Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Farnam Street: Under One Roof: What Can we Learn from the Mayo Clinic? (LINK)

Lenovo Thought It Knew How to Fix Tarnished Brands—Then It Bought Motorola (LINK)

Invest Like the Best podcast: Machine Intelligence and Risk Management, with Jeremiah Lowin (LINK)

Mark Carney and Amartya Sen at the LSE -- Policy Issues Affecting the Bank of England: inflation control and social choice (audio) (LINK)

Plenty of Room at the Bottom - by Richard P. Feynman [H/T @Sanjay__Bakshi] (LINK)
This is the transcript of a talk presented by Richard P. Feynman to the American Physical Society in Pasadena on December 1959, which explores the immense possibilities afforded by miniaturization.
Book of the day: In Praise of Simple Physics: The Science and Mathematics behind Everyday Questions

Someone transcribed a reply by Debbie Millman in her podcast interview with Tim Ferriss about a 10-year plan for a remarkable life that may be worth thinking about:
“It is Winter 2027. What does your life look like? What are you doing? Where are you living? Who are you living with? Do you have pets? What kind of house are you in? Is it an apartment are you in the city are you in the country? What does your furniture look like? What is your bed like? What are your sheets like? What kind of clothes do you wear? What kind of hair do you have? Tell me about your pets, tell me about your significant other, do you have children? Do you have a car? Do you have a boat? Talk about your career? What do you want? What are you reading? What are you making? What excites you? What is your health like? Write this one day ten years from now. So one day in the winter of 2027, what does your whole day look like? Start from the minute you wake up, brush your teeth, have your coffee or tea, all the way through until minute you tuck yourself in at night. What is that day like for you? Dream big, dream without any fear. Write it all down. You don’t have to share it with anyone other than yourself. Put your whole heart into it. Write like there is no tomorrow; write like your life depends on it because it does. And then read it, once a year, and see what happens.”
That reply also reminded me of something Jeff Bezos once said:
So, it really was a decision that I had to make for myself, and the framework I found which made the decision incredibly easy was what I called -- which only a nerd would call -- a "regret minimization framework." So, I wanted to project myself forward to age 80 and say, "Okay, now I'm looking back on my life. I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have." I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. I knew that that would haunt me every day, and so, when I thought about it that way it was an incredibly easy decision. And, I think that's very good. If you can project yourself out to age 80 and sort of think, "What will I think at that time?"

Monday, January 16, 2017


Part 2 of Mohnish Pabrai on The Investors Podcast (LINK)

Why is it so Hard to Forecast the Future? - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Data Driven Business: Customer centricity in the platform revolution - Sangeet Paul Choudary (video) (LINK)
Related book: Platform Revolution
Last Lifelines Crumble for Many Greek Families as New Conflict With Creditors Looms [H/T @rationalwalk] (LINK)

For Shale Drillers, Rising Oil Prices Also Come With Rising Costs (LINK)

John Hussman's Weekly Market Comment, especially the non-investing section "On Peace", is worth a read this week (LINK)
It’s often imagined that peace is the result of sufficiently crushing one’s opponent; of inflicting so much injury and suffering that they surrender. There’s little doubt that conflicts can be ended in this way, but only at terrific cost, and with deep scars that feed later hatreds and conflicts. Others somehow come to imagine that waging peace requires one to lay down defenseless. It’s just not so. Peace doesn’t mean that one doesn’t defend oneself, or refrain from criticism. Peace doesn’t demand the absence of strength. It asks each side to see and understand the suffering of the other, whether that suffering is rooted in reality or misperception. It asks us to refrain from needlessly provoking the adversary, or to insult them in order to boost our pride. It asks us to look to address their suffering in ways that are consistent with our own security. If peace demands anything from us, it is to refrain from being infected by hatred. Dr. King recognized that: 
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." 
Even in the midst of a fight, one can still remember that the goal is reconciliation.
"Why the next generation has trouble running the corporation Daddy founded" [H/T @paulg] (LINK)

Paul Graham on charisma and power (LINK)

Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books [H/T @williamgreen72](LINK)

