Friday, December 29, 2017


The latest from Michael Mauboussin [in his new role]: How Well Do You Compare? (LINK)

A Fireside Chat with Jim Chanos & Dan Gilbert (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Argentina Wants Cheap Flights—But Not Too Cheap [H/T Phil] (LINK)

How I Built This Podcast -- The Home Depot: Arthur Blank (LINK)
Related book: Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion
How the Animal Kingdom Sleeps - by Ed Yong (video) (LINK)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

We are choked with news, and starved of history...

From "The Map of Human Character" by Will Durant (November 18, 1945): 
It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it. It is the present, not the past, that dies; this present moment, to which we give so much attention, is forever flitting from our eyes and fingers into that pedestal and matrix of our lives which we call the past. It is only the past that lives. 
Therefore I feel that we of this generation give too much time to news about the transient present, too little to the living past. We are choked with news, and starved of history. We know a thousand items about the day or yesterday, we learn the events and troubles and heartbreaks of a hundred peoples, the policies and pretensions of a dozen capitals, the victories and defeats of causes, armies, athletic teams. But how, without history, can we understand these events, discriminate their significance, sift out the large from the small, see the basic currents underlying surface movements and changes, and foresee the result sufficiently to guard against fatal error or the souring of unreasonable hopes?

[H/T Jacob]

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


"Nature's wants are small, while those of opinion are limitless." - Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)

Transcript of Charlie Munger's recent appearance at Michigan [H/T @iancassel] (LINK)

Berkshire Hathaway Is Ending the Year With a Bang ($) (LINK)
The conglomerate controlled and run by Warren Buffett could get a 13% boost to its shareholder equity, or book value, in the quarter as a result of a lower corporate tax rate, gains in its equity portfolio, and operating earnings. Our analysis is based in part on calculations by Barclays insurance analyst Jay Gelb. 
...Last week, Berkshire shares briefly topped $300,000, and are now valued at $489 billion -- sixth in market value behind tech leaders Apple, Google, Microsoft,, and Facebook. 
We estimate that Berkshire’s book value could end the current quarter around $211,000 per class A share. This suggests that Berkshire shares, now trading for nearly 1.6 times its Sept. 30 book value of $187,435 – the high end of its price/book value range dating back several years – are cheaper than they appear. If our estimate of Dec. 31 book value proves accurate, Berkshire shares trade closer to 1.4 times year-end book.
Energy Investors: Behold the Miracle of the Tax Law - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Estonia, the Digital Republic [H/T Tamas] (LINK)
Its government is virtual, borderless, blockchained, and secure. Has this tiny post-Soviet nation found the way of the future?
Sean Iddings on the Planet MicroCap podcast discussing Intelligent Fanatics: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (LINK)

It's a bird! It's a UFO! It's … a Falcon 9 rocket! (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @mattwridley]: Life through Time and Space

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


“If you live according to nature, you will never be poor; if you live according to opinion, you will never be rich.” - Epicurus (via Seneca)

Latticework of Mental Models: Domain Dependence (LINK)

At Google, Eric Schmidt Wrote the Book on Adult Supervision - by Steven Levy (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: The Future of Tech, with Chris Dixon (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Trends in Cryptocurrencies (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Fintech for the People (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: Episode 135 — Two Is Better Than One (LINK)

FT Alphachat Podcast:  Hernando de Soto on the economics of property rights (LINK)

Kindness scales - by Seth Godin (LINK)

Richard Thaler's Nobel Lecture (video) (LINK)

Beetle Penises May Hold Clues For Better Medical Devices [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Monday, December 25, 2017

A good conscience is a continual Christmas...

“Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no ambition corrupt thee, no example sway thee, no persuasion move thee, to do any thing which thou knowest to be evil; so shalt thou always live jollily; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas.” –Ben Franklin

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


"They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor." - Eric Hoffer

Farnam Street’s 2017 Annual Letter to Readers (LINK)

The 2017 Stratechery Year in Review - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

A Brief History of Cable TV: Creating and Cutting the Cord [H/T @Connor_Leonard] (LINK)

Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How China’s Surveillance State Overwhelms Daily Life [H/T @pcordway] (LINK)
Related book (I've linked to this before. And now that I'm nearly finished with it, I think it gives great context to viewing things like the article above. See THIS article for more about the book.): The China Fantasy
The Ezra Klein Show (podcast): What life is like in North Korea (LINK)
Related book: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
Conversations with Tyler (podcast): Andy Weir on the Economics of Sci-Fi and Space (LINK)
Related book: Artemis: A Novel
Nappuccino: A Scientific 5-Step Guide to the Perfect Nap (LINK)
Related book: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
Investing book of the day: The Bank Investor's Handbook

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


"The truth is the one thing that nobody will believe." - George Bernard Shaw

Disrupt Yourself and Grow - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Mohnish Pabrai and Shai Dardashti discuss philanthropy (audio/video) (LINK)

In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society [H/T @sarthakgh] (LINK)

