Saturday, September 23, 2017

You can't save time...

From The Tao of Pooh:
The main problem with this great obsession for saving time is very simple: you can't save time, you can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely or foolishly. The Bisy Backson has practically no time at all, because he's too busy wasting it by trying to save it. And by trying to save it, he ends up wasting the whole thing. 
Henry David Thoreau put it this way, in Walden:  
Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitched to-day to save nine tomorrow.

Friday, September 22, 2017


"As long as I am back in my military life for a second, I should like to observe one thing about leadership that one of the great has said -- Napoleon. He said, the great leader, the genius in leadership, is the man who can do the average thing when everybody else is going crazy." -Dwight D. Eisenhower

Chris Davis and Danton Goei on WealthTrack (LINK)
A rare interview with two top global investors: Davis Funds’ Chris Davis and Danton Goei explain where they are finding world-class growth at value prices.
The Coming Bear Market? - by Robert Shiller (LINK)
The US stock market today looks a lot like it did at the peak before all 13 previous price collapses. That doesn't mean that a bear market is imminent, but it does amount to a stark warning against complacency.
Exponent Podcast: Episode 125 — The Super-Aggregators (LINK)
Ben and James discuss the different levels of aggregation, Facebook and Russian ads, and why it’s worth defending the future.
Adventures in Finance Podcast -- Jim Rogers: The Investment Biker Rides Again (LINK)
Investing legend Jim Rogers joins Grant Williams to talk about the defining moments in his life which took him to Wall Street in the 1960s and to Russia and China on a motorbike in the 1980s. Jim talks about how important non-consensus thinking has been throughout his career, explains how the current troubles in North Korea could provide the investment opportunity of a lifetime … and let’s Hugh Hendry know exactly what’s in his pocket.
FT Alphachat Podcast: The science behind our addictions to social media and tech (LINK)
Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist and author known for his work on the addictive properties of sugar and its effect on the brain, joins Alphaville's Izabella Kaminska to discuss his latest book, which applies his work on addiction to the technological realm. The book is called The Hacking of the American Mind.
O Behave Podcast: The Persuasive Power of Play (with Andrew Sheerin) (LINK)
Listen to Andrew Sheerin of Terrorbull Games talk with O Behave's Julia Stainforth about the theory of play and the psychological power of games.
Sinica Podcast: North Korea behind the scenes, with Evan Osnos (LINK)
Former China correspondent for the New Yorker, and now the magazine’s man in D.C., Evan Osnos talks us through his recent front page article on how badly North Korea and the U.S. understand one another.


"A person understands himself not thru thoughts, but with actions. It is only thru making an effort that a person will understand his worth." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Source)

Shane Parrish talks with Adam Grant on The Knowledge Project Podcast (LINK)

Paul Sonkin and Paul Johnson discuss their book, Pitch the Perfect Investment, at NYU (videos) (LINK)

Sam Harris speaks with Siddhartha Mukherjee about his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (podcast) (LINK)

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick discuss their 10-part, 18-hour documentary series, “The Vietnam War,” with Charlie Rose (video) (LINK)

Infants Can Learn the Value of Perseverance by Watching Adults - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Even Jellyfish Sleep - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Ray Dalio on Charlie Rose discussing his book, Principles: Life and Work (video) (LINK)

Ray Dalio on CNBC (Video 1 [Bridgewater], Video 2 [economy], Video 3 [Bitcoin])

Risk Management in the Long Term - by Rick Bookstaber (LINK)

Andrew W. Lo: "Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution At The Speed Of Thought" | Talks at Google (LINK)

The Investors Podcast: Small Cap Investing w/ Eric Cinnamond (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Tech Investing Outside of Silicon Valley, w/ David Tisch (LINK)

Scientists Can Now Repaint Butterfly Wings - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Annual JPMorgan Energy Issue, Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 [Vaclav Smil helped in the preparation of the report.] (LINK)

Book of the day: Energy and Civilization: A History - by Vaclav Smil

Monday, September 18, 2017


"I call this life a happy one in which I do one good deed after another, with no intervals between them." -Marcus Aurelius

