Friday, May 17, 2019


"The job of the board is to get the right CEO, to prevent that CEO from overreaching. Because sometimes you have some people that are very able, but they still want to take it all for themselves. But if they take nothing and they’re the wrong CEO, they’re still a disaster. So low pay itself is not the criteria. So you want the right CEO. You do not want them overreaching. And then I think the board needs to exercise independent judgment on important acquisitions, because I think CEOs — even smart CEOs — are motivated, frequently, in acquisitions by other than rational reasons." --Warren Buffett (2006

Value Investing with Legends Podcast: The All-Important Power of Consumer Brands (with Tom Russo) (LINK)

Kyle Bass on Bloomberg (video) (LINK)

My Way or the Huawei - by Peter Zeihan (LINK)

Dan Rasmussen talks small, cheap and levered stocks with Tobias Carlisle on The Acquirers Podcast (LINK)

The World According to Boyar Podcast: Howard Lorber (LINK)

Five Good Questions Podcast: Mark Moffett - The Human Swarm (LINK)

Recode Media with Peter Kafka: Eugene Wei explains why we’re all ‘status monkeys’ on social media (LINK)

A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, May 16, 2019


"You don’t have to have perfect wisdom to get very rich. All you’ve got to do is have slightly more than other people, on average, over a long time." --Charlie Munger (2005)

What can Long-term Value Investors Learn from Traders? - by Sanjay Bakshi (LINK)

Realistic Personal Finance Hacks - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

As Baby Boomers downsize, an unprecedented generational unloading of houses looms on the horizon. (LINK)

Corner Office Podcast: Delta CEO Ed Bastian on why he’s spending big on airports (LINK)

Spinoza, the Stoic (LINK)

The Forgotten Soviet History of Plague Eradication (LINK)

A black hole in a distant galaxy has been eating a star… for more than a decade! - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


"There are things in life that you don’t have to make a decision on and that are too hard.... One of the interesting things about investment is that there’s no degree of difficulty factor.... We get paid, not for jumping over 7-foot bars, but for stepping over 1-foot bars. And the biggest thing we have to do is decide which ones are the 1-foot bars and which ones are the 7-foot bars so when we go to step we don’t bump into the bar. And that is something that I think we’re reasonably good at. Now maybe we cast out too many things as being too hard and thereby narrow our universe. But I’d rather have the universe be interpreted as being a little smaller than it really is, than being interpreted as larger than it is." --Warren Buffett (2005

Connor Leonard's presentation to the Value Investing Club at Google (LINK)

Spring 2019 issue of Graham & Doddsville (LINK)

2019 Value Investing Conference | Keynote Speaker: Kiril Sokoloff (video) (LINK)

2019 Value Investing Conference | Keynote Speaker: Lawrence A. Cunningham (video) (LINK)

Gates’s Law: How Progress Compounds and Why It Matters (LINK)

A critical step to reduce climate change - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis (podcast): The Magic Shoebox (LINK)
Related book: Flash Boys
O Behave Podcast: Rory discusses Alchemy & The Surprising Power Of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense (LINK)
Related book: Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life - by Rory Sutherland 
The Knowledge Project Podcast: Popping the Filter Bubble (with DuckDuckGo CEO, Gabriel Weinberg) (LINK)

A Truly Remarkable Spider - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Today's Audible Daily Deal ($3.95) is one I've seen recommended by at least one science writer: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Sunday, May 12, 2019


"It’s better to pay attention to something that is being scorned than something that’s being championed." --Warren Buffett (2005

What Warren Buffett's Teacher Would Make of Today's Market - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

A Thread on Diversification - by Sanjay Bakshi (LINK)

Amazon's Size Is Becoming a Problem---for Amazon ($) (LINK)

Degrees of Confidence - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Think Again – a Big Think Podcast: Jared Diamond (LINK)
Related book: Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
Capital Allocators Podcast: Michael Mauboussin – Who’s on the Other Side (LINK)
Related paper: Who Is On the Other Side?
Exponent Podcast: A Perfect Meal (LINK)

Aswath Damodaran chats with Meb Faber (podcast) (LINK)

Acquired Podcast: The Uber IPO (LINK)

Mark Zuckerberg & Yuval Noah Harari in Conversation (video) (LINK)

When the first stars in the Universe exploded, they really exploded - by Phil Plait (LINK)

TED Talk: Sleep is your superpower | Matt Walker (LINK)

[I'm a bit late to these, but...] The Bruce Lee Library episodes of the Bruce Lee Podcast look especially worth checking out.... Such as the episode on the Tao Te Ching and the episode on Krishnamurti's Commentaries on Living.

"Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own." --Bruce Lee

Thursday, May 9, 2019


"If you’re analyzing something like WD-40, or See’s Candy, or our brick business, or whatever...they may have good or bad prospects but you’re not likely to be fooling yourself much about what’s going on currently. But with financial institutions, it’s much tougher. Then you throw in derivatives on top of it, one probably knows perfectly — or even within a reasonable range — the exact condition of some of the biggest banks in the world.... I just think you have to accept the fact that insurance, banking, finance companies — we’ve seen all kinds of finance company...frauds and just big mistakes over time — just one after another over the years. It’s just a more dangerous field to analyze. It doesn’t mean you can’t make money in it. We’ve made a lot of money on it. But it’s difficult." --Warren Buffett (2005)

Influencers Transcript and Video (Yahoo Finance): Charlie Munger (LINK)

Berkshire Takes Tax Hit as Victim of ‘Ponzi-Type’ Solar Scheme [H/T Linc] (LINK)

U.S. Recession Would Spur ‘Massive’ Corporate Bond Losses, Eisman Says (LINK)

Chick-fil-A’s Lean Menu Helps Chain Bulk Up ($) (LINK)

Jeremy Grantham on the battle to save society from climate change: ‘We’re not winning’ ($) (LINK)

The Intelligent Investing Podcast: Christian Olesen - Cambria Automobiles (LINK)  [Disclosure: As of the date of this post, I own shares for myself and clients at Sorfis Investments in Cambria Automobiles.]

