Friday, September 20, 2019

Links

The Netflix three-part docuseries, "Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates," was released today.

A Taxonomy of Moats - by Jerry Neumann (LINK)

How We Should Bust an Investing Myth - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Three Things I Think I Think – Repo Madness! - by Cullen Roche (LINK)

Jim Chanos videos on CNBC on why he's shorting DaVita and shorting Grubhub.

Exponent Podcast: 173 — The Exponent IPO (LINK)

The Bill Simmons Podcast: Malcolm Gladwell (LINK)
Related book: Talking to Strangers
The Quiet Disappearance of Birds in North America - by Ed Yong (LINK)
Though the continent has lost 3 billion birds since 1970, those losses are hard to glean because it’s the commonest species that have been hit hardest.
The Real Danger of Booze-Making Gut Bacteria - by Ed Yong (LINK)
Microbes can produce so much alcohol that people become drunk—and sustain liver damage—without touching any booze.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Links

"The whole secret of investment is to find places where it’s safe and wise to non-diversify. It’s just that simple. Diversification is for the know-nothing investor; it’s not for the professional."  --Charlie Munger (2008

"And there’s nothing wrong with the know-nothing investor practicing it. It’s exactly what they should practice. It’s exactly what a good professional investor should not practice. There’s no contradiction in that. A know-nothing investor will get decent results as long as they know they’re a know-nothing investor, diversify as to time they purchase their equities, and as to the equities they purchase. That’s crazy for somebody that really knows what they’re doing. And you will find opportunities that, if you put 20 percent of your net worth in it, you’ll have wasted the opportunity of a lifetime, in terms of not really loading up. And we’ve had the chance to do that, way, way in our past, when we were working with small sums of money. We’ll never get a chance to do that working with the kinds of money that Berkshire does. We try to load up on things. And there will be markets when we get a chance to from time to time, but very seldom do we get to buy as much of any good idea as we would like to." --Warren Buffett (2008)

What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max? - by William Langewiesche (LINK)

Bob Iger Remembers Steve Jobs, the Pixar Drama, and the Apple Merger That Wasn't. (LINK)
Related book: The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Insights on VC Pricing: Lessons from Uber, WeWorks and Peloton! - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

Am I a market fundamentalist? - by Russ Roberts (LINK)

Steve Schwarzman talks with James Altucher about his new book, What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence (podcast) (LINK)

Malcolm Gladwell talks with Oprah about his new book, Talking to Strangers (podcast) (LINK)

One Protein Makes Ebola Deadly. Scientists Can Turn it Off (LINK)

A final message from T. Boone Pickens shared before his passing on September 11, 2019 (LINK)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Links

"There have been...several times I had 75 percent of my net worth in one situation.... You will see things that it would be a mistake — if you’re working with smaller sums — it would be a mistake not to have half your net worth in. You really do, sometimes in securities, see things that are lead-pipe cinches. And you’re not going to see them often and they’re not going to be talking about them on television or anything of the sort, but there will be some extraordinary things happen in a lifetime where you can put 75 percent of your net worth or something like that in a given situation.... There’s quite a few people in this room that have close to a hundred percent of their net worth in Berkshire, and some of them have had it for 40 or more years. Berkshire was not in a cinch category. It was in the strong probability category, I think. But I saw things in 2002 in the junk bond field. I saw things in the equity markets. If you could have bought Cap Cities with Tom Murphy running it in 1974, it was selling at a third or a fourth what the properties were worth and you had the best manager in the world running the place and you had a business that was pretty damn good even if the manager wasn’t. You could have put a hundred percent of your net worth in there and not worry. You could put a hundred percent of your net worth in Coca-Cola, earlier than when we bought it, but certainly around the time we bought it, and that would not have been a dangerous position." --Warren Buffett (2008)

Warren Buffett Protege to Leave Berkshire, Start Own Firm ($) (LINK)
Tracy Britt Cool says she wants to work with companies ‘too small for Berkshire’
Q&A with Brandes: Why Look for Opportunities Overseas? [H/T @MebFaber] (LINK)

‘This Is Not the Way Everybody Behaves.’ How Adam Neumann’s Over-the-Top Style Built WeWork. ($) (LINK)
The skills that helped fuel We Co.’s breakneck growth are piling up as potential liabilities as the company prepares to go public
Is the Price of Gold Manipulated? (2018 video w/ Grant Williams) (LINK)

How billionaire philanthropy provides reproductive health care when politicians won’t [H/T @NicoleFriedman] (LINK)
This is how we’ve arrived at a point where Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, two of the biggest philanthropists in the world, are the leading providers of access to contraception worldwide, and Buffett is the leading provider of abortion access for poor women in the U.S.
The Case for Being a Multi-Hyphenate - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

Use ancient remains more wisely [H/T @edyong209] (LINK)

How Ancient DNA Can Help Recast Colonial History - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day: That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Links

Bill Gates on Global Inequality, Climate Change and Big Tech (video) [H/T Will] (LINK)

Day Two to One Day - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Fat, Happy, And In Over Your Head - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

The James Altucher Show (podcast): The Art of Human Connection: Brian Grazer on How to Let Curiosity Lead You Forward (LINK)
Related book: Face to Face: The Art of Human Connection
The Joe Rogan Experience (podcast): #1352 - Sean Carroll (LINK)
Related book: Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime
Record breaker: Astronomers find the most massive neutron star known. Probably the most massive one ever. (LINK)

Deep-Sea Explorers Find Rare Shapeshifting Jellyfish with a Prize Inside (video) [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Monday, September 16, 2019

Links

"We tend to prefer the business which drowns in cash. It just makes so much money that one of the main principles of owning it is you have all this cash coming in. There are other businesses, like the construction equipment business of my old friend John Anderson. And he used to say about his business 'You work hard all year, and at the end of the year there’s your profit sitting in the yard.' There was never any cash. Just more used construction equipment. We tend to hate businesses like that." --Charlie Munger (2008