West grows wary of China’s influence game ($) (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Retail Contrarians, with Sorin Capital’s Jim Higgins and Tom Digan (LINK)
So far, I’ve spent no time in the podcast discussing real estate, so I was excited to get the chance to talk to the team at Sorin Capital, a billion dollar hedge fund which specializes in commercial real estate, REITs, and commercial mortgage backed securities.
Potash Corp: A Study in Patience (LINK)

Book of the day: Enriching the Earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production

Monday, December 18, 2017


End of an era: M&T's Robert Wilmers, force in community, dies at 83 [H/T Linc] (LINK)

David Einhorn | Full Q&A | Oxford Union (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Your Mom’s Basement TO A $600 Million Payday IN 4 Years (LINK)

Human Behavior and The Panic of 1907 - by John Huber (LINK)

The Story of Shorting Home Capital | Marc Cohodes Outtake | Real Vision Video (LINK)

Three Delusions: Paper Wealth, a Booming Economy, and Bitcoin - by John Hussman (LINK)

How I Built This Podcast -- LearnVest: Alexa von Tobel (LINK)

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Matt Dillahunty (audio/podcast) (LINK)

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Mohnish Pabrai's latest talk at Boston College (video) (LINK)

The 15-Stock 'Free Lunch' Portfolio - by Mohnish Pabrai and Fahad Missmar (LINK)

Bill Nygren: "Value Investing Principles and Approach" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Transcript of Jim Chanos' appearance on CNBC [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Lessons from Norman Augustine About Innovation and his Famous Laws - by Tren Griffin (LINK)
Related book: Augustine's Laws
Tim Ferriss talks with Mike Maples, Jr. (podcast) (LINK)

How Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing apps are outmaneuvering Uber. (LINK)

a16z video: Challenges in Healthcare Innovation (LINK)

TED Talk -- How China is changing the future of shopping | Angela Wang (LINK)

Scott Kelly: "Endurance" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Boyd Varty: "Cathedral of the Wild" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Slow and steady (LINK)

TED Talk -- Want to get great at something? Get a coach | Atul Gawande (LINK)

Thursday, December 14, 2017


GMO's Q3 2017 Letter (LINK)
The 3Q2017 GMO Quarterly Letter features Ben Inker’s “What Happened to Inflation? And What Happens If It Comes Back?” and Jeremy Grantham’s “Career Risk and Stalin’s Pension Fund: Investing in a World of Overpriced Assets”
Bitcoin: Currency of the Future or Investment Mania? Bill Miller’s Transformative Innovation Case (video) (LINK)

CNBC's full interview with Stanley Druckenmiller (LINK)

What’s Eating Bill Ackman? [H/T Daniel] (LINK)

How I Built This Podcast: Live Episode! Black Entertainment Television: Robert Johnson (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Scaling Healthcare (LINK)

The Knowledge Project Podcast -- Warren Berger: Improve Your Life by Improving Your Questions (LINK)

Are You a Listener or a Reader? (LINK)
Related book: Management Challenges for the 21st Century - by Peter F. Drucker
40 Years Later, Some Survivors of the First Ebola Outbreak Are Still Immune - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


10 Questions for Todd Combs [H/T Market Folly] (LINK)

Inside Texas’s largest furniture store [H/T @NicoleFriedman] (LINK)

Ray Dalio on Bitcoin (LINK) [This video was a clip from the Milken conference a few weeks ago, of which you can find more videos from that event, as well as last week's London event, HERE. The full Conversation between Ray Dalio and Michael Milken is HERE.]

Mark Cuban In Conversation With Kyle Bass | Real Vision Video (LINK)

The implosion in digital media. What are the implications? (LINK)

A New Kind of Soft Battery, Inspired by the Electric Eel - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Turning Piglets Into Personalized Avatars for Sick Kids - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @farnamstreet]: A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Jim Simons, the Numbers King (LINK)
Algorithms made him a Wall Street billionaire. His new research center helps scientists mine data for the common good.
Disney and Fox - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Stan Druckenmiller on CNBC (video) (LINK)

The Force Behind Bitcoin’s Meteoric Rise: Millions of Asian Investors ($) (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: World Without Mind, w/ Franklin Foer (LINK)

Grant’s Podcast: Is China a Ponzi scheme? (LINK) [This starts off discussing The Steinhoff Saga, which was also mentioned by Druckenmiller, and worth listening to.]

