Friday, September 30, 2016


The Base Rate Book: Integrating the Past to Better Anticipate the Future - by Michael Mauboussin et al. [H/T Hurricane Capital] (LINK)

Phil Jaber and friends : "Philz Coffee" | Talks at Google [H/T @iancassel] (LINK)

Moleskine Turns Paper Into Big Profit for Private-Equity Owner [H/T @chriswmayer] (LINK)

Microsoft to Salesforce: Game on (LINK)

Trump Tees Up a Necessary Debate on the Fed [H/T Matt] (LINK)
Leave the conspiracy theory aside and look at the facts: Since the Fed began aggressive monetary easing in 2008, my calculations show that nearly 60% of stock market gains have come on those days, once every six weeks, that the Federal Open Market Committee announces its policy decisions. 
Put another way, the S&P 500 index has gained 699 points since January 2008, and 422 of those points came on the 70 Fed announcement days. The average gain on announcement days was 0.49%, or roughly 50 times higher than the average gain of 0.01% on other days. 
Danny Meyer Just Single-Handedly Made the Apple Watch Relevant to the Hospitality Industry [H/T @IntrinsicInv] (LINK)

The Tim Ferriss Show: Matt Mullenweg on the Characteristics and Practices of Successful Entrepreneurs (podcast) (LINK)

Exponent podcast: Episode 090 — Fashionable to Be Cynical (LINK)

a16z Podcast: From Data Warehouses to Data Lakes (LINK)

Quote of the day: "There are two different states of human existence: first, to live without thinking of death; second, to live with the thought that you approach death with every hour of your life." -Leo Tolstoy (from A Calendar of Wisdom)

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Howard Marks: Keep Calm and Invest On (video) (LINK)
Famed investor Howard Marks shares his insights on the value of remaining calm in troubled times at the Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit in New York. 
Bill Miller Plans a Return to His Roots (LINK)

Bill Miller, Jim Chanos And Robert Bishop: Delivering Alpha Unfiltered (full video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Planet MicroCap Podcast: Episode 28 - What is an ‘Intelligent Fanatic’ with Sean Iddings, Co-Author of “Intelligent Fanatics Project” (LINK)

Robert Cialdini on The Owner's Mind podcast (LINK)
Related book: Pre-Suasion
Freakonomics Radio: Why Are We Still Using Cash? (LINK)
Related book: The Curse of Cash
TED Talk - Sebastian Kraves: The era of personal DNA testing is here (LINK)

TED Talk - Sam Harris: Can we build AI without losing control over it? (LINK)

How Philosophy Drives Discovery: A scientist's view of Popper (LINK)
In this talk, the 8th Sir Karl Popper Memorial Lecture, Sir Paul Nurse will discuss how the philosophical works of Karl Popper have informed the practice of his own scientific research activities, indicating where it has helped and where it has required modifications. 
The Cato chronicles, part III: commander, and brother (LINK)
Related book: Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar
Book/Essay of the day: The Wisdom of Life - by Arthur Schopenhauer (If you buy this Kindle edition for $0.99, you can also add the audiobook when checking out, which was just released a couple of months ago, for $2.99.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Elon Musk's talk on Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species (video) (LINK)

All I Want To Know Is Where I’m Going To Die So I’ll Never Go There (LINK)
Related previous posts: 1) "You have to have a temperament to grab ideas and do sensible things..."; 2) Charlie Munger: This is the way you win big in the world...
Bloomberg Surveillance Primetime: Julian Robertson (video) (LINK)
Julian Robertson, Tiger Management's chairman and chief executive officer, sits down with Bloomberg's Tom Keene and Mike McKee to discuss his thoughts on the U.S. presidential election, the stock market, hedge funds and the global economy. 
Oh, Canada, You Have the Bubbliest City (LINK)
The bubbliest housing market in the world isn’t to be found in Asia, the U.S. or even Europe. Vancouver is the most overpriced city on earth according to an index released by investment bank UBS. Its inaugural Global Real Estate Bubble Index identifies five other global cities that are in “bubble risk” territory: London, Stockholm, Sydney, Munich and Hong Kong.
Quants Do the Math on a New Target: Insurance [H/T Will] (LINK)

