Friday, March 22, 2019


"People tend to underestimate low-probability events when they haven’t happened recently and overestimate them when they have happened recently. That is the nature of the human animal. You know, Noah ran into that some years back. But he looked pretty good after 40 days.... We believe almost anything can happen in financial markets. And the only way smart people can get clobbered, really, is through leverage.... So we have a great aversion to leverage and we would predict that a very high percentage of the smart people operating in Wall Street, at one time or another, are likely to get clobbered through the use of leverage. It’s the one thing that can prevent you from playing out your hand. And all of the hands we enter into look pretty good to us. But you do have to be able to play them out.... It’s just astounding what can happen in the marketable securities department. And the big thing you want to do is, at a minimum, you want to protect yourself against that sort of insanity wiping you out. And better yet, you want to be prepared to take advantage of it when I happens. " --Warren Buffett (2004)

Giverny Capital 2018 Annual Letter to Partners (LINK)

Bruce Flatt and Howard Marks on Bloomberg TV (LINK)

Aswath Damodaran on the Futurebuilders Podcast (Part 1Part 2)

David Rosenberg on the Macro Voices Podcast (LINK) [Related presentation: The Year of the Pig (Lipstick won’t help!)]

"As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, March 21, 2019


"That’s the beauty about investments. You only have to look at the ones that you feel capable of evaluating and you skip all rest." --Warren Buffett (2004)

Sanjay Bakshi talk: Fragility & Optionality in Business Models [free registration required] (LINK)

Death, Taxes, and a Few Other Things - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

The Big Short’s Steve Eisman raises bets against Canadian banks (LINK)
A fund manager made famous by the book The Big Short has turned his sights on Canada, betting that a tottering housing market and a sluggish economy will bring trouble for the country’s biggest banks. 
Steve Eisman, a portfolio manager at Neuberger Berman, is among a growing number of short-sellers taking positions in the likes of TD Bank and Royal Bank of Canada, in anticipation that the shares will fall. The moves come after property prices raced ahead of incomes for several years, boosted by loose lending, low interest rates and lax controls on foreign money. But new house prices in Canada slipped year on year in January for the first time since 2009, squeezed by tighter rules on mortgages and new taxes on foreign buyers, while the broader economy has begun to falter. 
“I’m calling for a simple normalisation of credit that hasn’t happened in 20 years,” Mr Eisman told the FT, while declining to name the banks he is shorting, or the full extent of his positions. He said the effects would hurt banks and the real estate sector, but would not be as intense as the financial crisis a decade ago in the US, when he and others saw huge profits from the implosion of the subprime mortgage market. 
“This is not ‘The Big Short: Canada’ — I’m not calling for a housing collapse,” he said.
Jamie Dimon: CEOs optimistic about business outlook (video) (LINK)

James Grant on CNBC (LINK)

Ten Lessons I Learned While Teaching Myself To Code (LINK)
Related book: Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World
Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking: Chip Conley: The Modern Elder and the Intergenerational Workplace (LINK)

The After On Podcast: 45: Naval Ravikant (part 2) | End Games (LINK)

The Joe Rogan Experience (podcast) - Gary Taubes & Stephan Guyenet (LINK)

It’s Not Enough to Be Right. You Also Have to Be Kind. - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

Holy spitting space rocks: Asteroid Bennu is active! - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Beware the Medusavirus - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)

After Two Decades, a Fishy Genetic Mystery Has Been Solved - by Ed Yong (LINK)
A scientist faced down the ultimate cold case: How did two groups of fish separately evolve genes for making antifreeze?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


"Security analysis is a severely practical activity, and it must not linger over matters that are not likely to affect the ultimate judgment." --Benjamin Graham and David Dodd (Security Analysis: Sixth Edition)

Dr James Simons, S Donald Sussman Fellowship Award Fireside Chat (Chat 2 - March 6, 2019) (video) [H/T @collabfund] (LINK)

Can goats empower women? - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Calpers Wants to Double Down on Private Equity ($) (LINK)

Can a Facebook Post Make Your Insurance Cost More? ($) (LINK)

A detailed short thesis on Tesla (LINK)

In the wake of one university’s headline-making failure, a look at business models (LINK)

The Disruptive Voice Podcast: Revisiting Resource Allocation in the Firm (with Clayton Christensen) (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Annie Duke – Wanna Bet? (LINK)

The Knowledge Project Podcast: Doing the Enough Thing (LINK)

WorkLife with Adam Grant Podcast: Networking For People Who Hate Networking (LINK)

A Doctor’s Prescription for More AI in Medicine (LINK)
Eric Topol makes the case for how artificial intelligence can improve health care, despite privacy concerns
The Rock Health Podcast: How AI Can Get Medicine Back On Track: Dr. Eric Topol (LINK)
Related book: Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again
The After On Podcast: 44: Naval Ravikant (part 1) | End Games (LINK)