Tribe of Mentors Podcast: Jocko Willink - Discipline Equals Freedom (LINK)
Related book: Discipline Equals Freedom
The drip - Seth Godin (LINK)
Change, real change, is the result of focused persistence. 
It's easy to get a bunch of people sort of excited for a little while. 
The challenging part, and the reason that change doesn't happen as often as it should is that we get distracted. Today's urgent is more urgent than yesterday's important. 
The concept of breaking news and the crisis of the day proves my point. If the world ended every time Wolf Blitzer implied it would, we would have been toast a long time ago. The organizations that actually change things are the ones that have a time horizon that's longer than 36 hours. 
There are very few overnight successes. Very few entrepreneurs, freelancers, non-profits, candidates, spiritual leaders, activists or people in a successful relationship that got there with thunder and lighting. It happens with a drip.
TED Talk: Adventures of an interplanetary architect | Xavier De Kestelier (LINK)

TED Talk: Lessons from a solar storm chaser | Miho Janvier (LINK)

Matt Ridley on the BBC's Blue Planet II (LINK)

Stopping the Rise of Superbugs by Making Them Fight For Food - by Ed Yong (LINK)

The Wasp That Paints Its Nursery In Bacteria - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Geminids 2017: How to See One of the Year's Best Meteor Showers (LINK)

Monday, December 11, 2017


A couple of complementary articles with some timeless comments worth revisiting: 1) Benjamin Graham, the Human Brain, and the Bubble - by Jason Zweig; 2) Warren Buffett brilliantly explains how bubbles are formed

Index Funds Rule the World, But Should They Rule You? - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Benoit Mandelbrot’s Ideas about Investing and Markets (Made as Simple as Possible, but not Simpler). - by Tren Griffin (LINK)
Related book: The Misbehavior of Markets
The Motley Fool Interviews Trupanion Founder and CEO Darryl Rawlings [H/T @Connor_Leonard] (LINK)

Ken Chenault's Parting Warning: Banks Made Big Error on Payments [H/T Will] (LINK)

Jocko Willink On the Power of Discipline (LINK)
Related book: Discipline Equals Freedom
Recent a16z videos: 1) Decrypting Crypto: From Bitcoin and Blockchain to ICOs; 2) AI: What’s Working, What’s Not

Why do asteroids explode high in the atmosphere? (LINK)

Book of the day: The Friendly Orange Glow: The Untold Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture

Friday, December 8, 2017


"It has been my experience that there is no substitute for time where thinking is concerned. Why is it so? The answer seems to be that in many cases to think means to be able to allow the mind to stray from the task at hand. The mind must be able to be 'elsewhere.' This needs time." - Eric Hoffer

Peter Kiewit – The Story of Warren Buffett’s Mentor (LINK)
Related book: Intelligent Fanatics: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Ray Dalio talks with Barry Ritholtz (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: Principles
The regulatory case against tech giants: What path will lawmakers choose? (LINK)

Scott Galloway on The James Altucher Show (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: The Four
Exponent Podcast: Episode 134 — Human Problems (LINK)

LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman on the Recode Decode Podcast (LINK)

Steve Keen on the FT Alphachat Podcast (LINK)
Related book: Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis? [For my thoughts on the book, see the bottom of THIS post.]
StarTalk Radio (podcast) -- Cosmic Queries: Mysterious Cosmology, with Sean Carroll (LINK)
Related book: The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
How to Tell If a Dinosaur Is Fake - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Today's Audible Daily Deal ($0.99): On Power by Robert A. Caro

Curiosity and Observation

From Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson:
In addition to his instinct for discerning patterns across disciplines, Leonardo honed two other traits that aided his scientific pursuits: an omnivorous curiosity, which bordered on the fanatical, and an acute power of observation, which was eerily intense. Like much with Leonardo, these were interconnected. Any person who puts “Describe the tongue of the woodpecker” on his to-do list is overendowed with the combination of curiosity and acuity.  
His curiosity, like that of Einstein, often was about phenomena that most people over the age of ten no longer puzzle about: Why is the sky blue? How are clouds formed? Why can our eyes see only in a straight line? What is yawning? Einstein said he marveled about questions others found mundane because he was slow in learning to talk as a child. For Leonardo, this talent may have been connected to growing up with a love of nature while not being overly schooled in received wisdom. 
...His curiosity was aided by the sharpness of his eye, which focused on things that the rest of us glance over.... The acuteness of his observational skill was not some superpower he possessed. Instead, it was a product of his own effort. That’s important, because it means that we can, if we wish, not just marvel at him but try to learn from him by pushing ourselves to look at things more curiously and intensely. 
In his notebook, he described his method—almost like a trick—for closely observing a scene or object: look carefully and separately at each detail. He compared it to looking at the page of a book, which is meaningless when taken in as a whole and instead needs to be looked at word by word. Deep observation must be done in steps: “If you wish to have a sound knowledge of the forms of objects, begin with the details of them, and do not go on to the second step until you have the first well fixed in memory.”