The Empty Promise of Data Moats (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: Tim O’Reilly and Parker Thompson on Company Building, Venture Capital, and Inequality (LINK)

Crazy/Genius Podcast: Why Should We Care About Privacy? (LINK)

Another Bat-Winged Dinosaur Has Been Found - Ed Yong (LINK)

A Dying Teenager’s Recovery Started in the Dirt - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


"Now the search expenses that brought us Ajit Jain, now there was an investment that really paid a dividend. I can think of no higher return investment that we’ve ever made that was better than that one. And I think that’s a good life lesson. In other words, getting the right people into your system can frequently be more important than anything else." --Charlie Munger (2005)

GMO Quarterly Letter: Stop Worrying About Your Portfolio (LINK)

Notes From Sohn New York Investment Conference 2019 (LINK)

Google Fights Back - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Matthew Ball's latest articles (parts 6 and 7) on Netflix misunderstandings came out last week.... Here are links to all 7 parts to date (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7)

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis (podcast): Baby Judge School (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Stephanie Cohen – The Evolution of M&A and Corporate Strategy (LINK)

Mr. Rogers’ Nine Rules for Speaking to Children (LINK)

Will You Choose Alive Time or Dead Time? - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

The Birth-Tissue Profiteers - by Caroline Chen (LINK)

Monday, May 6, 2019


For those looking for Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting links, see the post from earlier today.

Ian Cassel's initial investor letter for Intelligent Fanatics Capital Management (LINK)

Howard Buffett Looks Beyond an Oracle for Advice ($) (LINK)

Buffett And Inverse Emotionalism - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

CNBC's full interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook (LINK)

The Investors Podcast: Value Investing w/ Mohnish Pabrai (LINK)

The making of Amazon Prime, the internet’s most successful and devastating membership program (LINK)

Can anyone tame the next internet? - by Kara Swisher (LINK)
Forces have been unleashed that seem out of control. But is it the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?
a16z FinTech Newsletter: April 2019 (LINK)

Bank On It Podcast: John Buttrick from Union Square Ventures (LINK)

Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson (podcast) -- Insurance: Who’s Looking Out For You? (LINK)

The School of Greatness Podcast -- Mark Manson: What People Don’t Tell You about Success (LINK)
Related book: Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope
Renaissance Paragone: An Ancient Tactic for Getting the Most From People (LINK)

The Giant Panda Is a Closet Carnivore - by Ed Yong (LINK)

AI Evolved These Creepy Images to Please a Monkey’s Brain - by Ed Yong (LINK)

For Audible Members, the current sale is 50-70% off all titles, so it's probably worth going through your wish list. A couple on my list that I noticed fell in the 70% off category were AI Superpowers and The Fifth Risk.

Berkshire links

"[Lee Kuan Yew] said one thing over and over and over again all his life: 'Figure out what works and do it.' If you just go at life with that simple'll find it works wonderfully well. Figure out what works and do it." --Charlie Munger (2019)

I'm back after another great weekend in Omaha at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting. For those that missed it, the video and transcript are already up on the Warren Buffett Archive page, HERE.

It was nice catching up with those of you I saw in Omaha. I mostly go for things other than the actual meeting these days, but it's always special to hear and see two heroes live on stage. I don't think there were too many surprises in the Q&A this year. One thing I would love to see in the future is an investment manager or two that own a lot of Berkshire up on stage asking some questions as well. I may be biased because he's a close friend, but for anyone out there with influence who also thinks this would be interesting, Chris Bloomstran from Semper Augustus Investments Group gets my vote. I think, outside of Berkshire's board and executives, he's about the world's foremost expert on the company. 

As is usual following the meeting, Warren Buffett was on CNBC this morning. He also was joined by Charlie Munger and Bill Gates during the interview. Here is the full video: CNBC's full interview with Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Bill Gates 

Warren Buffett also did a short interview with CNBC on Friday of last week. 
The Wall Street Journal ($) had a fantastic interview with Berkshire's Vice Chairman: Charlie Munger, Unplugged.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, 95, spoke to Wall Street Journal reporters Nicole Friedman and Jason Zweig for six hours over dinner in his Los Angeles home on April 23. He covered a wide array of subjects. Here is an edited transcript from that conversation and a follow-up telephone discussion.
And they also had another article on Munger out last week: Buffett Partner Charlie Munger Has a Side Gig: Designing College Dorms

One of the newer books in the bookstore at the meeting that stood out to me as being especially of note, and which may have been a Charlie Munger recommendation: The Future Is Asian - by Parag Khanna

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The investor as an investigative journalist...

