Wednesday, February 22, 2017


For today only, to celebrate their recent corporate reputation score, you can get $8.62 off any order of $50 or more on Amazon by entering the code BIGTHANKS at checkout. And as always, you can support this blog by shopping on Amazon through THIS LINK.


"When an enterprise pursues questionable accounting policies, all its securities must be shunned by the investor, no matter how safe or attractive some of them may appear.... You cannot make a quantitative deduction to allow for an unscrupulous management; the only way to deal with such situations is to avoid them." -Benjamin Graham & David Dodd (Security Analysis)

The $143bn flop: How Warren Buffett and 3G lost Unilever (LINK)

Jay Wintrob of Oaktree Capital at the LSE Alternative Investments Conference [last month] (video) (LINK)

Grant's Interest Rate Observer now has a podcast (audio) [H/T @svafier] (Episode 1, Episode 2)

[From 2014] The Dentist Office Software Story - by Fred Wilson (LINK)
This story is designed to illustrate the fact that software alone is a commodity. There is nothing stopping anyone from copying the feature set, making it better, cheaper, and faster. And they will do that. This is the reality that Brad and I stared at in 2003 as we were developing our initial investment thesis for USV. We saw the cloud coming but did not want to invest in commodity software delivered in the cloud. So we asked ourselves, “what will provide defensibility” and the answer we came to was networks of users, transactions, or data inside the software. We felt that if an entrepreneur could include something other than features and functions in their software, something that was not a commodity, then their software would be more defensible. 
LSE Literary Festival 2017 | Messy: How to be creative and resilient in a tidy-minded world (audio) (LINK)
Related book: Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives 
The opportunity for telcos in the coming platform revolution (LINK)

a16z Podcast: When Will Genomics Live Up to the Hype? (LINK)

Brain Pickings: Bruce Lee’s Never Before Revealed Letters to Himself About Authenticity, Personal Development, and the Measure of Success (LINK)

Book of the day (released yesterday) [H/T @PeterDiamandis]: Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


The videos of Charlie Munger after the Daily Journal Annual Meeting was over [H/T @itzarjun] (LINK)

Nassim Taleb at the 2017 ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival: Of Black Swans and Intellectual Fallacies (video) (LINK)

A Conversation with Elon Musk at the 2017 World Government Summit (video) [H/T Exploring Markets] (LINK)

A collection of links to Q4 2016 investor letters and reports (LINK)

Michael Mauboussin on the Odd Lots podcast (LINK)

Alex Moazed on the Invest Like the Best podcast (LINK) ["Software alone is a commodity. The value is in the ecosystem."]
Related book: Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate the 21st Century Economy
Ben Thompson explains the great unbundling | Code Media 2017 (video) (LINK)

Manifestos and Monopolies - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

A16z -- How ‘Going Direct’ Changes Everything: for Brands, Retail, Marketing, and Advertising (video) (LINK)

As Obesity Rises, Remote Pacific Islands Plan to Abandon Junk Food (LINK)

‘Meditating mice’ reveal secrets of mindfulness training (LINK)

Monday, February 20, 2017


"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way." -Christopher Morley

"If you're doing something every day for your lifewhich is hopefully a long time—and you're not enjoying it, then you're wasting your life.... We only get one life...The only thing that makes sense is to try to maximize our satisfaction with our lives. If you get to be 70, 80, 90 years old and you look back and say, 'Damn, I should have X, Y, Z'; it's unfixable. That's what you must think about. How will I feel about my life at the end?" -Howard Marks [via the interview linked to below, where he also mentioned the Morley quote above as being a favorite.]