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Bill Gates: Holiday Reading 2017 (video) (LINK)
The books: 1) Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City; 2) The Sympathizer; 3) The Best We Could Do; 4) Energy and Civilization: A History; 5) Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens
Howard Marks at the Goldman Sachs US Financial Services Conference (LINK)
Everybody who manages money has to end up somewhere on the spectrum between cautious and aggressive, and I don't see any encouragement for aggressiveness today. I'm not worried about missing opportunities today. I'm worried about losing money. And so in my opinion, that calls for caution. Not out of the market. Oaktree's mantra is and has been for a while move forward but with caution. Move forward means make investments. We're not terrified. We're not hesitant to make investments. We are, in most of our accounts, we are fully invested, but with caution. And we are a cautious firm, so that means more caution than usual. And fully invested with caution has actually been a good posture for the last several years. You look at last year, you look at this year, I think that in both years, the returns have come as a surprise. So the point is, we would've had a somewhat higher return if we hadn't been cautious, but our caution gave us the courage to be fully invested, which was the right thing.
Howard Marks says tax cut won't trickle down 'too much' to regular worker (LINK)

Muddy Waters Shorts OSI Systems on Bribery Concerns (video) (LINK)

How To Read Financial News - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Mary Hull – One of the First Female Intelligent Fanatics - by Sean Iddings (LINK)

Andrew Lo on the Odd Lots Podcast (LINK)
Related book: Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought
Grant’s Podcast: Value Hunt (LINK)

Freakonomics Radio (podcast): Why Is the Live-Event Ticket Market So Screwed Up? (LINK)

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman (podcast): Infinite Learner (Part I) — with IAC's Barry Diller (LINK)

Benedict Evans presentation: 10 Year Futures (vs. What's Happening Now) (video) (LINK)
This autumn I gave the keynote at Andreessen Horowitz's annual 'Tech Summit' conference, talking about the state of tech today and what's likely to happen in the next decade: mobile, Google / Apple / Facebook / Amazon, innovation, machine learning, autonomous cars, mixed reality and crypto-currencies. 
Max Tegmark: "Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of AI" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Apparently This Is What a Swimming Dinosaur Looks Like - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

François Rochon: "The Art of Investing: Analyzing Numbers and Going Beyond" | Talks at Google

Link to video


Related link: Giverny Capital Letters To Partners

Practice and theory...

“Those who are in love with practice without theoretical knowledge are like the sailor who goes onto a ship without rudder or compass and who never can be certain whither he is going.... Practice must always be founded on sound theory.” - Leonardo da Vinci



Related previous post: Clayton Christensen and Charlie Munger on theory

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You (LINK)

While he thinks it's possible though not probable, Thomas Peterffy warns that Bitcoin futures could cause a Lehman-style collapse [H/T Will] (LINK)

SEC Halts a Silly Initial Coin Offering (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: A Sober View on Crypto, with Adam Ludwin (LINK)

The Pollyannish Assumption - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Matt Ridley‏ on the perils of confirmation bias (2012) (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

The Desirability of Storytellers - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @stevenbjohnson]: The Woman Who Smashed Codes

A Conversation with Mr. Warren Buffett at the Purpose Built Communities 2017 Annual Conference

Warren Buffett, an American businessman and philanthropist, is a co-founder of Purpose Built Communities. In this conversation with CNBC Anchor, Becky Quick, he discusses what lessons he has learned from his successes and failures and why initiatives like Purpose Built Communities give him hope for our country’s future. This conversation took place on October 3, 2017 in Omaha, NE.

Link to video

[H/T Will]

Monday, December 4, 2017


"When bargains are scarce, value investors must be patient; compromising standards is a slippery slope to disaster. New opportunities will emerge, even if we don’t know when or where." - Seth Klarman

CBS Sunday Profile: Warren Buffett (video) [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Buffett's Fruit of the Loom Tries on Subscription Underwear [H/T Linc] (LINK)

The Interesting Story of the Founding of the Fed - by John Huber (LINK)
Related book: America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve
Tax Cuts, Debt, & The Pretense of Knowledge - by Frank Martin (LINK)

Platform business models are transforming insurance – by Sangeet Paul Choudary (LINK)

Bitcoin, Ignorance, and You - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

The Winklevoss twins' September 17, 2013 Value Investing Congress presentation on Bitcoin (LINK)

Bitcoin Storms Wall Street (LINK)

And to repeat from last week... Howard Marks' comments about Bitcoin in his last memo ("Yet Again?"), which he wrote after chatting with the Horizon Kinetics team and others, are also worth revisiting (starting on page 4).

The cannibalizing effect of share buybacks. Are there parallels with Japan’s bubble years? (LINK)

Tim O'Reilly: "WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: Episode 133 — Two Terrible Options (LINK)

Reading at work - by Seth Godin (LINK)

Voyager 1 Fires Up Thrusters After 37 Years [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Scallops Have Eyes, and Each One Builds a Beautiful Living Mirror - by Ed Yong (LINK)

We Might Absorb Billions of Viruses Every Day (And that’s a good thing.) (LINK)

The Complicated Legacy Of A Panda Who Was Really Good At Sex [H/T @edyong209] (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T Evan Osnos]: The China Fantasy

"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other." - Eric Hoffer

Thursday, November 30, 2017


John Hussman made a 19-minute video with his thoughts on the proposed tax bill (LINK)

The Senate’s tax bill is a sweeping change to every part of federal health care [H/T @Atul_Gawande] (LINK)

