Thursday, March 31, 2016


Venture capitalists bring in money at levels not seen since the dot-com boom (LINK)

Ashlee Vance on James Altucher's podcast (LINK)
Related book: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Derek Sivers on James Altucher's podcast (LINK)
Related book: Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur
Edge #464: The Augmented Human Being - A Conversation with George Church (LINK)
Related book: Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves 
Hobbits died out earlier than thought (LINK)

Book of the day: The Disruption Dilemma

Quote of the day, from Walter Isaacson in his book The Innovators (when discussing ARPANET and email): "One truth about the digital age is that the desire to communicate, connect, collaborate, and form community tends to create killer apps."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Bill Gross' latest Investment Outlook: Zeno's Paradox (LINK)

Carl Braun on Communicating Like a Grown-Up (LINK)

Snapchat's Ladder - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

92nd Street Y: Steven Pinker, Stephen Hsu and Dalton Conley: Can Genius Be Genetically Engineered? (video) (LINK)

Why You Need a “Deloading” Phase in Life (LINK)

Book of the day: Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Bonus book of the day, which I believe was either out of print or out of stock for a while, but now appears to be available again: The Man from Zara: The Story of the Genius Behind the Inditex Group


Last week, I posted an excerpt from Art De Vany's book The New Evolution Diet. As I go through the latest re-read of the book, I thought it might also be useful for some readers to post the short summary of what he considers to be the essentials of the diet, which he includes at the end of the book (just before Nassim Taleb's afterword):
A Last Word 
Because this book was written by an academic, you've had to make your way through a fair amount of dense scientific information to reach this point. As a reward for your perseverance, I have boiled down the practical aspects of the New Evolution Diet to what can fit on a single page. Here are the essential principles: 
  • Eat fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat, and fish. Stay clear of grains, legumes, potatoes, carbs, and sugar. Limit alcohol consumption. 
  • Skip one dinner every week. 
  • Exercise with intensity. Lift weights, run sprints (but don't jog or run long distances), play a sport. Your workouts should be brief and intense. Going to the gym two or three times a week, for a half hour each time, is plenty. 
  • Remember, the goal is to eat and exercise as humans did roughly 40,000 years ago, before the advent of agriculture or laborsaving technology. Just don't overdo it. Be glad you're here now. 
  • Give up the regimented approach to diet and fitness. Relax, enjoy the process, and let it happen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Buffett’s votes hold steady, despite gifts of shares [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Bill Ackman and Michael Pearson: The Inside Story (LINK)

Source of report on Bear Stearns finally revealed (LINK) [The FCIC interview transcript with Tom Marano mentioning Kyle Bass is HERE.]

Vanity Fair talks to Chamath Palihapitiya [H/T @TMFHousel] (LINK)
Even in Silicon Valley, the home of the ever-present origin story, Chamath Palihapitiya has a pretty incredible narrative. The Sri Lankan immigrant escaped a civil war in his homeland before eventually landing a job at a new company called Facebook. Then he started a venture-capital firm that is now among the most formidable in the Valley. He is also an owner of the Golden State Warriors, the defending N.B.A. champions, who are on pace to the achieve the greatest season in league history. 
[And one of the questions and answers from the interview that I thought was especially useful in trying to think about the great companies of the future...] 
What are the characteristics of the companies you see surviving a downturn?

If you look back, historically, companies like Microsoft or Apple have taken 25 to 35 years to get to the kinds of valuations that Facebook got to in 10 years. And the reaction to this in Silicon Valley is to try to find things that work really quickly. Over the last seven or eight years, Silicon Valley has really fallen in love with fast growth. Part of this is the risk aversion of the financiers, who themselves want to have short-term wins and want to fund things that look like they’re working in the short term.

But the problem with things that work really quickly is that they can stop working equally as quickly. Valuable companies take decades to build. We try to find businesses that are technologically ambitious, that are difficult, that will require tremendous intellectual horsepower, but can basically solve these huge human needs in ways that advance humanity forward. Those things don’t necessarily take lots of money, but they generally do take lots of time. And they require really mission-driven people. But when you build those companies, my gosh, they are so enormously valuable.

The businesses that, in my opinion, are worthless are many of these negative-gross-margin businesses that grow really quickly. Because the growth doesn’t indicate any long-term business value.
Chamath Palihapitiya also talked to Kara Swisher on the Recode podcast recently [H/T The Waiter's Pad] (LINK)

The Obama Doctrine (LINK) [This article was highly recommended by Ian Bremmer on Charlie Rose last week.]

It takes a network to defeat a network - by Niall Ferguson (LINK)

Quote of the day:
"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

Monday, March 28, 2016


Why We Think We’re Better Investors Than We Are (LINK)
Related book: Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them
A Dozen Things Learned from Dr. Michael Burry about Investing (LINK)

The Motley Fool talks with Ian Cassel about Micro-Cap Investing (LINK)

Philip Tetlock on the Masters in Business podcast (LINK)
Related book: Superforecasting
Google CEO Sundar Pichai talks about his upbringing, legacy, expanding internet access, importance of product, and more in wide-ranging profile [H/T Techmeme] (LINK)

The Economist on high corporate profits in America (LINK)

Brain Pickings: William James on Attention, Multitasking, and the Habit of Mind That Sets Geniuses Apart (LINK)
Geniuses are commonly believed to excel other men in their power of sustained attention… Their ideas coruscate, every subject branches infinitely before their fertile minds, and so for hours they may be rapt. 
...When we come down to the root of the matter, we see that [geniuses] differ from ordinary men less in the character of their attention than in the nature of the objects upon which it is successively bestowed.
Fueling Terror: How Extremists Are Made [H/T @RobertCialdini] (LINK)

You (and Almost Everyone You Know) Owe Your Life to This Man (LINK)

Robert Ebeling, Challenger Engineer Who Warned of Disaster, Dies at 89 [H/T @CGrantWSJ] (LINK)

Books of the day [H/T Ryan Holiday]:

