Friday, December 29, 2017


The latest from Michael Mauboussin [in his new role]: How Well Do You Compare? (LINK)

A Fireside Chat with Jim Chanos & Dan Gilbert (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Argentina Wants Cheap Flights—But Not Too Cheap [H/T Phil] (LINK)

How I Built This Podcast -- The Home Depot: Arthur Blank (LINK)
Related book: Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion
How the Animal Kingdom Sleeps - by Ed Yong (video) (LINK)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

We are choked with news, and starved of history...

From "The Map of Human Character" by Will Durant (November 18, 1945): 
It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it. It is the present, not the past, that dies; this present moment, to which we give so much attention, is forever flitting from our eyes and fingers into that pedestal and matrix of our lives which we call the past. It is only the past that lives. 
Therefore I feel that we of this generation give too much time to news about the transient present, too little to the living past. We are choked with news, and starved of history. We know a thousand items about the day or yesterday, we learn the events and troubles and heartbreaks of a hundred peoples, the policies and pretensions of a dozen capitals, the victories and defeats of causes, armies, athletic teams. But how, without history, can we understand these events, discriminate their significance, sift out the large from the small, see the basic currents underlying surface movements and changes, and foresee the result sufficiently to guard against fatal error or the souring of unreasonable hopes?

[H/T Jacob]

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


"Nature's wants are small, while those of opinion are limitless." - Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)

Transcript of Charlie Munger's recent appearance at Michigan [H/T @iancassel] (LINK)

Berkshire Hathaway Is Ending the Year With a Bang ($) (LINK)
The conglomerate controlled and run by Warren Buffett could get a 13% boost to its shareholder equity, or book value, in the quarter as a result of a lower corporate tax rate, gains in its equity portfolio, and operating earnings. Our analysis is based in part on calculations by Barclays insurance analyst Jay Gelb. 
...Last week, Berkshire shares briefly topped $300,000, and are now valued at $489 billion -- sixth in market value behind tech leaders Apple, Google, Microsoft,, and Facebook. 
We estimate that Berkshire’s book value could end the current quarter around $211,000 per class A share. This suggests that Berkshire shares, now trading for nearly 1.6 times its Sept. 30 book value of $187,435 – the high end of its price/book value range dating back several years – are cheaper than they appear. If our estimate of Dec. 31 book value proves accurate, Berkshire shares trade closer to 1.4 times year-end book.
Energy Investors: Behold the Miracle of the Tax Law - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Estonia, the Digital Republic [H/T Tamas] (LINK)
Its government is virtual, borderless, blockchained, and secure. Has this tiny post-Soviet nation found the way of the future?
Sean Iddings on the Planet MicroCap podcast discussing Intelligent Fanatics: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (LINK)

It's a bird! It's a UFO! It's … a Falcon 9 rocket! (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @mattwridley]: Life through Time and Space

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


“If you live according to nature, you will never be poor; if you live according to opinion, you will never be rich.” - Epicurus (via Seneca)

Latticework of Mental Models: Domain Dependence (LINK)

At Google, Eric Schmidt Wrote the Book on Adult Supervision - by Steven Levy (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: The Future of Tech, with Chris Dixon (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Trends in Cryptocurrencies (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Fintech for the People (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: Episode 135 — Two Is Better Than One (LINK)

FT Alphachat Podcast:  Hernando de Soto on the economics of property rights (LINK)

Kindness scales - by Seth Godin (LINK)

Richard Thaler's Nobel Lecture (video) (LINK)

Beetle Penises May Hold Clues For Better Medical Devices [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Monday, December 25, 2017

A good conscience is a continual Christmas...

“Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no ambition corrupt thee, no example sway thee, no persuasion move thee, to do any thing which thou knowest to be evil; so shalt thou always live jollily; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas.” –Ben Franklin

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


"They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor." - Eric Hoffer

Farnam Street’s 2017 Annual Letter to Readers (LINK)

The 2017 Stratechery Year in Review - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

A Brief History of Cable TV: Creating and Cutting the Cord [H/T @Connor_Leonard] (LINK)

Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How China’s Surveillance State Overwhelms Daily Life [H/T @pcordway] (LINK)
Related book (I've linked to this before. And now that I'm nearly finished with it, I think it gives great context to viewing things like the article above. See THIS article for more about the book.): The China Fantasy
The Ezra Klein Show (podcast): What life is like in North Korea (LINK)
Related book: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
Conversations with Tyler (podcast): Andy Weir on the Economics of Sci-Fi and Space (LINK)
Related book: Artemis: A Novel
Nappuccino: A Scientific 5-Step Guide to the Perfect Nap (LINK)
Related book: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
Investing book of the day: The Bank Investor's Handbook

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


"The truth is the one thing that nobody will believe." - George Bernard Shaw

Disrupt Yourself and Grow - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Mohnish Pabrai and Shai Dardashti discuss philanthropy (audio/video) (LINK)

In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society [H/T @sarthakgh] (LINK)

West grows wary of China’s influence game ($) (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Retail Contrarians, with Sorin Capital’s Jim Higgins and Tom Digan (LINK)
So far, I’ve spent no time in the podcast discussing real estate, so I was excited to get the chance to talk to the team at Sorin Capital, a billion dollar hedge fund which specializes in commercial real estate, REITs, and commercial mortgage backed securities.
Potash Corp: A Study in Patience (LINK)

Book of the day: Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production

Monday, December 18, 2017


End of an era: M&T's Robert Wilmers, force in community, dies at 83 [H/T Linc] (LINK)

David Einhorn | Full Q&A | Oxford Union (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Your Mom’s Basement TO A $600 Million Payday IN 4 Years (LINK)

Human Behavior and The Panic of 1907 - by John Huber (LINK)

The Story of Shorting Home Capital | Marc Cohodes Outtake | Real Vision Video (LINK)

Three Delusions: Paper Wealth, a Booming Economy, and Bitcoin - by John Hussman (LINK)

How I Built This Podcast -- LearnVest: Alexa von Tobel (LINK)

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Matt Dillahunty (audio/podcast) (LINK)

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Mohnish Pabrai's latest talk at Boston College (video) (LINK)

The 15-Stock 'Free Lunch' Portfolio - by Mohnish Pabrai and Fahad Missmar (LINK)

Bill Nygren: "Value Investing Principles and Approach" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Transcript of Jim Chanos' appearance on CNBC [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Lessons from Norman Augustine About Innovation and his Famous Laws - by Tren Griffin (LINK)
Related book: Augustine's Laws
Tim Ferriss talks with Mike Maples, Jr. (podcast) (LINK)

How Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing apps are outmaneuvering Uber. (LINK)

a16z video: Challenges in Healthcare Innovation (LINK)

TED Talk -- How China is changing the future of shopping | Angela Wang (LINK)

Scott Kelly: "Endurance" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Boyd Varty: "Cathedral of the Wild" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Slow and steady (LINK)

TED Talk -- Want to get great at something? Get a coach | Atul Gawande (LINK)

Thursday, December 14, 2017


GMO's Q3 2017 Letter (LINK)
The 3Q2017 GMO Quarterly Letter features Ben Inker’s “What Happened to Inflation? And What Happens If It Comes Back?” and Jeremy Grantham’s “Career Risk and Stalin’s Pension Fund: Investing in a World of Overpriced Assets”
Bitcoin: Currency of the Future or Investment Mania? Bill Miller’s Transformative Innovation Case (video) (LINK)

CNBC's full interview with Stanley Druckenmiller (LINK)

What’s Eating Bill Ackman? [H/T Daniel] (LINK)

How I Built This Podcast: Live Episode! Black Entertainment Television: Robert Johnson (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Scaling Healthcare (LINK)

The Knowledge Project Podcast -- Warren Berger: Improve Your Life by Improving Your Questions (LINK)