The Fertility Doctor’s Secret (LINK)

Monday, March 18, 2019


"[There are] misperceptions of the salesman as somebody who’s wearing a shiny suit selling somebody something that they don’t need. And so, we have a couple of responses to that. We have a specific response to that, which is actually the role of sales is...not to sell something you don’t need — it’s essentially to help somebody buy what they actually do need.... But even deeper than that, the thing I tell the engineers is, look, dealing with customers, it’s another systems problem. You are the master of solving a systems problem, which is how to get the computer to do what you want. People aren’t computers, they’re different, but there is a system for dealing people. You can engineer a system for dealing with people. And actually, when you work with top-end sales people, what you find is they have incredibly elaborate, very real systems. Like, very, very, very thoroughly thought-through kind of abstract systems of how they basically run a large-scale sales campaign and how they deal with the customer." --Marc Andreessen  (Source)

Warren Buffett describes Haven's plan to improve health care while controlling costs (video) (LINK)

Warren Buffett Is No Fan of Modern Monetary Theory (LINK)

Investing: Theory vs. Practice - by Massimo Fuggetta (LINK)

The Hidden Risk When You Own Stocks for the Long Run - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Understanding Brookfield and Oaktree’s US$500-billion colossus (LINK)

Stock Analysis: The Most Important Things (Plus, A Case Study) - by Vishal Khandelwal (LINK)

Why our fund managers would never own up to an error like Buffett did on Kraft Heinz (LINK)
Related book: The Courage to Be Disliked
Bill Gurley - Runnin' Down a Dream: How to Succeed and Thrive in a Career You Love [9/14/2018] (video) (LINK)

Decentralized Finance - by Fred Wilson (LINK)

Fives Steps Toward Fairness in College Admissions - by Rick Bookstaber (LINK)

a16z Podcast: For the Billions of Creatives Out There (LINK)
This special, almost-crossover episode of the a16z Podcast features Billions co-showrunner Brian Koppelman — who also co-wrote movies such as Rounders and Ocean’s 13 with his longtime creative partner David Levien — in conversation with Marc Andreessen (and Sonal Chokshi).
Recode Decode Podcast: European commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager (LINK)

Yes, It’s All Your Fault: Active vs. Passive Mindsets (LINK)

FoundMyFitness Podcast: Dr. Matthew Walker on Sleep for Enhancing Learning, Creativity, Immunity, and Glymphatic System (LINK)
Related book: Why We Sleep

"The only thing each of us lives and loses is the present." --Marcus Aurelius 

Sunday, March 17, 2019


What is Amazon? - by Zack Kanter (LINK)

Spinning Gold - by Chris Pavese (LINK)

Counterintuitive Competitive Advantages - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

How Sears Lost the American Shopper ($) (LINK)

Microsoft, Facebook, trust and privacy - by Benedict Evans (LINK)

Some notes on the book Subscribed: Why the Subscription Model Will Be Your Company's Future - and What to Do About It (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: Fence-building vs. Axe-wielding (LINK)

Pivot with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway (podcast): LIVE! From SXSW (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: The Case For Digital Minimalism with Cal Newport (LINK)
Related book: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
The Epic Hunt for a Lost World War II Aircraft Carrier [H/T @pcordway] (LINK)

A New Discovery Upends What We Know About Viruses - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Sorfis Investments

As many of you already know, my thoughts about starting a Registered Investment Adviser have come to fruition, and Sorfis Investments is now open for business.

The initial letter mostly provides some background about me and how my career and investing philosophy have developed over the years. It’s probably too much detail for many of you, but given that I hope Sorfis will be my main focus for the rest of my investing career, I think it’s worthwhile to give you a written overview describing how I made my way from growing up in Ohio to starting Sorfis in Charlotte, North Carolina. That letter, as well as a sign-up form to receive future letters, can be found on the Communications page.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019


"We think the best way to minimize risk is to think." --Warren Buffett (2004)

Brookfield to Buy 62% of Oaktree Capital Management (LINK)

Daniel Kahneman in conversation with Sam Harris (podcast) (LINK)

Where [Elizabeth] Warren’s Wrong - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Adam Smith, Loneliness, and the Limits of Mainstream Economics - by Russ Roberts (LINK)

Prem Watsa on PM Modi, elections and Fairfax’s India investments (LINK)

The Decivilization of Venezuela - by Peter Zeihan (LINK)

The College Admissions Scandal Is About More Than Just Bribery - by Tyler Cowen (LINK)