Lincoln's Virtues: An Ethical Biography

Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer

Hussman Weekly Market Comment: Run-Of-The-Mill Outcomes vs. Worst-Case Scenarios (LINK)
Though corporate earnings are necessary to generate deliverable cash to shareholders, comparing prices to earnings is actually quite a poor way to estimate prospective future investment returns. The reason is simple - most of the variation in earnings, particularly at the index level, is uninformative. Stocks are not a claim to next year’s earnings, but to a very long-term stream of cash flows that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. Corporate earnings are more variable, historically, than stock prices themselves. Though “operating” earnings are less volatile, all earnings measures are pro-cyclical; expanding during economic expansions, and retreating during recessions. As a result, to quote the legendary value investor Benjamin Graham, “The purchasers view the good current earnings as equivalent to ‘earning power’ and assume that prosperity is equivalent to safety.” Not surprisingly, the valuation measures having the strongest correlation with actual subsequent investment returns across history are smoother, and serve as better “sufficient statistics” for the relevant long-term cash flows. 
Across the scores of measures I’ve evaluated or created over three decades of research, the ratio of non-financial market capitalization to corporate gross value added (essentially corporate revenues, including estimated foreign revenues, excluding double-counting of intermediate inputs) is best correlated to actual subsequent market returns over a 10-12 year horizon. The 12-year horizon is notable, because that’s the point where serial correlation drops to zero, and is therefore the most likely point at which full mean-reversion can be expected, on average. 
One of the reasons I created the MarketCap/GVA measure was to incorporate estimated foreign revenues of U.S. companies, as many investors seemed to imagine that international trade has vastly changed valuation relationships. As it happens, the effect on valuations, and their relationship with subsequent returns, is far more modest than seems to be assumed. For data and a detailed discussion on this point, see The New Era is an Old Story. 
In that light, the next chart shows the ratio of nonfinancial market capitalization to GDP. Here, I’ve imputed some of the pre-war data points based on highly correlated proxy data that is available through the full period, as one can do for forward operating earnings and other series. Since the potential effect of estimation error is larger the further one goes back, I’ve presented only data since 1925, where I’m reasonably confident that the estimates are valid. The expanded chart gives further support to Warren Buffett’s 2001 comment in Fortune that the ratio of market capitalization to GDP is “probably the single best measure of where valuations stand at any given moment.” Though MarketCap/GVA performs slightly better in post-war data, GVA is difficult to estimate back to the 1920’s. 

With the S&P 500 still within a few percent of its record 2015 high, investors have a critical opportunity here to understand the difference between a run-of-the-mill outcome and a worst-case scenario. The present ratio of MarketCap/GDP is about 1.2, which we fully expect to be followed by nominal total returns in the S&P 500 of about 2% annually over the coming 12 years. Given the current dividend yield on the S&P 500 actually exceeds 2%, the historically run-of-the-mill expectation from current valuations is that the S&P 500 Index itself will be below current levels 12 years from today, in 2028. 

I realize that a projection like this seems preposterous. Unfortunately, this just reflects objective evidence that has remained reliable over a century of market cycles. Recall that our real-time projection for 10-year S&P 500 total returns in 2000 was correctly negative even on the basis of optimistic assumptions. The basic arithmetic was the same. 

Notice that expected market returns of about 6% have historically been associated with a MarketCap/GDP ratio of 0.8. The historical norm associated with 10% equity returns has been about 0.6. The secular lows of 1949 and 1982 hit ratios about 0.33. So a rather minimal completion of the current cycle would take the market down by about -33% from here (=0.8/1.2-1), a run-of-the-mill cycle completion would be about -50%, and a truly worst-case scenario would take the market down by about -73% to a secular valuation low in the current market cycle. One can’t rule anything out given reckless monetary policy, fragile European banks, excessive covenant-lite lending and so forth, but I don’t expect more than a run-of-the-mill cycle completion here. 

Once we consider market outcomes beyond more than a couple of years, we have to be careful to take GDP growth into consideration. Assuming labor market participation, productivity, and inflation all eventually recover, suppose that nominal GDP growth averages something close to 5% annually in the future. The mapping between valuations and investment returns is then just straightforward arithmetic. For example, a move to normal valuations 12 years from today would result in a change in the S&P 500 Index of: (1.05)^12 x (0.6/1.2) - 1 = -10.2%, or about -0.9% annually. Adding dividend income would bring the total return closer to 2% annually. 

So again, it’s not a worst-case scenario to expect the S&P 500 Index to be slightly lower, 12 years from now, than it is today. It’s the run-of-the-mill expectation.

Friday, March 25, 2016


New Kindle & Paperback Editions of Berkshire Letters (LINK)

How Jeff Bezos, as owner of The Washington Post and founder of Blue Origin, became a power beyond Amazon (video plays) (LINK)
Related book: The Everything Store
Clayton Christensen: What I’ll Miss About Andy Grove (LINK)

Giverny Capital 2015 Annual Letter to Partners [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

A Conversation with James Grant (Part 1, Part 2)

A Giant Martian Cone Defies the Wind (LINK)

Five Good Questions for Edward Chancellor about the book "Capital Returns"

Link to video


Related book: Capital Returns

Related previous posts:

Investors should be thinking 90% about supply...

More from Ed Chancellor on focusing on industry supply...


Investing in a high-quality business...

From Capital Returns:
Investing in a high-quality company can seem dull and unrewarding in the near-term. The lower risk which comes from investing in quality companies is only properly observed over the long-term. The fact that investors are often focused more on the short-term is partly a function of psychology – the human brain is simply not attuned to multiyear planning, being far better at responding to short-term threats and stimuli. This is seen in several behavioural heuristics – notably hyperbolic discounting and recency bias. Short-termism can be intensified in an institutional setting. Performance-related pay for money managers at most investment firms is weighted to annual performance, which discourages long-term thinking. 
Finally, there is another more technical reason why the virtues of a high return business are not always fully appreciated by investors. This is the tendency of investors to focus on the income statement. This fosters a fixation on price-earnings (P/E) valuation metrics and not price to free cash flow (P/FCF). Thus, all earnings growth is seen as equal, even though it is materially more value creative when return on capital and cash flow generation is higher. Faced with a choice between investing in two companies with the same earnings growth, we are prepared to pay materially more (in P/E terms) for the business with high returns on equity and superior cash flow generation.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Berkshire Hathaway is Safe and Cheap (LINK)