The World Turned Upside Down (and what to do about it) - by Russ Roberts [H/T @BrentBeshore] (LINK)
So we manage to convince ourselves that the evidence speaks so loudly, so emphatically, that we have no choice but to declare our allegiance to a particular tribe as a result of that evidence. The red tribe. Or the blue one. Or the white one. Or the black one. It rarely crosses our minds to notice that causation is probably going the opposite direction — the tribe we are in determines the evidence we notice and accept.
The Difference Between Open-Minded and Close-Minded People (LINK)

Ray Dalio on a Lifetime of Principles (video) [H/T The Big Picture] (LINK)
Related book (released tomorrow): Principles: Life and Work
Ray Dalio Says He's Ready to Give Away Bridgewater's Secrets (LINK)

A Dozen Lessons from Murray Gell-Mann that Apply to Business, Investing and Life - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

The Super-Aggregators and the Russians - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Why Facebook’s Russia revelation may trigger a global regulatory backlash against platform monopolies (LINK)

What’s the True TAM of Search? (LINK)

Victor Niederhoffer talks with Barry Ritholtz on the Masters in Business podcast (LINK)

Grant's Podcast: 20-20 Vison (LINK)

Scott Malpass, Vice President and CIO of Notre Dame University, talks to Ted Seides (podcast) (LINK)

Social Influences Affect Your New Employee's Safety Behavior [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Bill and Melinda Gates: Let's Keep Investing in the World's Poor (LINK)

Bill & Melinda Gates: The Stories Behind the Data (video) (LINK)

Approach Technology Like the Amish - by Cal Newport (LINK)

The Case Against Civilization: Did our hunter-gatherer ancestors have it better? (LINK)

Friday, September 15, 2017


"The virtue of a person is measured not by his outstanding efforts, but by his everyday behavior." -Blaise Pascal

Private-Equity for Cheapskates Like You - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

In China, tech giants take the retail battle to convenience stores (LINK)

Why Bonobos thought selling to Walmart was better than going public (LINK)

Exponent podcast: Episode 124 — The Watch, The Phone, The Beatles (LINK)

Hugh Hendry on Bloomberg discussing his decision to close his flagship hedge fund (video) (LINK)

Hugh Hendry's parting commentary to investors (LINK)

Hugh Hendry on the Adventures in Finance podcast (LINK)

Hugh Hendry on the Macro Voices podcast (LINK)

Review | Yes, America, PBS’s ‘The Vietnam War’ is required viewing — all 18 hours of it (LINK)

Sam Harris speaks with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick about their latest film, The Vietnam War (podcast) (LINK)

Gary Taubes on Calories vs. Carbs, The Case Against Sugar, and More (LINK)
Related book: The Case Against Sugar
Cassini Spacecraft: Top Discoveries (LINK)

Good night, Saturn (LINK)

Warren Buffett on not getting in your own way...

From July 1998 (via Tap Dancing to Work):
"So why do smart people do things that interfere with getting the output they’re entitled to? It gets into the habits and character and temperament, and behaving in a rational manner. Not getting in your own way. As I said, everybody here has the ability absolutely to do anything I do and much beyond. Some of you will, and some of you won’t. For the ones who won’t, it will be because you get in your own way, not because the world doesn’t allow you."

Thursday, September 14, 2017


"Like other practicing historians, I am often asked what the 'lessons of history' are. I answer that the only lesson I have learnt from studying the past is that there are no permanent winners and losers." —Ramachandra Guha

Howard Buffett to be sworn in Friday as Macon County sheriff [H/T @NicoleFriedman] (LINK)

Ray Dalio talks with Tim Ferriss (podcast) (LINK)
Related book (released next week): Principles: Life and Work
You Need To Do What Others Don’t - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

How Bacteria Could Protect Tumors From Anticancer Drugs - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Gregg Popovich on the Spurs' philosophy and culture (video) [H/T @mlombardiNFL] (LINK)


