty, but ask that tulip to talk about you, and it can't do it. It doesn't have those perceptive abilities. Wouldn't it be conceited to suggest that I had the abilities to describe the deity?
- Work at being a humble person.
- Those who spend too much will eventually be owned by those who are thrifty.
Quotes about Templeton
- While the vast majority of America's philanthropic heavyweights choose to address traditional and tangible social needs — feeding the hungry, curing the sick, subsidizing the arts — Templeton has something else in mind. He wants to make an impact on the world of ideas.
Templeton's controversial goal: to reconcile the worlds of science and religion. … When he hears scientists quarrel with believers, he thinks both sides are missing the broader point. "What I'm trying to do is say: 'Don't try to argue — maybe you're both right'..."