Goldfarb Exits as Sequoia's Valeant Debacle Caps 45-Year Career (LINK)

Negative Yields Seep Into Shell, Siemens Debt on ECB Distortions (LINK)

Lord Mervyn King: "The End of Alchemy" | Talks at Google (video) (LINK)
Related book: The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy
HUGH HENDRY: We're going to be in a 'Mad Max' world if China listens to the hedge funds [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

How to Send an E-mail: A 1984 British Television Broadcast Explains This “Simple” Process (LINK)

Some good tips on productivity (Part 1, Part 2)

Terrorists, Bathtubs and Snakes - by Nicholas Kristof (LINK)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


GMO White Paper: The Stock Market as Monetary Policy Junkie: Quantifying the Fed's Impact on the S&P 500 - by James Montier and Philip Pilkington (LINK)
In this white paper, James Montier and Philip Pilkington take a fresh look at the Federal Reserve and the impact its somewhat unconventional monetary policies have had on stock prices. They posit that the fluctuation in valuations of the S&P 500 may very well come from the influence that the Fed’s anticipated announcements have on market sentiments or “animal spirits.” James and Philip constructed an alternative valuation framework they call the Monetary Policy-Adjusted CAPE (MPA-CAPE), which is a modification of Robert Shiller’s Cyclically-Adjusted P/E Ratio (CAPE), in order to try to gauge the impact that Federal Reserve policies are having on the S&P 500.
Latticework of Mental Models: Float (LINK)

Stop Associating Adam Smith with Laissez-Faire Economics (LINK)

Merryn Somerset Webb talks with Russell Napier, author of Anatomy Of The Bear (LINK)

Why Mindfulness Is Your New Secret Weapon [H/T @RobertCialdini] (LINK)
Related books: 
The Champion's Mind 
How Bad Do You Want It? 
The Mindful Athlete

Seth Klarman quote

“It is important to remember that value investing is not a perfect science. Rather it is an art, and necessitates dealing with imperfect information. Knowing you will never know everything must not prevent you from acting. It requires a precarious balance between conviction, steadfastness in the face of adversity, and doubt, keeping in mind the possibility that you could be wrong.” –Seth Klarman

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Josh Waitzkin on The Tim Ferriss Show

This is Waitzkin's second appearance on Tim Ferriss' podcast (the first was Episode 2).


Related book: The Art of Learning (It looks like the Audible version might only be $3.99 right now, HERE).

Related previous posts:

Learning and fundamentals...

Studying the endgame

The delicate balance of process vs. goal...

Regaining and clarity of mind after making a mistake...

The natural voice...

What kind of learner are you?

Make obstacles spur you to creative new angles in the learning process...

The danger of multitasking

The ebb and flow of stress and recovery...


The Behavioral Economics Guide 2015 (LINK)

Russ Roberts and the Quest to Make Economics Interesting (LINK)

Andrew S. Grove, Longtime Chief of Intel, Dies at 79 (LINK)

Andy Grove on The Importance of an Outsider’s Perspective (LINK)

Andy Grove and the iPhone SE - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Book of the day: Only the Paranoid Survive

Monday, March 21, 2016


Ray Dalio, head of the world's largest hedge fund, explains his succession plan for Bridgewater and how its 'radically transparent' culture is misunderstood [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Fortune on Ex-Lehman CFO Erin Callan's Stunning New Memoir, Full Circle [H/T @BarbarianCap] (LINK)

Chinese Brokerages Rally on Revived Support for Margin Trading (LINK)
China Securities Finance Corp. said it will restart offering loans to securities firms for periods ranging from 7 days to 182 days. The state-backed agency, which provides funding to brokerages for margin trading, will cut interest rates on the debt to as low as 3 percent, it said in a Friday statement. 
The amount of shares purchased on margin has plunged more than 60 percent from last year’s pre-rout peak as traders fled Chinese equities and regulators made it harder for investors to access loans. Speculation last week that officials were relaxing such restrictions helped revive trading volume and sent a gauge of small-cap shares in Shenzhen to its biggest weekly gain on record. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 2.2 percent on Monday, paring its slide from its June peak to 42 percent.
Mark Zuckerberg: Soon, The Majority Of Content We Consume Will Be Video [H/T @BrattleStCap] (LINK)

Everyone's favorite astronaut Scott Kelly will retire from NASA next month (LINK)

Related PBS show to the above: A Year in Space 
Follow astronaut Scott Kelly’s record-breaking 12-month mission on the International Space Station, from launch to landing, as NASA charts the effects of long-duration spaceflight by comparing him to his identical twin on Earth, astronaut Mark Kelly.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


A Dozen Things Learned from Benjamin Franklin About Money and Investing (LINK)

How Maritime Insurance Built Ancient Rome (LINK)

Hardcore History podcast: Kings of Kings II (LINK)
From Biblical-era coup conspiracies to the horrific aftermath of ancient combat this second installment of the series on the Kings of Achaemenid Persia goes where only Dan can take it. For better or worse…
The Knowledge Project podcast: Alexander Shelley (LINK)
On this episode of the knowledge project you'll learn about what goes through conductor Alexander Shelley's mind as he walks from the dressing room to the podium, the architecture of music, why Beethoven's 5th Symphony is so popular, the necessity of art and culture in our busy world and so much more. 
Masters in Business podcast: Bethany McLean (LINK)
In our latest Masters in Business podcast, we speak with Bethany McLean, Vanity Fair contributing editor, and author of numerous books, most famously The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron.
Exponent podcast Episode 071: Pickaxe Retailers (LINK)
Ben and James discuss the connection between Amazon’s business model and organizational structure, why Dropbox shouldn’t have left AWS, and why Apple should buy Dropbox. Plus, does WeWork’s valuation make sense, and why such company’s are exciting.

A smart diet...