In the video above, Gregg Popovich made this particular comment: 
"We talk a lot about character, and can you really change someone. If someone is selfish, can you change that and make him or her a part of the team? My bottom is, usually, they am what they am."
While it's possible to change cultures and people, and plenty of people have made huge changes in many areas of life, that comment reminded me of some things Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have said over the years, with the particular quotes below taken from Peter Bevelin's All I Want To Know Is Where I'm Going To Die So I'll Never Go There
Buffett: "Management changes, like marital changes, are painful, time-consuming and chancy.... We don't try to change people. It doesn't work well...We accept people the way they are." 
Munger: "The failure rate at trying to change a culture is likely to be 100%." 
Buffett: "Changing cultures is really tough. I've had a little experience with that. The trick in business is to get in with a culture that's already the right kind."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Home Capital plans to keep rebuilding the lender after Buffett's second tranche rejected (LINK)

The Lessons and Questions of the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Delivering Alpha Conference Notes 2017: Robertson, Dalio, Chanos, Cooperman & More (LINK)

Jim Chanos is skeptical on shale, betting against Continental Resources (video plays) (LINK)

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon says bitcoin is a 'fraud' that will eventually blow up (video plays) (LINK)

Beyond blockchain: what are the technology requirements for a Central Bank Digital Currency? (LINK)

Evan Osnos talks to Charlie Rose about his article "The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea" (video) (LINK)

General and Surprising - by Paul Graham (LINK)

There’s a Speeding Mass of Space Junk Orbiting Earth, Smashing Into Thing [H/T Matt] (LINK)

The Kakapo Is The First Species to Have Every Individual’s Genome Sequenced - by Ed Yong (LINK)


The books and/or audiobooks on my short list related to China that I'm about to start going through are listed below. If you have any other great recommendations, please let me know via email or Twitter. Thanks.

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

Poorly Made in China: An Insider's Account of the China Production Game

The Fall and Rise of China

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


"Let it be emphasized once more, and especially to anyone inclined to a personally rewarding skepticism in these matters: for practical purposes, the financial memory should be assumed to last, at a maximum, no more than 20 years. This is normally the time it takes for the recollection of one disaster to be erased and for some variant on previous dementia to come forward to capture the financial mind." -John Kenneth Galbraith (A Short History of Financial Euphoria)

Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio Spreads His Gospel of ‘Radical Transparency’ [H/T @williamgreen72] (LINK)
Related book: Principles: Life and Work
How Kirkland Signature Became One of Costco’s Biggest Success Stories ($) (LINK)

David Gardner, co-founder of the Motley Fool, talks with Patrick O’Shaughnessy on the Invest Like the Best podcast (LINK)

Origin Stories podcast: Stones and How to Use Them (LINK)
Related book: Stone Tools in Human Evolution
Trying to Get Ahead? Plan in Reverse, Study Suggests [H/T @AdamMGrant] (LINK)

Monday, September 11, 2017


"Life is neither suffering nor pleasure, but the business which we have to do, and which we have to finish honestly, up to our life's end." -Alexis De Tocqueville

A Thesis on the U.S. Airline Industry - by Phil Ordway (LINK)

The "Indian Coffee Can Portfolio" [H/T @chriswmayer] (LINK)

Grant’s Podcast: Empty seats at the Fed -- and empty data from Facebook (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Adjusting to Trade… and Innovation (LINK)

The Remarkable Laziness Of Woody Allen [H/T The Browser] (LINK)


The latest Audible sale, which ends September 17, 2017 at 11:59 PM PT, has a number of good titles on sale for $4.95 for Audible members. Below are some that stood out to me:

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking

The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy

No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man's Fight for Justice

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and Other Clinical Tales

Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe

A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

The Selfish Gene

Saturday, September 9, 2017


The hardcover of the new book by Paul Sonkin and Paul Johnson, Pitch the Perfect Investment: The Essential Guide to Winning on Wall Street, has started to ship and I just received my copy in the mail. I started to go through it this morning, and have a feeling it is going to be used in a lot of university classrooms, as it covers all of the main points (how to value a business, competitive advantages, behavioral finance, pitching an idea, etc.) more succinctly than any textbook I've seen. At a little over 400 non-textbook sized pages and plenty of illustrations, it's also something that a class could go through completely in one semester. 


