Friday, July 21, 2017

Autonomy, mastery, and purpose...

From Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us:
The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table: Pay people enough so that they’re not thinking about money and they’re thinking about the work. Once you do that, it turns out there are three factors that the science shows lead to better performance, not to mention personal satisfaction: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

H/T Rob Vinall of RV Capital on the above, which I had read before, but I enjoyed reviewing Pink's ideas, as well his TED Talk, RSA Animate video, and an old HBR podcast. I also enjoyed what Vinall wrote about the idea in his latest investor letter:
According to Dan what motivates people is autonomy (the sense of freedom to do what you want), mastery (the sense of getting better at something through practice), and, above all, purpose (the sense that there is a point in what you are doing). If you are still sceptical, imagine your parents’ reaction if you tossed them a tip after they finished preparing dinner for the family. 
A quick aside: if you are wondering which career path to go down or advising a younger person on the same question, I believe Dan´s mental model is a far more actionable one than the more traditional advice of “follow your passion”. If you have been playing the violin since the age of 5 and it is all you ever wanted to do, that is great. Back in the real world, if you have not got a clue what you want to do, look for a company that gives you autonomy, the opportunity to learn, and is doing something meaningful. Irrespective of what the company makes or what service it provides, the passion will come.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Another great 2006 quote from Howard Marks, that is probably worth thinking hard about today:
The workings of free capital markets require that in order to overcome investors’ innate aversion to risk, seemingly riskier investments must offer the possibility of higher returns providing “risk premiums.” But when risk aversion is at cyclical lows, risk premiums needn’t be generous; people will invest anyway. Too many people trying to dine at the buffet simultaneously can lead to a disorderly process and skimpy portions. I recommend that you look twice at the cost of admission and – if you do decide to partake – proceed carefully.
Horizon Kinetics' Q2 Conference Call Slides [H/T @chriswmayer] (LINK) [And Commentary HERE.]

Where Are the Dips? The Weird, Unsettling Rise of Global Stocks This Year (LINK)
Stock markets go up and down: It is a fact of life. Except in 2017. 
Three major stock-market benchmarks in the U.S., Europe and Asia have avoided pullbacks this year, commonly defined as 5% declines from recent highs. Never in at least the past 30 years have all three indexes—the S&P 500, MSCI Europe and MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan—gone a calendar year without falling at some point by at least 5%.
Bill Gross' July 2017 Investment Outlook (LINK)

It’s never too late to succeed: How this 60-year-old founder took her business from zero to $500 million in 6 years [H/T Matt] (LINK)
Related video: The RealReal's Julie Wainwright Had to Get Out of Town After
The surest way to go broke in America today is to get sick. (LINK)
Related book: An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back
Graham Allison: "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Why I Hate Adverbs - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

HBR IdeaCast podcast: Nike's Co-founder on Innovation, Culture, and Succession (LINK)
Related book: Shoe Dog
Freakonomics Radio (podcast): These Shoes Are Killing Me! (LINK)
The human foot is an evolutionary masterpiece, far more functional than we give it credit for. So why do we encase it in "a coffin" (as one foot scholar calls it) that stymies so much of its ability — and may create more problems than it solves?
Revisionist History podcast: "The King of Tears" (LINK)
In this week's episode, I identify a musical divide in America - the sad song line. I wanted to know: why does half the country prefer rock n' roll music, while the other half prefers country? And what is it about some music that makes us so sad? 
The questions begged for answers. So I tracked down the King of Tears himself, a man who has written more sad songs than almost anyone else, to find out.
The Man Who Blew The Door Off The Microbial World - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


"While it's true that only large positions can get you into trouble, it's equally true that only large positions can make a big contribution. (This is one of the great dilemmas in investing.)" -Howard Marks (Source)

Apollo Asia Fund: the manager's report for 2Q17 (LINK)
We are patient with companies which are having short-term difficulties - perhaps to a fault, but when managers respond to each setback with sensible steps, the results are usually good in the end, and we sometimes learn more about the business characteristics during such periods. When our confidence dwindles, however, we pay more and more attention, and may trim; if it is lost, we try to exit completely, rather than trying to be too clever about the price.
Conversations with Tyler (podcast): Atul Gawande on Priorities, Big and Small (LINK)