A smart diet reduces the amount of energy (meaning food) you feel like consuming at the same time that it increases the amount of energy you feel like spending. And this occurs spontaneously, without any thoughts of cutting calories, or exercising more, or anything else. It just happens.  
It improves the quality of your life by giving you more energy to expend on work, family, and play. It pleases the palette with beautiful food that is completely nutritious. It eliminates foods that interfere with your metabolism or set off your immune system. A smart diet relies on the millions of years of evolutionary design built into your appetite and metabolism to solve the problem of managing energy naturally, without a strict adherence to a plan. 
The New Evolution Diet is a smart diet. It is relaxed, because it does not restrict calories—you eat all you want from a wide selection of fresh and nutritious foods that are delicious, aesthetically pleasing, and satisfying. It is not a top-down menu that requires you to restrict your calories or to follow directions and rigidly adhere to a schedule of meals and snacks. There are no rules. Rules are self-defeating, because nobody wants to be told what to eat or do—”That's why I became an adult,” to borrow a line from Bob Newhart. A command-and-control diet creates stress. Stress encourages the release of cortisol, a hormone that promotes insulin resistance So stressing over diet and exercise is self-defeating—it actually makes you fatter.  
It is nearly impossible to overeat on the New Evolution Diet because it is so complete and filling—it supplies the brain with all the energy and nutrients it needs while promoting a sensation of fullness in the stomach. That brain-stomach connection is important. When your brain is well nourished, it forgets about food. When your brain is improperly nourished, it becomes anxious and selfish and can think only about your next meal. Then you become lazy, because your brain curtails physical activity in order to protect its own energy supply. That means your body stops burning fat.  
I want to emphasize this: A well-fed brain reduces your appetite and makes moving your body a pleasure. But when your brain is improperly nourished, it orders you to keep eating.  
Can you see how this dispels the hopelessly simple and damning explanation that is usually given for weight gain? You are not over-weight because you eat too much and move too little. You eat too much and expend too little energy because you are overweight. Said another way, you are not what you eat; you are what your metabolism does with what you eat.

Friday, March 18, 2016


Audible Clips... For those who listen to audiobooks on Audible, THIS is a nice new feature.

Japan 10-Year Yield Drops to Record, Below Negative Deposit Rate (LINK)
Investors at home and abroad can’t get enough 10-year Japanese government bonds, driving the yield to an unprecedented minus 0.135 percent. 
Yields sank across the curve Friday after the Bank of Japan’s operation to buy long-term debt met the lowest investor participation on record, spurring what Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategist Shuichi Ohsaki called “panic buying.” The yield on the benchmark 2026 notes sank as much as 8 1/2 basis points Friday to below the minus 0.1 percent deposit rate introduced by the central bank last month, while that on 20-year securities tumbled more than 10 basis points to an unprecedented 0.29 percent.
Europeans, Rejoice! The ECB Is Cancelling Your Debt! - by Richard Duncan (LINK)

The FT's special report on watches and jewellery (LINK)
We have a comprehensive Baselworld guide to the key trends in watches and jewellery, plus the Hatton Garden heist’s untold story, smartwatch legal battles and 3D printing.
Quote of the day, from Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Historian, on Charlie Rose in December 2005 (~4:59 mark):
I think [that] when we look at who we are going to elect for President, we really should look at their temperament...For example, Lincoln had this most amazing set of emotional strengths...He was the kind of person who, when he made a mistake, he learned from it; he acknowledged it immediately. He shared credit with other people when something went well. When something went wrong in the Administration, he would shoulder responsibility for blame. If he were mad at somebody, he'd write a hot letter, wait for his emotions to cool down, and never need to send it...He would say, 'Yes, I've changed my mind on something, I'd like to believe I'm smarter today than I was yesterday.' It's so simple...

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Michael Mauboussin on Pockets of Inefficiency in Equity Markets (video) (LINK)

Here’s the Full Transcript of TIME’s Interview With Apple CEO Tim Cook (LINK)

Unmasking Startup L. Jackson, Silicon Valley’s Favorite Twitter Persona (LINK)

Want to Make a Diamond? Slam an Asteroid Into the Earth! (LINK)

Investing book of the day: Austrian School for Investors: Austrian Investing between Inflation and Deflation (the Kindle edition came out yesterday, and for some reason is currently listed separately from the hardcover, HERE)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Arlington Value Capital 2015 Annual Letter (LINK)

John Malone: ‘Cable Cowboy’ Faces the Test in Rounding Up the Right Mix of Assets [H/T @Kevin_Holloway] (LINK)
Related book:  Cable Cowboy: John Malone and the Rise of the Modern Cable Business
Latticework of Mental Models: Surfing (LINK)

Bill Ackman Is Running Out of Options with Valeant (video plays) (LINK)

Each Age Gets the Inequality it Needs: 20,000 years of hierarchy (podcast/lecture) (LINK)

Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Joe Berlinger and His Feel-Good Tony Robbins Film (LINK)

Ron Chernow on Charlie Rose (video) (LINK)
Related book: Alexander Hamilton

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Jana Vembunarayanan put together an excellent introduction to value investing (PDF), and has now published those lecture notes on Kindle for those interested (HERE).

The Amazon Tax - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

TED Talk - Joe Gebbia: How Airbnb designs for trust (LINK)

TED Talk - Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator (LINK)

While I linked to the FCIC records yesterday, HERE's a direct link to one of the more entertaining interviews with Steve Eisman. And HERE is the one with the Cornwall guys, where Jamie Mai also mentioned the book How I Caused the Credit Crunch.

Book of the day: As I See It: The Autobiography of J. Paul Getty

Presentation by Massimo Pigliucci: Stoicism 101

Link to video


Related previous post: Stoicism quotes, thoughts, and readings


Related link: Massimo on Stoicism

Monday, March 14, 2016


National Archives Opens Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Records [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Prem Watsa's 2015 letter to shareholders [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Chuck Feeney, Bill Gates' and Warren Buffett’s hero, honored by Ireland Fund [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Berkshire's Disintermediation: Buffett's New Managerial Model  - by Lawrence A. Cunningham [Paper from last year] (LINK)
Related book: Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values
Jack Bogle on the Masters in Business podcast (LINK)

The Incredible Rise and Final Hours of Fracking King Aubrey McClendon (LINK)

Sergio Marchionne Has Seen the Auto Industry’s Future: He’s Not Interested [H/T @GSpier] (LINK)

The Economist: Greece’s biggest banks may appear to be out of danger, but they are not (LINK)

The Second Smartphone Revolution (LINK)

Marissa Mayer on Charlie Rose (video) (LINK)

The Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus From the Amazon Cloud Empire (LINK)