Klarman's Baupost Plans to Return Some Investor Money [H/T Matt] (LINK)

Jason Trennert and Jason Zweig on WealthTrack (video) [H/T Will] (LINK)

Warren Buffett’s $100 billion problem [H/T Linc] (LINK)

A Dozen Lessons about Business and Life from Jimmy Iovine - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Friday, September 8, 2017


The Risk of Nuclear War with North Korea - by Evan Osnos (LINK)
On the ground in Pyongyang: Could Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump goad each other into a devastating confrontation?
Kyle Bass on the Adventures in Finance podcast (LINK)
Season 2 of Adventures in Finance kicks off with Kyle Bass joining Grant for this week’s entire episode. Kyle shares some of the Defining Moments of his life and explains how they shaped him. He tells us a story of a disastrous trade gone wrong, answers listener’s questions from the Real Vision Mailbag, and explains what he’d take on a rocket ship to Mars.
Exponent podcast: Episode 123 — There Is No Going Back (LINK)
Ben and James discuss the why it is Ben can’t stop talking about Aggregation Theory, and the future of regulation.
FT Alphachat podcast: The making of the crisis in Venezuela (LINK)
Economist Ricardo Hausmann joins Cardiff Garcia to discuss the historical foundation of Venezuela's current macroeconomic and humanitarian crisis, what may happen with its debt and what the future holds for the country.
Invest Like the Best podcast: Factors, Dividends, and Angel Investing, w/ Meb Faber (LINK)
My guest this week is Meb Faber, who started a podcast similar to this one right before mine and was a big reason I was open to the idea in the first place. Meb is a quantitative researcher whose firm Cambria has been behind many interesting investment strategies that break the Wall Street mold. We talk investing factors, dividends, angel investing, podcasts and more. This was a fun catch up with a close friend in the industry who has been in a leader in using data to explore the best active strategies in a variety of asset classes. Please enjoy our conversation, which begins with a factor draft.
The Crowd: Social Schizophrenia - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)
Related book: The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (also on Audible as of earlier this year, HERE.)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Howard Marks Memo: Yet Again?

Link to Memo: Yet Again?
There They Go Again . . . Again” of July 26 has generated the most response in the 28 years I’ve been writing memos, with comments coming from Oaktree clients, other readers, the print media and TV.  I also understand my comments regarding digital currencies have been the subject of extensive – and critical – comments on social media, but my primitiveness in this regard has kept me from seeing them.
The responses and the time that has elapsed have given me the opportunity to listen, learn and think.  Thus I’ve decided to share some of those reflections here.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


"Overpermissive providers of capital frequently aid and abet financial bubbles. . . .  In Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner was told, 'if you build it, they will come.'  In the financial world, if you offer cheap money, they will borrow, buy and build – often without discipline, and with very negative consequences." -Howard Marks (November 2001)

TED Talk -- Ray Dalio: How to build a company where the best ideas win (LINK)
Related book: Principles: Life and Work - by Ray Dalio
Everything is Changing; So Should Antitrust - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

The Dhandho Investor’s Guide to Calculating Intrinsic Value (LINK)
Related book: The Dhandho Investor
Dan Pink: Why you should take notes by hand (video) (LINK)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


The Audible Daily Deal for today ($3.95) is the latest from Lawrence Krauss: The Greatest Story Ever Told--So Far: Why Are We Here?