Never Mind About That Lumber Buyout (LINK)

Activist Investor Webb Proposes Change for Hong Kong's Voting System (video) (LINK)

Great Talks Most People Have Never Heard [H/T @BrentBeshore] (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Thomas Braziel on distressed activism (LINK)

The Meb Faber Show (podcast): #175 - The Biggest Valuation Spread In 40 Years? (LINK)

The Ezra Klein Show (podcast): Randall Munroe, the genius behind XKCD (LINK)
Related book: How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast: #71 - Katherine Eban: Widespread fraud in the generic drug industry (LINK)
Related book: Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom
Book of the day [H/T @jasonzweigwsj]: Bubble in the Sun: The Florida Boom of the 1920s and How It Brought on the Great Depression

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Links

How a stealthy insurance tech startup bootstrapped its way to a $2.35B acquisition in less than 4 years [H/T @BrentBeshore] (LINK)

FRMO Corp. - 2019 Shareholder Letter [H/T @colemanrhawkins] (LINK)

How to Factor Fickle Markets Into Your Portfolio - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Immutable Truths and Arguing Fools - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Mohnish Pabrai on The Dhandho Investor: The Low-Risk Value Method to High Returns (video) (LINK)

Of Ben Graham, Investing, and Eternity (LINK)

Only the Shadow Knows - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

Joe Nocera's 2002 story on T. Boone Pickens (LINK)

International conflict isn't declining, new analysis finds (LINK)

Grant’s Current Yield Podcast: A conversation with the Dean of High Yield (LINK)

The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast): #386: Ken Burns (LINK)

The Game That Made Rats Jump for Joy - by Ed Yong (LINK)
Scientists taught rats to play hide-and-seek in order to study natural animal behavior—but it was also fun, for both the researchers and the animals.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Links

"You’ve got to remember that it’s the nature of things that most small businesses will never be big businesses. It’s also in the nature of things that most big businesses eventually fall into mediocrity or worse." --Charlie Munger (2008

The iPhone and Apple’s Services Strategy - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Battle of the Bubbles [H/T @ShaneAParrish] (LINK)
The early darling of fizzy water is losing ground to big soda, and shareholders are questioning its management.
T. Boone Pickens, the ‘Oracle of Oil,’ corporate raider and billionaire philanthropist, dies at 91 (LINK)

Decrypted Podcast: Is Your Amazon Habit Wrecking the Planet? (LINK)

With ‘Talking to Strangers,’ Malcolm Gladwell Goes Dark (LINK)
Related book: Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know
Malcolm Gladwell on Talking to Strangers (video) (LINK)

Would you eat an animal if you knew it was as old as the U.S. Constitution? (LINK)

Book of the day (released next month): The Body: A Guide for Occupants - by Bill Bryson

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Links

"It's a terrible mistake to kind of sleepwalk through your life, because unless Shirley MacLaine is right, it’s the only one you’re going to have.... When you’re in a position to make choices, I always tell the kids that come visit me, 'Go to work for an organization you admire or an individual you admire.'...  It's a lot easier to behave well when things are going your way and you are enjoying your work and you’re thinking about things every day that are the kind of things that you like to think about." --Warren Buffett (2008)

The Mind of Bill Gates, Revealed on Netflix ($) (LINK)
A new documentary [Sept. 20] profiles the tech-titan-turned-philanthropist. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Gates reflects on his shifting public image.
The Power of Questions (LINK)

Untangling the Threads: Stitch Fix is a Bargain - by Steve Vafier (LINK)

Stitch Fix: A Useful Case Study For Retail's Digital Transformation (LINK)

Seeking Alpha Interview: Value Investing With The Boyar Value Group (LINK)

Runaway Story or Meltdown in Motion? The Unraveling of the WeWork IPO - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

Sam Zell weighs in on WeWork's office-sharing business model (video) (LINK)

EconTalk Podcast: Daron Acemoglu on Shared Prosperity and Good Jobs (LINK)

The James Altucher Show (podcast): 486 - Everything Doctor’s & Hospitals are Afraid to Tell You: Dr. Marty Makary on How to Negotiate Your Medical Bills, Advocate For Yourself & Restore U.S. Healthcare (LINK)
Related book: The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care--and How to Fix It
When a Human Liver is Supercooled to -4 C - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)

The Iconic Electric Eel Is Actually Three Species - by Ed Yong (LINK)

‘We May Have to Shoot Down This Aircraft’ [H/T Linc] (LINK)
What the chaos aboard Flight 93 on 9/11 looked like to the White House, to the fighter pilots prepared to ram the cockpit and to the passengers.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Links

Knowing If You Can Stomach the Next Big Market Swing - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

From Shareholder wealth to Stakeholder interests: CEO Capitulation or Empty Doublespeak? - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

The Time Netflix Considered Selling Itself to Amazon for Peanuts ($) (LINK)

Without state bond, PG&E needs money — and hedge funds await CA’s largest utility (LINK)

RA Conversations: Robert Shiller Explains Narrative Economics (video) (LINK)
Related book: Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events
The Jolly Swagman Podcast: #71: Markets and The Madness of Crowds — Robert Shiller (LINK)

Five Good Questions Podcast: Mark Simpson - Excellent Investing (LINK)
Related book: Excellent Investing: How to Build a Winning Portfolio
Masters in Business Podcast: Kara Swisher Discusses the Tech Industry (LINK)

Planet Money Podcast: #938: The Marshall Plan (LINK)

Neil deGrasse Tyson chats with Joe Rogan (podcast) (LINK)

What’s it like to live on less than $2 a day? (LINK)

A History of South Asia, Told in Ancient DNA - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)

An Astronaut Reared the World’s Highest-Flying Birds - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @ChrisBloomstran]: Mentor: Life and Legacy of Joe Rosenfield

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Links

"What we really like at Berkshire is buying good-sized to very large first-class businesses with first-class management and just sitting there. Because the nice thing about that is you don’t have go from flower to flower. You can just sit there and watch them produce more and more every year and give you capital and you can buy more businesses." --Warren Buffett (2008)