From Warren Buffett at the 1999 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting:
Essentially, you’re being a reporter. I mean, it’s very much like journalism. And if you ask enough questions — Andy Grove has in his book — he talks about the silver bullet, you know.  
You talk to the competitor and you say, “If you had a silver bullet and you could only put it through the head of one of your competitors, which one would it be and why?” Well, you learn a lot if you ask questions like that over time.  
And you ask somebody in the XYZ industry and you say, “If you were going to go away for 10 years and you had to put all of your money into one of your competitors — the stock of one of your competitors, not your own — which one would it be and why?” Just keep asking, and asking, and asking.  
And you’ll have to discount the answers you get in certain ways, but you will be getting things poured into your head that then you can use to reformulate and do your own thinking about why you evaluate this business at this or that.  
The accounting, you know, you just sort of have to labor your way through that. I mean, you may be able to take some courses, even, in that. But the biggest thing is to find out how businesses operate.  
And, you know, who am I afraid of? If we’re running GEICO, you know, who do we worry about? Why do we worry about them? Who would we like to put that silver bullet through? I’m not going to tell you. (Laughter)  
You keep asking those questions. And then you go to the guy they want to put the silver bullet through and find out who he wants to put the silver bullet through. It’s like who wakes up the bugler, you know, in the Irving Berlin song?  
And that’s the way you approach it. And you’ll be learning all the time.  
You can talk to current employees, ex-employees, vendors, supplies, distributors, retailers, customers, all kinds of people and you’ll learn.  
But it’s an investigative process. It’s a journalistic process. And in the end, you want to write the story. I mean, you’re doing a journalistic enterprise. And six months later, you want to say the XYZ Company is worth this amount because, and you just start in and write the story.  
And some companies are easy to write stories about, and other companies are much tougher to write stories about. We try to look for the ones that are easy. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


"We haven’t succeeded because we had great complicated systems or some magic formulas we apply or anything. We’ve succeeded because we have simplicity itself. We take people that know how to play their game very well, and we let them play the game. And it’s just worked in one field after another. And every now and then we make a mistake. And there’ll be more mistakes made. But overwhelmingly, it works." --Warren Buffett (2005)

The Industrialists (LINK)

Bayes & Base Rates (LINK)

Winning Your Race - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

The behavioural science of online harm and manipulation, and what to do about it [H/T Tamas] (LINK)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


"Charlie and I spend no time thinking or talking about what the stock market is going to do, because we don’t know. We do know, sometimes, that we’re getting very good value for our money when we buy some stocks or some bonds. But we are not operating on the basis of any kind of macro forecast about stocks. And there’s always a list of reasons...why the country will have problems tomorrow. But there’s always a list of opportunities which don’t get mentioned quite as often." --Warren Buffett (2005)

Warren Buffett Backs Occidental’s Bid for Anadarko with $10 Billion Pledge (LINK)

Microsoft, Slack, Zoom, and the SaaS Opportunity - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Videos from the 2018 Prime Quadrant Conference with Joel Greenblatt, Nassim Taleb, Sam Zell, and Steve Eisman  [H/T ValueWalk]

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis (podcast): The Neutral (LINK)

Sam Harris speaks with Shane Parrish about some of the mental models that should guide our thinking and behavior (podcast) (LINK)
Related audiobook: The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts
Rationally Speaking Podcast: Tyler Cowen on “Defending big business against its critics” (LINK)
Related book: Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero
A brief review of the book Fiber (LINK)

Meet the virus hunters - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Monday, April 29, 2019


The Lies We Tell (LINK)

Greenhaven Road Capital's Q1 Letter (LINK)

Horizon Kinetics Q1 Commentary (LINK)

How Schwab Ate Wall Street ($) (LINK)

Do Ride-Sharing Customers Sit in Front? - by Howard Schilit (LINK)

Near-record inventories pinch dealers [H/T @DRuizG80] (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Marvel’s Hidden Assets: Joseph Calandro Jr. chats to Tobias Carlisle on the Acquirers Podcast (LINK)
Related paper: M&A deal-making: Disney, Marvel and the value of “hidden assets”
The Peter Attia Drive (podcast): Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D.: The pervasive effect of stress - is it killing you? (LINK)
Related books: Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst; Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers
Related previous link: Robert Sapolsky on The Ezra Klein Show
MIT Self-Driving Cars: State of the Art (video) [H/T Linc] (LINK)

On Monks and Email - by Cal Newport (LINK)

The Uncomfortable Truth - by Mark Manson (LINK)
Related book: Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope
The near misses of scientific history - by Matt Ridley (LINK)
Related book: Unravelling the Double Helix
Mysterious Rings Around Reefs Have No Simple Explanation - Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, April 25, 2019


“People get smarter but they don’t get wiser. They don’t get more emotionally stable. All the conditions for extreme overvaluation or undervaluation absolutely exist, the way they did 50 years ago. You can teach all you want to the people, you can tell them to read Ben Graham’s book, you can send them to graduate school, but when they’re scared, they’re scared.” --Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett: ‘I’m having more fun than any 88-year-old in the world’ ($) (LINK)

How We Spend Our Money, Part II - by Phil Ordway (LINK)

You Played Yourself - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Kyle Bass Is Ready to Rumble on Hong Kong 'Time Bomb' ($) (LINK)

Having a Printing Press Doesn't Mean Money is Infinite - by Cullen Roche (LINK)

The World According To Boyar Podcast Episode 9: Mario Gabelli (LINK)

Living With Money Podcast: Brent Beshore (LINK)

Business Wars Podcast: Ferrari vs. Lamborghini (Part 3, Part 4)

Edge #536: How to Create an Institution That Lasts 10,000 Years - A Conversation with Alexander Rose (LINK) [Also available as a podcast.]