Would all Industry Titans of the 19th Century be in Prison Today? - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Leithner Letter No. 215-221 (LINK)
Related book: The Bourgeois Manifesto
Tyler Cowen chats with Douglas Irwin whose book, Clashing over Commerce: A History of US Trade Policy, Cowen thinks is the best history of American trade policy ever written (podcast) (LINK)

Freakonomics Radio (podcast): Are We Running Out of Ideas? (LINK)
Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. One theory: true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more expensive. So what should we do next?
“Light Touch”, Cable, and DSL; The Broadband Tradeoff; The Importance of Antitrust - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

a16z Video: The API Economy (LINK)

The new generation of computers is programming itself | Sebastian Thrun and Chris Anderson (video) (LINK)

Authors@Wharton Speaker Series presents Sir Richard Branson (video) [H/T ValueWalk] (LINK)

Gary Taubes talks with Shane Parrish on The Knowledge Project Podcast (LINK)
Related book: The Case Against Sugar
Hummingbirds Are Where Intuition Goes to Die - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


"The doctor is not infallible and does not know everything, and it's a shame that we need to thrust him into a position where he has to seem infallible in order to make everybody feel good. Because we are much better off if he's very aware of how highly fallible he is and how little we do know. That's how progress happens. You start by acknowledging what you do not know." - Michael Lewis

Why a Value Investor Decided to Buy Bitcoin (LINK)
Bitcoin isn’t exactly your classic value investment. It’s one of the most volatile assets in the world, and it doesn’t have much of a “book” value – unlike a company that owns physical assets, Bitcoin can’t sell its headquarters if things get rough. There is, of course, no Bitcoin headquarters. 
But Murray Stahl, a longtime value investor who now manages $5.5 billion at his New York-based investment firm Horizon Kinetics, considers Bitcoin “the ultimate value investment.” His original $7 million investment from two years ago has ballooned as Bitcoin’s price has soared, and he now holds about $100 million worth. As of Monday, each Bitcoin is worth about $9,500.
Note.... Howard Marks' comments about Bitcoin in his last memo ("Yet Again?"), which he wrote after chatting with the Horizon Kinetics team and others, are also worth revisiting (starting on page 4).

Michael Lewis chats with Eric Topol (LINK)
Related book: The Undoing Project
Pro-Neutrality, Anti-Title II  - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Soft Robots Acquire Origami Skeletons for Super-Strength [H/T Linc] (LINK)

A review of some of the bids to woo Amazon’s HQ2 to other cities and states shows it’s not all about the money. In some cases democracy itself is a bargaining chip. [H/T Techmeme] (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Angel Investing and Trend Spotting, w/ Joanne Wilson  (LINK)

Tim Urban talks with Tim Ferriss on Tribe of Mentors Podcast (LINK)

The Decades-Long Quest to Make Virus-Proof Mosquitoes - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Sputnik at 60 - by Vaclav Smil (LINK)

The 2nd edition of Smil's Oil - A Beginner's Guide also appears to be available to purchase in paperback early next year (available on Kindle now).

Monday, November 27, 2017


"The great lesson in microeconomics is to discriminate between when technology is going to help you and when it's going to kill you." - Charlie Munger

Five Things I Am Doing Differently Today vs. Five Years Ago - by Robert Vinall [registration required] (LINK)

Paul Johnson and Paul Sonkin on the Capital Allocators Podcast (LINK)
Related book: Pitch the Perfect Investment
Business Lessons from Katrina Lake of Stitch Fix - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

The regulatory case against tech giants (continued): Why concerns about information overload could cripple the platform-monopoly model. (LINK)

TED Talk -- The science of cells that never get old | Elizabeth Blackburn (LINK)


Audible added another 100 books to its current $4.95 sale (which ends November 28, 2017 @ 11:59 PM PT). Here are a few of the new titles that stood out to me (see the previous post for the other notable titles):

The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales

Economic Facts and Fallacies

The Greatest Story Ever Told - So Far: Why Are We Here?


"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill     [H/T Fred Wilson]

Friday, November 24, 2017


"Perhaps the most persistent mistake I encounter is investors overpaying for the hope of growth. It always seems seductive to rotate to something proffering the hope of growth, but all too often we forget the lags that typify turning points. This is made all the more dangerous when the markets concerned are trading on massively elevated valuation multiples." - James Montier (May 2008, via 

A beautiful story about Frank Perdue (LINK)

The Uncertain Future of Bitcoin Futures (LINK)

Dan Pink talks with Dan McGinn, author of Psyched Up (podcast) (LINK)


There are some good titles in Audible's latest $4.95 sale. Some of the ones that stood out to me are below:

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company

The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story

The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

The Pixar Touch

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are

Biology: The Science of Life (The Great Courses)

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money

Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers

On Intelligence

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

Confessions of an Economic Hitman

iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Along the Way

Hitch-22: A Memoir

Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


"Obviously the stock market is quite irrational in thus varying its valuation of a company proportionately with the temporary changes in reported profits. A private business might easily earn twice as much in a boom year as in poor times, but its owner would never think of correspondingly marking up or down the value of his capital investment." - Ben Graham