Hussman Weekly Market Comment: Bearishness Is Strictly For Informed Optimists (LINK)
Beyond those general rules of thumb, what drives inflation? While many economists seem satisfied with having memorized a line from Milton Friedman about inflation being “always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon,” economic models of inflation turn out to be nearly useless for any practical purpose. It’s not difficult to explain inflation, using inflation itself as the main explanatory variable, and information on the output gap is also useful even if unemployment is not. But it’s very difficult to explain most episodes of inflation using monetary variables. 
Yes, hyperinflation is always associated with monetary expansion, but monetary expansion isn’t actually enough. Examine major hyperinflations, and you’ll always find a government that has racked up huge external obligations to other countries, and has lost fiscal control by running massive deficits - effectively printing money to fund them. Hyperinflation involves a loss of both fiscal and monetary control, often coupled with a supply shock of some sort, and revulsion toward holding money itself because the willingness of the next person to accept it comes into question. 
The long-term value of paper money relies on the confidence that someone else in the future will accept it in exchange for value, and ultimately, that’s a matter of varying confidence in the ability of the government to meet its long-term obligations. Early U.S. money such as confederate currency went to zero because that confidence was absent. Greenbacks held their value because of the expectation (validated in 1879) that convertibility with gold would ultimately be honored. Gold convertibility isn’t necessary, nor are balanced budgets required in the short-run, but confidence in long-run fiscal discipline is essential.
Where the Soldiers Are Scarier Than the Crocodiles (LINK)

Friday, March 11, 2016


Martin Capital Management 2015 Annual Report [H/T Mike] (LINK)

Bill Gates' latest 'Ask Me Anything' [H/T Will] (LINK)

Buffett expert Bob Miles: Why I’ve been buying Berkshire shares lately [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Five Good Questions for Mebane Faber about his book Invest with the House (video) (LINK)

Richard Oldfield's Presentation at The Ben Graham Center for Value Investing (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)
Related book: Simple But Not Easy: An Autobiographical and Biased Book about Investing
Exponent Podcast Episode 070: Is That an Echo? (LINK)
Ben and James discuss the Amazon Echo, Apple’s cloudy future, Google’s Missed Opportunity, and why Amazon has so much growth potential ahead of it.
12 Habits Of The Most Productive People [H/T @iancassel] (LINK)
Related book: The Power of Preeminence: High performance principles to accelerate your business and career

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Adam Grant and Malcolm Gladwell at the 92nd Street Y: Originals—How Nonconformists Move the World

Link to video


Related book: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World


Talks at Google - Hewitt Heiserman: "Ben Graham and the Growth Investor" (video) (LINK)
Related book: It's Earnings That Count
What Buffett and Seth Klarman Say About EBITDA (LINK)

Stocks You Shouldn’t Own [H/T @chriswmayer] (LINK)

Keep It Simple (LINK)

Weston Hicks' 2015 Annual Letter to Alleghany shareholders [H/T Will] (LINK)

On the impacts of the China's presence in Latin America (LINK)

Videos from The New Yorker Festival 2015 (LINK)

Quote of the day [H/T Lewis Johnson]: “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first.” - Harry S. Truman

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Buffett’s Berkshire Plans $9 Billion Bond Sale to Repay Loan [H/T Linc] (LINK)
Strong investor demand allowed the company to tighten yields on the offering. The longest part of the sale was $2.5 billion of 3.125 percent of 10-year bonds offering yielding 1.3 percentage points more than similar-maturity Treasuries, according to Bloomberg data.
Investor orders for Berkshire Hathaway bond sale hit $34bn (LINK)
Investor orders for a piece of a $9bn Berkshire Hathaway bond sale eclipsed $30bn on Tuesday, as the conglomerate headed by Warren Buffett sought to repay bank loans used to finance its $36bn takeover of Precision Castparts. 
The deal, spread across seven tranches, underscored the accessibility to the market that high-grade companies have enjoyed over the past several weeks, and stands in sharp contrast to the experience of junk-rated groups which have struggled under heightened volatility and erratic fund flows.
Berkshire Hathaway Energy Valuation Indicators (LINK)

Comments on Mistakes and Buffett’s Original Berkshire Purchase (LINK)

Latticework of Mental Models: Network Effect (LINK)

Gary Channon: the three things I look for when buying a company (LINK)

Bruce Berkowitz on Fannie and Freddie: People are going to call this 'The Big Lie' [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Being punished for doing the obvious: Peabody Energy Corp edition - by John Hempton (LINK)

Tim Harford: The lost leisure time of our lives (LINK)
Three hours a day is quite enough,” wrote John Maynard Keynes in his 1930 essay Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren. The essay continues to tantalise its readers today, thanks in part to a forecast that is looking magnificently right — that in advanced economies people could be up to eight times better off in 2030 than in 1930 — coupled with a forecast that is looking spectacularly wrong, that we would be working 15-hour weeks. 
In 2008, economists Lorenzo Pecchi and Gustavo Piga edited a book in which celebrated economists pondered Keynes’s essay. One contributor, Benjamin Friedman of Harvard University, has recently revisited the question of what Keynes got wrong, and produced a thought-provoking answer.
Bitcoin and Diversity - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Disruption in Business… and Life (with Marc Andreessen and Clayton Christensen) (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Data Network Effects (LINK)

CRISPR: gene editing is just the beginning (LINK)

Yellowstone's Supervolcano Gets a Lid (LINK)

Book of the day: Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

Seneca, Montaigne, and paying attention...

