Worth quoting

Ron Muhlenkamp has a penchant for putting things into perspective and making investing and economics sound like as much fun as winding through the North Hills back roads in his Porsche or on his Harley Davidson.

On the dot-com bubble and its crash, for instance, he has this to say: “Some of the companies were real, but the stocks weren’t.” That directness and candor — as well as the long-term success of his fund — have made him a sought-after commentator on the speaker’s circuit and in the financial and lay press.

CNBC’s “Squawk Box” has him as a frequent guest, and he has appeared on “Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser,” a popular PBS program. He is also a regular on an investment program on two Fort Lauderdale radio stations twice a month.

He enjoys writing about investing, as well. His quarterly newsletter, the Muhlenkamp Memorandum, is distributed to 35,000 households worldwide.

Here are a few more insights we uncovered:

* On valuing companies: “We value companies that same way companies value companies.”

* On avoiding the dot-com hype: “All we had was the stomach to stay out of it.”

* On evaluating stocks: “All we do is screen Value Line data and then go talk to the company.”

* On history as a predictor of trends: “History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes pretty well.”

* On economics: “In economics, what everyone worries about doesn’t happen because we prepare for it and make sure it doesn’t happen.”

* On why he owns a motorcycle, a sports car and a motor home: “I like machines.”

* On why he doesn’t see himself as a contrarian: “The trouble with being a contrarian is you’ve got to depend on the other guy being wrong. I’m certainly independent, and a lot of times it looks contrarian, but a contrarian … has go to bet that the other guy is always wrong, and nobody’s always wrong.”

* On the odd predicament of his volunteer fire department: “Most of the problems we have in this country are problems of success. As a fire company, our problem is we don’t have enough fires. That’s success.”

Ray Marano