Grocery Prices Are Plunging [H/T Matt] (LINK)
In a startling development, almost unheard of outside a recession, food prices have fallen for nine straight months in the U.S. It’s the longest streak of food deflation since 1960 -- with the exception of 2009, when the financial crisis was winding down. Analysts credit low oil and grain prices, as well as cutthroat competition from discounters. Consumers are winning out; grocery chains, not so much. Their margins and, in some cases, their stock prices, are taking a hit.
Marriott Is Using Its Muscle to Fight Off Expedia and Priceline [H/T Matt] (LINK)
Related previous link: The Definitive Oral History of Online Travel
Tom Russo's 2nd Quarter Semper Vic Partners Investor Letter [H/T @jvembuna] (LINK)

Richard Perry Walks Away, Hoping for a Shot at Vindication (video plays) (LINK)

Legendary value investor Charles Brandes on where he’s investing now (video plays) [H/T Linc] (LINK)
Related book: Brandes on Value
IVA Funds Update Call Transcript (September 13, 2016) [H/T @chriswmayer] (LINK)

The Busyness Paradox, Oliver Burkeman Is Busy (BBC Radio 4) [H/T @TimHarford] (LINK)

An Interview with the Master: Robert Greene on Stoicism (LINK)
Related book: The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
What Separates Champions From ‘Almost Champions’? [H/T @DanielPink] (LINK)
The best goal is also the simplest: Get better. Super champions were driven from within. Their primary concern was self-improvement. They held themselves to high standards, but judged themselves against prior versions of themselves, not against others. 
Almost champions, however, were focused on external benchmarks, like national rankings or how they compared to rivals, a mind-set the researchers speculate explains why almost champions got discouraged during rough patches.
Five wild lionesses grow a mane and start acting like males (LINK)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


For audiobook listeners out there, Audible extended their latest sale until the end of the month. The titles that stood out to me are at the bottom of THIS post.

James Gleick's latest book was released today: Time Travel: A History

How Arnold Palmer Revolutionized the Business of Sports (LINK)

Practicing a "Punch Card" Approach to Investing - by John Huber (LINK)

When To Sell - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Horizon Kinetics on the Survivability of Automobile Companies: How Important is a Company’s Patriarch? (from 2010) (LINK)

Jason Zweig on the Invest Like the Best podcast (LINK)

Snapchat Spectacles and the Future of Wearables - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Heleo Conversation with Malcolm Gladwell and Virginia Heffernan (video) (LINK)

The Cato chronicles, part II: Cato becomes a Stoic (LINK)

Rare Wildlife Portraits From Photographers Who Click Together (LINK)

Book of the day: America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940

Monday, September 26, 2016


The Chessboard Fallacy (LINK)

Latticework of Mental Models: Scarcity Bias (LINK) [Also from Vishal: Mental Models, Investing, and You (Special E-Book)]

The Fight to Keep It Simple (LINK)
Related previous post: If it's not simple, then I'm not interested...
Comments on investment philosophy - part one -- by John Hempton (LINK)

The ~30-minute CNBC video interview with Bruce Berkowitz [H/T Will] (LINK)

Why Getting Rich Quick Doesn’t Sound Crazy - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Self-made billionaire Jim Koch says this book taught him more than Harvard did [H/T Matt] (LINK)
Related book: How to Master the Art of Selling
Peter Diamandis’s 9 Rules For Building A Successful Business (LINK)

Snapchat Releases First Hardware Product, Spectacles (LINK)

What’s the Best Safe Haven for Investors? - by Mark Spitznagel [H/T Jim] (LINK)

Hussman Weekly Market Comment: Structural Growth and Dope Dealers on Speed-Dial (LINK)
Presently, the Shiller CAPE stands at close to 26, which is already well above historical norms, and above anything seen prior to the sequential bubbles (and collapses) of recent cycles. But the CAPE only captures part of the risk, because that 10-year average of inflation-adjusted earnings actually embeds the highest profit margin in history. By accepting the CAPE at face-value, investors are quietly assuming that profit margins will remain at this level permanently. On the basis of normalized profit margins, which systematically produce a more reliable valuation measure across history, the CAPE would presently be at 36.
Richard Duncan posted the final chapter of his book The Dollar Crisis, written in December 2004, which was interesting to read nearly 12 years later (LINK) [And if you want to subscribe to Richard Duncan's Macro Watch newsletter, you should also still be able to use the coupon code 'valueinvestingworld' to get 50% off.]

