Alessio Rastani

Stock market and forex trader

We talk to the stock market and forex trader whose contentious comments about the recession to the BBC last year gripped the world’s media.

Nobody’s perfect. What quality or ability do you wish you had?
I would like to be able to assess situations more quickly in order to make swifter decisions: what helped me recently was learning that military army generals often do not know the answers to specific military questions, but have to make decisions whether or not they know the outcome. So what I have been doing is taking action and making decisions by avoiding the lingering desire for ‘perfection’.

What is the best business book you have ever read, and why?
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. This is probably the book that changed my life and the way I view the world. The message that inspired me the most was that ‘getting a job’—a normal nine to five—is something most people do out of emotion. As Kiyosaki says, most people chase pay checks and pay rises out of fear, and very few people seem to enjoy the uncertainty that goes with being an entrepreneur. Through this book I learnt that making mistakes is OK: successful people are not afraid of making mistakes (which inspires them to learn), but they are afraid of missing on a great opportunity.

Someone you would most like to have met, living or dead, and why?
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. In contrast to the media-driven (and often corrupt) leaders of today, I find Jefferson’s honesty, integrity and diplomacy to be an inspiration. He was extremely knowledgeable and possessed a wealth of understanding about cultures and people on both sides of the Atlantic. Jefferson was one of the few people who warned of the dangers of banks—considered by him to be more dangerous than standing armies—and foresaw the economic disasters of today that total control of money by banks would bring.

What do you consider to be your major achievement (in life or business)?
I have always believed that building relationships with people is very important. Most people seem to be focused on business first, relationships second—which is wrong. The fact that I have been able to connect, via video and social media, with so many people around the world, and being able to in some way inspire them, or simply to guide them on the right path, is something that I am very proud of. 

Who or what do you think is overrated?
The media’s bias towards a ‘good economy’. Newspapers and financial TV channels seem to propel towards the public bias—and erroneous belief—that the best time to make money is in a bull market or healthy economy. What is often ignored is that informed investors know that you can make moremoney in a ‘bad economy’ or recession. 

What mistakes have you made (professional or otherwise), and what did you learn from them?
Probably giving in to fear and following some advice that I should ‘tone down’ my opinions on certain matters. For example, when I spoke on the BBC in my first interview, I was myself and brutally honest about my opinions. The second interview I gave on ITV was a disappointment to me and my followers, as I tried to control my passion on certain subjects in case it might offend some people. This was a mistake, as it made me look weak, and to the eyes of some people I was ‘beaten’ by the opposition.

Which one piece of wisdom would you pass on to your successor?
Don’t worry about getting things perfect—nothing will ever be just right and you cannot please everybody. Just get things started; take action on your plans. Learn as you implement—don’t implement as you learn.

Who has been your inspiration professionally?
Paul Elliott, a fellow entrepreneur and online business expert. Probably the most important thing I learnt from him was that being able to handle uncertainty is the key to success in life and business. In fact, the more uncertainty you can handle in life, the more successful you will be. This is not just true in business, but in your relationships and your health. It’s being able to courageously plough on and follow your goals—even when not knowing the full outcome—that will set you apart from those who fail.

How would you like to be remembered after your retirement?
That begs the question whether I plan to retire. I see retirement as an opportunity to do more work, not to do what most people do, which is just stop working. Perhaps it is best to ask how I would like to be remembered after I die. I would like to know that I helped set people on the right path and that I have taught my children (though I don’t have any yet) to avoid making my own mistakes and have set them straight to do the right thing.

Do you have a quote or motto you live (or work) by?
There are only two sure things in life: (1) the results you achieve, or (2) the excuses you will make as to why you did not achieve them

An experienced stock market and forex trader and professional speaker, Alessio Rastani blogs at Alessio became an overnight global internet sensation when his brutally honest and contentious comments regarding the economy on BBC News went viral last year.