Friday, July 13, 2018


"The history that Charlie and I have had of persuading decent, intelligent people, who we thought were doing unintelligent things, to change their course of action has been poor.... So I would say that if you really think you’re in with people that have got a good business, but they’re going to keep doing dumb things with your money, you’ll probably do better to get out and get in with people who’ve got a good business and you think they’re going to do sensible things with it. I mean, you’ve got that option. Now, you also have the option of trying to persuade them to change their mind. But it’s just very, very difficult." --Warren Buffett

The Lifecycle of Greed and Fear - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Of China and Oil - by Peter Zeihan (LINK)
Related book: The Absent Superpower: The Shale Revolution and a World Without America
Walt Disney had a vision for tomorrow—and the means to sell it (LINK)

Anne Wojcicki: "Co-Founder and CEO of 23andMe" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Failing Upwards: Science Learns by Making Mistakes. | Phil Plait | TEDxBoulder (video) (LINK) [He also wrote a follow-up blog post on his talk, with a transcript, HERE.]

"You have to let go of ideas that don’t pan out or else you’ll never see the bigger picture. And if you let it go you’ve learned from it, and won’t make that same mistake again." --Phil Plait

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Intelligent Fanatics

I'm  pleased to announce that, if you have been planning to become a member of the Intelligent Fanatics website and haven't yet done so, you can now support this blog by signing up for Intelligent Fanatics using THIS LINK. I signed up shortly after the site started and have been a happy customer. If you do sign up now, you'll get locked in at the current price ($59.99) for life. For more information on the site, click on the link and check it out. The referral link will also be posted on the right side of this blog's home page, under the Support section.


"The game in our kind of life is being able to recognize a good idea rarely is presented to you. And I think that’s something you have to prepare for over a long period. What is the old saying? That opportunity comes to the prepared mind? And I don’t think you can teach people in two minutes how to have a prepared mind. But that’s the game." --Charlie Munger

How 20-Year-Old Kylie Jenner Built A $900 Million Fortune In Less Than 3 Years (LINK) [I think the mental model for understanding the business success revolves around understanding the way the internet has changed the competitive advantages around supply and demand relationships. As Ben Thompson has written: "The most successful companies no longer control supply but rather demand; moreover, that shift is not due to the actions of any one company but rather to the fundamentally changed structure of the market.... This is the critical insight: it has always been obvious that owning all customers is preferable to owning all suppliers; before the Internet, though, that was impossible. There was too much friction. In other words, the implication of the Internet is the enablement of new models that actually make much more sense, yet were previously unviable because of said friction."]

Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb Investor Day Transcript (May 2018) [H/T Eli] (LINK)

Journalist Elon Musk questioned over Tesla reporting speaks (video) (LINK)
Scott Wapner is joined by Linette Lopez, the Business Insider senior finance reporter whom Elon Musk criticized over Twitter on her Tesla reporting. With Yale's Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Bethany McLean, Vanity Fair.
The Knowledge Project Podcast: The Science of Doing Good, with William MacAskill (LINK)

Revisionist History Podcast: Strong Verbs, Short Sentences (LINK)

American Innovations Podcast: Nuclear Energy | Backlash | 5 (LINK)

An interview with George Church: Reversed Aging, Pig Organs, and the Future of Humankind (LINK)

A Hallmark of Alzheimer's May Actually Begin as a Defense Against Viruses - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


"Study the past record of the stock market, study your own capabilities, and find out whether you can identify an approach to investment you feel would be satisfactory in your own case. And if you have done that, pursue that without any reference to what other people do or think or say." --Benjamin Graham [Source]

Ben Graham's 1955 Senate Testimony (LINK)