Are You a Listener or a Reader? (LINK)
Related book: Management Challenges for the 21st Century - by Peter F. Drucker
40 Years Later, Some Survivors of the First Ebola Outbreak Are Still Immune - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


10 Questions for Todd Combs [H/T Market Folly] (LINK)

Inside Texas’s largest furniture store [H/T @NicoleFriedman] (LINK)

Ray Dalio on Bitcoin (LINK) [This video was a clip from the Milken conference a few weeks ago, of which you can find more videos from that event, as well as last week's London event, HERE. The full Conversation between Ray Dalio and Michael Milken is HERE.]

Mark Cuban In Conversation With Kyle Bass | Real Vision Video (LINK)

The implosion in digital media. What are the implications? (LINK)

A New Kind of Soft Battery, Inspired by the Electric Eel - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Turning Piglets Into Personalized Avatars for Sick Kids - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @farnamstreet]: A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Jim Simons, the Numbers King (LINK)
Algorithms made him a Wall Street billionaire. His new research center helps scientists mine data for the common good.
Disney and Fox - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Stan Druckenmiller on CNBC (video) (LINK)

The Force Behind Bitcoin’s Meteoric Rise: Millions of Asian Investors ($) (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: World Without Mind, w/ Franklin Foer (LINK)

Grant’s Podcast: Is China a Ponzi scheme? (LINK) [This starts off discussing The Steinhoff Saga, which was also mentioned by Druckenmiller, and worth listening to.]

Tribe of Mentors Podcast: Jocko Willink - Discipline Equals Freedom (LINK)
Related book: Discipline Equals Freedom
The drip - Seth Godin (LINK)
Change, real change, is the result of focused persistence. 
It's easy to get a bunch of people sort of excited for a little while. 
The challenging part, and the reason that change doesn't happen as often as it should is that we get distracted. Today's urgent is more urgent than yesterday's important. 
The concept of breaking news and the crisis of the day proves my point. If the world ended every time Wolf Blitzer implied it would, we would have been toast a long time ago. The organizations that actually change things are the ones that have a time horizon that's longer than 36 hours. 
There are very few overnight successes. Very few entrepreneurs, freelancers, non-profits, candidates, spiritual leaders, activists or people in a successful relationship that got there with thunder and lighting. It happens with a drip.
TED Talk: Adventures of an interplanetary architect | Xavier De Kestelier (LINK)

TED Talk: Lessons from a solar storm chaser | Miho Janvier (LINK)

Matt Ridley on the BBC's Blue Planet II (LINK)

Stopping the Rise of Superbugs by Making Them Fight For Food - by Ed Yong (LINK)

The Wasp That Paints Its Nursery In Bacteria - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Geminids 2017: How to See One of the Year's Best Meteor Showers (LINK)

Monday, December 11, 2017


A couple of complementary articles with some timeless comments worth revisiting: 1) Benjamin Graham, the Human Brain, and the Bubble - by Jason Zweig; 2) Warren Buffett brilliantly explains how bubbles are formed

Index Funds Rule the World, But Should They Rule You? - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Benoit Mandelbrot’s Ideas about Investing and Markets (Made as Simple as Possible, but not Simpler). - by Tren Griffin (LINK)
Related book: The Misbehavior of Markets
The Motley Fool Interviews Trupanion Founder and CEO Darryl Rawlings [H/T @Connor_Leonard] (LINK)

Ken Chenault's Parting Warning: Banks Made Big Error on Payments [H/T Will] (LINK)

Jocko Willink On the Power of Discipline (LINK)
Related book: Discipline Equals Freedom
Recent a16z videos: 1) Decrypting Crypto: From Bitcoin and Blockchain to ICOs; 2) AI: What’s Working, What’s Not

Why do asteroids explode high in the atmosphere? (LINK)

Book of the day: The Friendly Orange Glow: The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture

Friday, December 8, 2017


"It has been my experience that there is no substitute for time where thinking is concerned. Why is it so? The answer seems to be that in many cases to think means to be able to allow the mind to stray from the task at hand. The mind must be able to be 'elsewhere.' This needs time." - Eric Hoffer

Peter Kiewit – The Story of Warren Buffett’s Mentor (LINK)
Related book: Intelligent Fanatics: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Ray Dalio talks with Barry Ritholtz (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: Principles
The regulatory case against tech giants: What path will lawmakers choose? (LINK)

Scott Galloway on The James Altucher Show (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: The Four
Exponent Podcast: Episode 134 — Human Problems (LINK)

LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman on the Recode Decode Podcast (LINK)

Steve Keen on the FT Alphachat Podcast (LINK)
Related book: Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis? [For my thoughts on the book, see the bottom of THIS post.]
StarTalk Radio (podcast) -- Cosmic Queries: Mysterious Cosmology, with Sean Carroll (LINK)
Related book: The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
How to Tell If a Dinosaur Is Fake - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Today's Audible Daily Deal ($0.99): On Power by Robert A. Caro

Curiosity and Observation

From Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson:
In addition to his instinct for discerning patterns across disciplines, Leonardo honed two other traits that aided his scientific pursuits: an omnivorous curiosity, which bordered on the fanatical, and an acute power of observation, which was eerily intense. Like much with Leonardo, these were interconnected. Any person who puts “Describe the tongue of the woodpecker” on his to-do list is overendowed with the combination of curiosity and acuity.  
His curiosity, like that of Einstein, often was about phenomena that most people over the age of ten no longer puzzle about: Why is the sky blue? How are clouds formed? Why can our eyes see only in a straight line? What is yawning? Einstein said he marveled about questions others found mundane because he was slow in learning to talk as a child. For Leonardo, this talent may have been connected to growing up with a love of nature while not being overly schooled in received wisdom. 
...His curiosity was aided by the sharpness of his eye, which focused on things that the rest of us glance over.... The acuteness of his observational skill was not some superpower he possessed. Instead, it was a product of his own effort. That’s important, because it means that we can, if we wish, not just marvel at him but try to learn from him by pushing ourselves to look at things more curiously and intensely. 
In his notebook, he described his method—almost like a trick—for closely observing a scene or object: look carefully and separately at each detail. He compared it to looking at the page of a book, which is meaningless when taken in as a whole and instead needs to be looked at word by word. Deep observation must be done in steps: “If you wish to have a sound knowledge of the forms of objects, begin with the details of them, and do not go on to the second step until you have the first well fixed in memory.”

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Bill Gates: Holiday Reading 2017 (video) (LINK)
The books: 1) Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City; 2) The Sympathizer; 3) The Best We Could Do; 4) Energy and Civilization: A History; 5) Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens
Howard Marks at the Goldman Sachs US Financial Services Conference (LINK)
Everybody who manages money has to end up somewhere on the spectrum between cautious and aggressive, and I don't see any encouragement for aggressiveness today. I'm not worried about missing opportunities today. I'm worried about losing money. And so in my opinion, that calls for caution. Not out of the market. Oaktree's mantra is and has been for a while move forward but with caution. Move forward means make investments. We're not terrified. We're not hesitant to make investments. We are, in most of our accounts, we are fully invested, but with caution. And we are a cautious firm, so that means more caution than usual. And fully invested with caution has actually been a good posture for the last several years. You look at last year, you look at this year, I think that in both years, the returns have come as a surprise. So the point is, we would've had a somewhat higher return if we hadn't been cautious, but our caution gave us the courage to be fully invested, which was the right thing.
Howard Marks says tax cut won't trickle down 'too much' to regular worker (LINK)

Muddy Waters Shorts OSI Systems on Bribery Concerns (video) (LINK)

How To Read Financial News - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Mary Hull – One of the First Female Intelligent Fanatics - by Sean Iddings (LINK)

