Thursday, October 17, 2019

Howard Marks Memo: Mysterious

Link to Memo: Mysterious
Negative interest rates are nothing short of a mystery; they’re likely to throw off whatever we knew about the financial world and how things worked in the past. With more than $17 trillion of global debt trading at nominal yields below zero — and about double when considering inflation — this phenomenon has prompted differing perspectives about its purpose and consequences. Howard Marks offers his in this memo, in which he discusses why negative rates have become prevalent, what implications they might have, whether they will reach the U.S., and what investors can do as they navigate these uncharted waters. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


On Howard Marks’ Memos (LINK)

Portrait of an Inessential Government Worker - by Michael Lewis (LINK)
Related book: The Fifth Risk (upcoming paperback edition)
Google and Ambient Computing – by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Why New Technology Is A Hard Sell - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Acquired Podcast: Season 5, Episode 5: Atari (LINK)

How Salesforce Closed the Pay Gap Between Men and Women (LINK)
In an excerpt from his new book, Marc Benioff says he initially didn't believe any pay gap was pervasive in the first place.
Tuning up photosynthesis to feed the world - by Bill Gates (LINK)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


"Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it." --Benjamin Franklin

Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan (LINK)

Fall 2019 issue of Graham & Doddsville (LINK)

The Heilbrunn Center's Schloss Archive is also worth going back and checking out periodically (LINK)

The Knowledge Project Podcast: #68 Daniel Kahneman: Putting Your Intuition on Ice (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: 175 — The Abyss Stares Back (LINK)

The Next Big Idea Podcast: Malcolm Gladwell and David Epstein on the Keys to Success (LINK)
Related book: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Monday, October 14, 2019


"The businesses at the top of my portfolio are not necessarily going to be the ones that perform the best over the long term but are the ones I know will perform." --Chris Bloomstran [Source

1986 article: How to Tame the Casino Society - by Warren E. Buffett [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Non-Ergodicity and its Implications for Businesses and Investors - by Sanjay Bakshi (LINK)

A Big Little Idea Called Ergodicity (Or The Ultimate Guide to Russian Roulette) (LINK)

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Skin in the Game (video) (LINK)
Related book: Skin in the Game
Robert G. Hagstrom on Liberal Arts Investing (video) (LINK)

Making a Killing with Bethany McLean (podcast): Tesla, and why "Elon Musk doesn't care about you" (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Big Decisions: Michael Mauboussin talks luck, skill, success, risk, mean reversion and the base rate (LINK)

Robert Iger talks with Oprah Winfrey about his career at Disney (video) (LINK)
Related book: The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Yuval Noah Harari & Steven Pinker in conversation (video) (LINK)

The world is uniting to help this group - by Bill Gates (LINK)
Bill Gates delivers a speech at the Global Fund Replenishment conference in France.
The Many Contradictions of Thomas Edison - by Derek Thompson (LINK)
Related book: Edison - by Edmund Morris
It's only $4.99. But Costco's rotisserie chicken comes at a huge price (LINK)

A tweetstorm from Tren Griffin about wholesale transfer pricing power (LINK)

Why So Negative? - by Peter Zeihan (LINK)

What Economists (Including Me) Got Wrong About Globalization - by Paul Krugman (LINK)

Odd Lots Podcast: Why Governments Haven’t Learned The Lessons Of Japan (LINK)

The New Yorker Radio Hour (podcast): New Yorker Writers on Hong Kong, and Nixon After Tiananmen Square (LINK)

The New Yorker: Politics and More Podcast: Trump’s Abandonment of the Kurds Appeases Erdoğan and Infuriates Republicans (LINK)
Dexter Filkins joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how the incursion into Syria is affecting one of the most volatile regions in the world, and what it could mean for Trump’s Presidency.
5 Tenets of a Negative Self-Help - by Mark Manson (LINK)

Magnetars are the most powerful magnets in the Universe. Here's how they're made. - by Phil Plait (LINK)

What Made Me Reconsider the Anthropocene - by Peter Brannen (LINK)

Investment Masters: Learning From Chris Bloomstran

Link to: Investment Masters: Learning From Chris Bloomstran:
Whilst I’m a long-time avid follower of all of the Investment Masters, and I have to say a veritable devourer of their collected wisdom, there is nothing more valuable to me as an investor than actually speaking with these amazing people. Whether it’s a meeting at Berkshire, the odd telephone dialogue or even an interview, all of these interactions deepen my understanding of their unique views on financial and business matters and for that matter, the investment world. 
Recently I had a wonderful opportunity to Interview Chris Bloomstran of Semper Augustus. Chris is a veteran of the Investment Fraternity and a recognised Master; The stocks in his portfolio have compounded at 4.7% above the S&P 500 since launching Semper Augustus more than 20 years ago. I’ve always valued what he has to say and our interview was no exception. 
We covered many topics in the few hours in which we spoke, and I am incredibly grateful to Chris for being so open in sharing his knowledge and experience. I have collected the gems from our interview below.

Related links: 

Thursday, October 10, 2019


Note: The early bird discount for the Project Punch Card Value Investing Conference expires on Tuesday, October 15th (when the price will increase from $245 to $495).


