Monday, May 26, 2014

Giving Yourself an Investing Makeover - By Jason Zweig

Link to article: Giving Yourself an Investing Makeover
If you set out deliberately and systematically to remake yourself into a great investor, how would you go about it?

That is what the money manager Guy Spier has spent much of the past 17 years trying to figure out. He believes that most investors pay attention to the wrong things and allow their minds to get hijacked by bad ideas.

So Mr. Spier has set about purifying the environment in which he makes investing decisions — changing his work space, altering the information he uses and, above all, continually trying to counteract his own irrationality. What he calls his “journey” is a transformation any individual investor should be able to emulate — perhaps even better, he says.

That journey accelerated in 2008, after Mr. Spier and his friend, fund manager Mohnish Pabrai, donated $650,100 to a charity and won a private lunch with Warren Buffett. After listening to Mr. Buffett, Mr. Spier says, he realized “I’ve got to hit the reset button and make drastic changes.”

Mr. Spier, 48 years old, is worth listening to. A graduate of Oxford University and Harvard Business School, he runs the Aquamarine Fund, a $180 million partnership specializing in cheap “value” stocks. Since its launch in September 1997, the fund has beaten the S&P 500 by an average of 4.9 percentage points annually, net of fees.

In a book to be published in September by Palgrave Macmillan, “The Education of a Value Investor,” Mr. Spier describes his struggle to improve his decision-making hygiene.


Related book, which I'm really looking forward to reading when it comes out in a few months: The Education of a Value Investor

And an additional excerpt from the article:
For 18 months, Mr. Spier listened to nothing in his car but a lecture on human misjudgment by Charles Munger, Mr. Buffett’s vice chairman at Berkshire Hathaway. Of the two dozen mental mistakes cited by Mr. Munger, “I realized I was guilty of all of them,” Mr. Spier says.
I also occasionally listen to Munger's speech, which I downloaded to my computer, and then to my phone by using THIS link.

I'm also in the process of building out a memory palace of the speech as I think it is so important, which I described in THIS post.

Also keep in mind that Munger updated the speech for Poor Charlie's Almanack, so reading the updated version in that book is probably better than only listening to the YouTube version. Poor Charlie's Almanack can be bought HERE.