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Jonah Doing Jonah’s Thing

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My son Jonah’s dream since he was seven years old and I took him to CU Buffs games had been to get accepted to CU Boulder. However, a girl broke his heart in 11th grade; his grades suffered; and though they improved drastically in his senior year, his GPA was ruined, and CU Boulder did not accept him. He was devastated, but he remained determined. My advice to him was, go to community or whatever college will have you for the first year and then transfer to CU Boulder.

He was upset about it for about two weeks, and then he did things the Jonah way: He spent a gap year in Israel doing internships at Israeli startups and taking classes at American Jewish University. He racked up a perfect GPA. CU Boulder took him with open arms and even gave him an academic scholarship.

His childhood dream was finally coming to fruition – well, kind of. Though CU Boulder announced that the campus would be open for in-person learning, Jonah suspected that this was a promise the university might not be able to keep, and classes could move online. Since Jonah’s dream did not involve attending CU Boulder online, he decided to do Jonah’s thing again.

He had always wanted to visit Hawaii – he watched too much Hawaii Five-O. Now, he and his two best childhood friends are moving to Hawaii for two months. CU Boulder will have to wait another semester. They’ll rent an apartment on Oahu, which, due to a lack of tourists, they can get on the cheap. Jonah will take online classes with a community college in Denver. He is a business major and still taking prerequisites, so he does not really care in which fine online school he’ll gaze at the online sky when he takes astronomy.

His friends, who are attending Tulane and Indiana University, will do the same – take online classes at the local CC. This two month Hawaiian excursion will not cost Jonah any more than if he attended CU Boulder online – he won’t have to pay for a dorm, and community college tuition is cheaper. He’ll be back in Colorado in November for skiing.

Hawaii has a two week mandatory quarantine, but if they lift it I may slip over there for a visit in the fall.

I fully support this adventure.

He is so much more mature than I was at his age. As a parent you always worry about your kids – especially if they are teenage boys. I have stopped worrying about Jonah. I know he’ll make the right decisions and, as importantly, will stay away from the wrong ones.

The past few months he has been caddying at the Cherry Creek Country Club – the ritziest golf club in Colorado. (To remove any ambiguity, I am not a member there – I don’t golf, and even if I did, that is not my sort of crowd). Jonah is incredibly introspective about caddying. He told me,

Being someone’s servant is not what I want to do. But I learn how to deal with different people – a skill that is going to be important for me in life. At times I meet interesting people, and quite often I learn how to interact with drunken a-holes. I look forward to every trip around the course because I am curious what kind of people I’m going to meet. If I meet an interesting person, I’ll learn something good from him. If it’s a drunken a-hole – it is going be a learning experience on how to handle them. Being on the receiving side of this, I have learned how to treat and not treat other people, especially when they are below you in social status.

This is not a thinking of a nineteen-year-old boy but a mature individual.

Vitaliy Katsenelson

I am the CEO at IMA, which is anything but your average investment firm. (Why? Get our company brochure here, or simply visit our website).

In a brief moment of senility, Forbes magazine called me “the new Benjamin Graham.”

I’ve written two books on investing, which were published by John Wiley & Sons and have been translated into eight languages. (I’m working on a third - you can read a chapter from it, titled “The 6 Commandments of Value Investing” here).

And if you prefer listening, audio versions of my articles are published weekly at investor.fm.

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