I was reminded of the above after reading this comment from Warren Buffett at the 1997 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting:
What two years in this century has the Dow had the greatest overall gain? The two years in the 1900s are 1933, which most of you don’t think of as a banner year, and 1954. And in both of those years, the Dow was up over 50 percent, counting dividends. 
In March of 1955, because of that, the fact that the Dow had gone up — bear in the mind that the high on the Dow was 381 in 1929 and it took 25 years before that was surpassed. And in 1954, the Dow went from, say, 280 up to 404, or something like that, just a little over 50 percent.  
So what did they decide to do? They decided to have congressional hearings about it. And they did.  
In March of 1955, they had hearings in the Senate Banking and Currency Committee, Chairman Fulbright. And my boss, Ben Graham, was called down to testify. And it’s fascinating reading. Bernard Baruch was there, all kinds of people. 
Where’s the value in value investing? [H/T @williamgreen72] (LINK)

Worthless Just Two Years Ago, West Texas Sand Now Brings in Billions (LINK)

Required reading for marketplace startups: The 20 best essays (LINK)

TED Talk: How to build synthetic DNA and send it across the internet | Dan Gibson (LINK)

How Rats Remake Coral Reefs - by Ed Yong (LINK)

The New Story of Humanity's Origins in Africa - by Ed Yong (LINK)
Several new discoveries suggest that our species didn’t arise from a single point in space. Instead, the entire continent was our cradle.
The Long Now Foundation event -- Chris D. Thomas: Are We Initiating The Great Anthropocene Speciation Event? (video) (LINK) [also available as a podcast]
Related book: Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction [This book earned quite the praise from Stewart Brand: "...the best book on evolution since Darwin."]

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


"There are no secrets in [the investing] business that only the priesthood knows.... It’s all out there in black and white. It’s a simple business.... It requires qualities of temperament way more than it requires qualities of intellect...You do need a certain temperament that enables you to think for yourself. And then you have to develop a framework — and I developed it from reading Ben Graham, I didn’t come up with it myself — very simple framework. And then you have to look for opportunities that fit within that framework as you go through life, and you can’t do something every day...You can learn every day, but you can’t act every day." --Warren Buffett

Buffett Starts to Say Goodbye to a Pile of Equity-Index Options [H/T Linc] (LINK)

I Can’t Hear You: How the New Information Landscape Fuels Tribalism - by Russ Roberts (LINK)

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the Likeville Podcast (LINK)
Related book: Skin in the Game
Grant's Podcast: Mix and match (LINK)

Jordan Peterson talks with Lewis Howes (podcast) (LINK)

David Graeber in conversation with Rory Sutherland (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: Bullshit Jobs
TED Talk: The rapid growth of the Chinese internet -- and where it's headed | Gary Liu (LINK)

The evolution of ancient Stoicism, and why it matters today (LINK)

Book(s) of the day: Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set


For qualified candidates, is looking to fill a role that might just be "the best CFO job in Private Equity" (LINK)

Sunday, July 8, 2018


a16z Podcast: Beyond Zero-Sum Thinking in the Game of Tech… and Life (with Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, and Steven Johnson ) (LINK) [Marc Andreessen also Tweeted a bunch of book recommendations, HERE.]

Lessons from Josh Wolfe (Lux Capital) - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Something I Changed My Mind About Recently - by Ben Carlson (LINK)

Masters in Business Podcast: Paul Vigna on Blockchain & Cryptocurrency (LINK)

Recode Decode Podcast: Box CEO Aaron Levie talks tech regulation and the future of jobs (LINK)

Open Offices Make You Less Open - by Cal Newport (LINK)

Why Are We So Certain About Our Mistakes? - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

How to Undertake the Artist’s Journey - by Steven Pressfield (LINK)
Related book: The Artist's Journey
Spiders Can Fly Hundreds of Miles Using Electricity - by Ed Yong (LINK)

The Original American Dogs Are Gone - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, July 5, 2018