Exponent podcast: Episode 089 — Move On from the 80s (LINK)

The Cato chronicles, part I: young Cato (LINK)
Related book: Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar
How To Overcome Addiction And Make Lasting Changes In Your Life [H/T @AdamMGrant] (LINK)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Structural end-market growth...

From Quality Investing: Owning the best companies for the long term:
Whereas cyclical growth refers to episodic expansions, structural growth refers to more permanent expansions supported by persistent trends deemed likely to endure. The inherent prognosis, however, warrants skepticism, as the observed pattern is often in fact cyclical and merely temporary. Many emerging market trends previously considered structural seem, in hindsight, to have been more cyclical in nature. 
Despite this, there are a number of long-term trends that are more likely to prove sustainable than others, ranging from disease prevention to urbanization and aging demographics in developed markets. But it is not safe to assume, for instance, that all people on earth want to own a certain number of cars or spend a stated portion of income on beer. 
There are many examples of erroneous assumptions along these lines. A notable one occurred in the US golfing industry. Growth was projected to increase in tandem with a rising population, favorable demographics, and increasing wealth. The projection was wrong. Between 2006 and 2013, the number of golfers in the US fell by 18% despite 6% growth in the US population. A broader example is occurring in China, where once soaring consumer appetites for goods like cognac and pastimes like gambling have abruptly reversed. Only time will tell if this reversal is temporary or permanent.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Berkshire Hathaway Symposium: Panel 2 - Shareholders (5 videos) (LINK)

Richard S. Tedlow Leads the IBM 360 HBS Case (2008 video) [H/T @PlanMaestro] (LINK)
Professor Richard S. Tedlow of Harvard Business School and a Trustee of the Computer History Museum discusses the story of IBM, the leading technology company in the 1960s, taking a huge risk in developing a new family of computers -- a financial investment approximately three times its 1960 annual sales. In 1966, Fortune magazine called this "perhaps the riskiest business judgment" of the era. 
Oracle's Cloudy Future - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Seth Godin on Creativity, Writer’s Block, and What It Sounds Like When You Change Your Mind (podcast) (LINK)

Edge #479: Infrastructure As Dialogue - A Conversation With Monica Smith (LINK)

What I like about the three great Roman Stoics - by Massimo Pigliucci (LINK)

Book of the day: How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


The video of Senator Elizabeth Warren questioning Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf (LINK)

Whipping Wells Fargo (LINK)

How Ulta and Mary Dillon Are Winning the Beauty Battle [video plays when article opens] [H/T @BluegrassCap] (LINK)

GuruFocus: 18 Questions With Dale Wettlaufer of Charlotte Lane Capital Management (LINK)

You don't know anything! - by Nate Tobik (LINK)

Silicon Valley’s Secrets Are Hiding in Marc Andreessen’s Library [H/T Barry Ritholtz] (LINK)

World’s hardiest animal has evolved radiation shield for its DNA (LINK)

Human remains found in hobbit cave (LINK)
Ancient teeth make Homo sapiens the lead suspect in the extinction of Homo floresiensis.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Buffett’s Investing Deputy Todd Combs Named to JPMorgan’s Board (LINK)

How to invest like… Warren Buffett's hero Philip Carret [H/T @chriswmayer] (LINK)
Related book: A Money Mind at 90 
Related article: Buy ‘em Cheap and Hold ‘em
What Are You Doing About It? Reaching Deep Fluency with Mental Models (LINK)

The Difference Between Rationality and Intelligence [H/T @mjmauboussin] (LINK)

The Dangers of ‘Self-Driving’ Car Hype (LINK)

The Coming Anti-National Revolution World - by Robert Shiller (LINK)

It’s time to junk the flawed economic models that make the world a dangerous place [H/T @jasonzweigwsj] (LINK)

Invest Like the Best podcast: Michael Mauboussin – Active Asset Management (LINK)

This looks like an interesting new podcast from NPR [H/T @Kevin_Holloway]: How I Built This
How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world's best known companies and brands. 
There's a new edition (50% longer) of Nassim Taleb's The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms

Book of the day (released next month):  The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living

Monday, September 19, 2016


Tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 20) Yahoo Finance will live stream a conversation with Warren Buffett at the 2016 Concordia Summit [H/T Will] (LINK)