Charlie Munger's two handouts from the DJCO Annual Meeting [H/T @farnamstreet]: 1) Parody on the Great Recession; 2) A 1984 Draft Piece on the Stock Market

Charlie Munger on Getting Rich, Wisdom, Focus, Fake Knowledge and More (LINK)

Howard Marks on the Masters in Business podcast (LINK)

A Dozen Lessons About Product/Market Fit - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Aswath Damodaran puts a valuation on Snap ahead of it's IPO (LINK)

How I Built This podcast -- Crate & Barrel: Gordon Segal (LINK)
In 1962, Gordon Segal — with his wife Carole — opened a scrappy Chicago shop called Crate & Barrel. That store turned into a housewares empire that has shaped the way Americans furnish their homes.
Tony Robbins: How to Suffer Less (and Invest Intelligently) (LINK)
Related book (released next week): Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook
TED Dialogues -- Yuval Noah Harari: Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide (video) (LINK)
Related book (released tomorrow in the U.S.): Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
Audible started their yearly First-in-a-Series Sale for members. There were a few titles that stood out to me for those that may also be interested:

The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Volume I: Visions of Glory 1874-1932 ($6.95)

The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson ($6.95)

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution ($6.95)

Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume 1 ($8.95)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hoover's Handbooks

No source was more valuable than Hoover's Handbooks, produced annually since 1990 for both American and non-American companies. Each handbook includes a ten-year review of the companies' financial statistics and a portfolio of their major product lines, with percentage of sales and income from these lines as well as a brief resume of their history. Hoover's Handbooks certainly remain a reliable basic source for business and economic historians to carry out their central analytical tasks.
It looks like these may be a great way to get a quick overview of a bunch of different businesses, and used copies of the 2015 versions seem fairly inexpensive (as of today anyway):

Hoover's Handbook of American Business 2015

Hoover's Handbook of World Business 2015

Hoover's Handbook of Emerging Companies 2015

Hoover's Handbook of Private Companies 2015

Friday, February 17, 2017


"The idea that life is a series of adversities and that each one is an opportunity to behave well instead of badly is a very, very good idea." -Charlie Munger

For those in the U.S., the first episode of Planet Earth II airs tomorrow (Saturday) on BBC America (LINK)

Elon Musk Is Really Boring (LINK)

What Matters Most - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Five Good Questions for Erik Kobayashi-Solomon about his book The Intelligent Options Investor (video) (LINK)

A 10-minute video from Nassim Taleb about public (mis)understanding of risk (LINK)

Exponent podcast: Episode 104 — Snap’s Gingerbread Strategy (LINK)

Paul Mason: "PostCapitalism" | Talks at Google (video) (LINK)

James Gleick: "Time Travel: A History" | Talks at Google (video) (LINK)

Take a Break from Your Frantic Day & Let Alan Watts Introduce You to the Calming Ways of Zen (video) (LINK)
Related book: The Way of Zen
Jared Diamond in conversation with Richard Dawkins - The Use of Religion (video) (LINK) [Related books: Diamond, Dawkins]

Yosemite's rare 'firefall' phenomenon attracts tourists and photographers [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Book of the day (given Munger's praise of Maimonides at the Daily Journal meeting): Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization's Greatest Minds

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Things That Don’t Make Sense (LINK)

To quote Jason Zweig: "An extraordinary & exemplary note from Danny Kahneman" (LINK)

Morgan Creek Capital Management's Q4 Letter (LINK)

A new spike in mortgage delinquencies spells trouble (video and article) [H/T Matt] (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Securing Infrastructure and Enterprise Services (LINK)

Daniel Dennett: "From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds" | Talks at Google (video) (LINK)


Some early notes from today's Daily Journal Annual Meeting, via the following people on Twitter: @BrentBeshore@TheCharlieton@AlexRubalcava@EricJorgenson.

[Below are some of the quotes that stood out to me. They are from the notes above, and thus possibly not exactly as Charlie Munger said them...]

"Deferred gratification really works if you want to get better and better."

"I've never succeeded in something I wasn't interested in."

"The success of Berkshire came from making two decisions a year over 50 years."

"Diversification is great for people who know (investment) will work if you do it right."

"You only need one cinch. When you get the chance, step up to the pie cart with a big pan."

"We're too soon old and too late smart. That's the biggest problem we have."

"I don't think operating over many disciplines is a good idea for most people...get good at something that society rewards."

"Even if you specialize, you should still spend 10-20% of your time learning the big ideas of the major disciplines."

"I do not want a proctologist who knows Schopenhauer. On the other hand, a life devoted solely to proctology isn't much of a life."

"If you think you know what the state of the payments system 10 years out you're in a state of delusion."

"Both Warren and I know you can't trust numbers put out by the banking industry."