Good Reading — 10th Anniversary Edition - by Phil Ordway (LINK)

Investors and Operators: Lessons I've Learned From Both Worlds - by Brent Beshore (LINK)

A reexamination of ownership in the age of the public corporation - by Roger Lowenstein (LINK)

The Horse Story - by Chris Mayer (LINK)

How U.S. Banks Took Over the World ($) (LINK)
A decade ago, they almost brought down the global financial system. Now they rule it.
Freakonomics Radio (podcast): 388. The Economics of Sports Gambling (LINK)

a16z Podcast: From the Internet’s Past to the Future of Crypto (LINK)
What can we learn from the history of the internet for the future of crypto? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, general partner Katie Haun interviews a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen.
Recode Media Podcast: The epic battle for Uber, with Mike Isaac from the New York Times (LINK)
Related book: Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber
A Radical Guide to Spending Less Time on Your Phone - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

One of Nature’s Greatest Spectacles Is Coming Undone - by Ed Yong (LINK)
Corals release their eggs and sperms with perfect synchronization. But a new study suggests their incredible timing is starting to slip.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Links

"You might have good reason to pray for a tornado, whether it comes in the shape of swirling winds, or a politician. You imagine the thing doing the damage you would like to see done, and no more. It’s what you fail to imagine that kills you." --Michael Lewis ("The Fifth Risk")

What Is a Tech Company? - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

GMO Quarterly Letter | Bigger’s Been Better (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter, September 2019: Is Ageing Inflationary? Really? (LINK)

The Exclusive Inside Story Of The Fall Of Overstock’s Mad King, Patrick Byrne [H/T @pcordway] (LINK)

Fairfax to invest $5 billion more in India in next 5 years (LINK)

Odd Lots Podcast: Why Value Investing Has Been Doing Terribly (LINK)

The Product Science Podcast: Tim O’Reilly Hypothesis: Build a Market by Building an Ecosystem (LINK)

The Tim Ferriss Show: #384: David Allen — The Art of Getting Things Done (GTD) (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Making Culture, Making Influence — Dapper Dan! (LINK)

Tweet of the day, via @MebFaber, which is also probably why my watch list is filled with UK and other European names:
Over the past 10 years the UK stock market has underperformed the US by about 200 percentage points. 0% return last 12 years...ouch! The good news? UK stocks trade at half the valuation of US stocks across every long term valuation metric.
Book of the day (released next week): The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care--and How to Fix It

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Links

Warren Buffett shares his opinion on China, Costco, Elon Musk, College, and more (video) (LINK) [This appears to be the complete video interview from earlier this year, in which Yahoo Finance had previously released some shorter clips.]

Robin Hood has put up some videos from conferences over the years [Tepper, Druckenmiller, Einhorn, etc.] (LINK)

Blue Sky - some notes and an agenda for ASIC - by John Hempton (LINK)

Flying Blind - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

The Funds That Make You Buy Low and Sell High - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Venture-Capital Stalwart Battles Washington’s Crypto Crackdown ($) (LINK)
Andreessen Horowitz, known for Facebook investment, says digital currencies can cure what ails web
The Investor’s Podcast: TIP258: Current Market Conditions and Value Investing w/ Tobias Carlisle (LINK)

The most dangerous thing about the Amazon fires is the apocalyptic rhetoric - by Matt Ridley (LINK)

The Opportunity Paradox (LINK)

The Eternal Pursuit of Unhappiness (LINK)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Links

"No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have." --Seneca

The Big Short’s Michael Burry Sees a Bubble in Passive Investing (LINK)

‘They Get Fired All the Time. And They Have No Idea Why.’ [H/T Linc] (LINK)
Pop culture lionizes the dazzling brilliance of money managers on the autism spectrum. Reality rarely measures up.
How you can make better predictions [H/T Linc] (LINK)

You Better Love This - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Bethany McLean on the Axios Pro Rata podcast discussing her latest article (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: A Primer on Information Marketplaces (LINK)

An excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell's upcoming audiobook, Talking to Strangers (LINK)

A Game of Giants - by Tim Urban (LINK)

Vulnerability: The Key to Better Relationships - by Mark Manson (LINK)

The Amazon Is Not Earth's Lungs - by Peter Brannen (LINK)

Book of the day: Faster, Higher, Farther: How One of the World's Largest Automakers Committed a Massive and Stunning Fraud

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The difference between a good business and a bad business...

From Charlie Munger during the 1998 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting:
I’ve heard Warren say since very early in his life that the difference between a good business and a bad business is usually the good business just throws up one easy decision after another, whereas the bad business gives you a horrible choice where the decision is hard to make. Is this really going to work? Is it worth the money? 
If you want a system for determining which is a good business and which is a bad business, just see which one is throwing the management bloopers time after time after time. Easy decisions.
It’s not very hard for us to decide to open a new See’s store in a new shopping center in California that’s obviously going to succeed. It’s a blooper. 
On the other hand, there are plenty of businesses where the decisions that come across your desk are just awful. And those businesses, by and large, don’t work very well.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Links

"Investment success depends on buying into the right businesses at the right price. And you have to know how to value businesses, and you have to have an attitude that divorces you from being influenced by the market." --Warren Buffett (2008)

The Broyhill 2019 Mid-Year Letter (LINK)

Scion Asset Management Urges GameStop to Buy Back $238 Million of Stock with Cash on Hand (LINK)

An open letter to James Dolan about unlocking shareholder value at Madison Square Garden (LINK)

Privacy Fundamentalism - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Wait Buy Why: The Story of Us - by Tim Urban (LINK)

Capital Allocators Podcast: Eric Ries – Lean Start-Ups and the Long-Term Stock Exchange (LINK)

Odd Lots Podcast: How to Forecast the Future (LINK)

Land of the Giants Podcast: Is Amazon Too Big? We Ask Its Sellers (LINK)