Farnam Street on the Bias from Disliking/Hating (LINK)

The Greatest Bubble of All-Time? - by Ben Carlson (LINK)

The Economist: A special report on the world's most powerful companies (LINK)

Ray Dalio And Timothy Geithner: Delivering Alpha Unfiltered (~30 minute video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Delivering Alpha Conference 2016 Speaker Transcripts (LINK)

The Waiter's Pad: Notes on Judith Elsea's appearance on the Origins podcast from Notation Capital (LINK)

A conversation with Aston Motes, Dropbox’s first employee (LINK)

The Third Transportation Revolution: Lyft’s Vision for the Next Ten Years and Beyond (LINK)

Some more good titles in the current $4.95 Audible sale (if you're not an Audible member yet, you can sign up HERE):

Debt - Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years - By David Graeber (Seth Godin has specifically recommended consuming this book in audio format.)

What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars - By Jim Paul,  Brendan Moynihan

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future - By Martin Ford

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives - By Steven Levy

Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America - By Jeff Ryan

The Selfish Gene - By Richard Dawkins

Civilization: The West and the Rest - By Niall Ferguson

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion - By Jonathan Haidt

The Medieval World (The Great Courses)

The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle - By Steven Pressfield

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - By Marie Kondo

We Learn Nothing: Essays - By Tim Kreider

The Wealth of Nations - By Adam Smith

Meditations - By Marcus Aurelius

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself - By Michael A. Singer

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly, and the Making of the Modern Middle East - By Scott Anderson

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson - By Robert A. Caro

The Pilgrim's Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come - By John Bunyan

Once an Eagle: A Novel - By Anton Myrer

The Hobbit – by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Complete Sherlock Holmes: The Heirloom Collection - By Arthur Conan Doyle

Sunday, September 18, 2016


25iq: A Dozen Ways to Apply the Lessons Taught in the Book “The Most Important Thing” (LINK)
Related book: The Most Important Thing
How Wells Fargo’s High-Pressure Sales Culture Spiraled Out of Control (LINK)

Heavy-Equipment Glut Weighs on Machine Makers (LINK)

Chris Mayer discusses Edgar Wachenheim's book Common Stocks and Common Sense (LINK)

Author Q&A: NYU’s Baruch Lev on the End of Accounting (LINK)
Related book: The End of Accounting and the Path Forward for Investors and Managers
a16z Podcast: Welcome to the New Era of Commerce (LINK)

The Intellectual Yet Idiot - by Nassim Taleb (LINK)

The World of Today [H/T @pmarca] (LINK)
Related book: The World of Yesterday

Friday, September 16, 2016


Latticework of Mental Models: Hawthorne Effect (LINK)

Crowds and Technology (LINK)
Related books: 1) The True Believer; 2) Crowds and Power
Mislead by the PE ratio (LINK)

Exponent Podcast Episode 088 — The Dark Side of the Facebook (LINK)

Bill Gurley on the Recode Decode podcast [H/T The Waiter's Pad] (LINK)

Sex Lives of Fish (LINK)
Related book: What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Farnam Street: Gradually Getting Closer to the Truth (LINK) [I've always loved this Munger and Buffett exchange, as it clearly makes the point about 1-foot hurdles and things needing to scream out at you in order to be worth doing.... “Warren often talks about these discounted cash flows, but I’ve never seen him do one. If it isn’t perfectly obvious that it’s going to work out well if you do the calculation, then he tends to go on to the next idea.” Buffett retorted: “It’s true. If (the value of a company) doesn’t just scream out at you, it’s too close.”]

Bill Belichick (invert, always invert) (LINK)

Dead as a Severed Horse’s Head - by David Merkel (LINK)
Tonight, I am talking about a different sort of scam that sucked in a different class of people.  This scam was a corporation where the management took a firm into bankruptcy that could easily pay its debts, at least in the short-run.  The management likely conspired with the bondholders against its shareholders, seemingly in an effort to gain a greater reward from the bondholders who would own the firm post-bankruptcy than they could from operating the firm outside of bankruptcy.  The name of this firm is Horsehead Holdings [ZINCQ].
Episode 1 of Patrick O’Shaughnessy's new podcast: Jeff Gramm – Activist Investing (LINK)
Related book: Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism
George Magnus recommends the best books on Emerging Markets [H/T @chriswmayer] (LINK)

