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Foolishness is an ethic and core value that guides The Motley Fool company and community, as it has since it was first established with the founding of the company in 1993. While it is evident every day in the lifestyles and behaviors of so many Fools worldwide -- whether in loyal long-time employees, or polite and amiable new members -- Foolishness has never been (may never be) fully defined.

Expanded Definition

Here is how Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner and David Berger (a founder of Fool UK) tried to capture Foolishness as they set out to enumerate its tenets in the late 1990's with the debut of Fool UK. Foolishness:

  • Uses humor and common sense to identify unexpected or contrary solutions.
  • Champions freedom and independence, and suggests you do it your own way.
  • Relentlessly invites and sincerely desires constructive criticism.
  • Harbors interest in others for their own sake.
  • Is light-hearted, sensible, and imaginative -- challenging others to use their imagination and abandon pretention.
  • Is colorful.
  • Makes you realize you never have all the answers.

The tendency of The Motley Fool community to refer to each other as "fellow Fools" or for members new and old to sign their posts "Foolishly" or take screen names like Follydolly or AllTooFoolish is a reminder of the relevance and importance of this ethic to many Fools.

Past Motley Fool Writing & Excerpts on Foolishness

From Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio (2009):

"Most of the world is just thinking about its first stock, about one good idea. One bet. One trade. It’s conventional wisdom. But we’re Fools! If you’ve ever read any previous Motley Fool book or visited Fool.com, you know that we don’t like conventional wisdom one bit. We call it 'Wisdom.' By contrast, we prefer Foolishness (capital 'F,' thank you very much). Foolishness has you often trying to do the opposite of what the rest of the crowd thinks. The rest of the crowd -- those who care enough about investing to have pursued the subject even a little -- is typically thinking just about a couple of stocks. You’re not going to do that. You’re Foolish enough to realize that if you’re really serious about becoming an effective investor for yourself, your family, and your descendants, blast it, you’re going to build an actual portfolio, not just make a couple of crazy bets."