“One frequent guest was a technology executive. He was a genius, having designed and patented a key component in Wi-Fi routers in his 20s. He had started and sold several
companies. He was wildly successful.
He also had a relationship with money I’d describe as a mix of insecurity and childish
He carried a stack of hundred dollar bills several inches thick. He showed it to everyone
who wanted to see it and many who didn’t. He bragged openly and loudly about his wealth,
often while drunk and always apropos of nothing.
One day he handed one of my colleagues several thousand dollars of cash and said, “Go to the jewelry store down the street and get me a few $1,000 gold coins.”
An hour later, gold coins in hand, the tech executive and his buddies gathered around by adock overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They then proceeded to throw the coins into the sea,
skipping them like rocks, cackling as they argued whose went furthest. Just for fun.
Days later he shattered a lamp in the hotel’s restaurant. A manager told him it was a $500
lamp and he’d have to replace it.
“You want five hundred dollars?” the executive asked incredulously, while pulling a brick of
cash from his pocket and handing it to the manager. “Here’s five thousand dollars. Now getout of my face. And don’t ever insult me like that again.”
You may wonder how long this behavior could last, and the answer was “not long.” I learned
years later that he went broke.”
PS: Excerpt from Psychology of Money