On finding something to say - by Seth Godin (LINK)

This Is the Way the Animals Arose: Not With a Bang, but With a Bunch of Bangs - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger on post-crisis macroeconomics

As this year's Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting is approaching, I've been thinking about some of the comments Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have made since 2009 about how the post-crisis government and central bank interventions in economies and markets will play out. Basically, my impression from attending all of the annual meetings since the crisis was that they believe that since a lot of this, including zero and negative interest rates, has never happened before, no one really knows how it will all play out (although plenty of commentators will tell you otherwise). 

As such, it's best to just continue to focus on the micro factors, and manage risk by investing in businesses likely to survive and hopefully thrive under a wide range of scenarios, including potentially high inflation at some point. After going back through things, it seems my impression was roughly correct. Below are some of their comments over the last several years that I think give a good summary.


"We are doing things that we haven’t seen in the past. And policymakers do not know the outcome of that. I don’t know the outcome of it. You do know it will have consequences." --Warren Buffett (2009)

"I do not know the answer as to what happens if you keep rates close to zero for a very, very long time." --Warren Buffett (2014)

"Nobody, for instance, in Japan would ever have anticipated that interest rates would go way down and stay down for 20 years. And nobody would’ve expected common stocks to decline by huge amounts and stay down for 20 years. So strange things have happened. And they’re very confusing to the economics profession. In fact, if you’re not confused, you really probably don’t understand it very well." --Charlie Munger (2014)

"We’ve taken the Federal Reserve balance sheet up from a trillion to over 4 trillion, and we’ve done a lot of things that weren’t in my Economics 101 course, and so far nothing bad has happened, except for the fact that people who saved and kept their money in short-term savings instruments have just totally gotten killed, in terms of the income that they received from that. But it’s still hard for me to see how if you toss money from helicopters that eventually you don’t have inflation. Certainly, if the money supplied grows faster and faster relative to the output of goods and services, something like that is supposed to happen. But I’ve been surprised by what’s happened. When Poland issues bonds at negative interest rates, you know, I did not have that in my list of forecasts a few years ago. And so I think we’re operating in a world that Charlie and I don’t understand very well." --Warren Buffett (2015)

"We have made very little progress in life by trying to outguess these macroeconomic factors. We basically have abdicated. We’re just swimming all the time, and we let the tide take care of itself.... The trouble with making all these economic pronouncements is that people gradually get so they think they know something. It’s much better just to say, 'I'm ignorant.'" --Charlie Munger (2015)

"We’re interested in economic matters, and political matters, for that matter. We know a lot, or are familiar...with almost all the macroeconomic factors. That doesn’t mean we know where they’re going to lead. We don’t know where zero interest rates are going to lead." --Warren Buffett (2016)

"I don’t think anybody really knows much about negative interest rates. We never had them before. And we’ve never had periods of stasis like — except for the Great Depression — we didn’t have things like happened in Japan: great modern nation playing all the monetary tricks, Keynesian tricks, stimulus tricks, and mired in stasis for 25 years. And none of the great economists who have studied this stuff, and taught it to our children, understand it, either. So we just do the best we can. Our advantage is that we know we don’t understand it. If you’re not confused, you haven’t thought about it correctly. " --Charlie Munger (2016)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


"Inflation destroys value, but it destroys it very unequally. The best business to have during inflation is one that retains its earning power in real dollars without commensurate investment to, in effect, fund the inflation-produced nominal growth. The worst kind of business is where you have to keep putting more and more money into a lousy business. In effect, the airlines have been hurt by inflation over the last 40 years, because now they have to put a whole lot of money in a lousy investment, which is a plane, compared to 30 or 40 years ago. And they have to stay in the game. They have to keep buying new planes. And the new planes cost far more now, and the returns continue to be inadequate. So the best protection is a very good business that does not require big capital investment...  Inflation is always a factor in calculating the kind of investment, the kind of business, that we want to buy. But it isn’t like it crowds out all other factors. I mean, it’s always been with us. We’ll think about it always." --Warren Buffett (2005)  [Related link: Warren Buffett’s Comments on Inflation]

Geographic Diversification Can Be a Lifesaver, Yet Most Portfolios Are Highly Geographically Concentrated [H/T @MebFaber, whose Twitter thread is worth reading as well] (LINK)

Ray Dalio at Stanford (video) (LINK)

Value Investing with Legends (a new podcast): Mario Gabelli (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Josh Wolfe – The Tech Imperative (LINK)

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis (podcast): The Hand of Leonardo (LINK)

Decrypted Podcast: As Amazon Gets Bigger, Sellers Feel the Squeeze (LINK)

WorkLife with Adam Grant (podcast): When Strength Becomes Weakness (LINK)

Lifesaving Forecasts Start Here: Inside the Storm Prediction Center [H/T @pcordway] (LINK)

Monday, April 22, 2019


"Doing nothing often leads to the very best something." --Winnie the Pooh

Warren Buffett says stock buybacks make 'nothing but sense' (video) (LINK) [I haven't seen the full interview yet, but Yahoo has slowly released some clips. There isn't much, but some of the others can be found mixed in with other things HERE.]