Redefining limits: how new-market innovations deliver hope in healthcare (LINK)

Paul Graham 2004 essay about Internet/technology trends (he got 9 out of 10 correct) (LINK)

Wonderland Podcast with Steven Johnson [currently 2 episodes] (LINK)
Related book (out later this year): Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Noise: How to Overcome the High, Hidden Cost of Inconsistent Decision Making (LINK)

This column will change your life: interestingness v truth - by Oliver Burkeman (from 2014) (LINK)

James Dimon's interview at The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. (video) (LINK)

Oaktree's Power Opportunities & Infrastructure Investing Platform Video (LINK)

Author Interview: Sean Iddings and Ian Cassel - "Intelligent Fanatics" (LINK)
Related book (this is the paperback, which is now available): Intelligent Fanatics Project: How Great Leaders Build Sustainable Businesses
Delivering Alpha Conference Notes 2016 (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Apple and the Case of Invisible But Audible Innovation (LINK)

Tony Seba on the driverless car disruption - 2016 DSA State of Downtown (video) [H/T Matt] (LINK)

On Deep Breaks - by Cal Newport (LINK)
Related book: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Book of the day: The Art of Taking Action: Lessons from Japanese Psychology

Manufacturing plant incentives...

The below excerpt is from Driven to Succeed: How Frank Hasenfratz Grew Linamar from Guelph to Global, and given the incentive system that was copied, may also make the book The Magna Man an interesting read.
Each plant operated as an independent profit centre headed by a general manager aided by a small management team — called a plant operating committee — that included corporate finance, cash management, material, and marketing. That independence allowed each plant to book new orders, pare costs, and run incentive programs to reward quality work and productivity gains. As part of their compensation, general managers received a salary plus a portion of the plant’s annual profits so they would feel and act like entrepreneurs with a stake in Linamar’s success. “If a general manager of any one plant doesn’t know every employee personally, and any work-related or personal problems that employee may have, then he’s not going to be with us very long,” said Frank. 
Frank copied the plant size and management incentive plan from another immigrant in the auto parts business, Frank Stronach. Like Frank Hasenfratz, Stronach was a tool-and-die maker who came to Canada, in his case from Austria, in 1954. He started Magna in 1957 and by 1986 had 11,000 employees at ninety plants. “I’ve always been a big admirer of Frank Stronach. He’s a genius the way he set up his plants as stand-alone profit centres. We have duplicated that all the way,” said Frank. “I like his business model and he attracts a lot of good people. The best come from the bottom up.”

Related excerpt, and mental model, from the gold standard of books on mental models and wisdom, Peter Bevelin's Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger:
“We increased production volume but employee focus, service, and motivation went down.” 
At some point the disadvantages of business size may eat into the advantages. For example, increased costs and investments, per-unit cost increases, systems become too complicated, bureaucracy and inefficiency, etc.
People’s behavior may change when we change the scale of a group. What works well in a group of one size may not work at all in a group of another size. Garrett Hardin illustrates this as he examines the religious Hutterite communities in the northwestern U.S.:
As a colony grows in size, the propensity of the individual to claim a share of production “according to his needs” increases, while his eagerness to work “according to his ability” diminishes. The effectiveness of the overseers (preachers or bosses) also diminishes. Then, as shrinking increases, those less inclined to “goof off” begin to envy the brotherhood of drones, whom they presently join. 
The Hutterites learned that scale or the number of people in each decision unit is important. Up to 150 people per colony, the system can be managed by the force of shame. Above this size an appeal to conscience loses its effectiveness and individuals begin to need more than they contribute. Studies show that groups of about 150 individuals are common in clans of hunter-gatherers, and military units.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Ray Dalio: 'Only so much you can squeeze out of a debt cycle' (video) (LINK)

Jim Chanos: Tesla/SolarCity raises governance issues (video) (LINK)

Jim Chanos: Clinton far better candidate than Trump [and some thoughts on Valeant] (video) (LINK)

[More videos from the Delivering Alpha Conference, like the 3 above, are available to view HERE.]

