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How a Pre-Socratic Philosopher Got Rich Buying Options

When you think of the world’s greatest investors, you probably don’t think all the way back 2,500 years ago to Ancient Greece.

But you should — and the name that you should think about is Thales of Miletus.

Thales was a brilliant man, and one of the first real Western philosophers and scientists (although “scientist” wasn’t a term used at the time). He is best known for his thesis that “all things are water,” which we know now to be erroneous, but was a groundbreaking thought given the scientific infancy of 6th-century B.C. Moreover, Thales was among the first thinkers to make hypotheses that were testable and falsifiable, bedrock principles of scientific inquiry today, but absent among his fellow thinkers at the time.

According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, none other than the great Aristotle identified Thales as the first person to investigate basic principles, the first to question the origins of substances and matter, and therefore the founder of the school of natural philosophy.

Among his accomplishments was the successful prediction of an eclipse of the sun that occurred on May 28, 585 B.C.E. Although it’s not known exactly how Thales was able to predict this event, the most likely explanation is his study of the solar and lunar cycles.

Yet what can we learn, as investors, from Thales?

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