As Seneca put it, life does not pause to remind you that it is running out: 
The only one who can keep you mindful of this is you: It will cause no commotion to remind you of its swiftness, but glide on quietly … What will be the outcome? You have been preoccupied while life hastens on. Meanwhile death will arrive, and you have no choice in making yourself available for that. 
If you fail to grasp life, it will elude you. If you do grasp it, it will elude you anyway. So you must follow it - and "you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow." 
The trick is to maintain a kind of naive amazement at each instant of experience - but, as Montaigne learned, one of the best techniques for doing this is to write about everything. Simply describing an object on your table, or the view from your window, opens your eyes to how marvelous such ordinary things are. To look inside yourself is to open up an even more fantastical realm. The philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty called Montaigne a writer who put "a consciousness astonished at itself at the core of human existence." More recently, the critic Colin Burrow has remarked that astonishment, together with Montaigne's other key quality, fluidity, are what philosophy should be, but rarely has been, in the Western tradition. 
As Montaigne got older, his desire to pay astounded attention to life did not decline; it intensified. By the end of the long process of writing the Essays, he had almost perfected the trick. Knowing that the life that remained to him could not be of great length, he said, "I try to increase it in weight, I try to arrest the speed of its flight by the speed with which I grasp it … The shorter my possession of life, the deeper and fuller I must make it." He discovered a sort of strolling meditation technique: 
When I walk alone in the beautiful orchard, if my thoughts have been dwelling on extraneous incidents for some part of the time, for some other part I bring them back to the walk, to the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude, and to me. 
At moments like these, he seems to have achieved an almost Zen-like discipline; an ability to just be. 
When I dance, I dance; when I sleep, I sleep. 
It sounds so simple, put like this, but nothing is harder to do. This is why Zen masters spend a lifetime, or several lifetimes, learning it. Even then, according to traditional stories, they often manage it only after their teacher hits them with a big stick--the keisaku, used to remind meditators to pay full attention. Montaigne managed it after one fairly short lifetime, partly because he spent so much of that lifetime scribbling on paper with a very small stick. 
In writing about his experience as if he were a river, he started a literary tradition of close inward observation that is now so familiar that it is hard to remember that it is a tradition. Life just seems to be like that, and observing the play of inner states is the writer's job. Yet this was not a common notion before Montaigne, and his peculiarly restless, free-form way of doing it was entirely unknown. In inventing it, and thus attempting a second answer to the question of how to live--"pay attention"--Montaigne escaped his crisis and even turned that crisis to his advantage. 
Both "Don't worry about death" and "Pay attention" were answers to a midlife loss of direction: they emerged from the experience of a man who had lived long enough to make errors and false starts. Yet they also marked a beginning, bringing about the birth of his new essay-writing self.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Price and value...

It should never be forgotten that, in its most basic form, investing is always and everywhere about price and value. Price is what you pay, says the Sage of Omaha, and value is what you get. By this definition, every serious investor must be a value investor. This is not to say that investors should restrict themselves to buying companies with low valuation multiples. The business of investment is ultimately about buying stocks at a discount to intrinsic value. 
So how do you calculate value? Well, in theory the value received is derived from future cash flows discounted back to today at the appropriate discount rate. The trouble is that we are rather poor at making predictions, especially about the future. But that doesn’t put us off. We suffer from what Nassim Taleb calls the “epistemic arrogance” – in plain English, we think we are better at making predictions than we really are. The result is that we have a misplaced sense of confidence in our forecasts. Investors like modelling because it appears scientific (the more spreadsheet tabs, the greater the effect). 
Investment models, however, encourage anchoring. Most models are calibrated to produce a current value for a company within a reasonable range of the current price. Another wrinkle is the discount rates. If you don’t accept that historical volatility (beta) is a good measure of risk (which we do not), then it’s not clear how to calculate the appropriate discount rate. At Marathon, we believe that detailed forecasting adds little value. 
One common response to the difficulty of forecasting is to turn to simple value proxies, such as the price-to-book ratio, price-to-earnings (PE) ratio, and free cash flow yield. Many “value” investors advocate buying a basket of stocks which are cheap by these measures. There’s nothing inherently dumb about this approach. Each of the measures is a very useful indicator of potential value, but there’s a danger of oversimplification. Traditional valuation measures say nothing about the specific context of an investment – for instance, a company’s business model, its industry structure, and management’s ability to allocate capital – which determines future cash flows. 
Quantitative valuation measures also tend to encourage a narrow categorization of investment styles. Take for example the S&P US Style Indices. Value stocks are defined by their ratios of price-to-book, price-to-earnings, and price-to-sales. The growth index, on the other hand, is defined by the three-year change in earnings per share, three-year sales per share growth rate, and 12-month price momentum. While some of these factors are powerful, they are too crude to be the sole framework for assessing value.

Monday, March 7, 2016


The “Enemies” of Warren Buffett [H/T @Sanjay__Bakshi] (LINK)

Two Mental Models (and 24 Things): Network Effects and Critical Mass - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Utility Investor With Ties to Buffett Joins World's 400 Richest [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Travis Kalanick on Charlie Rose (video) (LINK)

Brian Chesky on Charlie Rose (video) (LINK)

From rags to riches to rags in 12 years: the extraordinary story of Nathan Tinkler [H/T @iancassel] (LINK)

The Billionaires' Loophole (LINK)

Iron Ore Jumps Most on Record as Market Goes 'Berserk' [H/T Matt] (LINK)
Iron ore soared the most ever after Chinese policy makers signaled their willingness to buttress economic growth, boosting the outlook for steel consumption in the top user and igniting speculation that some investors who’d bet against the market had been caught out. 
Ore with 62 percent content delivered to Qingdao jumped 19 percent to $63.74 a dry metric ton, Metal Bulletin Ltd. data show. That’s the biggest gain in daily data going back to 2009 and the highest price since June. The surge was preceded in Asia by a rally in futures, with the most-active contract on Singapore Exchange Ltd. climbing 21 percent to $60 and prices on the Dalian Commodity Exchange rising by the daily limit.
Hussman Weekly Market Comment: A Continued Undertone of Risk-Aversion (LINK)
Last week, the most historically reliable equity valuation measures we identify (having correlations of over 90% with actual subsequent 10-12 year S&P 500 total returns) advanced to more than double their reliable historical norms. When valuations have been near those historical norms, the S&P 500 has generally followed with average nominal total returns of about 10% annually. In contrast, current valuations are associated with expected 10-12 year total returns of about zero, with negative expected returns on both horizons after inflation. 
Now, in the context of low interest rates, some investors may view the prospect of zero total returns on stocks over the coming decade as reasonable and competitive. That’s fine, but understand that through most of the period prior to the 1960’s, interest rates regularly visited levels similar to the present, yet these same measures of stock valuations typically resided at well below half of present levels. In my view, investors who view current valuations as “justified relative to interest rates” are really saying that a decade of zero total returns on stocks is perfectly adequate compensation for the risk of a 45-55% market loss over the completion of the current market cycle - a decline that would historically be merely run-of-the-mill given current valuations, and that certainly cannot be precluded by appealing to low interest rates. 
...Put simply, my expectation is that investors will find 10-12 years from today that the relationship between valuations and actual subsequent market returns has played out exactly as it has across history. As a rough guide to how prospective returns will change over the completion of the current market cycle, we presently estimate that in order to establish expected 10-year S&P 500 total returns of 5% annually, the S&P 500 would have to decline to the mid-1500’s. In order to establish 10% expected total returns, we estimate that a decline to the 1000 level on the S&P 500 would be about right. Note that the completion of every market cycle across history has brought valuations toward or below levels consistent with 10% annual prospective returns. 
Brain Pickings: Legendary Physicist Freeman Dyson on God, Unanswerable Questions, and Why Diversity Is the Ruling Law of the Universe (LINK)
Related book: A Glorious Accident: Understanding Our Place in the Cosmic Puzzle
For more from Freeman Dyson, see his book Dreams of Earth and Sky, which was released last year, as well as THIS previous post.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


