Sunday, January 20, 2019

Survival first...

"Nature and history do not agree with our conceptions of good and bad; they define good as that which survives, and bad as that which goes under." --Will and Ariel Durant (The Lessons of History)

"The only definition of rationality that I’ve found that is practically, empirically, and mathematically rigorous is the following: what is rational is that which allows for survival. Unlike modern theories by psychosophasters, it maps to the classical way of thinking. Anything that hinders one’s survival at an individual, collective, tribal, or general level is, to me, irrational." --Nassim Taleb (Skin in the Game)

"Never forget about the man who was six-foot-tall, who drowned crossing the stream that was five feet deep on average. To be a successful investor, at minimum, you have to survive. Surviving on the good days is not the issue. You have to be able to survive on the bad days. The idea of surviving on average is not sufficient. You have to be able to survive on the worst days." --Howard Marks (interview on The James Altucher Show)

"My belief is: If you have not figured out the risk, then you shouldn't even think about the upside." --Weijian Shan (Real Vision interview)

"The first stop in Warren [Buffett]’s investing process is always to say, 'What are the odds that this business could be subject to any type of catastrophe risk—that could make it (the business) fail?' And if there is any chance that any significant part of his capital would be subject to catastrophe risk, he just stops thinking. NO. He just won’t go there. It is backwards the way most people think because most people find an interesting idea and figure out the math, they look at the financials, they do a projection and then at the end, they ask, 'What could go wrong?' Warren starts with what could go wrong." --Alice Schroeder  [In a talk discussing Warren Buffett's investing process.]

"The fundamental principle of auto racing is that to finish first, you must first finish. That dictum is equally applicable to business and guides our every action at Berkshire." --Warren Buffett (2010 Shareholder Letter)