Acquired Podcast: Google Maps (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: What Venkat Rao Thinks About Basically Everything (LINK)

EconTalk Podcast: Andrew Roberts on Churchill and the Craft of Biography (LINK)
Related book: Churchill: Walking with Destiny
The Art of Manliness Podcast: #537: How to Think Like a Roman Emperor (LINK)
Related book: How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast: #68 - Marty Makary, M.D.: The US healthcare system—why it’s broken, steps to fix it, and how to protect yourself (LINK)

How Komodo Dragons Survived Extinction as Other Giant Reptiles Went Extinct (LINK)

Here’s a question you should ask about every climate change plan - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Links

"If we could guess successfully a high percentage of the time where the stock market was going to go, we would do nothing but play the S&P futures market. There wouldn’t be any reason to look at businesses and stocks. It’s just not our game. What we see when we look at the stock market is we see thousands and thousands and thousands of companies priced every day, and we ignore 99.9 percent of what we see, although we run our eyes over them. And then every now and then we see something that looks like it’s attractively priced to us, as a business. Forget about the word 'stock.' So when we buy a stock, we would be happy with that stock if they told us the market was going to close for a couple years. We look to the business." --Warren Buffett (2008)

Cliff Asness on why it's hard to say when value wins again (LINK) [“A huge part of our job is building a great investment process that will make money over the long term, but a fair amount of our job is sticking to it like grim death during the tougher times.”]

How Elon Musk Gambled Tesla to Save SolarCity - by Bethany McLean (LINK)

Streaming Video Will Soon Look Like the Bad Old Days of TV - by Matthew Ball (LINK)

China's Hong Kong Dilemma - by Evan Osnos (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Ian Cassel chats with Tobias Carlisle (LINK)

The Investor’s Podcast: Small Cap Investing - w/ Eric Cinnamond (LINK)

Flux Podcast: 24: Matt Cauble—Soylent’s Co-Founder Goes After Alcohol (LINK)

Radiolab Podcast: Right to be Forgotten (LINK)

Attachment Theory - by Mark Manson (LINK)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Links

"The job of the board of directors is to have the right CEO. I mean, if you’ve got the right CEO, 90 percent of it takes care of itself. If you were the director of Cap Cities and you had Tom Murphy as the CEO, case closed. It was all you needed. And if you have that CEO, I think you have an obligation on the board to make sure that there’s not overreaching by the CEO, because the CEO can have different interests. And I think the third thing that the board should do is they really should bring some independent judgment in on major acquisitions. Because there is a natural tendency for people with, usually, big egos, big motors, who get to be CEOs that like to do big things and to become bigger spending other people’s money.... So I think in those three respects, a good director will first make an affirmative decision [that] you’ve got a very good CEO — not the best in the whole world, not everybody can do that — but a very good CEO. That that CEO is not overreaching. And when significant deals come along, that they get a chance to weigh in, and that you really get a balanced discussion about the real economics of what you’re doing." --Warren Buffett (2007)

The Long View Podcast -- Rob Arnott: Don’t Sleep on Value Investing (LINK)

RA Conversations: The Inverted Yield Curve and Stock Returns (video) (LINK)
Cam Harvey explains the link between the yield curve inversion and future stock returns as well as why value offers investors a potential hedge against downside risk after a yield curve inversion.  
The risks grow that the passive and algorithmic transformation of equity markets could lead to a crisis. (LINK)

The Meb Faber Show: #171 - Raoul Pal - Buy Bonds. Buy Dollars. Wear Diamonds. (LINK)

The Art of Manliness Podcast: How to Achieve a “Rich Life” With Your Finances [with Ramit Sethi] (LINK)
Related book: I Will Teach You to Be Rich
The Stephen Wolfram Podcast: A Very Brief History of Mathematics [H/T @nntaleb] (LINK)

Revisionist History Podcast: The Obscure Virus Club (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: The Most Well-Read Person in the World on The Future of Reading with Robert Cottrell (LINK)

Audiobooks or Reading? To Our Brains, It Doesn’t Matter (LINK)

What If I Said No? (And Other Questions to Consider Daily) - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

A Simple Invention Could Change How Fast Disease Is Detected - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day: The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West - by David McCullough

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Links

"We don’t try to buy our businesses with thoughts much of world trends. We certainly think in terms of foreign competition. I mean, we do not want to buy into a business that has a very high labor content and that has a product that can be shipped in from abroad very easily.... You do not want to have something whose competitive position is going to erode over time." --Warren Buffett (2007)

Berkshire Hathaway Energy Presentation (LINK)

Why Complexity Sells - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Peter Barton: Oral and Video Collection Interview [H/T Sean Iddings/Intelligent Fanatics] (LINK)
Related book: Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived
Thinking aloud about bank margins - Part 2 - by John Hempton (LINK)

The WeWork IPO - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

A short extract from a 2017 presentation by Grant Williams which highlights the madness of investors buying the 100-year Argentine bond issuance (video) (LINK)

Kyle Bass on CNBC (video) (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Joe McLean – How to be a Pro’s Pro (LINK)

Land of the Giants Podcast: How Amazon Charmed Wall Street (LINK)

Is nuking Mars a good idea? (No) - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Monday, August 19, 2019

Links

Howard Marks warns of 'dark' impact of trade war [H/T Linc] (LINK)

An Economic Warning Sign: RV Sales Are Slipping ($) (LINK)

The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (and counting) [H/T @ChrisPavese] (LINK)

Thinking aloud about bank margins - Part 1 - by John Hempton (LINK)

Odd Lots Podcast: John Hempton on What’s Ailing Bank Stocks (LINK)

Masters in Business Podcast: Josh Wolfe Discusses Innovative Investments (LINK)

a16z Podcast: Software has eaten the world…and healthcare is next (LINK)

EconTalk Podcast: Tyler Cowen on Big Business (LINK)

The Investor’s Podcast: TIP256: Raoul Pal - Global Financial Concerns (LINK)