The world’s greatest investors: John Maynard Keynes [H/T CIO] (LINK)
Related previous post: John Maynard Keynes' change in investment philosophy
A Conversation With Robert J. Shiller (video) [H/T CIO] (LINK)
Related books: Irrational Exuberance 3rd editionPhishing for Phools
Andre Kostolany, bon vivant and speculator (LINK)

Seth Godin: On saying "no" (LINK)

Friday, March 4, 2016


Charlie Munger has little patience for Daily Journal auditors [H/T Will] (LINK)

Bill Gross' March Investment Outlook: Sunshine, Lollipops and… (LINK)

Bloomberg Odd Lots podcast: How One Analyst Uncovered a $7 Billion Fraud [H/T Abnormal Returns] (LINK)

Exponent Podcast Episode 069: Wrapped Around an Axle (LINK)

TED Talk - Travis Kalanick: Uber's plan to get more people into fewer cars (LINK)

Five Good Questions for Bogumil Baranowski about his book Outsmarting the Crowd (video) (LINK)

Thursday, March 3, 2016


"The performance of public duty is not the whole of what makes a good life; there is also the pursuit of private excellence. For man, though partly social, is not wholly so." -Bertrand Russell

It appears that last June, The Reith Lectures series added some archived podcast episodes in case anyone is interested in downloading them to your favorite podcast-listening device, including one of the original ones from Bertrand Russell in 1948-1949 (you can find all of his lectures HERE.)

Farnam Street: 3 Famous Writers on the Relationship Between Reading and Writing (LINK)

Latticework of Mental Models: Liking Bias (LINK)

The 10 Biggest Retail Bankruptcies of the Last Decade [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Mutual Fund Observer, March 2016 (LINK)

Yale's Vikram Mansharamani sees bubbles bursting everywhere (video) (LINK)
Related book: Boombustology
The Voters Decide - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Edge #450: AI & The Future Of Civilization - A Conversation With Stephen Wolfram (LINK)

Book of the day: Classics: An Investor's Anthology

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The ebb and flow of stress and recovery...

Some related excerpts from books that discuss performance maximization that may be worth implementing into different aspects of one's life.