The Man Who SOLD The WORLD [John H. Patterson] (video) (LINK)

The Anatomy of a Great Decision (LINK)

Uber Questions - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

You, Dear Investor, Are Patient, Prudent and Calm - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Budweiser Boss's Recipe for Growth: More Time Away From the Office ($) (LINK)

Kraft Heinz Names New CEO ($) (LINK)

Mattel: Buybacks, Barbie and dead babies - by John Hempton (LINK)
I am short Mattel based on seemingly dysfunctional management and too much debt. I regarded these in part as flip sides of the same problem. Too much debt meant that Mattel found it hard to take risks, to invent new toys, to hire and nurture the talent that keeps a toy company fresh. 
Debt meant that Mattel had to "milk" brands, prioritising short-term cash for stock repurchase and eventually for interest payments. This led to cashing the iconic American Girl brand in for a short-term sugar hit when it was stocked in Toys R Us. 
I knew management were dysfunctional. Churn in the c-suite proves it. But recent stories leave me reeling. Mattel have morphed into a truly evil company. One that kills babies.
EconTalk: Paul Romer on Growth, Cities, and the State of Economics (LINK)

The First Sheep Farmers and Their 10,000-Year-Old Urine - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)

Friday, April 19, 2019


"The best investment you can have, for most people, is in your own abilities." --Warren Buffett

Some presentation slides are available from the Ben Graham Centre's 2019 Value Investing Conference [H/T @chriswmayer] (LINK)

Prediction is Difficult, Especially About the Future (LINK)

When You’ll Believe Anything - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Hard Truths for the Inflation Truthers - by Cullen Roche (LINK)

Secrecy, Self-Dealing, and Greed at the N.R.A. (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: Family-Friendly Disney (LINK)

Longform Podcast: Michael Lewis (LINK)

Freakonomics Radio: The Most Interesting Fruit in the World (LINK)

Radiolab Podcast: Americanish (LINK)

Scientists Partly Restore Activity in Dead-Pig Brains - by Ed Yong (LINK)

The Predator That Makes Great White Sharks Flee in Fear - by Ed Yong (LINK)

TED Talk: Inside the black hole image that made history | Sheperd Doeleman (LINK)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


"The history of much of which we don’t like in modern corporate capitalism comes from an unreasonable expectation, communicated from headquarters, that [corporate] earnings have to go up with no volatility and great regularity. That kind of an expectation from headquarters is not just the kissing cousin of evil. It’s the blood brother of evil. And we just don’t need that blood brother in our headquarters." --Charlie Munger (2005)

 "Businesses do not meet expectations quarter after quarter and year after year. It just isn’t in the nature of running businesses. And, in our view, people that predict precisely what the future will be are either kidding investors, or they’re kidding themselves, or they’re kidding both. Charlie and I have been around the culture, sometimes on the board, where the ego of the CEO became very involved in meeting predictions which were impossible, really, over time. And everybody in the organization knew, because they were very public about it, what these predictions were and they knew that their CEO was going to look bad if they weren’t met. And that can lead to a lot of bad things." --Warren Buffett (2005)

Michael Mauboussin: Looking for Easy Games in Bonds (LINK)

A compilation of Q1 investor letters [H/T @MineSafety] (LINK)

CNBC’s interview with ValueAct’s Jeff Ubben (video) (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Katherine Collins – Impact and ESG Investing (LINK)

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis (podcast): The Alex Kogan Experience (LINK)

WorkLife with Adam Grant (podcast): Bouncing Back from Rejection (LINK)

The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish (podcast): Catalyzing Success (LINK)

Business Wars Podcast: Ferrari vs. Lamborghini (Part 1, Part 2)

Edge #535: Machines Like Me - A Talk By Ian McEwan (LINK)

The world’s deadliest shapeshifter - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Exploding Aphids Plaster Holes in Their Home With Bodily Fluids - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Big Ideas, Discover Magazine, and a request...

In a talk last year at Cal Poly Pomona, Peter Kaufman said the following:
I tried to learn what Munger calls, ‘the big ideas’ from all the different disciplines. Right up front I want to tell you what my trick was, because if you try to do it the way he did it, you don’t have enough time in your life to do it. It’s impossible. Because the fields are too big and the books are too thick. So my trick to learn the big ideas of science, biology, etc., was I found this science magazine called Discover magazine. Show of hands, anybody here ever heard of Discover magazine? A few people. OK. 
And I found that this magazine every month had a really good interview with somebody from some aspect of science. Every month. And it was six or seven pages long. It was all in layperson’s terms. The person who was trying to get their ideas across would do so using good stories, clear language, and they would never fail to get all their big ideas into the interview. I mean if you’re given the chance to be interviewed by Discover magazine and your field is nanoparticles or something, aren’t you going to try your very best to get all the good ideas into the interview with the best stories etc. OK. So I discovered that on the Internet there were 12 years of Discover magazine articles available in the archives. 
So I printed out 12 years times 12 months of these interviews. I had 144 of these interviews. And I put them in these big three ring binders. Filled up three big binders. And for the next six months I went to the coffee shop for an hour or two every morning and I read these. And I read them index fund style, which means I read them all. I didn’t pick and choose. This is the universe and I’m going to own the whole universe. I read every single one. 
Now I will tell you that out of 144 articles, if I’d have been selecting my reading material, I probably would have read about 14 of them. And the other 130? I would never in a million years read six pages on nanoparticles. Guess what I had at the end of six months? I had inside my head every single big idea from every single domain of science and biology. It only took me 6 months. And it wasn’t that hard because it was written in layperson’s terms. And really, what did I really get? Just like an index fund, I captured all the parabolic ideas that no one else has. And why doesn’t anybody else have these ideas? Because who in the world would read an interview on nanoparticles? And yet that’s where I got my best ideas. I would read some arcane subject and, oh my god, I saw, ‘That’s exactly how this works over here in biology.’ or ‘That’s exactly how this works over here in human nature.’ You have to know all these big ideas. 
As I've tried to find all 144 articles, I've had trouble getting them all. For example, if one subscribes and goes to the archives, I can see ones for the first few months of 2009, but not for May 2009. Has anyone else tried to find all of these? There is a good Discover Q&A page HERE, which has 74 interviews. Of those 74 interviews, 67 of them don't require a subscription, and I've compiled those for interested readers in chronological order HERE, but I'm having trouble figuring out exactly what Peter Kaufman was referring to when he mentioned the 144 number. If anyone has any thoughts, feel free to email me at Thanks!