 "I don’t look at the primary message...of [Ben] Graham, really, as being...anything to do with formulas. In other words, there’s three important aspects to it.... One is your attitude toward the stock market. That’s covered in chapter eight of The Intelligent Investor. If you’ve got that attitude toward the market, you start ahead of 99 percent of all people who are operating in the market. So, you have an enormous advantage. Second principle is the margin of safety, which again, gives you an enormous edge, and actually has applicability far beyond just the investment world. And then the third is just looking at stocks as businesses, which gives you an entirely different view than most people that are in the market. And with those three sort of philosophical benchmarks, the exact — the evaluation technique you use is not really that important. Because you’re not going to go way off the track, whether you use Walter’s approach — Walter Schloss’s — or mine, or whatever." --Warren Buffett

1991 Barron's interview with Seth Klarman [H/T @NeckarValue] (LINK)

If You Say Something Is “Likely,” How Likely Do People Think It Is? - by Andrew Mauboussin and Michael J. Mauboussin (LINK)

Investing and the Art of Catching Falling Knives - by Vishal Khandelwal (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter, July 2018: The Italian Job (LINK)

29 Life-Changing Lessons That Will Make You Successful And More Strategic - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

Your company’s culture is not unique, psychologist Adam Grant says (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: The Future of Media, with Niel Roberson (LINK)

Grant's Podcast: Nobody knows notin' (LINK)

American Innovations Podcast: Nuclear Energy | Meltdown | 4 (LINK)

Revisionist History Podcast: The Imaginary Crimes of Margit Hamosh (LINK)

TED Talk: How we're saving one of Earth's last wild places | Steve Boyes (LINK)

A Game-Changing AI Tool for Tracking Animal Movements - by Ed Yong (LINK)

How to Grow Old: Bertrand Russell on What Makes a Fulfilling Life (LINK)

"The best Armour of Old Age is a well spent life preceding it; a Life employed in the Pursuit of useful Knowledge, in honourable Actions and the Practice of Virtue; in which he who labours to improve himself from his Youth, will in Age reap the happiest Fruits of them; not only because these never leave a Man, not even in the extremest Old Age; but because a Conscience bearing Witness that our Life was well-spent, together with the Remembrance of past good Actions, yields an unspeakable Comfort to the Soul." --Cicero (via "Praising Old Age" in Poor Charlie's Almanack)

Monday, July 2, 2018


How I Evaluate an Investment - by Brent Beshore (LINK)

Lessons from Cliff Asness - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Sustaining Wealth is Harder Than Getting Rich - by Ben Carlson (LINK)

On Passion and Its Discontents - by Cal Newport (LINK)

Peter H. Diamandis interviews Joshua Dahn, the principal and co-founder (with Elon Musk) of the Ad Astra School [H/T @maxolson] (video) (LINK)

J.P. Morgan Reading List Collection 2018 (LINK)

For Audible members, the new $5.95 sale that runs until July 8th has a few titles that stood out to me:

Den of Thieves - by James B. Stewart

Stuff Matters - by Mark Miodownik

Debt: The First 5,000 Years - by David Graeber

The Goal - by Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Jeff Cox

Red Notice - by Bill Browder

Warren Buffett on looking at the downside first...

"I always start from a position of fear. And then when I see something that looks attractive, I start getting greedy.... But I'm always looking at the downside on something first. I mean, if you can't lose money, you're going to make money. One reason we've done reasonably well, and this really goes back to when I was age 20 and learned from Graham, because my first 10 years were the best, is we've never lost a lot of money as a percentage of our net terms of permanent loss. Now, things may go down 50 percent. Berkshire's stock has gone down 50 percent four times in the time that I've owned it. But in terms of permanent loss....we've had plenty of losses, but they've never been the kind that really are destructive. And I always look at the downside first in anything." --Warren Buffett (March 1, 2010)


Related quote:

"If a catastrophic outcome is possible or you can’t judge the downside, stay away." --Peter Bevelin 

[via the Librarian character in All I Want To Know Is Where I'm Going To Die So I'll Never Go There, and a complementary quote to the story about Buffett and Mid-Continent Tab from Friday]