First, from The Power of Full Engagement:
The concept of maximizing performance by alternating periods of activity with periods of rest was first advanced by Flavius Philostratus (A.D. 170-245), who wrote training manuals for Greek athletes. Russian sports scientists resurrected the concept in the 1960s and began applying it with stunning success to their Olympic athletes. Today, "work-rest" ratios lie at the heart of periodization, a training method used by elite athletes throughout the world. 
The science of periodization has become more precise and more sophisticated over the years, but the basic concept hasn't changed since it was first advanced nearly two thousand years ago. Following a period of activity, the body must replenish fundamental biochemical sources of energy. This is called "compensation" and when it occurs, energy expended is recovered. Increase the intensity of the training or the performance demand, and it is necessary to commensurately increase the amount of energy renewal. Fail to do so and the athlete will experience a measurable deterioration in performance. 
Energy is simply the capacity to do work. Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy. 
We need energy to perform, and recovery is more than the absence of work. It serves not just health and happiness, but also performance. Nearly every elite athlete we have worked with over the years has come to us with performance problems that could be traced to an imbalance between the expenditure and the recovery of energy. They were either overtraining or undertraining in one or more dimensions—physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Both overtraining and undertraining have performance consequences that include persistent injuries and sickness, anxiety, negativity and anger, difficulty concentrating, and loss of passion. We achieved our breakthroughs with athletes by helping them to more skillfully manage energy—pushing themselves to systematically increase capacity in whatever dimension it was insufficient, but also to build in regular recovery as part of their training regimens. 
Balancing stress and recovery is critical not just in competitive sports, but also in managing energy in all facets of our lives. When we expend energy, we draw down our reservoir. When we recover energy, we fill it back up. Too much energy expenditure without sufficient recovery eventually leads to burnout and breakdown. (Overuse it and lose it.) Too much recovery without sufficient stress leads to atrophy and weakness. (Use it or lose it.) Just think about an arm placed in a cast for an extended period of time in order to protect it from the "stress" to which it is ordinarily subjected. In a very short time, the muscles of the arm begin to atrophy from disuse. The benefits of a sustained fitness program decrease significantly after just one week of inactivity—and disappear altogether in as few as four weeks. 
The same process occurs emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Emotional depth and resilience depend on active engagement with others and with our own feelings. Mental acuity diminishes in the absence of ongoing intellectual challenge. Spiritual energy capacity depends on regularly revisiting our deepest values and holding ourselves accountable in our behavior. Full engagement requires cultivating a dynamic balance between the expenditure of energy (stress) and the renewal of energy (recovery) in all dimensions.
And then from The Art of Learning:
In your performance training, the first step to mastering the zone is to practice the ebb and flow of stress and recovery. This should involve interval training as I have described above, at whatever level of difficulty is appropriate for the age and physical conditioning of the individual. This training could, of course, take many forms: I have already mentioned biking and resistance work, but let’s say you enjoy swimming laps in a pool. Instead of just swimming until you are exhausted and then quitting, push yourself to your healthy limit, then recover for a minute or two, and then push yourself again. Create a rhythm of intervals like the one I described with my biking. With practice, increase the intensity and duration of your sprint time, and gradually condense rest periods—you are on your way! This same pattern can be used with jogging, weight lifting, martial arts training, or playing any sport that involves cardiovascular work. 
If you are interested in really improving as a performer, I would suggest incorporating the rhythm of stress and recovery into all aspects of your life. Truth be told, this is what my entire approach to learning is based on—breaking down the artificial barriers between our diverse life experiences so all moments become enriched by a sense of interconnectedness. So, if you are reading a book and lose focus, put the book down, take some deep breaths, and pick it up again with a fresh eye. If you are at work and find yourself running out of mental stamina, take a break, wash your face, and come back renewed. It would be an excellent idea to spend a few minutes a day doing some simple meditation practice in which your mind gathers and releases with the ebb and flow of your breath. This will help connect your physical interval training to the mental arenas. If you enjoy the experience, gradually build up your mental stamina and spend more time at it. When practiced properly, Tai Chi Chuan, Yoga, or many forms of sitting meditation can be excellent vehicles for this work. 
As we get better and better at releasing tension and coming back with a full tank of gas in our everyday activities, both physical and mental, we will gain confidence in our abilities to move back and forth between concentration, adrenaline flow, physical exertion (any kind of stress), and relaxation. I can’t tell you how liberating it is to know that relaxation is just a blink away from full awareness. Besides adding to your psychological and physical resilience, this opens up some wonderful and surprising new possibilities. For one thing, now that your conscious mind is free to take little breaks, you’ll be delighted by the surges of creativity that will emerge out of your unconscious. You’ll become more attuned to your intuition and will slowly become more and more true to yourself stylistically. The unconscious mind is a powerful tool, and learning how to relax under pressure is a key first step to tapping into its potential.  
Interval work is a critical building block to becoming a consistent long-term performer. If you spend a few months practicing stress and recovery in your everyday life, you’ll lay the physiological foundation for becoming a resilient, dependable pressure player. The next step is to create your trigger for the zone.
And for a small example of how to incorporate this on the physical fitness side of things, here is Art De Vany via his book, The New Evolution Diet:
We are made more for walking and sprinting than for jogging. The fact is, few hunters ever literally ran down prey over the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. American Indians could bring down a horse in a matter of a few days, but that was done primarily by spooking the animal and then trailing it at a distance. Our ancestors sometimes needed to sprint at the decisive moment, when closing in for the kill, although human ingenuity commonly worked better, as when hunters would drive their prey into traps or dead ends from which they could not escape. They definitely needed to sprint when they themselves were the prey. Beyond that, however, hunters lived by the sensible maxim that led our ancestors to exert no more effort than was absolutely necessary. 
As in all exercise, intermittency and variety are the goals in aerobic workouts. You want to stop and start, go in an instant from walking to running at top speed for 40 or 50 yards, then amble along until the urge to sprint overtakes you again. When you do this, you exercise all the different types of muscle fiber, whereas joggers work mainly the slow-and intermediate-twitch kinds. Jogging also wastes time because you need to do it for long periods to see any benefit. Mixing up sprints with walks is safer for your heart, too. And there's less stress on your knees, ankles, hips, feet, and back. 
You get a good cardio workout just by lifting weights, as I suggest, without a break between sets or stations. When you do it vigorously and with a sense of purpose, your heart will be pumping and your lungs will be working. If you still feel the need for more aerobic exercise, find a game or sport to play. Tennis, racquetball, and basketball are intense, stop-and-start activities, meaning they burn all three kinds of muscle fiber. And they have the added advantage of being fun.
The first thing I do at the gym is head for a stationary bike. You need to warm up your heart, as well as your core temperature, before the real work begins. When you increase your core temperature, the pituitary gland responds by releasing growth hormone. That event is vital to a successful workout: The hormone mobilizes fat to burn for the rest of your session, and even beyond.  
Unlike most people at the gym, however, I don't stay on the bike for long—just 6 minutes total, which is enough time to break a sweat and get a good burn going, if you ride as I do. First, I pedal with low resistance at a fast sprint. After 1 minute of that, I turn the resistance up to the maximum possible and ride just as hard as I can for the next 60 seconds. I repeat that pattern twice more—a minute of sprinting at low resistance, followed by one that feels as though I am riding through peanut butter. During that sixth minute, I do my best to max out the meter that measures watts of energy expended. Then I'm done.  
Professor Leila Barraj's research actually shows that doing just 7 minutes a week on a stationary bike, riding intensely as I do, can make significant improvements in your ability to metabolize glucose. Other studies show that intermittent, intense sprinting can double endurance capacity in 2 weeks. It's the intensity that counts, not the duration. Other research shows that intensity is the key to having a body that is lean. 
There is a power law of exercise, too: Your least frequent, most extreme exertions will have the greatest influence on your fitness. The peak moments of a workout count far more than the amount of time you spend working out. This is why a series of 40-yard sprints at full speed benefits you more than half an hour of jogging. It's also the reason why lifting a weight heavy enough to make your heart pound and your muscles burn counts more than spending hours at the gym always in your comfort zone, never truly challenging your body. When a work-out becomes an unvarying, monotonous routine, it loses its effectiveness.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


CNBC transcript of Warren Buffett on 'Squawk Box' yesterday (LINK)

And in case anyone is interested in reviewing Warren Buffett's CNBC appearance back around the market lows on March 9, 2009 (LINK)

Reassessing Berkshire’s Insurance Operations (LINK)

The Rise and Fall of Commodities Hedge Fund King Willem Kooyker (LINK)

Guy Spier: There are lots of Gordon Gekkos on Wall Street, and that needs to change [H/T Will] (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter - March 2016 (LINK)

A look at Australia's housing market with Steve Keen (audio) (LINK)

Fred Wilson: The Twitter Contradiction (LINK)

James Gleick on the Common Character Traits of Geniuses (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Excerpt of Jeremy Grantham's panel appearance on climate with Secretary of State John Kerry back in October (video) (LINK)

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef hit by coral bleaching (LINK)