Friday, January 13, 2017


"The absence of definite information concerning the outcomes of actions one has not taken is probably the single most important factor that keeps regret in life within tolerable bounds....We can never be absolutely sure that we would have been happier had we chosen another profession or another spouse.... Thus, we are often protected from painful knowledge concerning the quality of our decisions." -Danny Kahneman (via The Undoing Project)

A Chat With Daniel Kahneman - by Morgan Housel (LINK)
On persistence: “When I work I have no sunk costs. I like changing my mind. Some people really don’t like it but for me changing my mind is a thrill. It’s an indication that I’m learning something. So I have no sunk costs in the sense that I can walk away from an idea that I’ve worked on for a year if I can see a better idea. It’s a good attitude for a researcher. The main track that young researchers fall into is sunk costs. They get to work on a project that doesn’t work and that is not promising but they keep at it. I think too much persistence can be bad for you in the intellectual world.”
The Sound of Silence - by Jessica Livingston (LINK)

The Risk of Discovery - by Paul Graham (LINK)

How I Got My Attention Back - by Craig Mod [H/T @StevenLevy] (LINK)

Importance of Knowing Your Investment Boundaries (Sears Mini-Case Study) - by John Huber (LINK)

Five Good Questions for Samuel Arbesman about his book Overcomplicated (LINK)

Mike Massimino on the James Altucher podcast (LINK)
Related book: Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
Exponent podcast: Episode 100 — The Anniversary Episode: iPhone and Exponent (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Real Estate — Asset, Ownership, and the Economy (LINK)

TED Talk - Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado: To solve old problems, study new species (LINK)

A Woman Was Killed By a Superbug Resistant to All 26 American Antibiotics [H/T @edyong209] (LINK)

Why Killer Whales (and Humans) Go Through Menopause - by Ed Yong (LINK)

"Energy Revolution? More like a Crawl" - Dr. Vaclav Smil

Dr. Vaclav Smil was the speaker at a TISED and Fondation 3E event in September 2015 called "Energy Revolution? More like a Crawl". He explored the current state of global and major national energy dependencies and appraised the likely speed of their transformation. In his words, "The desirable development of new renewables should not be guided by wishful preferences and arbitrary targets. Using more energy, albeit more efficiently and with lower specific environmental effects, is unlikely to change our fortunes — yet no serious consideration has been given to how to use less, much less."

Link to video


Related previous post: Vaclav Smil video: Energy Transitions

Related books, HERE.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Warren Buffett in New HBO Documentary: ‘I’m Getting Down to Salvage Value’ (LINK)

The Benjamin Graham Financial Network - By Jason Zweig (LINK)

Narrative and Numbers: How a number cruncher learned to tell stories! - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)
Related book (just released): Narrative and Numbers: The Value of Stories in Business
National Western Stock Show Citizen of the West John Malone known for loyalty, can-do Western spirit [H/T @FrancoOlivera] (LINK)
Related book: Cable Cowboy: John Malone and the Rise of the Modern Cable Business
a16z Podcast: Machine Intelligence, from University to Industry (LINK)

Six Questions for Shane Parrish (LINK)

Stephen Hawking’s Productive Laziness (LINK)
In the 1980s, at the height of his intellectual productivity, Stephen Hawking used to head home from his office between five and six. He rarely worked later. 
Here’s how he explained his behavior to his PhD student Bruce Allen (now a professor at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics): 
“Bruce, here’s some advice: The problem with physics is that most of the days we don’t make any major headway (on our projects). That’s why you should do other stuff: listen to music, meet good friends. There’s one exception to this rule: If you find a solution for a given problem, you work 24 hours a day and forget everything else. Until the problem is solved in its entirety.”
A Break in the Search for the Origin of Complex Life (LINK)

Book of the day: Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety (There is also a PBS documentary that originated from this book, which aired a couple of days ago, HERE. And be sure to check out the Freeman Dyson bonus video, HERE.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Howard Marks Memo: Expert Opinion

