Popular Carl Icahn Quotes

In life and business, there are two cardinal sins, the first is to act precipitously without thought, and the second is to not act at all. Unfortunately the board of directors and top management of Times Warner already committed the first sin by merging with AOL, and we believe they are currently in the process of committing the second; now is not a time to move slowly and suffer the paralysis of inaction.


We have bloated bureaucracies in Corporate America. The root of the problem is the absence of real corporate democracy.


I look at companies as businesses, while Wall Street analysts look for quarterly earnings performance. I buy assets and potential productivity. Wall Street buys earnings, so they miss a lot of things that I see in certain situations.


The game for me is – just a game.


I’m no Robin Hood. I enjoy making the money.


I was always a good chess player.


In risk there is reward…


The cardinal rule is to have enough capital at the end of the day.


When you have no one to answer to, vendetta as investment strategy is as legitimate as anything.


You learn in this business: It you want a friend, get a dog.


I’m a cynic about corporate democracy and boards.


I enjoy the hunt much more than the ‘good life’ after the victory.


In 2008, people who invested in hedge funds needed capital badly, but many of the funds would not return their money. However, I gave money back to any investor who requested it. It was the bottom of the market and a pretty tough time.


“How can one airline pay one guy $120,000 a year when the guy at the other airline is flying the same plane for $30,000 or $40,000? It makes no sense. The company will go bankrupt. You’ll get another two years out of it, and they’ll go bust, and what good does that do you? Like the steel industry. The union did such a great job that they lost their jobs. They lost the industry! If the unions do too good a job, it’s no good,”


“I sit on a lot of boards…I don’t have to watch Saturday Night Live anymore, I just sit at the board meetings. I will tell you it’s a sad commentary that we have an inability to compete. You can blame unions to some extent. But the real problem is that boards – there’s a symbiotic relationship between boards and CEOs today. And as a result, there is no way to hold these guys accountable except when someone like myself comes along or some other person who is really well to challenge them. But you have to go through contortions. There is no corporate democracy.”


“If we are psychoanalyzing each other, why don’t you admit what you really care about is your job, and you are afraid I am going to take it away from you,”