"We have a lot of businesses that neither Warren or I could run, but we've gotten good at judging which people can succeed."

"One of the reasons I don't go around talking about how the Fed should work is because I'd mostly be pounding my own ideas into my head."

"Am I comfortable with a non-diversified portfolio? Yes. The Mungers have three stocks: Berkshire, Costco, and Li Lu's fund."

"Arrange your affairs so you can handle a 50% decline with aplomb...if it never happens to you, you're not being aggressive enough."

"The value of my partnership went down's a mark of manhood. You better be able to handle it without much fussing."

"I like the Buffett system (0% fee, 6% hurdle, 25% gain-share). I'm looking at at Mohnish Pabrai who still uses it. I wish it would spread."

"In many areas of life the only way to win is to grind away and work hard for a very long time."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Bill and Melinda Gates' 2017 Annual Letter: Warren Buffett’s Best Investment (LINK)
Our 2017 annual letter is addressed to our dear friend Warren Buffett, who in 2006 donated the bulk of his fortune to our foundation to fight disease and reduce inequity. A few months ago, Warren asked us to reflect on what impact his gift has had on the world.  
What follows is our answer to him.
Ian Cassel talks with Patrick O’Shaughnessy on the Invest Like the Best podcast (LINK)
Related book: Intelligent Fanatics Project
Over 30 Years of Value Insights from Martin J. Whitman [H/T @chriswmayer] (LINK)

Winter 2017 Issue of Graham & Doddsville (LINK)

Anatomy of a Bull Market [H/T @awealthofcs] (LINK)

John Huber’s 2016 Letter to Investors (LINK)

Sequoia Fund's Q4 2016 letter [H/T @spmullin] (LINK)

How the Flash Crash Trader Lost His $50 Million Fortune [H/T @muddywatersre] (LINK)

The Rise and Fall of a K Street Renegade [H/T @PlanMaestro] (LINK)

Scheduling Your Energy, Not Your Time - By Scott Adams (LINK)
Related book: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big
'Extraordinary' levels of pollutants found in 10km deep Mariana trench (LINK)

This Beetle Bites an Ant’s Waist and Pretends to Be Its Butt - by Ed Yong (LINK)

What Mirrors Tell Us About Animal Minds - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Monday, February 13, 2017


"I'll fight tooth and nail to make something succeed. But the moment I realize it's not going to succeed, the next day, I will have forgotten about it. I will just move on to the next venture."-Richard Branson

The Most Powerful Mental Model for Identifying Stocks - by Vishal Khandelwal (LINK)

A Dozen Lessons on Growth - by Tren Griffin  (LINK)

Steve Eisman: “They mistook leverage for genius” (video) [H/T Santangel’s Review] (LINK)

The World According to a Free-Range Short Seller With Nothing to Lose (LINK)
Marc Cohodes, the scourge of Wall Street, is back. And he’s passing along his “dying art” to a new generation of troublemakers.
How J.P. Morgan Won, Then Lost, Indonesia’s Business [H/T Matt] (LINK)
On the Sunday after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, sparking turmoil in emerging markets, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. downgraded Indonesia’s stock market. The move set off a chain reaction that resulted in the New York bank losing Indonesia as a client. 
Investments banks have long weathered complaints that their research departments, which make calls on stocks, bonds and other assets, aren’t truly independent from their investment-banking operations, which pitch deals to companies and governments. 
But in Indonesia, and other parts of Asia, government officials’ expectations for positive research are unabashed and unapologetic. That means global banks walk a fine line when publishing research their investment-banking clients don’t like. 
In Asia, some bankers say they are routinely quizzed about their research teams’ reports when bidding for government business. In Indonesia, central-bank employees roam trading rooms, urging traders to be patriotic by refraining from selling the rupiah when the currency is under pressure, traders say.
The Next Big Blue-Collar Job Is Coding [H/T @BrentBeshore] (LINK)

Snap's Apple Strategy - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

How I Built This podcast -- Lyft: John Zimmer (LINK)

A16z video: Software Secures the World (LINK)

What We Don’t Do - by Fred Wilson (LINK)

The Key to Good Luck Is an Open Mind (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @mikedariano]: A Field Guide to Lies