Hidden Forces Podcast: Hong Kong Revolution: Geopolitical & Financial Implications for China and the World | David Webb (LINK)

A summary of The Courage to be Disliked (LINK)

Ebola outbreak spreads to third province in eastern Congo [H/T @Atul_Gawande] (LINK)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Links

“Busts are the product of booms, and I’m convinced it’s usually more correct to attribute a bust to the excesses of the preceding boom than to the specific event that sets off the correction. But most of the time there is a spark that starts the swing from bullish to bearish.” --Howard Marks (“Now What?,” January 2008)

Pershing Square's reason for buying shares in Berkshire Hathaway [pages 10-12 of report] (LINK)

John Hempton on the Markopolis GE paper (Post 1Post 2)

Why Viacom Fell (And Why It Can Come Back) (LINK)

Pushing on a String - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

WeWork IPO Shows It’s the Most Magical Unicorn (LINK)
Everything about the company is over-the-top: its growth, losses, potential conflicts of interest and financial gymnastics.
What is We!? Understanding the WeWork IPO - by Byrne Hobart [H/T @BrentBeshore] (LINK)

The Disruptive Voice Podcast: A Jobs-To-Be-Done Masterclass with Andrew Glaser and Bob Moesta (LINK)

Revisionist History Podcast: Chutzpah vs. Chutzpah (LINK)

A Tissue Sample From 1966 Held Traces of Early HIV - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Links

"I think it is entirely fair, as an investor, to just quitclaim certain areas of business as having too many problems." --Charlie Munger (2002)

The church of chicken: The inside story of how Chick-fil-A used Christian values and a 'clone army' to build a booming business that's defying the retail apocalypse and taking over America [H/T @zebulgar] (LINK)
Related books: 1) Covert Cows and Chick-fil-A: How Faith, Cows, and Chicken Built an Iconic Brand; 2) How Did You Do It, Truett?
New CEO Wants to Make Barnes & Noble Your Local Bookstore ($) [H/T Phil] (LINK)

The growing threat of a corporate bond market meltdown. (LINK)

Argentina's 48% Stock Rout Second-Biggest in Past 70 Years (LINK)
The surprise outcome in Argentina’s primary vote roiled the nation’s financial markets, sending the S&P Merval Index plunging 48% in dollar terms. 
That marked the second-biggest one-day rout on any of the 94 stock exchanges tracked by Bloomberg going back to 1950. Sri Lanka’s bourse tumbled more than 60% in June 1989 as the nation was engulfed in a civil war.
A Danish bank is offering mortgages with negative interest rates — why you shouldn't wish for that to happen in the U.S. [H/T Matt] (LINK)

The World’s Newest Petrostate Isn’t Ready for a Tsunami of Cash [H/T Matt] (LINK)

Storytelling with Data - by Chris Pavese (LINK)
Related book: Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals
Invest Like the Best Podcast: Zack Kanter – All Things Business (LINK)

Ramit Sethi on the Impact Theory Podcast (video) [H/T @dollarsanddata] (LINK)
Related book: I Will Teach You to Be Rich
Land of the Giants Podcast: Why the Robot Revolution is Our Fault (LINK)

Matt Ridley chats with Steve Forbes (podcast) (LINK)

Are You Doing Microworkouts? Here's Why You Should. - by Mark Sisson (LINK)

The Anthropocene Is a Joke - by Peter Brannen (LINK)

One Giant Leap for Maggotkind - by Ed Yong (LINK)

A New Clue to How Life Originated - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Links

"Money tends to be fairly captive, once it’s in a company. If you have a business that gets subnormal returns over time, there’s a big threshold in terms of either a takeover, or a proxy fight, or something like that to unleash the capital. So, money that’s tied up in an unprofitable business, or a sub-profitable business, is likely to stay tied up for a good period of time. Eventually something will probably correct it. But capitalism does not operate so efficiently as to move capital around promptly when it’s misallocated." --Warren Buffett (1995)

The Laws of Investing - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

The Billionaires Behind The Secret Tech Mecca In America’s Heartland [H/T @iancassel] (LINK)

Debunking the Stanford Prison Experiment [H/T @wolfejosh] (LINK)

The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast): #381: Charles Koch — CEO of Koch Industries (LINK)

Acquired Podcast: DoorDash + Caviar Quick Take (LINK)

Spectacular Failures Podcast: Toys R Us goes bust (LINK)

The Cocktail Creationist (2004) [H/T @vader7x] (LINK)
At 5:20 on a Sunday morning in the summer of 1996, Sidney Frank—liquor baron extraordinaire, dapper elderly gent, CEO of the Sidney Frank Importing Co.—picked up his phone in a fit of inspiration. He dialed up his No. 2 executive, who listened in a groggy daze as Frank proclaimed, “I figured out the name! It’s Grey Goose!”
This Land Is the Only Land There Is (LINK)
Here are seven ways of understanding the IPCC’s newest climate warning.
Jupiter from Hubble: Enormous, magnificent, and… fading at the edge? - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Book of the day: Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career - by Scott Young

Multiples and the reinvestment of capital...

From Warren Buffett at the 1995 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting
It isn’t a multiple of today’s earnings that is primarily determinate of things. We bought our Coca-Cola, for example, in 1988 and ’89, on this stock, at a price of $11 a share—as low as 9, as high as 13, but it averaged about $11. 
And it’ll earn, we’ll say, most estimates are between $2.30 and $2.40 this year [1995]. So, that’s under five times this year’s earnings, but it was a pretty good size multiple back when we bought it. 
It’s the future that counts. It’s like what I wrote there, what Wayne Gretzky says, to go where the puck is going to be, not where it is. 
So, the current multiple interacts with the reinvestment of capital and the rate at which that capital’s invested, to determine the attractiveness of something now. 
And we are affected in that valuation process to a considerable degree by interest rates, but not by whether they’re 7.3, or 7.0, or 7.5. But we’ll be thinking much differently if long-term rates are 11 percent or 5 percent. But we don’t have any magic multiples in mind. 
We’re thinking — we want to be in the business that 10 years from now is earning a whole lot more money than it is now, and that we will still feel good about the prospects of the business at that time.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Links

I may have posted this before, but since I saw it making the rounds again, and in case anyone hasn't seen it..... large Berkshire/Buffett compilation.