Leonardo's Principles - by Ray Dalio (LINK)
Related book: Leonardo da Vinci
Connor Leonard on the Invest Like the Best Podcast (LINK)

Spin Gold From Spinoffs: A Portfolio Of 5 Castoffs Trounces The S&P 500 - by Mohnish Pabrai (LINK)

Not all risk mitigation is created equal - by Mark Spitznagel [H/T Jim] (LINK)

Amazon tells Australian retailers to prepare for orders from Thursday (LINK)

Katrina Lake, Stitch Fix founder & CEO, on CNBC (video) (LINK)

Latticework of Mental Models: Manufactured Memories (LINK)

Tyler Cowen on the Longform Podcast (LINK)

TED Talk -- Mariano Sigman and Dan Ariely: How can groups make good decisions? (video) (LINK)

TED Talk -- Scott Galloway: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google manipulate our emotions (video) (LINK)
Related book: The Four
Edge #504: "A Difference That Makes a Difference" - A Conversation With Daniel C. Dennett (LINK)

How Coral Researchers Are Coping With the Death of Reefs - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Stewart Brand on The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast) (LINK)

Tim Ferriss' new book was also released this week: Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World

Monday, November 20, 2017


"Most of the money I've made in my life has been when other people don't like what's going on. When things are cheap, that's the opportunity." - John Malone (Source)

An excerpt of Boyar Research's Forgotten Forty report from last year (in exchange for inputting contact information). This report provides their clients with their 40 best ideas for the year ahead, and this excerpt has a good overview of some of the names they follow.... Link to: The Forgotten Forty: 2017 Issue

Best in Class: Lessons from Publicly Traded Enterprise Saas Companies [H/T @AlexRubalcava] (LINK)

An interview with John Huber of Saber Capital Management and the Base Hit Investing blog (LINK)

Morgan Creek Capital Management - Q3 2017 Market Review & Outlook Letter (LINK)

How I Built This Podcast -- Ben & Jerry's: Ben Cohen And Jerry Greenfield (LINK)

EconTalk Podcast: Tim Harford on Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy (LINK)
Related book: Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy
The show so far, a continuing series [on the Trump Administration to date, according to Tyler Cowen] (LINK)

How a Skeptic Became a Stoic [H/T Daniel] (LINK)
Related book: How to Be a Stoic 

John Templeton, Warren Buffett, and Robert Wilson interviews by George Goodman (aka Adam Smith) (circa 1985)

Link to video

Sunday, November 19, 2017


CNBC's full interview with Liberty Media's John Malone (video) [H/T Will] (LINK)

One of tech's most successful investors says Silicon Valley's unicorns need to 'grow up' (article and video) (LINK)

Blackstone May Do Its Cleverest CDS Trade Again [H/T Matt] (LINK)

Structures of power: author Michael Lewis on Donald Trump, Wall Street women and Harvey Weinstein [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Business Lessons from Ben Thompson of Stratechery - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: Episode 132 — Successful Disappointments (LINK)

How Entrepreneurial Management Transforms Culture and Drives Growth (LSE podcast) (LINK)
Related book: The Startup Way - by Eric Ries
Kim Jong Un’s North Korea: Life inside the totalitarian state (LINK)

A Chess Novice Challenged Magnus Carlsen. He Had One Month to Train. ($) (LINK)

The da Vinci Pause (LINK)

What DNA Says About the Extinction of America’s Most Common Bird -  by Ed Yong (LINK)

New Zealand’s War on Rats Could Change the World - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day: The Way We Live Now - by Anthony Trollope [Tim O'Reilly mentioned this book near the end of his chat with Tim Ferriss, when discussing how reading bestselling novels during a given time period can be a great way to learn history, as it gives one a sense for the way people thought about things during that time. And he mentioned the The Way We Live Now as a book about the great railroad bubbles of the 1860s.]

Thursday, November 16, 2017


"I have always thought that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, and accomplish great affairs among mankind if he first forms a good plan and, cutting off all amusements or other employments that would divert his attention, makes the execution of that same plan his sole study and business." - Ben Franklin

A Conversation with David Swensen [H/T @jasonzweigwsj] (LINK)
Related article: Yale's Swensen Sees Low Volatility as `Profoundly Troubling'
Lessons Learned from The Outsiders & How Intelligent Fanatics are Different (LINK)

Pension Actuaries: The Joke is On Us - by Rick Bookstaber (LINK)

Is the Business Cycle Dead, Or Just Hibernating? - by Frank Martin (LINK)

Why Sales Quotas Ruined Wells Fargo (LINK)

Will Amazon disrupt healthcare? (LINK)

Sebastian Junger: "Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging" | Talks at Google (LINK)

Long-lost da Vinci painting fetches $450.3 million, an auction record for art (LINK)