Reciprocation Bias (LINK)

Tiny changes can have big implications - by Sanjay Bakshi (LINK)

Inside Amazon's foray into fashion as it takes on the high street  with its own new brand [H/T @Wexboy_Value] (LINK)

Reid Hoffman has billions of dollars and one of the best networks in Silicon Valley. Here’s how he’s using them to take on Trump. (LINK)

Recode Decode podcast: The race for self-driving cars is on (Chris Urmson, CEO, Aurora) (LINK)

What Jason Zweig read this summer (LINK)

Kirkus Reviews: Leonardo da Vinci – by Walter Isaacson (LINK)

Monday, September 4, 2017


Philosophical Economics: Profit Margins, Bayes’ Theorem, and the Dangers of Overconfidence (LINK)

2006 paper from Michael Mauboussin -- "Expectations Investing: Reading Stock
Prices for Better Returns" (LINK)

FRMO August 2017 Letter [H/T @BluegrassCap] (LINK)

A Dozen Lessons about Investing and Money from Dan Ariely - by Tren Griffin (LINK)
Related book (to be released in November): Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter
Mutual Fund Observer, September 2017 (LINK)

Kroger Seeks to Repel Amazon’s Onslaught ($) (LINK)

Has disruption from e-commerce run its course? (LINK)

These Robots Are Using Static Electricity to Make Nikes [H/T @kevinroose] (LINK)

Sheryl Sandberg Just Gave Some Brilliant Career Advice. Here It Is in 2 Words [H/T @ChrisPavese] (LINK)
I want you to think about the following question, because it can mean the difference between just getting through the day at work, and doing the best work of your life.  
What's the most important thing you can get done today? 
Sheryl Sandberg recently spoke to Inc. to share some lessons learned over the years. One concept she spoke about really resonated with me. 
It's called:  
Ruthless prioritization. 
"I think the most important thing we've learned as we've grown is that we have to prioritize," said Sandberg. "We talk about it as ruthless prioritization. And by that what we mean is only do the very best of the ideas. Lots of times you have very good ideas. But they're not as good as the most important thing you could be doing. And you have to make the hard choices."
a16z Podcast: Competing Against Luck (LINK)
Related book: Competing Against Luck  
Related previous conversation between Christensen and Andreessen: a16z Podcast: Disruption in Business… and Life
Prof Scott Galloway’s 10 Rules for Your Career (LINK)

An old post I was reminded of and have been thinking about today: Charlie Munger on how he invested when younger compared to today, and how he reads books

Friday, September 1, 2017


"A person who knows little likes to talk, and one who knows much mostly keeps silent. This is because a person who knows little thinks that everything he knows is important, and wants to tell everyone. A person who knows much also knows that there is much more he doesn't know. That's why he speaks only when it is necessary to speak, and when he is not asked questions, he keeps his silence." - (After) Jean Jacques Rousseau (via A Calendar of Wisdom)

Filters in Harmony (What Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Scott Adams, and Jordan Peterson have in common) (video) (LINK)

Overcoming Your Demons - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Amazon is Relentless (LINK)

FT Alphachat podcast: Should Amazon be broken up? (LINK)
Lina Khan, a writer and fellow at New America, joins FT Alphaville's Alex Scaggs to discuss how the tech company's unique organisational structure and business strategy raise possible antitrust issues that current law isn't particularly well designed to address. It's the subject of Khan's paper, "Amazon's antitrust paradox", recently published in the Yale Law Journal.
Apple’s New Open Office Sparks Revolt (LINK)

Role-Play Screening - by Eric Cinnamond (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter, September 2017: Two Sides of the Same Coin (LINK)
Rarely have equity bulls and bears disagreed more than they do at present. We look at both the bull case and the bear case, and then we introduce a longer-term structural angle, which is largely ignored by both bulls and bears. This third side of the coin is based on the fact that inflation is structurally low, and that central banks may be committing a serious policy error by targeting 2% inflation, when it is almost impossible to drive inflation to those levels.
Origin Stories podcast: Ancestor (LINK)
Just recently, the news media announced the discovery of a 13 million-year-old fossil ape called Alesi. This remarkable fossil was found in Kenya, and it’s from a time period where there’s a big blank spot in the fossil record of our family tree. Alesi tells us something new about the very early evolution of apes and even shows what the common ancestor of humans and all the other living apes might have looked like. In this episode, Isaiah Nengo tells the story behind the discovery.
The Parasite That Wires Plants Together - by Ed Yong (LINK)