Friday, May 17, 2019


"The job of the board is to get the right CEO, to prevent that CEO from overreaching. Because sometimes you have some people that are very able, but they still want to take it all for themselves. But if they take nothing and they’re the wrong CEO, they’re still a disaster. So low pay itself is not the criteria. So you want the right CEO. You do not want them overreaching. And then I think the board needs to exercise independent judgment on important acquisitions, because I think CEOs — even smart CEOs — are motivated, frequently, in acquisitions by other than rational reasons." --Warren Buffett (2006

Value Investing with Legends Podcast: The All-Important Power of Consumer Brands (with Tom Russo) (LINK)

Kyle Bass on Bloomberg (video) (LINK)

My Way or the Huawei - by Peter Zeihan (LINK)

Dan Rasmussen talks small, cheap and levered stocks with Tobias Carlisle on The Acquirers Podcast (LINK)

The World According to Boyar Podcast: Howard Lorber (LINK)

Five Good Questions Podcast: Mark Moffett - The Human Swarm (LINK)

Recode Media with Peter Kafka: Eugene Wei explains why we’re all ‘status monkeys’ on social media (LINK)

A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, May 16, 2019


"You don’t have to have perfect wisdom to get very rich. All you’ve got to do is have slightly more than other people, on average, over a long time." --Charlie Munger (2005)

What can Long-term Value Investors Learn from Traders? - by Sanjay Bakshi (LINK)

Realistic Personal Finance Hacks - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

As Baby Boomers downsize, an unprecedented generational unloading of houses looms on the horizon. (LINK)

Corner Office Podcast: Delta CEO Ed Bastian on why he’s spending big on airports (LINK)

Spinoza, the Stoic (LINK)

The Forgotten Soviet History of Plague Eradication (LINK)

A black hole in a distant galaxy has been eating a star… for more than a decade! - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


"There are things in life that you don’t have to make a decision on and that are too hard.... One of the interesting things about investment is that there’s no degree of difficulty factor.... We get paid, not for jumping over 7-foot bars, but for stepping over 1-foot bars. And the biggest thing we have to do is decide which ones are the 1-foot bars and which ones are the 7-foot bars so when we go to step we don’t bump into the bar. And that is something that I think we’re reasonably good at. Now maybe we cast out too many things as being too hard and thereby narrow our universe. But I’d rather have the universe be interpreted as being a little smaller than it really is, than being interpreted as larger than it is." --Warren Buffett (2005

Connor Leonard's presentation to the Value Investing Club at Google (LINK)

Spring 2019 issue of Graham & Doddsville (LINK)

2019 Value Investing Conference | Keynote Speaker: Kiril Sokoloff (video) (LINK)

2019 Value Investing Conference | Keynote Speaker: Lawrence A. Cunningham (video) (LINK)

Gates’s Law: How Progress Compounds and Why It Matters (LINK)

A critical step to reduce climate change - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis (podcast): The Magic Shoebox (LINK)
Related book: Flash Boys
O Behave Podcast: Rory discusses Alchemy & The Surprising Power Of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense (LINK)
Related book: Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life - by Rory Sutherland 
The Knowledge Project Podcast: Popping the Filter Bubble (with DuckDuckGo CEO, Gabriel Weinberg) (LINK)

A Truly Remarkable Spider - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Today's Audible Daily Deal ($3.95) is one I've seen recommended by at least one science writer: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Sunday, May 12, 2019


"It’s better to pay attention to something that is being scorned than something that’s being championed." --Warren Buffett (2005

What Warren Buffett's Teacher Would Make of Today's Market - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

A Thread on Diversification - by Sanjay Bakshi (LINK)

Amazon's Size Is Becoming a Problem---for Amazon ($) (LINK)

Degrees of Confidence - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Think Again – a Big Think Podcast: Jared Diamond (LINK)
Related book: Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
Capital Allocators Podcast: Michael Mauboussin – Who’s on the Other Side (LINK)
Related paper: Who Is On the Other Side?
Exponent Podcast: A Perfect Meal (LINK)

Aswath Damodaran chats with Meb Faber (podcast) (LINK)

Acquired Podcast: The Uber IPO (LINK)

Mark Zuckerberg & Yuval Noah Harari in Conversation (video) (LINK)

When the first stars in the Universe exploded, they really exploded - by Phil Plait (LINK)

TED Talk: Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker (LINK)

[I'm a bit late to these, but...] The Bruce Lee Library episodes of the Bruce Lee Podcast look especially worth checking out.... Such as the episode on the Tao Te Ching and the episode on Krishnamurti's Commentaries on Living.

"Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own." --Bruce Lee

Thursday, May 9, 2019


"If you’re analyzing something like WD-40, or See’s Candy, or our brick business, or whatever...they may have good or bad prospects but you’re not likely to be fooling yourself much about what’s going on currently. But with financial institutions, it’s much tougher. Then you throw in derivatives on top of it, one probably knows perfectly — or even within a reasonable range — the exact condition of some of the biggest banks in the world.... I just think you have to accept the fact that insurance, banking, finance companies — we’ve seen all kinds of finance company...frauds and just big mistakes over time — just one after another over the years. It’s just a more dangerous field to analyze. It doesn’t mean you can’t make money in it. We’ve made a lot of money on it. But it’s difficult." --Warren Buffett (2005)

Influencers Transcript and Video (Yahoo Finance): Charlie Munger (LINK)

Berkshire Takes Tax Hit as Victim of ‘Ponzi-Type’ Solar Scheme [H/T Linc] (LINK)

U.S. Recession Would Spur ‘Massive’ Corporate Bond Losses, Eisman Says (LINK)

Chick-fil-A’s Lean Menu Helps Chain Bulk Up ($) (LINK)

Jeremy Grantham on the battle to save society from climate change: ‘We’re not winning’ ($) (LINK)

The Intelligent Investing Podcast: Christian Olesen - Cambria Automobiles (LINK)  [Disclosure: As of the date of this post, I own shares for myself and clients at Sorfis Investments in Cambria Automobiles.]

The Empty Promise of Data Moats (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: Tim O’Reilly and Parker Thompson on Company Building, Venture Capital, and Inequality (LINK)

Crazy/Genius Podcast: Why Should We Care About Privacy? (LINK)

Another Bat-Winged Dinosaur Has Been Found - Ed Yong (LINK)

A Dying Teenager’s Recovery Started in the Dirt - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


"Now the search expenses that brought us Ajit Jain, now there was an investment that really paid a dividend. I can think of no higher return investment that we’ve ever made that was better than that one. And I think that’s a good life lesson. In other words, getting the right people into your system can frequently be more important than anything else." --Charlie Munger (2005)

GMO Quarterly Letter: Stop Worrying About Your Portfolio (LINK)

Notes From Sohn New York Investment Conference 2019 (LINK)

Google Fights Back - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Matthew Ball's latest articles (parts 6 and 7) on Netflix misunderstandings came out last week.... Here are links to all 7 parts to date (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7)

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis (podcast): Baby Judge School (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Stephanie Cohen – The Evolution of M&A and Corporate Strategy (LINK)

Mr. Rogers’ Nine Rules for Speaking to Children (LINK)

Will You Choose Alive Time or Dead Time? - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

The Birth-Tissue Profiteers - by Caroline Chen (LINK)

Monday, May 6, 2019


For those looking for Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting links, see the post from earlier today.

Ian Cassel's initial investor letter for Intelligent Fanatics Capital Management (LINK)

Howard Buffett Looks Beyond an Oracle for Advice ($) (LINK)

Buffett And Inverse Emotionalism - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

CNBC's full interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook (LINK)

The Investors Podcast: Value Investing w/ Mohnish Pabrai (LINK)

The making of Amazon Prime, the internet’s most successful and devastating membership program (LINK)

Can anyone tame the next internet? - by Kara Swisher (LINK)
Forces have been unleashed that seem out of control. But is it the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?
a16z FinTech Newsletter: April 2019 (LINK)

Bank On It Podcast: John Buttrick from Union Square Ventures (LINK)

Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson (podcast) -- Insurance: Who’s Looking Out For You? (LINK)

The School of Greatness Podcast -- Mark Manson: What People Don’t Tell You about Success (LINK)
Related book: Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope
Renaissance Paragone: An Ancient Tactic for Getting the Most From People (LINK)

The Giant Panda Is a Closet Carnivore - by Ed Yong (LINK)

AI Evolved These Creepy Images to Please a Monkey’s Brain - by Ed Yong (LINK)

For Audible Members, the current sale is 50-70% off all titles, so it's probably worth going through your wish list. A couple on my list that I noticed fell in the 70% off category were AI Superpowers and The Fifth Risk.