Terry Smith, Fundsmith LLP, March 2019 Presentation (video) [H/T @iancassel] (LINK)
Related book: Accounting for Growth
Disney and the Future of TV - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Disney CEO Bob Iger lays out details on company’s Netflix competitor (video) (LINK)

GMO White Paper - Thinking Outside the Box: How and Why to Invest in a Climate Change Strategy (LINK)

Interview Transcripts Tell Story of Fed Over Past 50 Years ($) (LINK)
Transcripts of more than 50 interviews with top Federal Reserve officials and staffers offer an inside view of central bank-operations over the past 50 years, including internal debates and pressures from the White House. 
Among the documents released Friday are interviews with former Fed leaders Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan and Janet Yellen as part of an oral history project in advance of the central bank’s centennial in 2013.
Notes from Toronto - by Chris Mayer (LINK)

Uber's Coming out Party: Personal Mobility Pioneer or Car Service on Steroids? - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: Robert Greene on his book “The Laws of Human Nature” (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: A Community of Loonies (LINK)

HBR IdeaCast Podcast -- HBR Presents: After Hours (LINK)
Harvard Business School professors and hosts Youngme Moon, Mihir Desai, and Felix Oberholzer-Gee discuss news at the crossroads of business and culture. In this episode, they analyze the current food delivery wars and garner some lessons in crisis management from Boeing.
FT Alphachat Podcast: Odette Lienau on the most complicated debt restructuring in history (LINK)

The Peter Attia Drive (podcast): Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep – Part III of III (LINK)
Related book: Why We Sleep
Cracking the Code: A Toddler, an iPad, and a Tweet - by Evan Osnos (LINK)

Hubble lights up Saturn’s aurorae - by Phil Plait (LINK)

A Natural History Museum Is Under Fire for Hosting Brazil's New President - by Ed Yong (LINK)

'Extraordinary' 500-year-old library catalogue reveals books lost to time (LINK)

Thursday, April 11, 2019


"Once you talk about something that’s an asset appreciation investment, ignoring the underlying economics of what you’re lending on, you’re really talking about the bigger-fool game. You’re saying...this is a silly price but there’ll be a bigger fool that comes along. And that actually can be a profitable game for a while. But it’s nothing that bankers should engage in." --Warren Buffett (2005)

"It’s obvious that the easy lending on houses causes more houses to be built and causes housing prices to be higher, probably, in the new field. Eventually, of course, if you construct enough of new anything, you can have a countervailing effect. If you build way too many houses, you’d eventually cause a price decline." --Charlie Munger (2005)

Jeff Bezos' 2018 Letter to Shareholders (LINK)

Cullen Roche on Minsky's Financial Instability Hypothesis (LINK)

A review of Merger Masters: Tales of Arbitrage (LINK)

Previously unknown human species found in Asia raises questions about early hominin dispersals from Africa (LINK)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


"The idea that you risk what you need and is important to you for something that you don’t need and it is unimportant, is just craziness." --Warren Buffett (2005)

You Have To Live It To Believe It - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Congress Is About to Ban the Government From Offering Free Online Tax Filing. Thank TurboTax. (LINK)

Making Uncommon Knowledge Common (LINK)
Preface: This is part of a longer private memo analyzing Zillow and its recent shift towards Opendoor’s model. May publish rest of memo at some later point. But wanted to share first part, on Rich Barton and Zillow’s initial rise.
Edge #534: Is Superintelligence Impossible? - David Chalmers and Daniel C. Dennett (Video and Transcript, Podcast)

Bill Gates discusses Melinda Gates' new book, The Moment of Lift (LINK)

Peering down the cliff of infinity: The first image of the event horizon of a black hole - by Phil Plait (LINK)
For the first time in human history, astronomers have combined the power of telescopes from across our planet to create an image that shows the event horizon of a black hole.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


Released today: The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts

A Regulatory Framework for the Internet - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Frackers, Chasing Fast Oil Output, Are on a Treadmill ($) (LINK)

Why is a good management so important? A talk with Robert Vinall on his approach (video) (LINK)

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis (podcast): The Seven Minute Rule (LINK)

The Tim Ferriss Show: Eric Schmidt — Lessons from a Trillion-Dollar Coach (LINK)

WorkLife with Adam Grant (podcast): How to Remember Anything (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: Tyler Cowen On His New Book: “Big Business: A Love Letter To An American Anti-Hero” (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Geoffrey Batt – The Nature of Transformational Returns (LINK)

The Investing City Podcast: Portfolio Manager, Gautam Baid: Joyful Compounding (LINK)
Related book: The Joys of Compounding