Andrew Lo on the Odd Lots Podcast (LINK)
Related book: Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought
Grant’s Podcast: Value Hunt (LINK)

Freakonomics Radio (podcast): Why Is the Live-Event Ticket Market So Screwed Up? (LINK)

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman (podcast): Infinite Learner (Part I) — with IAC's Barry Diller (LINK)

Benedict Evans presentation: 10 Year Futures (vs. What's Happening Now) (video) (LINK)
This autumn I gave the keynote at Andreessen Horowitz's annual 'Tech Summit' conference, talking about the state of tech today and what's likely to happen in the next decade: mobile, Google / Apple / Facebook / Amazon, innovation, machine learning, autonomous cars, mixed reality and crypto-currencies. 
Max Tegmark: "Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of AI" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Apparently This Is What a Swimming Dinosaur Looks Like - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

François Rochon: "The Art of Investing: Analyzing Numbers and Going Beyond" | Talks at Google

Link to video


Related link: Giverny Capital Letters To Partners

Practice and theory...

“Those who are in love with practice without theoretical knowledge are like the sailor who goes onto a ship without rudder or compass and who never can be certain whither he is going.... Practice must always be founded on sound theory.” - Leonardo da Vinci



Related previous post: Clayton Christensen and Charlie Munger on theory

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You (LINK)

While he thinks it's possible though not probable, Thomas Peterffy warns that Bitcoin futures could cause a Lehman-style collapse [H/T Will] (LINK)

SEC Halts a Silly Initial Coin Offering (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: A Sober View on Crypto, with Adam Ludwin (LINK)

The Pollyannish Assumption - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Matt Ridley‏ on the perils of confirmation bias (2012) (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

The Desirability of Storytellers - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @stevenbjohnson]: The Woman Who Smashed Codes

A Conversation with Mr. Warren Buffett at the Purpose Built Communities 2017 Annual Conference

Warren Buffett, an American businessman and philanthropist, is a co-founder of Purpose Built Communities. In this conversation with CNBC Anchor, Becky Quick, he discusses what lessons he has learned from his successes and failures and why initiatives like Purpose Built Communities give him hope for our country’s future. This conversation took place on October 3, 2017 in Omaha, NE.

Link to video

[H/T Will]

Monday, December 4, 2017


"When bargains are scarce, value investors must be patient; compromising standards is a slippery slope to disaster. New opportunities will emerge, even if we don’t know when or where." - Seth Klarman

CBS Sunday Profile: Warren Buffett (video) [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Buffett's Fruit of the Loom Tries on Subscription Underwear [H/T Linc] (LINK)

The Interesting Story of the Founding of the Fed - by John Huber (LINK)
Related book: America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve
Tax Cuts, Debt, & The Pretense of Knowledge - by Frank Martin (LINK)

Platform business models are transforming insurance – by Sangeet Paul Choudary (LINK)

Bitcoin, Ignorance, and You - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

The Winklevoss twins' September 17, 2013 Value Investing Congress presentation on Bitcoin (LINK)

Bitcoin Storms Wall Street (LINK)

And to repeat from last week... Howard Marks' comments about Bitcoin in his last memo ("Yet Again?"), which he wrote after chatting with the Horizon Kinetics team and others, are also worth revisiting (starting on page 4).

The cannibalizing effect of share buybacks. Are there parallels with Japan’s bubble years? (LINK)

Tim O'Reilly: "WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: Episode 133 — Two Terrible Options (LINK)

Reading at work - by Seth Godin (LINK)

Voyager 1 Fires Up Thrusters After 37 Years [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Scallops Have Eyes, and Each One Builds a Beautiful Living Mirror - by Ed Yong (LINK)

We Might Absorb Billions of Viruses Every Day (And that’s a good thing.) (LINK)

The Complicated Legacy Of A Panda Who Was Really Good At Sex [H/T @edyong209] (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T Evan Osnos]: The China Fantasy

"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other." - Eric Hoffer