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>>A friend of mine bought Apple about the same time I did, in the low- to mid-$300 range. He got out at about $390 .. and is now sorry, watching it close to $600 only a few months later.>>
Your friend is merely illustrating my point. He made a decent profit (assuming his costs were reasonable).
No matter how many times one tells investors that it's a matter of sheer blind luck to catch the very top or the very bottom, they insist upon focusing on "the one that got away".
It's a waste of time and energy to keep thinking about 'what one should have done'. Far better to focus on what professional traders do: look at a stock and figure out what it's worth, set an entry price and an exit price, perhaps with hedging to lower their costs and protect both upside/downside risks.
John Paulson was a genius in 2009 and an idiot in 2010/2011. I labeled the article "entertaining" for a reason - it is exactly that, and no more. It is interesting, but only as a divertissement.
As the article says, you're a success if you bought ten micro-caps and one of them pays off a decade or so down the line. They are a high-risk market segment, for good reason.