How the Zombie Fungus Takes Over Ants’ Bodies to Control Their Minds - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Life Without Guts - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @jasonzweigwsj]: The Quotable Darwin

"I have steadily endeavoured to keep my mind free so to give up any hypothesis, however much beloved (and I cannot resist forming one on every subject), as soon as facts are shown to be opposed to it. Indeed, I have had no choice but to act in this manner, for with the exception of the Coral Reefs, I cannot remember a single first-formed hypothesis which had not after a time to be given up or greatly modified. This has naturally led me to distrust greatly deductive reasoning in the mixed sciences. On the other hand, I am not very sceptical,–a frame of mind which I believe to be injurious to the progress of science. A good deal of scepticism in a scientific man is advisable to avoid much loss of time, but I have met with not a few men, who, I feel sure, have often thus been deterred from experiment or observations, which would have proved directly or indirectly serviceable." - Charles Darwin

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Full Interview: Mark and Jeff Bezos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and brother Mark give a rare interview about growing up and secrets to success

Link to video


Related previous post: Jeff Bezos on multi-tasking

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Asking the Right Questions (LINK)
The smaller the company and the more illiquid its currency, the more the investment process becomes an art and less of a science. Just like with any art form, whether it’s music, acting, painting, etc it just takes a lot of time and experience to do it well. The art of investing in small companies is evaluating management teams. If you don’t believe that management is important when investing in small companies like microcaps, just wait a little longer. You will.
The Generalized Specialist: How Shakespeare, Da Vinci, and Kepler Excelled (LINK)

The Rot That Lies Beneath Some Index Funds - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Investors Playing ETF Rout Pushed Junk Bonds to Brink of Chaos [H/T Rick Bookstaber] (LINK)

Camouflage and dope in a Bull Market - by Sanjay Bakshi (LINK)

Kyle Bass predicts investors are getting ready to pour billions back into Greek economy (LINK)

Stitch Fix and the Senate - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Robert Sapolsky Explains How Religious Beliefs Reduce Stress (article and video) (LINK)

Monday, November 13, 2017


Changing the Culture at a Large Company (LINK)

Re-Reading Seth Klarman: Excerpts from 2 OID issues [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Isaac Newton Learned About Financial Gravity the Hard Way - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Michael Lewis on Charlie Rose (video) (LINK)
Related article: "Inside Trump's Cruel Campaign Against the U.S.D.A.'s Scientists"
The 1990s Telecom Bubble. What Can We Learn? - by Tren Griffin (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: Episode 131 — Head-on is Hard (LINK)

Y Combinator Podcast: Tencent’s Chief eXploration Officer, David Wallerstein on WeChat, QQ, and Gaming (LINK)

Automotive News -- Bob Lutz: Kiss the good times goodbye (LINK)

Brian Grazer on The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life
Oliver Sacks on the Three Essential Elements of Creativity (LINK)
Related book: The River of Consciousness 
The Hipster Ninja Bats That Sneak Up on Their Prey - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, November 9, 2017


"An investor who has all the answers doesn't even understand all the questions. A know-it-all approach to investing will lead, probably sooner than later, to disappointment if not outright disaster. Even if you can identify an unchanging handful of investing principles, we cannot apply these rules to an unchanging universe of investments—or an unchanging economic and political environment. Everything is in a constant state of change and the wise investor recognizes that success is a process of continually seeing answers to new questions." -John Templeton

15 Questions to Ask Management Teams [H/T @iancassel] (LINK)

Are regional fulfillment centers the new U.S. job-creation engine? (LINK)

Bryan Cranston Gives Advice to the Young: Find Yourself by Traveling and Getting Lost (video) (LINK)

Carl Sagan on the Power of Books and Reading as the Path to Democracy (LINK)

"I conceive that pleasures are to be avoided if greater pains be the consequence, and pains to be coveted that will terminate in greater pleasures." -Michel de Montaigne

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Jeff Bezos on multi-tasking

I thought the comment below from the Jeff Bezos interview was important, especially given some of Charlie Munger's comments on multi-tasking over the last few years, so I wanted to highlight it separately in this post: 
On phone addiction and multi-tasking: Mark says his brother Jeff is surprisingly present, and rarely distracted by his phone. Jeff explains that “When I have dinner with friends or family, I like to be doing whatever I’m doing. I don’t like to multi-task. If I’m reading my email I want to be reading my email” with his full attention and energy. Jeff exhibited this resistance to multi-tasking early in life. At Montessori school, he’d refuse to move on to the next task as the day progressed, so the teacher would literally pick up him and his chair and move him to the next project. Instead of constantly switching back and forth, Jeff says he sequentially focuses. “I multi-task serially.” 