Howard Marks on Loans, Distressed Investing, Fed Policy (video) (LINK)

How Economists’ Faith in Markets Broke America - by Sebastian Mallaby [book reviews] (LINK)

Revisionist History Podcast: In a Metal Mood (LINK)
Two seasons after its investigation of the decline of McDonalds french fries, Revisionist History returns to fast-food’s high-tech test kitchens. This time the subject is cultural appropriation. The case study is Taco Bell. Oh, and Pat Boone is involved.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Links

Nightline with Warren Buffett in March of 1999 (video) [H/T @Gautam__Baid] (LINK)

Oaktree Insights: Rising Risks Call for a Tactical Approach to Global Credit Investing (LINK)

Inflated Bond Ratings Helped Spur the Financial Crisis. They're Back. ($) (LINK)

America’s Pension Funds Fell Short in 2019 ($) (LINK)

Muddy Waters Research's latest short report, on Burford Capital Ltd. (LINK)

A Framework for Moderation - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Was E-mail a Mistake? - by Cal Newport (LINK)

The Long View Podcast: Bill Nygren (LINK)

Acquired Podcast: The Shopify IPO (LINK)

Y Combinator Podcast: Russ Roberts (LINK)

Talking Points Podcast: Hospitality Icon Danny Meyer (LINK)

"Blue Sky Metropolis," a documentary mini-series on the untold story of how aerospace was central to the growth of California and its emergence as an economic power. [H/T @AlexRubalcava] (LINK)

Some Fish Are Still Full of Mercury, for a Worrying Reason - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Credit cards and banking...

This was a discussion at the 1995 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting (Q38 & Q39) that I thought was both interesting as well as one that could, and does, occur today. And the book Buffett and Munger were recommending in the excerpt below was A Piece of the Action : How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class by Joseph Nocera. 

***

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Edward Barr, Lexington, Kentucky. I had a two-fold question.

Number one, you mentioned American Express earlier. And I was curious as to whether the fact that credit card usage is only 10 percent of all transactions, and that may continue to grow for some time going forward, was a factor in your decision?

And the other part of the question pertains to the durability and permanence of the banking franchise with regard to alternative delivery channels that may appear over the next few years, including the possibility of the Microsoft/Intuit merger.

WARREN BUFFETT: Well, the specific number you mentioned about credit card usage and so on, that’s not a big factor with us. We think credit cards are both here to stay and likely to grow, to some extent.

Although at some point you start reaching limits, at least in terms of [outstanding credit card debt] that make any sense.

But the credit card field is a very big field. The question is, is who’s got the edge in it? Because everybody is going to want to be in it, and they already are. And there are a lot of different ways you can play the game if you’re in the credit card business.

And you better have some way of playing one part of the game, preferably a large part. But you better have some way of playing one part of the game better than others or natural capitalistic forces are going to grind you down.

I mean, it’s a business that people are willing to change their minds about what they do in. I mean, if you offer somebody a credit card that gives them some advantages that don’t exist on their earlier card, people are quite willing to shift cards.

So, you need some kind of an edge in some particular segment of the market. So, the growth aspects overall of the market are not a big factor with us.

It’s really a question of figuring out who’s going to win what game, and who’s going to lose what game.

And what was the second question again on that?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The second question pertained to the permanence and durability of the banking franchise.

WARREN BUFFETT: Oh yeah, sure.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: And whether alternative delivery channels over the next few years may erode the durability of that, including the Microsoft/Intuit merger.

WARREN BUFFETT: Well, that’s a good question. You’re certainly seeing the value of bank branches diminish significantly. It used to be a point of enormous pride with managements, in how many branches they had.

And it was, you know, often political influence and everything else was called into obtaining branch permits.

The world will change in banking, probably in some very major ways, over a 20 or 30-year period. Exactly what players will benefit and which ones will be hurt is a very tough question.

I don’t think I’d expect really significant change in banking over the next five years, but I’d certainly expect it over the next 20 years.

And there are a lot of people that have their eye on that market, including Microsoft, as you mention.

It may be to their advantage to hook up with the present players. I mean, I know it’s certainly something that gets explored. But they may figure out a way to go around the present players, too. And that’s one investment consideration.

Charlie?

CHARLIE MUNGER: Yeah. The interesting player that went around the rest was Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch went heavily into banking with its cash management accounts. And I don’t think it’s the only innovation that’ll come along.

WARREN BUFFETT: What’s the name of that book?

CHARLIE MUNGER: You know, I’d forgotten, that’s a marvelous book.

WARREN BUFFETT: Yes, there’s a great book.

CHARLIE MUNGER: Maybe Molly remembers. What was that book you gave me? It was the history of the credit card.

WARREN BUFFETT: Was it Joe Nocera’s? Yeah, Joe Nocera was the author.... It’s a terrific history of the credit card business.

And if you read that you will get some idea of the amount of change that can occur in something like the movement of money. And my guess is that if there’s another edition of it in 20 years, there’ll be plenty more to write about. 

CHARLIE MUNGER: By the way, that is a fabulous book. Most of the people who are here will not be able to put it down. I mean, for a book about an economic development, it captures the human background in a very interesting way.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Chris Bloomstran on the Invest Like the Best podcast

I've been hoping for this conversation for a while, and Chris and Patrick O’Shaughnessy finally got a chance to chat about quality companies, Berkshire Hathaway, and plenty more. In case anyone missed it, Chris has gone deep into the Berkshire weeds over the last few years with his 2015 letter2016 interview with Kate Welling, 2016 letter, 2017 letter, and then his most recent 2018 letter; all of which can also be found on the Semper Augustus Investments Group website. Chris is a close friend and I'm glad he's starting to get out in public a bit more, as he's one of the best investors and business analysts I know. I also think he could manage a lot more capital without having any effect on his ability to earn good absolute returns and beat the market over time, as he's done for Semper's first 20 years in business.



