Monday, May 22, 2017


From The Daily Stoic:
“When children stick their hand down a narrow goody jar they can’t get their full fist out and start crying. Drop a few treats and you will get it out! Curb your desire—don’t set your heart on so many things and you will get what you need.” —Epictetus 
...“Don’t set your heart on so many things,” says Epictetus. Prioritize. Train your mind to ask: Do I need this thing? What will happen if I do not get it? Can I make do without it? 
The answers to these questions will help you relax, help you cut out all the needless things that make you busy—too busy to be balanced or happy.

Friday, May 19, 2017


I will be without internet for most of the next couple of weeks. I have a couple of posts and a few quotes scheduled, but there will likely be few—and possibly zero—compilations of links during that time.

Stephen Penman: Value vs. Growth Investing and the Value Trap (video) (LINK)
Related books: 1) Accounting for Value; 2) Financial Statement Analysis and Security Valuation
Nassim Taleb on Bloomberg (video) (LINK)

The Brooklyn Investor blog on high management fees (LINK)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s I/O 2017 keynote (video) (LINK)

Exponent podcast: Episode 115 — Business Matters (LINK)
Ben and James discuss Google I/O, the importance of business relative to technology, and why Uber is in trouble.
Congress, the Doctors Will See You Now - by Ed Yong (LINK)
Incensed by attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, several Democratic physicians are planning to run for office.
This week, I finished the audiobook of Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage. It was incredible, and now I'm looking forward to watching the documentary that was made about the voyage: Shackleton's Voyage Of Endurance (Nova - PBS Documentary)

Thursday, May 18, 2017


The Advantage Of Being A Little Underemployed - by Morgan Housel (LINK)
Related previous post: Deep Work sessions, and tips
John Malone on trust (LINK)

Brazil stocks plunge 10% on emerging political scandal (LINK)

Union Square's Wilson on VC Market, Twitter, Snap & Uber (video) (LINK)

Boring Google - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

a16z Podcast: For Your Ears Only (LINK)
When it comes to spycraft — or rather, “tradecraft,” as they say in the biz — what do the movies get right, and what do they get wrong? In this episode of the a16z Podcast (recorded while on the road in D.C. for our annual Tech Policy Summit), Michael Morell — former Deputy Director and twice-Acting Director of the CIA — talks all things tradecraft and tech with a16z partners Matt Spence and Hanne Tidnam.
Poli'ahu: Time-lapse of telescopes and stars dancing under Hawaiian skies (LINK)


As I've mentioned before on this blog:
When it comes to the macro, I like to take the approach of being a risk-identifier--as opposed to being a forecaster--and so listening to people who are intelligent and spend way more time on certain macro things than I do helps me get a sense for whether or not I might be missing something big while I spend most of my time thinking about individual companies.
And in the above light, I recently read Steve Keen's latest book, Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis? It was great overview of the importance of private debt in the economy, where many countries currently stand in regards to private debt levels, and what risks that might entail. While many of the major debt risks have been well described elsewhere in regards to places like China and Hong Kong, he mentions several others and gives a great overview of Minsky's 'Financial Instability Hypothesis' on pages 14-21. Timing of when debt burdens becoming too unsustainable is hard or impossible to predict (which is a reason why, most of the time, value investors ignore the macro), but Keen does give some plausible reasons for why the Australian and Canadian economies in which many, including Keen, have been warning about for years seem likely to finally hit a big rough patch at some point within the next 3 years or so. Keen also has some good charts on country-by-country debt levels on his website, HERE

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


While in Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting this year, I enjoyed meeting and chatting with Jon Boyar from Boyar Research, as well as reading an interview Jon and his father Mark did with Kate Welling last year. To help showcase their work as well as provide some value to readers of this blog, Jon and the team have agreed to provide a link to some of the reports that they believe are still timely, including the recent Conduent Inc. spinoff from Xerox. To access the reports, you'll just need to provide your name, company, and email address at the following link: Boyar Research Complimentary Report: CNDT, HBI, ABT