Link to: Expert Opinion
In August, I mentioned that I had chosen the title “Political Reality” for my memo in part because of my liking for oxymorons.  I classed that title with other internally contradictory statements, such as “jumbo shrimp” and “common sense.”  Now I’m going to discuss one more: “expert opinion.”  
This memo was inspired by a thought that popped into my head when the outcome of the election settled in.  You may point out that at the end of my November 14 memo “Go Figure!,” I said I wouldn’t write any more about politics.  True, but I didn’t say I wouldn’t think about politics.  Anyway, this memo isn’t about politics, it’s about opinions. 
Last spring I attended a dinner where one of Hillary Clinton’s senior advisers was soliciting input, as she and her campaign were struggling to come up with an effective counter to Bernie Sanders’s populist message.  Most of those present expressed frustration on the subject, until an experienced, connected Democrat assured everyone, “Don’t worry.  She’ll win.  The math is irresistible.”  The Hillary supporters were relieved, and he turned out to be right: she won the nomination going away. 
In late October, with the issue of Clinton’s private email server and the FBI’s new investigation further dogging her, that same seasoned Democrat was asked whether the election was in jeopardy.  “Don’t worry,” he said.  “She’ll win.  The math is irresistible.”  We all know the result. 
The opinions of experts concerning the future are accorded great weight . . . but they’re still just opinions.  Experts may be right more often than the rest of us, but they’re unlikely to be right all the time, or anything close to it.  This year’s election season gave us plenty of opportunities to see expert opinion in action.  I’ll start this memo by reflecting on them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Some nice footage of Katharine Graham in 1977 at the 55:38 mark in THIS VIDEO, and at about the 25-minute mark in THIS VIDEO.

An Expert Called Lindy - by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (LINK)
Related book: Antifragile (or the whole collection: INCERTO)
Nassim Taleb also just gave a 5-star Amazon review to the book Perilous Interventions: The Security Council and the Politics of Chaos.

Chuck Klosterman: "But What If We're Wrong" | Talks At Google (LINK)
Related book: But What If We're Wrong?
My Friends are Way Smarter than Me - by Shane Parrish (LINK)

Davis Funds’ Unconventional Wisdom [H/T Will] (LINK)

5 Reasons I’m Optimistic About Africa - By Bill Gates (LINK)

Bill Gross' January 2017 Investment Outlook: "Echoes from Africa" (LINK)

Candy and gum are no longer Mars’ biggest business [H/T Matt] (LINK)

Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ): Bruce Cozadd’s $7 Billion Decision - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Product Study: iPhone - by Max Olson (LINK)

Barry Ritholtz talks with Dana Telsey on the Masters in Business podcast (LINK)

U.S.-Canada Paper Dispute Shows Unintended Results of Import Tariffs (LINK)

Sir James Goldsmith on Charlie Rose in 1994 (video) [H/T Venkatesh Rao (video)] (LINK)
Related books: 1) Billionaire: The Life and Times of Sir James Goldsmith; 2) The Trap - by James Goldsmith
Francis Fukuyama on Charlie Rose in 2011 (video) [H/T Venkatesh Rao (video)] (LINK)
Related books: 1) The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution; 2) Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy
Helen Czerski on the Inquiring Minds podcast (audio) [H/T @mikedariano] (LINK)
Related book: Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
What is DNA and How Does it Work? (video) [H/T Fred Wilson] (LINK)

A male Japanese macaque monkey has been caught in the act of trying to mate with two Sika deer (LINK)

My God. It’s Full of Black Holes. - By Phil Plait (LINK)

Scientists Predict Star Collision Visible To The Naked Eye In 2022 [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Monday, January 9, 2017


"Our experience has been that the manager of an already high-cost operation frequently is uncommonly resourceful in finding  new ways to add to overhead, while the manager of a tightly-run operation usually continues to find additional methods to curtail  costs, even when his costs are already well below those of his competitors." -Warren Buffett, 1978 Letter to Shareholders (Kindle)

Mohnish Pabrai on The Investors Podcast (LINK)

I finally had a chance to watch Chris Mayer's September MicroCap Leadership Summit presentation on 100-Baggers, and I highly recommend it. He also mentioned a couple of things worth checking out if you have never read them: 1) An Investor's Odyssey: The Search for Outstanding Investments - by Chuck Akre; and 2) Silent Investor, Silent Loser - by Martin Sosnoff