Is Amazon Unstoppable? - by Charles Duhigg (LINK)

That Time Warren Buffett's Investment Was Blocked by Bank of America’s Call Center (LINK)

GMO Quarterly Letter | Shades of 2000 - by Ben Inker (LINK)
The years leading up to the 2000 stock market bubble were extraordinary and unprecedented. They caused unique pain to the portfolios of valuation-driven investors. The valuation extremes, though, created the greatest opportunity set for valuation-driven investors since the Great Depression. While the events of the last decade have not been as striking as those of the late 1990s, the recent cycle has gone on for significantly longer and the pain caused to our portfolios has begun to approach 1990’s levels. As the current cycle has ground on slowly but surely, the valuation extremes have moved wider, creating an opportunity set for valuation-driven investors that looks as extraordinary as what we saw 20 years ago.
Bill Nygren Market Commentary | 3Q19 (LINK)

Greece, Once in Crisis, Joins Negative-Rates Club ($) (LINK)
Debt-laden country sells bonds yielding less than 0% for the first time
China Forces the N.B.A. to Weigh Value Against Values - by Evan Osnos (LINK)

Shipping Fuel Is About to Get Cleaner. What It Means for Investors. ($) (LINK)

Is a split in the works between Zambia and its long-time business partner, China? [H/T @michaelxpettis] (LINK)

My New Book, Why I Wrote It, and Where the Money Will Go - by Ben Horowitz (LINK)
Related book (end-of-month release): What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture
The Talk Show With John Gruber: 265: ‘Thompson’s Razor’, With Special Guest Ben Thompson (LINK)

Kosmos with a K Podcast: #7 Tyler Cowen (GMU) on less homework, Swiss science culture, and low university completion rates (LINK)

MartyrMade Podcast #13 – God’s Socialist, pt. 3: Head North, Then Turn Left [H/T @maxolson] (LINK)
In this episode I trace the trajectory of the civil rights movement through the 1960s, and the gradual shift in emphasis and leadership from the stoic southern marchers following Martin Luther King, Jr to the militant Black Power soldiers of the northern ghettos.
The Andromeda Galaxy ate its small friends… twice - by Phil Plait (LINK)

The day our galaxy exploded - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Researchers “Translate” Bat Talk. Turns Out, They Argue—A Lot (LINK)

It’s Possible to Inherit More DNA From One Parent Than the Other - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)

TED Talk: What Bruce Lee can teach us about living fully | Shannon Lee (LINK)

Marcus Aurelius on How to Control the Mind (LINK)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


"You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think." --Marcus Aurelius

Bill Gates' Professor Hawking Fellowship lecture: Why I think we can predict the future (LINK)

A Value Investor Defends Value Investing (Despite Its Recent Track Record) ($) (LINK)
Joel Greenblatt says if you do good valuation work, the market eventually will agree
Your Stock Trades Go Free but Your Cash Is in Chains - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

The Price of Certainty - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

The China Cultural Clash - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Leithner Letter No. 241-244 (LINK)

Capital Allocators Podcast: Jonathan Tepper (LINK)
Related book: The Myth of Capitalism
Masters in Business Podcast: Robert Shiller Discusses Narrative Economics (LINK)
Related book: Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events
The Peter Attia Drive Podcast: Jason Fried: Optimizing efficiency and work-life balance (LINK)

Ryan Holiday on EconTalk discussing his new book, Stillness Is the Key (LINK)

What I Learned About Life From Buying a Goat on Craigslist - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

"Human felicity is produced not as much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen as by little advantages that occur every day." --Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, October 5, 2019


"The inflow of money and outflow of money should not be, in our view, attempted to be matched too carefully in this world, because you get investment and business opportunities at times that differ from the times that funds come in. And one of the most important disciplines in running a business or managing investments is to not try to coordinate your actions simply with the availability of cash." --Warren Buffett (1996)

Channels: The Business of Communications periodical, dated November 1986 (Warren Buffett cover) [H/T Linc] (LINK)

Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

How a Public Narrative Can Move Markets - by Frank K. Martin (LINK)

Why Ken Fisher Advertises So Much (LINK)

The Map and the Terrain - by Ben Horowitz (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: 174 — Distracted at Facebook (LINK)

The Ezra Klein Show (podcast): Malcolm Gladwell’s Stranger Things (LINK)
Related book: Talking to Strangers
The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast): #389: Neil deGrasse Tyson — How to Dream Big, Think Scientifically, and Get More Done (LINK)

HBR IdeaCast: 703: Melinda Gates on Fighting for Gender Equality (LINK)

Value Investing with Legends Podcast: Jenny Wallace - Identifying Value at the Summit (LINK)

Mars sounds weird - by Phil Plait (LINK)

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Project Punch Card Conference 2019

This was a great conference last year, and it looks like it will be another great conference this year. For those interested, the Early Bird Discount will be expiring soon. So if you plan on coming, here's a link to more information (including the speaker lineup) and the portal to buy tickets: 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Note to readers: I'm traveling with limited internet access over the next week or two, so posting will probably be less frequent than normal.


"We think that when we make a decision, there ought to be such a margin of safety that it ought to be so attractive that you don’t have to carry it out to three decimal places." --Warren Buffett (1995)

Beachheads and Obstacles - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Bubble Yet? (The Brooklyn Investor blog) (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter - October 2019: How to invest in a low growth world (Part 1 of 2) (LINK)

Michael Bloomberg’s Answer to the U.N. General Assembly - by Evan Osnos (LINK)

Kyle Bass: Hong Kong Protests are Chinese Regime’s “Worst Nightmare” in US China Trade War (video) (LINK)

Odd Lots Podcast: How Financial Repression in China Helped Cause the Trade War (LINK)

Hidden Forces Podcast: Financial Fault Lines, Central Banks, and the Law of Unintended Consequences | William White (LINK)

Masters in Business Podcast: Brian Grazer Discusses Imagine Entertainment (LINK)

The James Altucher Show (podcast): 493 -- Frank Abagnale (LINK)

What Got You There Podcast: #158 Brent Beshore (LINK)

The Knowledge Project Podcast -- Jim Collins: Keeping the Flywheel in Motion (LINK)

Externalities: Why We Can Never Do “One Thing” (LINK)

The Messy World of Crime-Solving Genealogists - by Sarah Zhang (LINK)