What Henry Ford understood about wages - by Seth Godin (LINK)

Amazon is hiring people to break into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market (LINK)

Household Debt Makes a Comeback in the U.S. (LINK)

The Amazing Dinosaur Found (Accidentally) by Miners in Canada [H/T Linc] (LINK)

My Family’s Slave - by Alex Tizon [H/T @edyong209] (LINK)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


A good 14-part Twitter thread from Bill Gates, with advice to college graduates (LINK)
Related book: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
Michael Mauboussin on the Invest Like the Best podcast (LINK)

From Jobs to Flying Cars: An Interview with Marc Andreessen (audio) (LINK)

Morgan Creek Capital Management's Q1 Letter (LINK)

Amazon’s 49,000% Gain: The Most ‘Super’ of ‘Superstocks’ Since 1926 - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

20 Years On, Amazon and Jeff Bezos Prove Naysayers Wrong - by Andrew Ross Sorkin (LINK)
Twenty years ago this week, went public. 
Skeptics of Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, have spent the better part of the past two decades second-guessing and vilifying him: He has been described as “a monopolist,” “literary enemy No. 1,” “a notorious international tax dodger,” impossible, a ruthless boss and — more than once — “Lex Luthor.” His company used to routinely be described as Amazon.con. 
But you know what? 
Here we are, 20 years later, and Mr. Bezos has an authentic, legitimate claim on having changed the way we live.
The Innovator’s Dilemma Hits Higher Ed [H/T Matt] (LINK)
Last month’s announcement that Indiana’s Purdue University would acquire the for-profit Kaplan University shocked the world of higher education. The Purdue faculty are up in arms. The merger faces a series of regulatory obstacles. And it’s unclear whether the “New U,” as the entity is temporarily named, can be operationally viable or financially successful. 
But Purdue’s president, Mitch Daniels, is willing to give it a shot. 
The venture is unexpected, unconventional and smart. The nature of the partnership—in which Kaplan will transfer its assets to Purdue, a public university—is unprecedented. It’s also a rare instance of attempted self-disruption.
The Manual of Ideas' interview with Alex Rubalcava of Stage Venture Partners (LINK)

How to Invent the Future with Alan Kay (videos) (Part 1, Part 2)

Grant's Interest Rate Observer has put some free material online HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Everyone's Got a Bill Belichick Story [H/T @PeterAttiaMD] (LINK)

TED Talk - Lucy Kalanithi: What makes life worth living in the face of death (LINK)
Related book: When Breath Becomes Air
A Remote Paradise Island Is Now a Plastic Junkyard (LINK)

Monday, May 15, 2017


For Audible members, Audible's latest 2 for 1 sale has some good titles. (LINK) [If you're not a member yet, and haven't yet done a free trial, you can get a free trial and 2 free audiobook credits by signing up HERE. And given the 2 for 1 sale, you could get 4 free books instead of 2 with the free trial. I got through about half of Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage on a car trip over the weekend, and it's both great so far and included in the Audible sale.]

The transcript from Warren Buffett's appearance on CNBC late week [H/T Peter and Eli] (LINK)

How I Built This podcast -- Whole Foods Market: John Mackey (LINK)

Taking the bull case for Valeant seriously - by John Hempton (LINK)

Amit Wadhwaney's letter at Moerus Funds from a few months ago [H/T @chriswmayer] (LINK)

Grant's Podcast: Vol’ is the only asset class -- The ABCs, and the XYZs, of volatility with Christopher Cole of Artemis Capital Management (LINK)

Why Amazon is eating the world (LINK)

Retail Ripe For And Resistant To Disruption (LINK)

Aldi raises stakes in US price war with Wal-Mart [H/T Matt] (LINK)

WannaCry About Business Models  - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Book of the day (updated for 2017): The One Hour China Book