Henry Blodget interviews Ray Dalio [H/T Barry Ritholtz] (LINK)

Inside Sears' death spiral: How an iconic American brand has been driven to the edge of bankruptcy [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Magic Eludes Bubble-Caller Jeremy Grantham, as Assets at GMO Drop by More Than $40 Billion [H/T Matt] (LINK)

Banks rush to bond market ahead of rates rise (LINK)
Banks have flooded the market with debt in the first days of the new year, propelling a record pace of bond sales as companies seek to lock in borrowing costs before interest rates rise further. 
The sales have been met with ample investor appetite ahead of the fourth-quarter earnings season, when the majority of US banks are expected to report improved profitability. 
Banks have sold $42bn of the near $73bn of corporate debt issued so far this year, including a $5.25bn offering from Citigroup, a $5bn deal by Barclays and a $4bn sale from Credit Suisse, according to Dealogic. The issuance has bolstered overall activity at the start of the new year, with two of the 20 busiest corporate bond trading days on record set in the first three trading days of 2017. 
Grandmasters of Work - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Latticework Of Mental Models: Planning Fallacy (LINK)

The Ten Year Anniversary of the Apple TV - by Ben Thompson (LINK)
On January 9, 2007, ten years ago today, Steve Jobs took the Macworld stage and introduced the Apple TV. 
That the iPhone had to share the stage the same day it was unveiled to the world is a footnote in history, especially given the degree to which that history has been indelibly shaped by the most consequential device the tech industry has ever produced.
Tim Ferriss: If You're Not Happy With What You Have, You Might Never Be Happy (LINK)

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Cicero used to be boring. With Trump around, he’s breathtaking. (LINK)
Related book: On Duties
It’s Time for Investor Fees to Go Even Lower - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Oscar is Disrupting Health Care in a Hurricane - by Steven Levy (LINK)

Tren Griffin's Advice for Twitter (LINK)

16 Questions About Self Driving Cars (video) (LINK)

Vikram Mansharamani on the demand for avocados (LINK)

Thieves in Italy targeting precious Parmiggiano Reggiano [H/T Abnormal Returns] (LINK)

An Ingenious Experiment of Jungle Bats and Evolving Artificial Flowers - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Friday, January 6, 2017


‘James Bond of Philanthropy’ Gives Away the Last of His Fortune (LINK)
Related book: The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away a Fortune
One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die [H/T Tim Ferriss, who also interviewed B.J. Miller HERE.] (LINK)
How B.J. Miller, a doctor and triple amputee, used his own experience to pioneer a new model of palliative care at a small, quirky hospice in San Francisco.
The Two Types of Knowledge in the World - by Ben Carlson (LINK)

10 Qualities of Great Investors - by Vishal Khandelwal (LINK)

Five Good Questions for Martin Ford about his book Rise of the Robots (video) (LINK)

The Seven Stages Of Robot Replacement - by Kevin Kelly [H/T The Browser] (LINK)
Related book: The Inevitable
Exponent Podcast: Episode 099 — Fate Has a Sense of Irony (LINK)
Ben and James discuss Amazon Alexa and the history of operating systems
Tendrils of Mess in our Brains - by Sarah Perry (LINK)

Investing thought of the day:
"So how do you really understand and gain that great insight? Pick one business. Any business. And truly understand it. I tell my interns to work through this exercise – imagine a distant relative passes away and you find out that you have inherited 100% of a business they owned. What are you going to do about it? That is the mentality to take when looking at any business. I strongly encourage you to start and understand one business, inside out. That is better than any training possible. It does not have to be a great business, it could be any business. You need to be able to get a feel for how you would do as a 100% owner. If you can do that, you will have a tremendous leg up against the competition. Most people don’t take that first concept correctly and it is quite sad. People view it as a piece of paper and just trade because it is easy to trade. But if it was a business you inherited, you would not be trading. You would really seek out knowledge on how it should be run, how it works. If you start with that, you will eventually know how much that business is worth." -Li Lu (from back in 2010)