Two Key Checklist Items - by John Huber (LINK)

The Thrill of Losing Money by Investing in a Manhattan Restaurant [H/T @trengriffin] (LINK)

Wells Fargo Exec Who Headed Phony Accounts Unit Collected $125 Million (LINK)

Mark Spitznagel on CNBC (video) (LINK)
Related book: The Dao of Capital
Wilbur Ross on the Hanjin Shipping Company crisis (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK) ["Shipowners, I've learned, are a little bit like real estate developers. If someone will give them the money, they'll build another project."]

Facebook Versus the Media - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Watch Evolution Occur Before Your Eyes (LINK)
This is truly stunning: Scientists have released a video showing evolution in action. 
They built a table more than a meter long and put down a culture agent that allows bacteria (specifically, E. coli) to grow. But they set it up in a very interesting way. At each end of the table they allowed the bacteria to grow freely. But just inside these free zones they slathered a broad swath of an antibacterial substance, at a dose just more than enough to kill the critters. Then, next to those, they put down stripes at a dose 10 times that needed to kill them. Next to those were stripes 100 times the lethal dose, and then finally, in the center, a hyper-deadly patch 1,000 times stronger than needed to kill the original strain. 
The video of what happens is staggering.

Monday, September 12, 2016


Hostage to a Bull Market - by James Grant (LINK)
Negative rates? You rub your eyes. You can recall no precedent. There has never been one in 5,000 years of banking.
Sanjay Bakshi's opening remarks to his new class (LINK)

Farnam Street Mental Model: Bias from Liking/Loving (LINK)

Albany International: a work program for a fund manager - by John Hempton (LINK)
This is going to be a stock note with a difference - because it is not a stock note. But it is about a stock/business - Albany International is a company that makes machine cloth based in upstate New York. The interesting part of Albany though is that it has a high-growth but unprofitable aerospace business. 
...If you wonder what a good fund manager really does this is a decent illustration. (I wish our work were always of this standard. It is a hard standard to maintain but I will try.)
Amazon is doubling down on retail stores with plans to have up to 100 pop-up stores in US shopping malls (LINK)

The CEO of Popeyes on Treating Franchisees as the Most Important Customers [H/T @jeff_gramm] (LINK)

The Convenience-Store Innovator of Bend, Oregon [H/T @HurriCap] (LINK) [While I haven't read them yet, there are two convenience-store related business biographies on my list to get to one day, and both companies were mentioned in the article above: 1) The Wawa Way: How a Funny Name and Six Core Values Revolutionized Convenience; 2) Made To Order: The Sheetz Story.]

Self-Driving Cars to Cut U.S. Insurance Premiums 40%, Aon Says [H/T Matt] (LINK)

How to insure something that blows up once every twenty times you use it [H/T @maxolson] (LINK)

Lucy Kalanithi: "When Breath Becomes Air" | Talks at Google (LINK)
Related book (maybe my favorite read of 2016): When Breath Becomes Air
Book of the day [H/T @Sanjay__Bakshi]: Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It
"The truly curious will be increasingly in demand. Employers are looking for people who can do more than follow procedures competently or respond to requests, who have a strong, intrinsic desire to learn, solve problems, and ask penetrating questions. They may be difficult to manage at times, these individuals, for their interests and enthusiasms can take them along unpredictable paths, and they don’t respond well to being told what to think. But for the most part, they will be worth the difficulty. Curious learners go deep, and they go wide. They are the people best equipped for the kind of knowledge-rich, cognitively challenging work required in industries such as finance or software engineering. They are also the ones most likely to make creative connections between different fields, of the kind that lead to new ideas and the ones best suited to working in multidisciplinary teams. Consequently, they are the ones whose jobs are least likely to be taken by intelligent machines; in a world where technology is rapidly replacing humans even in white-collar jobs, it’s no longer enough to be merely smart. Computers are smart. But no computer, however sophisticated, can yet be said to be curious."