Berkshire links

"[Lee Kuan Yew] said one thing over and over and over again all his life: 'Figure out what works and do it.' If you just go at life with that simple'll find it works wonderfully well. Figure out what works and do it." --Charlie Munger (2019)

I'm back after another great weekend in Omaha at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. For those that missed it, the video and transcript are already up on the Warren Buffett Archive page, HERE.

It was nice catching up with those of you I saw in Omaha. I mostly go for things other than the actual meeting these days, but it's always special to hear and see two heroes live on stage. I don't think there were too many surprises in the Q&A this year. One thing I would love to see in the future is an investment manager or two that own a lot of Berkshire up on stage asking some questions as well. I may be biased because he's a close friend, but for anyone out there with influence who also thinks this would be interesting, Chris Bloomstran from Semper Augustus Investments Group gets my vote. I think, outside of Berkshire's board and executives, he's about the world's foremost expert on the company. 

As is usual following the meeting, Warren Buffett was on CNBC this morning. He also was joined by Charlie Munger and Bill Gates during the interview. Here is the full video: CNBC's full interview with Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Bill Gates 

Warren Buffett also did a short interview with CNBC on Friday of last week. 
The Wall Street Journal ($) had a fantastic interview with Berkshire's Vice Chairman: Charlie Munger, Unplugged.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, 95, spoke to Wall Street Journal reporters Nicole Friedman and Jason Zweig for six hours over dinner in his Los Angeles home on April 23. He covered a wide array of subjects. Here is an edited transcript from that conversation and a follow-up telephone discussion.
And they also had another article on Munger out last week: Buffett Partner Charlie Munger Has a Side Gig: Designing College Dorms

One of the newer books in the bookstore at the meeting that stood out to me as being especially of note, and which may have been a Charlie Munger recommendation: The Future Is Asian - by Parag Khanna

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The investor as an investigative journalist...

From Warren Buffett at the 1999 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting:
Essentially, you’re being a reporter. I mean, it’s very much like journalism. And if you ask enough questions — Andy Grove has in his book — he talks about the silver bullet, you know.  
You talk to the competitor and you say, “If you had a silver bullet and you could only put it through the head of one of your competitors, which one would it be and why?” Well, you learn a lot if you ask questions like that over time.  
And you ask somebody in the XYZ industry and you say, “If you were going to go away for 10 years and you had to put all of your money into one of your competitors — the stock of one of your competitors, not your own — which one would it be and why?” Just keep asking, and asking, and asking.  
And you’ll have to discount the answers you get in certain ways, but you will be getting things poured into your head that then you can use to reformulate and do your own thinking about why you evaluate this business at this or that.  
The accounting, you know, you just sort of have to labor your way through that. I mean, you may be able to take some courses, even, in that. But the biggest thing is to find out how businesses operate.  
And, you know, who am I afraid of? If we’re running GEICO, you know, who do we worry about? Why do we worry about them? Who would we like to put that silver bullet through? I’m not going to tell you. (Laughter)  
You keep asking those questions. And then you go to the guy they want to put the silver bullet through and find out who he wants to put the silver bullet through. It’s like who wakes up the bugler, you know, in the Irving Berlin song?  
And that’s the way you approach it. And you’ll be learning all the time.  
You can talk to current employees, ex-employees, vendors, supplies, distributors, retailers, customers, all kinds of people and you’ll learn.  
But it’s an investigative process. It’s a journalistic process. And in the end, you want to write the story. I mean, you’re doing a journalistic enterprise. And six months later, you want to say the XYZ Company is worth this amount because, and you just start in and write the story.  
And some companies are easy to write stories about, and other companies are much tougher to write stories about. We try to look for the ones that are easy. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


"We haven’t succeeded because we had great complicated systems or some magic formulas we apply or anything. We’ve succeeded because we have simplicity itself. We take people that know how to play their game very well, and we let them play the game. And it’s just worked in one field after another. And every now and then we make a mistake. And there’ll be more mistakes made. But overwhelmingly, it works." --Warren Buffett (2005)

The Industrialists (LINK)

Bayes & Base Rates (LINK)

Winning Your Race - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

The behavioural science of online harm and manipulation, and what to do about it [H/T Tamas] (LINK)