Sunday, May 14, 2017


Bruce Greenwald: Channeling Graham and Dodd (LINK)
A good active investing process consists of a value orientation, specialization, and, to be in the upper half of the return distribution, reliability. Buffett isn’t telling you the full story, because he doesn’t want to create competition for himself. He is saying yes, by all means do passive investing, but [he isn’t saying that] to people who understand and apply these principles in a disciplined way. Is he going to do passive investing himself? Of course not. And remember, even with this trend, 70% of people are doing active investing. And passive is not so passive. These guys jigger the models all the time. The nightmare scenario for value investors isn’t passive investing; it’s everybody takes a value approach. 
What do you tell your students? 
I tell them—which they don’t like at all—that they have to specialize. If you go to a firm, and they have you doing autos for one month and consumer nondurables for another month, and then they start you looking at financials, you aren’t going to master any of it. You are going to make stupid investment decisions, and they are going to fire you. You want to spend two to three years developing a specialty. When you get good at that, you can start to develop a second specialty. Once you appreciate what specialized knowledge of an industry looks like, then you have to be disciplined about looking in that area and at the disasters there. So if you have three specialties, two in industries hitting on all cylinders and the third is underperforming, where will you spend all your time? The underperforming one, so you can assess the probability of recovery.
The Dot-Com Boom and Bust - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Assembling a Dream Team: How Gender Diversity Can Strengthen Your Team - by Michael Mauboussin, et al. (LINK)

Aldi case study (2005) (LINK)

The Panera Bread Story – Told by Founder Ron Shaich (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Quantum Computing, Now and Next (LINK)

92nd Street Y: Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant in Conversation with Katie Couric (video) (LINK)
Related book: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
92nd Street Y: A mind-expanding tour of the cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Robert Krulwich (video) (LINK)
Related book: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Friday, May 12, 2017


Art De Vany talks with Tim Ferriss (podcast) (LINK)
Related book (my favorite on health/diet):  The New Evolution Diet
Aswath Damodaran: "The Value of Stories in Business" | Talks at Google (LINK)
Related book: Narrative and Numbers: The Value of Stories in Business
Grant's Podcast: The costs of tranquility -- A talk with Dean Curnutt, founder and CEO of Macro Risk Advisors (LINK)

Ray Dalio's latest thoughts [H/T Market Folly] (LINK)

Exponent podcast: Episode 114 — The Job of Local News (LINK)

The Confusion Over the New Ebola Outbreak - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, May 11, 2017


"The greatest portion of peace of mind is doing nothing wrong. Those who lack self-control live disoriented and disturbed lives." -Seneca (via The Daily Stoic)

Berkshire Meeting Notes – Daily Improvement, Business Evolution, and Investment Strategy - by John Huber (LINK)

Identifying Managers with Talent and Integrity - by Robert Vinall (LINK)

Latticework of Mental Models: Zeigarnik Effect (LINK)

James Michener’s Nomadic Pursuit of Depth - by Cal Newport (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Boards, from Both Sides of the Table (LINK)

Edge #492: The Threat - A Conversation With Ross Anderson (LINK)

The Myth That Humans Have Poor Smell Is Nonscents - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T Jim Grant]: Risk - by John Adams

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


A great 15-minute video interview with Charlie Munger the day after the annual meeting (LINK)

CNBC Excerpts: Billionaire Investor Warren Buffett on CNBC's "Squawk Box" (LINK) [If you haven't watched them yet, the list of video clips are in Monday's links.]

Spring 2017 issue of Graham & Doddsville (LINK)

Expectations - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

JAMIE DIMON: There is a 'national catastrophe' and 'we should be ringing the alarm bells' [H/T @pcordway] (LINK)

Selling our Telecom position - by John Hempton (LINK)

The dark side of platform monopoly (LINK)

The Making of a Friendly Microbe - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Now That We Can Read Genomes, Can We Write Them? - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @morganhousel]: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History