Monday, August 5, 2019

Links

"The investing public is fascinated and captured by the great financial mind. That fascination derives, in turn, from the scale of the financial operations and the feeling that, with so much money involved, the mental resources behind them cannot be less. Only after the speculative collapse does the truth emerge. What was thought to be unusual acuity turns out to be only a fortuitous and unfortunate association with the assets. Over the long years of history, the result for those who have been thus misjudged (including, invariably, by themselves) has been opprobrium followed by personal disgrace or a retreat into the deeper folds of obscurity. Or it has been exile, suicide, or, in modern times, at least moderately uncomfortable confinement. The rule will often be here reiterated: financial genius is before the fall." --John Kenneth Galbraith (A Short History of Financial Euphoria)

A Story of Courage and Hope from the Life of Charlie Munger (LINK)

Why Aren’t Investors Worried? Ask Howard Marks ($) (LINK)
WSJ: Are you concerned about investors’ enthusiasm for profitless technology companies? 
MR. MARKS: The more enthusiasm there is in the world, the harder it is to live up to people’s expectations and the easier it is to disappoint. When a stock goes from great optimism to the optimism sobering up, it’s very painful for investors. What you really want to know is how much optimism is in the price. If you can buy things where the level of optimism is unjustifiably low, that’s where you make a lot of money.
The hidden costs of unreliable electricity - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Greenhaven Road Capital's Q2 Letter (LINK)

Raoul Pal's takeaways from his two week recession watch series (video) (LINK)

David Skok of Matrix Partners: Driving SaaS Success Using Key Metrics (2016) [H/T @MinionCapital] (LINK)

Why Doctors Should Organize - by Eric Topol (LINK)

The Resilience of Analog - by Peter Osnos (LINK)

Peter Thiel's Religion - by David Perell (LINK)

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Links

Advantage Flywheels - by Max Olson (LINK)

Where Did This ‘Bull Market’ Come From, Anyway? - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Buffett Steers Clear of Buying Stocks; Berkshire’s Cash Pile Hits a Record (LINK)

Bill Murray and Warren Buffett spotted at Ted and Wally's in downtown Omaha (LINK)

Good for Google, Bad for America - by Peter Thiel (LINK)

The latest Ken Henry blow-up - by John Hempton (LINK)

The Tides Trump the Waves - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

Focused Compounding Podcast: 103. Ian Cassel and The Power of Capacity Constrained Investing Strategies (LINK)

Techmeme Ride Home Podcast: The State of Amazon With Jason Del Rey (LINK)

The Rank Hypocrisy of Trump’s Ebola Tweets - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Incredible, must-see video: 'The Comet,' a film noir view of 67P (LINK)

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Links

"At Oaktree we say, 'Well bought is half sold.' By this we mean we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what price we’re going to be able to sell a holding for, or when, or to whom, or through what mechanism. If you’ve bought it cheap, eventually those questions will answer themselves. If your estimate of intrinsic value is correct, over time an asset’s price should converge with its value." --Howard Marks ("The Most Important Thing")

Board Upgrades Its Scrutiny of Financial Planners - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

Boyar Research's Q2 Letter (LINK)

The Absurdities of 'Franchise Fatigue' & 'Sequelitis' (Or, What Is Happening to the Box Office?!) - by Matthew Ball (LINK)

Notes on the book Let My People Go Surfing (LINK)

Video: Software Eats Care Delivery (LINK)

Revisionist History Podcast: Descend into the Particular (LINK)

Astronomers are watching a star die in real time - by Phil Plait (LINK)

The Tumor That Broke All the Rules - by Ed Yong (LINK)

A Scientist Witnessed Poachers Killing a Chimp - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Links

"If you make yourself a very reliable person and stay reliable all your life, faithfully doing whatever you engage to do, it will be very hard for you to fail at anything you want."  --Charlie Munger (2007)

Looking for a Financial Planner? The Go-To Website Often Omits Red Flags - by Jason Zweig and Andrea Fuller ($) (LINK)

Universal Laws of the World - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

The Investing City Podcast: 32 - CEO of Sarah Cannon, Dee Anna Smith: Doing the Rounds (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: The State of Fintech in 2019 with Seth Rosenberg and Sheel Mohnot (LINK)

Radiolab Podcast: G: The World’s Smartest Animal (LINK)

Bugged By Insects? 'Buzz, Sting, Bite' Makes The Case For 6-Legged Friends [H/T Linc] (LINK)
Related book: Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects
Why the Placental Microbiome Should Be a Cautionary Tale - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Links

"There are lots of things in life that come to you where you have no option to not consider the issue. But where it’s voluntary, like choosing one investment from many, then the 'too difficult' pile is a marvelous way of sifting your daily grist." --Charlie Munger (2007)

Horizon Kinetics 2Q 2019 Portfolio Update - July 17, 2019 (audio) (LINK) [If anyone at Horizon Kinetics reads this blog, it would be fantastic if you make these podcasts available for download on Overcast, etc.]