Jeff Bezos’ guide to life [H/T @BrentBeshore] (LINK)

A Q&A with renowned investor Lou Simpson [H/T Market Folly] (LINK)

Buffett 1972 Letter to See’s Candies - by John Huber (LINK)

Never Do That Again - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Steven Eisman presentation: Will Technology Prevent the Next Economic Bubble? (video) [H/T George] (LINK)

Will China Bring an Energy-Debt Crisis? (LINK)

Warren and Pamela Buffett give 'emotional' interview on cancer center for CBS (video plays) [H/T Linc] (LINK)

A Hedge Fund Pioneer Is Making Some of the Best Goat Cheese in America [H/T Jim] (LINK)

The Case of Wilbur Ross' Phantom $2 Billion (LINK)

Why AI Is the 'New Electricity' [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Tim O'Reilly on The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast) (LINK)
Related book: WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us
Review of “The Square and The Tower” by Niall Ferguson (LINK)

Kids, Would You Please Start Fighting? - by Adam Grant (LINK)

Santa Fe Institute Community Lecture - Nick Lane - Energy and Matter at the Origin of Life (video) (LINK)
Related book: The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life
Washington, D.C., Is Home to America's Largest Collection of Parasites - by Ed Yong (LINK)

A Dying Boy Gets a New, Gene-Corrected Skin - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Inside Trump's Cruel Campaign Against the U.S.D.A.'s Scientists - by Michael Lewis (LINK)

NPR Fresh Air podcast -- Michael Lewis: Many Trump Appointees Are Uninterested In The Agencies They Head Up (LINK)

Stop Bashing the Halo Effect, It’s Actually Good For You - by Sean Iddings (LINK)

Invest Like the Best podcast: Chris Burniske - How to Value a Cryptoasset (LINK)

"60 Minutes" (video): The 12-year-old prodigy whose "first language" is Mozart (LINK)

Oliver Sacks: A Journey From Where to Where (podcast) [H/T @brainpicker] (LINK)
Related book: The River of Consciousness 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Neil deGrasse Tyson With Walter Isaacson: What Makes a Genius.

Link to video


Related book: Leonardo da Vinci


Power Laws: How Nonlinear Relationships Amplify Results (LINK)

Can Fund Manager Bill Miller Use Earthquakes to Predict the Market? - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

Ray Dalio on the Recode Decode podcast (LINK)
Related book: Principles: Life and Work
Apple at Its Best - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Detroit: From Motor City to Housing Incubator [H/T @morganhousel] (LINK)

Dennis Rasmussen on EconTalk discussing his book The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought (podcast) (LINK)

Dinosaur mass-extinction let mammals come out in the day (LINK)

The Elegant Mathematics of Vitruvian Man, Leonardo da Vinci’s Most Famous Drawing: An Animated Introduction (LINK)

If you're an Audible member, my favorite audiobook so far this year, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, is free for today only as part of Audible's 20th anniversary celebration.

Quote of the day (the book was first published in April 2007, so this was likely written sometime in the 2006-early 2007 timeframe):
“Likewise, dictatorships that do not appear volatile, like, say, Syria or Saudi Arabia, face a larger risk of chaos than, say, Italy, as the latter has been in a state of continual political turmoil since the second war. I learned about this problem from the finance industry, in which we see “conservative” bankers sitting on a pile of dynamite but fooling themselves because their operations seem dull and lacking in volatility.” –Nassim Taleb, The Black Swan

Sunday, November 5, 2017


As earnings engineering escalates, are we at risk of a corporate credibility crisis? (LINK)
In his 1Q16 shareholder letter, Warren Buffett issued a stern warning about the proliferation of non-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) metrics in corporate earnings reports: “It has become common for managers to tell their owners to ignore certain expense items that are all too real.” According to FactSet, more than 90% of S&P 500 companies now use non-GAAP numbers, up from 58% 20 years ago. Meanwhile, the difference between GAAP earnings per share (EPS) and non-GAAP EPS has skyrocketed — non-GAAP EPS exceeded GAAP EPS by an average of 25% in 2015, compared with just 6% in 2013. 
Used judiciously, non-GAAP numbers — from EBIT and EBITDA to free cash flow and operating income — can provide valuable insight into a company’s present health and future prospects. However, as the practice snowballs, systemic risks become increasingly apparent. More and more, non-GAAP numbers are being cherry-picked to obscure weaknesses and exaggerate strengths. This not only compromises the ability of investors to diagnose winners and losers, but threatens to distort the U.S. equity market as a whole.
Two Sides of the Same Coin - by Frank Martin (LINK)

Our Low Risk (Low Volatility) World - by Rick Bookstaber (LINK)

FT Alphachat podcast: A sit down with Adair Turner (LINK)

From earlier this year... Josh Waitzkin on The Progression Project podcast (LINK)
Related previous post: Josh Waitzkin with Adam Robinson (video)
Exponent Podcast: Episode 130 — The 50,000 Foot View (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Putting AI in Medicine, in Practice (LINK)

The Economist asks: Richard Dawkins (podcast) (LINK)

Today's Audible Daily Deal ($2.95): Astrophysics for People in a Hurry - by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Book of the day (author mentioned by Susan Cain in her excellent chat with Shane Parrish): Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being - by Brian Little