How Digital Platforms Increase Inequality (LINK)

Waking Up podcast: Sam Harris talks with Geoffrey West (LINK)
Related book: Scale
Waking Up podcast: Sam Harris talks with Scott Adams (LINK)

The Tim Ferriss Show: Morning Routines and Strategies (podcast) (LINK)
This is a special episode of the podcast. After more than 200 conversations with the world's top performers, you start to spot certain patterns. These are the shared habits, hacks, philosophies, and tools that are the common threads of success, happiness, health, and wealth. These commonalities were the premise of my most recent book, The New York Times #1 bestseller Tools of Titans -- a compilation of my favorite lessons, routines, and tips of many of my guests. In this episode, I've gathered some of the best advice from past guests about morning routines.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


"There is nothing reliable to be learned about making money.  If there were, study would be intense and everyone with a positive IQ would be rich." -John Kenneth Galbraith

Mark Yusko on the Superinvestors and the Art of Worldly Wisdom podcast (LINK)

Invest Like the Best podcast: Rishi Ganti - Esoteric Assets (LINK)

Ryan Holiday talks about his new book, Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts, with James Altucher (podcast) (LINK)

Danny Meyer says this is the biggest challenge facing the restaurant industry [H/T Matt] (LINK)

Aswath Damodaran on CNBC (video) [H/T Matt] (LINK)

Turning Baker’s Yeast Into a Disease Sensor - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Monday, July 17, 2017


"A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.... Past thinking and methods did not prevent world wars. Future thinking must prevent wars." -Albert Einstein

Tom Russo on WealthTrack (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Ed Thorp talks with Barry Ritholtz on the Masters in Business podcast (LINK)
Related book: A Man for All Markets
Grant’s Podcast: Hits and misses (LINK)

How I Built This podcast -- Aden + Anais: Raegan Moya-Jones (LINK)

FT Alphachat podcast: Tim Harford talks to Cardiff Garcia about his book Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy (LINK)

Amazon Prime and other Subscription Businesses: How do you Value a Subscriber? - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Greenlight Capital's Q2 Letter (LINK)

A Bird in the Hand is Worth…Two Marshmallows? - by Frank Martin (LINK)

GMO White Paper: Revisiting the Traditional Emerging Market Equities Allocation Framework (LINK)

From $2 Billion to Zero: A Private-Equity Fund Goes Bust in the Oil Patch ($) [H/T @williamgreen72] (LINK)

Tencent Dominates in China. Next Challenge Is Rest of the World [H/T @BaseHitInvestor] (LINK)

Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems - by Jay Wright Forrester (1971 paper) [H/T Adam Robinson] (LINK)

When Slower Communication Enables Faster Growth (LINK)

A History of Japan, in 9 minutes (video) [H/T Recomendo] (LINK)

Why fast birds, fish and animals are never too small or big (LINK)

What Would It Take to Completely Sterilize the Earth? - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Books of the day:

A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age [Released tomorrow]

Crash Early, Crash Often [Kindle book]

Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want

"If you feel a negative emotion, including fear, your attention is on the wrong place.  Your attention should be focused on one of two things: the task at hand, or other people." -Adam Robinson (Source)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Mohnish Pabrai Lecture at Univ. of California, Irvine (UCI), June 7, 2017

In his talk at the University of California at Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, Mohnish discusses five decisions by Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger over a 20-year period (1968 – 1988) that moved the needle for Berkshire. Mohnish also talks about some of the intense difficulties that Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger faced along the way. No pain, no gain!

