Monday, October 15, 2018


"The game in our kind of life is being able to recognize a good idea rarely is presented to you. And I think that’s something you have to prepare for over a long period. What is the old saying? That opportunity comes to the prepared mind? And I don’t think you can teach people in two minutes how to have a prepared mind. But that’s the game." --Charlie Munger

When Markets Tank, Do This - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Tariffs Hit Those Trump Wants to Help: U.S. Factories ($) (LINK)

Book Review: Mastering the Market Cycle (LINK)

Howard Marks on The Investors Podcast (LINK)
Related book: Mastering the Market Cycle
Did Uber Steal Google’s Intellectual Property? - by Charles Duhigg (LINK)

How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town - by Derek Thompson (LINK)

Lessons from Annie Duke - by Tren Griffin (LINK)
Related book: Thinking in Bets
John Hempton's 2011 post on Sears Holdings (LINK)
My view: owning Sears as a property play is a demonstration of the arrogance and breathtaking naivete of much that passes on Wall Street. Sears Holdings has over 300 thousand employees. I don't know how you successfully liquidate a business integrated with that many lives. I don't know of anyone who has ever successfully liquidated a business with that many employees.** I am not sure it can be done and it certainly can't be done by someone with my skill-set (highly analytical, ability to spy value or value traps but no people management skill and not much tact). 
The idea that Sears was going to be managed/liquidated by a bunch of hedge fund guys (people like me) well - that was comical. 
Just to stress the point for my fund manager friends who read accounts and have my skills (but like me are often disconnected from the businesses they invest in) I will state the obvious. The employees are living breathing people and as you pull the business apart the way you treat those people and how they think about you (and behave towards you) are critical to any value you extract in liquidation. Someone has to look these people in the eye and tell them they don't have a job. And someone has to pick-and-choose which people to fire and which to retain. And they have to do this without destroying much of the value extracted along the way. They have to liquidate the firm in such a way that the value accrues to the liquidators and not to the people who are being screwed. 
I don't care what you think of the morality of that. The reality of that is that it was always going to be hard - possibly very hard.
Stephen Hawking feared race of ‘superhumans’ able to manipulate their own DNA [H/T Linc] (LINK)
Related book: Brief Answers to the Big Questions
Male Gorillas Love Hanging Around With Infants - by Ed Yong (LINK)