Friday, September 9, 2016


An interview with Robert Cialdini about his new book, Pre-Suasion (LINK)

Wells Fargo fined $185M for fake accounts; 5,300 were fired (LINK)
Related article from last November [H/T @jasonzweigwsj]: At Wells Fargo, How Far Did Bank’s Sales Culture Go?
On Float: The Full 60 Page PDF - by Jason Rivera (LINK)
Related previous post: Professor Sanjay Bakshi’s Presentation on Floats & Moats
An interview with the Economist columnist Ryan Avent on his new book about how technology will change the labor force (LINK)
Related book: The Wealth of Humans
Freakonomics Radio: Why Uber Is an Economist’s Dream (LINK)

Exponent podcast: Episode 087 — Meditations on Courage (LINK)
Ben and James discuss James’ adventurous summer and the recent Apple event and what it says about the future of Apple.
Bizarre ant colony discovered in an abandoned Polish nuclear weapons bunker [H/T @rorysutherland] (LINK)

Permanent happiness is a myth: Why you shouldn’t want to always be happy [H/T @AdamMGrant...We often say “Won’t it be great when” and “Wasn’t it great when.” Happiness is saying “Isn’t this great, right now?”] (LINK)

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Bank of the Ozarks (OZRK): The Story of Intelligent Fanatic George Gleason - by Sean Iddings (LINK)
Related book [I've started to read the copy Ian and Sean were kind enough to pass along to me, and I'm really enjoying it.]: Intelligent Fanatics Project: How Great Leaders Build Sustainable Businesses
The Wisdom of Intelligent Investors (Special E-Book) (LINK) [PDF]

When You Change the World and No One Notices - by Morgan Housel [H/T Barry Ritholtz] (LINK)

Rob Arnott talks with Meb Faber (podcast) (LINK)

Beyond the iPhone - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

How to Raise a Genius: Lessons from a 45-Year Study of Supersmart Children (LINK)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Seth Klarman's 2015 Year-End Letter [I've seen this linked to in a couple of places, but it probably won't be available for long.] (LINK)

GMO Whitepaper: An Investment Only a Mother Could Love: The Case for Natural Resource Equities - by Lucas White and Jeremy Grantham (LINK)

How Elizabeth Holmes's House of Cards Came Tumbling Down - by Nick Bilton (LINK)

Survivorship Bias Explained - by Ben Carlson (LINK)

Pershing Square buys nearly 10% of Chipotle (LINK)

Goldman Sachs Has Started Giving Away Its Most Valuable Software [H/T @jasonzweigwsj] (LINK)

Now Companies Are Getting Paid to Borrow [H/T Matt] (LINK)
Investors are now paying for the privilege of lending their money to companies, a fresh sign of how aggressive central-bank policy is upending conventional patterns in finance. 
German consumer-products company Henkel AG and French drugmaker Sanofi SA each sold no-interest bonds at a premium to their face value Tuesday. That means investors are paying more for the bonds than they will get back when the bonds mature in the next few years. 
A number of governments already have been able to issue bonds at negative yields this year. But it is a rare feat for companies, which also ask investors to bear credit risk.
There Are No Truffles in Truffle Oil (LINK)

How It`s Made | Bricks (video) (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Sleep! (LINK)
Related book: The Sleep Revolution

Seth Klarman on Graham and Dodd, the sourcing of opportunity, and the chances of cheap stocks reverting to the mean

From Klarman's 2010 conversation with Jason Zweig:
The work of Graham and Dodd has really helped us think about the sourcing of opportunity as a major part of what we do—identifying where we are likely to find bargains. Time is scarce. We can’t look at everything.  
...The world is different now than it was in the era of Graham and Dodd. In their time, business was probably less competitive. Consultants and “experts” weren’t driving all businesses to focus on their business models and to maximize performance. The business climate is more volatile now. The chance that you buy very cheap and that it will revert to the mean, as Graham and Dodd might have expected, is probably lower today than in the past. 

I like going back and reading things like this as I tend to get a new sense of clarity on the investment process as I progress along my own journey of learning. In this case, the importance of recognizing that time is scare and that one can't look at everything stood out to me. Using good filters, and using solid principles like those of Graham and Dodd to help guide one's attention is something I think can give one a big advantage that can compound over time as one refines the skill. It also reminds me of another quote:
"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 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Released today: Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade – by Robert Cialdini

How Elon Musk Learns Faster And Better Than Everyone Else [H/T @Sanjay__Bakshi] (LINK)

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett And Oprah All Use The 5-Hour Rule [H/T @Sanjay__Bakshi] (LINK)

Q&A with with Bill Gurley [H/T Abnormal Returns] (LINK)

A conversation with Shel Kaphan, Amazon’s first employee. (LINK)

Is “Accounting” Really Accounting? (LINK)

TED Talk - Sal Khan: Let's teach for mastery — not test scores (LINK)

Silver Supernova (H2) | Big History Project (video) (LINK)