Monday, April 8, 2019


"In economics, it’s far easier to tell what will happen than when it will happen. I mean, you can see bubbles develop and things, but you do not know how big the bubble will get.... I’ve just never been successful at [predicting timing] nor do I try to do it." --Warren Buffett (2005)

Ray Dalio on "60 Minutes" (video) (LINK)
Related paper: "Why & How Capitalism Needs to be Reformed"
The Investors Podcast: Sanjay Bakshi (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Fintech for Startups and Incumbents (LINK)

Exponential Wisdom Podcast: Flipping the Insurance Industry (LINK)

The Peter Attia Drive (podcast): Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep – Part II of III (LINK)

You Could Have Today. Instead You Choose Tomorrow. - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

The Disturbing Walrus Scene in Our Planet - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @paulg]: Medieval Technology and Social Change

Friday, April 5, 2019


"It’s hard to know just which companies can pass through the increases in costs that come from higher commodity prices. And it’s also important to know." --Charlie Munger (2005)

"We like buying businesses where we feel that there’s some untapped pricing power.... One of the questions we asked ourselves [when we bought See's], and we thought the answer was obvious, was: if we raised the price 10 cents a pound, would sales fall off a cliff? And of course, the answer, in our view at least, was that no, there was some untapped pricing power in the product. And it’s not a great business when you have to have a prayer session before you raise your prices a penny. You are in a tough business then. And I would say you can almost measure the strength of a business over time by the agony they go through in determining whether a price increase can be sustained." --Warren Buffett (2005)

Masters in Business Podcast: Michael Lewis Discusses the Culture of Finance (LINK)

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis (podcast): Ref, You Suck! (LINK)

Sam Walton Stole All His Best Ideas From This Guy [Sol Price] (video) (LINK)
Related books: 1) Sol Price Retail Revolutionary & Social Innovator; 2) Sam Walton: Made In America; 3) Intelligent Fanatics Project
The Brooklyn Investor blog on JP Morgan, and other things (LINK)

Why & How Capitalism Needs to be Reformed - by Ray Dalio (LINK)

Apple Plus - brand versus subscription - by Benedict Evans (LINK)

Does Ridesharing Increase Traffic Deaths? - by Russ Roberts (LINK)

Ford CTO Ken ​Washington on AI and self-driving | Recode Decode Live | Full interview (video) (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: YouTube and the End of Friction (LINK)

oGoLead Leadership Podcast: Jack Nicklaus (Part 1, Part 2)

Here’s Why You’ve Never Heard Of the Most Successful People In The World - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

Thursday, April 4, 2019


Jamie Dimon's 2018 Letter to Shareholders (LINK)

The Berkshire Empire Is Quietly Collaborating More Than Ever ($) (LINK)

What seven years at Airbnb taught me about building a company - by Lenny Rachitsky (LINK)

The avocado principles - by Seth Godin (LINK)

Future of Higher Education: Apprenticeships vs. Business School (LINK)

Robert A. Caro on L.B.J., Understanding Power and Nearing Completion (LINK)

Jane Goodall’s original tale of chimpanzees still astonishes today (LINK)
To celebrate her 85th birthday, National Geographic revisits Jane Goodall’s 1963 article about the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream Game Reserve.
Book of the day (released next week): The Joys of Compounding: The Passionate Pursuit of Lifelong Learning - by Gautam Baid 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


"Really, the only way a smart person that’s reasonably disciplined in how they look at investments can get in trouble is through leverage. I mean, if somebody else can pull the plug on you during the worst moment of some kind of general financial disaster, you go broke.... But absent leverage, and absent just kind of going crazy in terms of valuation on things, the world won’t hurt you over time in securities. And...the financial cataclysms — they don’t need to do you in. If you have any more money during periods like that, you buy." --Warren Buffett (2004)

Fees vs. Fines - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Andreessen Horowitz Is Blowing Up The Venture Capital Model (Again) (LINK)

Jeremy Grantham at the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit (video) [H/T Linc] (LINK)

a16z Podcast: A Podcast About Podcasting (LINK)

Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson (podcast): Public Transportation: Moving Us Forward (LINK)

Marcus Aurelius’ Psychological Toolkit: An Interview With Donald Robertson (LINK)
Related book: How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


The 2018 Broyhill Book Club (LINK)

After Autoplay: 'Interactive, Personalized & Immersive' Entertainment - by Matthew Ball (LINK)

Aramco's Big Reveal: What We Learned About the Saudi Oil Giant (LINK)

Should We Worry About the Slowing Economy? (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Brian Singerman – Investing in the Best Founders (LINK)

The Knowledge Project Podcast: Becoming a Model Thinker (LINK)
Related book: The Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You
The Tony Robbins Podcast: Becoming Michael Phelps (LINK)

The unexpected way we might one day diagnose Alzheimer’s - by Bill Gates (LINK)

EconTalk Podcast: Jacob Stegenga on Medical Nihilism (LINK)
Related book: Medical Nihilism
The Day the Dinosaurs Died [H/T Linc] (LINK)
A young paleontologist may have discovered a record of the most significant event in the history of life on Earth.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Howard Marks Memo: Growing the Pie

Link to Memo: Growing the Pie
"The unequal sharing of blessings" vs. "the equal sharing of miseries." 
Winston Churchill posed this dilemma in 1945 with regard to post-World War II demobilization. Howard Marks revisits the idea in the context of today's contentious political debate.