Hallucination vs. Vision, Selling Your Art in the Real World: Brian Koppelman Interviews Marc Andreessen (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Chris Cole chats with Tobias Carlisle [from last month] (LINK)
Related paper (July 2018): "What is Water in Markets?"
Invest Like the Best Podcast: Michael Mayer – Pseudonymous Social Capital and Bottomless Coffee (LINK)

Raghuram Rajan talks with Tyler Cowen (podcast) (LINK)

Big Questions with Cal Fussman (podcast): Simon Sinek: The Infinite Game (LINK)
Related book (June release date): The Infinite Game
The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes (podcast): The Power of Digital Detox with Cal Newport (LINK)
Related book: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
This Is a Truly Lousy Experiment About Evolution - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T Tom Russo]: The Monk of Mokha

Monday, March 11, 2019


"The philosopher Cicero said something beautiful. He said, 'The thankful heart is not only the greatest of all the virtues, but it is the parent of all the other virtues.' And I think what that means is that people who are lucky should thank their luck, acknowledge it and revel in it. I think it will also make them want to share the fruits of their luck with others." --Howard Marks  [via The Knowledge Project]

Now that we're a decade from the crisis lows in the stock market, it might be an interesting time to revisit some of the FCIC interviews.

Capital Allocators Podcast: Thomas Russo – All About Google (LINK)

Virgin group: Brand it like Branson (LINK)

Jerome Powell's "60 Minutes" interview (video) (LINK)

On Startups, Platforms, and Innovation (LINK)

EconTalk Podcast: Amy Webb on Artificial Intelligence, Humanity, and the Big Nine (LINK)
Related book: The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity
How the U.S.-Russian Relationship Went Bad [H/T @GrahamTAllison] (LINK)

NASA Captures First Air-to-Air Images of Supersonic Shockwave Interaction in Flight [H/T Linc] (LINK)

"Natural desires are limited; but those which spring from false opinion can have no stopping-point. The false has no limits. When you are travelling on a road, there must be an end; but when astray, your wanderings are limitless. Recall your steps, therefore, from idle things, and when you would know whether that which you seek is based upon a natural or upon a misleading desire, consider whether it can stop at any definite point. If you find, after having travelled far, that there is a more distant goal always in view, you may be sure that this condition is contrary to nature." --Seneca

Friday, March 8, 2019


"Charlie is a huge believer in the idea that you don’t sit around sucking your thumb when something comes along that should be done that you pour into it. And that’s generally what we’ve tried to do. But there have been times — and it’s usually happened when I’ve started buying something at X and it went up to X plus an eighth or some intolerable amount like that — and I quit or waited for it to come back. And we’ve missed, in some cases, billions of dollars of profit because of the fact that I’d gotten anchored, in effect, to some initial price when I could have paid more subsequently and it really was inconsequential." --Warren Buffett (2004)

"At least we are constantly thinking about the past occasions when we blew opportunities. Since those don’t hit financial reports, the opportunities you had but didn’t accept, most people don’t bother thinking about them very much. At least that is a mistake we don’t make. We rub our own noses in our mistakes in blowing opportunities." --Charlie Munger (2004)

The First Line of Investing Defense? You - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

The Real Estate Market in Charts - by Ben Carlson (LINK)

Bill Gross: ‘We were looking for every penny we could get’ (LINK)

Lyft Off? The First Ride Sharing IPO! - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

Mark Zuckerberg Wants Facebook to Emulate WeChat. Can It? (LINK)

Three Ways Startups Are Coming for Established Fintech Companies—And What To Do About It (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: Mark Zuckerberg’s Projected Self (LINK)

Patience is Something You Do, Not Something You Are (LINK)

Thursday, March 7, 2019


"My partner used to say, a deal of a lifetime comes across your desk every week. You just have to be looking for it. So while there are dramatic changes going on in real estate, there are always misallocations and mispricing. So even in a down market, some assets will be marked down way below even their new lower price and create an opportunity. But it takes a more agile player. It's sort of the difference as a stock picker, where there are markets where you could be what are called "beta huggers." You're just sticking to the index or sticking to the averages. And then there are other markets where you have a stock picker's market, where only the really great stock pickers can find great opportunity." --Michael Sonnenfeldt  [via Real Vision]

Jeremy Grantham on CNBC (LINK)

Facebook’s Privacy Cake - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Leithner Letter No. 233-236: Which Australian Households’ Finances Are Most Vulnerable? (LINK)

Freakonomics Radio: How to Fail Like a Pro (LINK)

Time and money - by Seth Godin (LINK)

What killed the dinosaurs? Astronomy and geology. - by Phil Plait (LINK)

We Are Destroying Chimpanzee Cultures - by Ed Yong (LINK)