Life is not a journey to retirement - by Richard Branson (LINK)

Book of the day: Emerson: The Mind on Fire

Monday, September 5, 2016


Jeremy Miller visits Google to talk about his excellent book, Warren Buffett's Ground Rules [currently $2.99 on Kindle] (video) (LINK)

Six secrets to true originality (LINK)
Related book (this Kindle version is on sale today only for $4.99): Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
Farnam Street Mental Model: Bias from Conjunction Fallacy (LINK)

A Bored Investor Is a Dangerous Thing - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

A Dozen Things I’ve Learned About the Music Business (and Businesses Like It)  - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

What Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne told us over lunch [H/T @Kevin_Holloway] (LINK)

Hanjin Shipping Seeks to Protect Assets World-Wide (LINK)

Horizon Kinetics: Under the Hood - 5000 Years of Interest Rates (Part II) (LINK)

Raghuram Rajan: The independence of the central bank (LINK)

George Cooper talks to Juliette Foster about his book Fixing Economics (audio) (LINK)

Why are you doing? - by Derek Sivers (LINK)

9 Things Ridiculously Productive People Do Every Day (LINK)

See incredible footage from a National Geographic explorer's encounter with a 13-foot leopard seal while diving in Antarctica (video) (LINK)

Friday, September 2, 2016


Latticework of Mental Models: Asymmetric Information (LINK)

Books That Changed Your Life - by Patrick O’Shaughnessy (LINK)

Mutual Fund Observer, September 2016 (LINK)

Macro Voices podcast - Art Berman: Labor Day Weekend Oil Special (audio) (LINK)
Erik Townsend and Aaron Chan welcome Art Berman to MacroVoices. Erik and Art discuss looking beyond absolute inventory numbers and gleaning insights from comparative inventories, continued time-spread compression reflecting producer hedging or lack of concern for a storage crisis, feedback loop of insanity in inventory builds and production, and much more.
Kevin Kelly on Freakonomics Radio (audio) (LINK)
Related book: The Inevitable
Jessica Livingston : How to Build the Future (video) (LINK) [Some great comments around the 15:50 mark: "If I had to say the most important traits of the most successful founders: ...Determination: that is by far the most important quality...More than intelligence; more than previous success in school...Determination is the most important thing. Understanding your users and building a product with a great user experience is second most important. Not being distracted. Not getting lured down these paths that aren't going to be important for building your product. Being flexible-minded.... And then ultimately, you have to be a good leader."

a16z: When Is a “Mark” Not a Mark? (LINK)
The WSJ wrote a story today on venture capital returns that makes for great headlines but misses the “mark” (pun intended) on how venture capital performance actually works. That’s an understandable outcome from a reputable source like the Journal given how arcane and obtuse venture capital valuations can be; we’ll try to demystify that in this post.
a16z Podcast: All about Microservices (audio) (LINK)

Malcolm Gladwell on Why Genius Takes Time (LINK)

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Sample chapter from Intelligent Fanatics Project: How Great Leaders Build Sustainable Businesses, a book I'm looking forward to reading (LINK) [And if you'd like to pre-order a non e-book version, Sean and Ian mentioned that other versions will be available soon. You can join their email list HERE to stay up-to-date.]

Would a 30 Year Old Warren Buffett be Studying Silicon Valley Tech Companies? (LINK)

Robert Cialdini on the Art of Charm podcast discussing his new book Pre-Suasion (LINK)

Will Amazon Kill FedEx? (LINK)
For UPS and FedEx, Amazon’s been great for business. Now it’s taking business away from them.
Dow Chemical’s 1-in-1000 Stock Action Works in Warren Buffett’s Favor [H/T Linc] (LINK)
A Yale professor says Dow Chemical shares show 'pretty clear evidence of manipulation'
Elon Musk Faces Cash Squeeze at Tesla, SolarCity (LINK)

Mean Reversion: Gravitational Super Force or Dangerous Delusion? - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter, September 2016 (LINK)

Does it matter if China cleans up its banks? - By Michael Pettis (LINK)

Intermittent Renewables Can’t Favorably Transform Grid Electricity (LINK)

Blame Your Lousy Internet on Poles (LINK)

Simon Sinek: Why Leaders Eat Last (video) [H/T @iancassel] (LINK)
Related book: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t