"If you’re picking associates, pick out those whose behavior is somewhat better than yours, and you’ll drift in that direction. And similarly if you hang out with a bad bunch, you’re very likely to find your own behavior worse over time. Like Charlie says, the trite advice which Ben Franklin was handing out a few hundred years ago, really works.... Look at the people you like to associate with. What qualities do they have that you can have if you want to? Look at the people that you can’t stand to be around. What qualities do you have that they have? Can you get rid of them? You can do all of that at a young age. It gets harder as you go along. It’s not very complicated." --Warren Buffett (2004)

Sanjay Bakshi: The Practical Utility of Seven Math Ideas (video) (LINK)

What Sports Teaches Us About Investing - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

What Does Everyone Hate MMT? - by James Montier (LINK)

Odd Lots Podcast: From MMT Advocate To Outspoken Critic (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter, April 2019: Is Life Expectancy Falling? Really? (LINK)

The Lyft I.P.O. and the Lessons of Tech-Stock Bubbles - by John Cassidy (LINK)

Acquired Podcast: The Lyft IPO (LINK)

Andreessen Horowitz three-part video miniseries on network effects (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Capital Allocators Podcast: Dan Ariely – Investing in Irrationality (LINK)

The Peter Attia Drive (podcast): Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep – Part I of III (LINK)
Related book: Why We Sleep
The Worst Disease Ever Recorded - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Netflix’s Our Planet Says What Other Nature Series Have Omitted - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Warren Buffett on stage at The Gatehouse Hands Up for Success luncheon

Link to video


What I read during 2018 (and a few other book recommendations) - by Tamás Vincze (LINK)

Different Kinds of Information - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Demystifying Aviation Economics (LINK)

Platforms and Ecosystems: Enabling the Digital Economy (LINK)

More S1 Fun - by Fred Wilson (LINK)

2019 Ivey Value Investing Classes Guest Speaker: Paul Lountzis (video) (LINK)

The Meb Faber Show (podcast): Paul Lountzis - The Qualitative Characteristics Are Becoming Significantly More Meaningful And More Important In Company Analysis (LINK)

2019 Ivey Value Investing Classes Guest Speaker: Guy Gottfried (video) (LINK)

Investors Chronicle Podcast: Interview: A Ruffer guide to preserving wealth and making positive returns (LINK)

The Joe Rogan Experience (podcast): Lindsey Fitzharris (LINK)
Related book: The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine
Venture Stories: CPG, Defensibility, Finding The Next Instagram (LINK)

The Tim Ferriss Show: Neil Gaiman — The Interview I’ve Waited 20 Years To Do (LINK)
Related audiobook (included in the Audible sale below): The Graveyard Book
Book of the day: Flying Off Course: Airline Economics and Marketing


For Audible Members, the current sale ($5 per audiobook) once again has many titles of note:


The Intelligent Investor



Naked Statistics

Never Split the Difference

The Creature from Jekyll Island


Homo Deus

The Science of Energy

An Economic History of the World since 1400

The History of the United States, 2nd Edition

The History of Ancient Rome

The History of the Ancient World

Team of Teams

The Road to Character

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking

Ask an Astronaut

The Right Stuff

The Wisdom of Insecurity

The Obstacle Is the Way

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


"It’s absolutely imperative in our view, and I think we’re almost the only insurance company like this — certainly public — in the world that sends the absolutely unequivocal message to the people that are associated with us, that they will never be laid off because of lack of volume, and therefore, we don’t want them to write one bit of bad business.... I mean, you can’t run an auto company without having layoffs. You know, you can’t run a steel company that’s this way. But this is the right way to run an insurance company. And that’s why these cookie-cutter approaches to employment practices, or bonuses, and all that are nonsense. You have to think through the situation that faces you in a given industry with its given competitive conditions, and its own economic characteristics." --Warren Buffett (2004)

Apple’s Services Event – by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Spotting Investment Opportunities In Out Of Favor Industries - by Jonathan Boyar (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Michael Mauboussin – The Four Sources of Alpha (LINK)
Related papers: 1) "Who Is On the Other Side?"; 2) "The Base Rate Book"; 3) "What Does an EV/EBITDA Multiple Mean?"; Syllabus: Security Analysis - Spring 2019
WorkLife with Adam Grant (podcast): The Perils of Following Your Career Passion (LINK)

Joe Rogan’s Galaxy Brain [H/T @karaswisher] (LINK)

My Friend’s Cancer Taught Me About a Hole in Our Health System - by Aaron E. Carroll [H/T @WallStCynic] (LINK)

Biggest T. rex Ever Discovered Was Covered in Battle Scars (LINK)

We should discuss soil as much as we talk about coal - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Book of the day (related to the above, and recommended by Jeremy Grantham over the years): Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations

Monday, March 25, 2019


Why Apple investor Warren Buffett won't be obsessing over Monday's event (video) [H/T Will] (LINK)

The Dilemma Facing a $358 Billion Investing Giant - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Grant’s Current Yield Podcast: Fed ahead (LINK)

Masters in Business Podcast: Roger Ibbotson Discusses the History of Finance (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Incenting Innovation Inside (LINK)
Related book: Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries
30 Animals That Made Us Smarter Podcast: Kingfisher and bullet train (LINK)

In the face of adversity, are you a Guernsey or a Brahman? (LINK)

Why Would an Animal Trade One Body for Another? - by Carl Zimmer (LINK)

Pretty Sly for a Whitefly - by Ed Yong (LINK)