Claire Barnes' Q2 report for the Apollo Asia Fund (LINK)

Is CVS A Value Trap Or A Fallen Angel Ready To Rise Again? - by Jonathan Boyar (LINK)

GMO White Paper | Risk and Premium: A Tale of Value - by John Pease (LINK)
The performance of U.S. value over the last decade has led many to wonder whether the value premium has been completely eroded. We analyze this question by decomposing the relative returns of cheap stocks in order to understand what has driven this change in performance. Our return decomposition suggests value stocks’ performance erosion can be evenly attributed to a reduction in the value premium and a widening of the value spread. Though value might deserve to trade at a greater discount today due to the market’s current dynamics, we believe that cheap stocks are still likely to deliver a premium and are therefore well-positioned to outperform the broad market.
Passive investing boom could be causing a market bubble, but not in the stocks you would expect (LINK)
Critics of passive investing argue it is inflating the prices of high-flying stocks such as Amazon and creating a bubble in those names. However, data compiled by Ned Davis Research shows the bubble may be forming elsewhere. 
The firm found that real estate and utilities stocks are the two sectors that have benefited the most from the rise of passive investing vehicles including exchange-traded funds. ETFs hold more than 11% of the real estate sector and 9.8% of the utilities sector. 
At the individual stock level, Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, a real estate company that invests in shopping centers, has had nearly 32% of its available stock, or float, taken over by ETFs, by far the most of any stock.
With Stocks at Fresh Highs, Investors’ Portfolios Look Alike ($) (LINK)
A rally in stocks has triggered unusual circumstances for some of Wall Street’s biggest investors—they are holding many of the same companies. 
A list of the market’s most crowded trades includes Mastercard Inc., Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc., Abbott Laboratories and PayPal Holdings Inc., according to analysts at Bernstein, who tracked institutional ownership, price momentum, earnings forecasts and valuations. 
The overlap in the top 50 stockholdings between mutual funds and hedge funds—two types of investors whose styles typically differ—now stands at near-record levels, a study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found.
Hidden Networks: Network Effects That Don’t Look Like Network Effects (LINK)

Albert Wenger: World after Capital | Rise of AI conference 2019 (video) (LINK)

BIS Annual Economic Report 2019 (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Brian Christian – How To Live With Computers (LINK)

North Star Podcast: Tren Griffin: The Love of Learning (LINK)

Hidden Forces Podcast: Raoul Pal | The Fourth Turning: Generational Theory and the Future of Global Money (LINK)

5 Mindsets that Create Success - by Mark Manson (LINK)

They Found 43,130 of Her Relatives Before Solving Her Cold Case - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Industry growth and competition...

"Investors have consistently lost money by assuming that if they invest in the equity of companies engaged in a growth market it is logical that they must make money. They should take a leaf from the book of US investors in the 1970s who correctly identified air travel as a growth market and then underperformed the market by investing in airline stocks. How? Because they missed the point that the link between growth in air travel and the profitability of airlines was about to be broken by the intervention of a force called deregulation. More air miles were flown, but at lower and lower fares." --Terry Smith ("Accounting for Growth")

"Any time you get more and more people competing in any given area, generally, the economics deteriorate. And the economics have deteriorated for newspapers, although they’re still enormously profitable in relation to tangible equity employed, but they do not have the same economic prospects, if you look at the future stream of earnings, that it looked like they had 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. And television, again, the margins have been maintained surprisingly well, but the audience keeps going down.... So, that has to erode economics over time. Cable was thought to operate pretty much all by itself, and the telecoms come in. Very few businesses get better because of more competition." --Warren Buffett (2006)

"It’s simplicity itself. It will be a rare business that doesn’t have a way worse future than it had a past." --Charlie Munger (2006)

"There’s industries we know that may have a wonderful future, but we don’t have the faintest idea who the winners will be, so we don’t think about those.... So there’s a whole lot of things we don’t think about. Charlie and I have a number of filters that things have to get through very quickly before we’re willing to think about them. And sometimes we’re thought of as rude...because people will call us and they start explaining some idea to us, and it just doesn’t make it through the first filter or two. So we...think we’re saving their time if we just politely say, you know, that we just have no interest, and we don’t want to have you finish the sentence."  --Warren Buffett (2012)

"We have found in a long life that one competitor is frequently enough to ruin a business." --Charlie Munger (2012)

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Links

"Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power." --Seneca

A Few Gentle Thoughts on Journalism - by Jason Zweig (LINK)

What You Gain—and Lose—When You Lock Money Up for the Long Run - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

America’s Public Pensions Are Stuck In The Clouds ($) (LINK)

Beyond Ridiculous (LINK)

Oaktree Insights: Structured Credit Primer & Commentary (LINK)

Paradigm Shifts - by Ray Dalio (LINK)

Kyle Bass on CNBC last week (video) (LINK)

Value Investing with Legends Podcast: Connecting Theory and Practice Through The 5x5x5 Student Investment Fund (LINK)
Today’s conversation is with Tom Russo, the master of consumer brand investing, and two of our best students, Jeffrey Johnson '19 and Michael Allison '19. We’re talking about the 5x5x5 Student Investment Fund and having a deep discussion about some of the specific stocks in the portfolio. The concept for the 5x5x5 fund came out of Tom’s concern that conventional investment funds for students offered limited learning potential due to their short-term nature and was made possible by a generous gift given by him and his wife, Georgina.
a16z Podcast: The Search for the Secret Metal that Powers All Our Devices (LINK)

Revisionist History Podcast: Dr. Rock’s Taxonomy (LINK)

Radiolab Podcast: G: Unnatural Selection (LINK)
This past fall, a scientist named Steve Hsu made headlines with a provocative announcement. He would start selling a genetic intelligence test to couples doing IVF: a sophisticated prediction tool, built on big data and machine learning, designed to help couples select the best embryo in their batch. We wondered, how does that work? What can the test really say? And do we want to live in a world where certain people can decide how smart their babies will be?
Should the Rich Be Allowed to Buy the Best Genes? - by Walter Isaacson (LINK)

What Tick Saliva Does to the Human Body - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)

The Stump That Didn’t Die - by Ed Yong (LINK)
Through underground connections with its neighbors, it somehow stays alive. What does that say about the concept of a tree, or the future of forests?
Book of the day: The Bubble that Broke the World - by Garet Garrett

Audible also has some notable titles currently on sale for $5....

The Fifth Risk - by Michael Lewis

Skunk Works - by Ben R. Rich and Leo Janos

The Crusades - by Thomas Asbridge

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - by Andrea Wulf

The Sixth Extinction - by Elizabeth Kolbert

Cosmos - by Carl Sagan