Link to video

Friday, July 14, 2017

Seneca quote (seize the day)

Via The Daily Stoic:
“Let us therefore set out whole-heartedly, leaving aside our many distractions and exert ourselves in this single purpose, before we realize too late the swift and unstoppable flight of time and are left behind. As each day arises, welcome it as the very best day of all, and make it your own possession. We must seize what flees.” -Seneca

Thursday, July 13, 2017


"It’s all in how you perceive it. You’re in control. You can dispense with misperception at will, like rounding the point. Serenity, total calm, safe anchorage." - Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)

Berkshire Aims for Fast Regulatory Action on Oncor Deal [H/T Linc] ($) (LINK)
Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co. is racing to get Texas regulators to sign off on its takeover of Oncor in an effort to outpace Elliott Management Corp., a hedge fund with its own designs on the energy-grid business. 
Warren Buffett uses this simple psychological trick to be persuasive and so can you, says influence expert [H/T Daniel] (LINK)
Bob Cialdini dissects what the "Oracle of Omaha" does that makes us want to believe in him.
Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat: General Lori Robinson Gets Five Stars From Attendees [H/T Linc] (LINK)
The other session that had people talking was this morning’s session where well-known hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller and Baupost Group’s Seth Klarman (also a hedge fund manager) told the executives that many people confuse the performance of the stock market with the health of our economy, but that is not necessarily a great indicator.
Bank for International Settlements: 87th Annual Report [H/T Barry Ritholtz] (LINK)
The Dark Side of Globalization: An Update on Country Risk! - Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

Publishers and the Pursuit of the Past - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

A Man in a Hurry: Claude Shannon’s New York Years [H/T The Browser] (LINK)
By day, Claude Shannon labored on top-secret war projects at Bell Labs. By night, he worked out the details of information theory
A Conversation with Malcolm Gladwell: Revisiting Brown v. Board [H/T The Browser] (LINK)

Revisionist History podcast: The Prime Minister and the Prof (LINK)
How does friendship influence political power? The story of Winston Churchill’s close friend and confidant — an eccentric scientist named Frederick Lindemann — whose connection to Churchill altered the course of British policy in World War II. And not in a good way.
Ravens Can Plan for the Future - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


"To have a true investment there must be present a true margin of safety. And a true margin of safety is one that can be demonstrated by figures, by persuasive reasoning, and by reference to a body of actual experience." -Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor [H/T Jason Zweig]

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Moves Away From Stock Picking (LINK)

Visa Takes War on Cash to Restaurants (LINK)
Visa Inc. has a new offer for small merchants: take thousands of dollars from the card giant to upgrade their payment technology. In return, the businesses must stop accepting cash. 
The company unveiled the initiative on Wednesday as part of a broader effort to steer Americans away from using old-fashioned paper money. Visa says it is planning to give $10,000 apiece to up to 50 restaurants and food vendors to pay for their technology and marketing costs, as long as the businesses pledge to start what Visa executive Jack Forestell calls a “journey to cashless.”
A New Record High for U.S. Consumer Debt (LINK)

Raoul Pal talks with Jesse Felder on the Superinvestors and the Art of Worldly Wisdom podcast (LINK)

Left or Right? Thoreau Wouldn’t Have Understood the Question (LINK)

Thoreau at 200: Reflections on "Walden" (video) (LINK)

Ten things you don’t know about asteroids (and impacts thereof) - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Scientists Can Use CRISPR to Store Images and Movies in Bacteria - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Transcript: June 29, 2017, Fairholme Capital Management Public Conference Call [H/T Linc] (LINK)

An Interview with Famed Value Investor Guy Spier (podcast and transcript) [H/T Linc] (LINK)

NYC based venture capitalist Jerry Neumann talks with Patrick O'Shaughnessy (podcast) (LINK)

a16z Podcast: The Golden Era of Productivity, Retail, and Supply Chains (LINK)
Related books: 1) An Extraordinary Time; 2) The Great A&P; 3) The Box
Cialdini Asks: Richard Thaler (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Edge 495: Things to Hang on Your Mental Mug Tree - A Conversation With Rory Sutherland (LINK)

Sea Spiders Pump Blood With Their Guts, Not Their Hearts - by Ed Yong (LINK)

It's a Mistake to Focus Just on Animal Extinctions - by Ed Yong (LINK)

One Man's Plan to Make Sure Gene Editing Doesn't Go Haywire - by Ed Yong (LINK)