Thursday, January 30, 2020


"Part of investing and calculating intrinsic values is if you get the wrong answer when you get through [doing the work] — in other words, if it says don’t buy, you can’t buy just because somebody else thinks it’s going to go up or because your friends have made a lot of easy money lately or anything of the sort. You just have to be able to walk away from anything that doesn’t work.... You also have to walk away from anything you don’t understand." --Warren Buffett (1997)

Being a Noob - by Paul Graham (LINK)

Michael Mauboussin's Spring 2020 Security Analysis Course Syllabus (LINK)

Horizon Kinetics: 4th Quarter 2019 Commentary (LINK)

The Economist as Scapegoat - by Russ Roberts (LINK)

Tech in 2020: Standing on the shoulders of giants - by Benedict Evans (LINK)

On Bill Gurley’s Above the Crowd (LINK)

Access to all the Videos from Stoicon 2019 in Athens (LINK)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


"People underrate the importance of a few simple big ideas. And I think that to the extent Berkshire Hathaway is a didactic enterprise teaching the right systems of thought, I think that the chief lessons are that a few big ideas really work, as I think these filters of ours have worked pretty well. Because they’re so simple." --Charlie Munger (1997)

"We have a bunch of filters we’ve developed in our minds over time. We don’t say they’re perfect filters. We don’t say that those filters don’t occasionally leave things out that should get through. But they’re efficient.... I think most of the people in this room, if they just focused on what made a good business or didn’t make a good business and thought about it a little while, they could develop a set of filters that would let them, in five minutes, figure out pretty well what made sense or didn’t make sense." --Warren Buffett (1997)

Warren Buffett Is Giving Up on Newspapers ($) (LINK)
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is selling its newspapers to publisher Lee Enterprises Inc. for $140 million, a rare admission by the billionaire investor that he views his newspaper business as unsustainable. 
Mr. Buffett, a lifelong newspaper lover, has said for years that Berkshire’s newspaper business declined faster than he expected. In mid-2018, Berkshire hired Lee to manage all of its newspapers except the Buffalo News. 
The sale announced Wednesday includes the Buffalo News along with the dozens of newspapers that Lee already manages for Berkshire, Lee said.
Martin Capital Management 2019 Annual Report (LINK)

High-Yield Was Oxy. Private Credit Is Fentanyl. (LINK)

The Tragic iPad - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Different Kinds of Easy - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Venture Stories Podcast: What Silicon Valley Doesn’t Get About Private Equity with Brent Beshore (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Chetan Puttagunta – Go Slow to Go Fast: Software Building and Investing (LINK)

a16z Podcast: The Truth about 1000 True Fans + the Price of Our Attention (LINK)

Acquired Podcast: WhatsApp (LINK)

Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson (podcast): Meat: Breaking a 2.5 Million Year Old Habit (LINK)

WEF2020: A Conversation with Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore (LINK)

The Deceptively Simple Number Sparking Coronavirus Fears - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Sam Zell on risk, and what he learned from Jay Pritzker

From his podcast chat with Peter Attia (my emphasis):
You had to be realistic. You had to be able to look at it and say, "What could go wrong?" If I learned anything from [Jay Pritzker], I learned that if everything went too well, you could survive. The only time you couldn't survive is if it didn't go so well.  
So focusing on the upside was interesting, but not productive. Focusing on the downside was what risk was all about. 
And to the extent that you could quantify the downside—to the extent that you understood what the risk was you were taking—your chances of survival were much better.... I think a lot of people get in a lot of trouble because they do a transaction and they don't understand what the risk they're assuming is when they do the transaction. And what he taught me more than anyone else was [to] look at the deal and figure out: Where is the vulnerability? Where is the assumption you've made that has to be right in order for the deal to work?

Monday, January 27, 2020


I released my year-end letter over the weekend. For those not yet on that email list, you can find it at this link: Sorfis 2019 Year-End Letter.


There are also some good collections of Q4 and year-end letters HERE and HERE.

Why Invest? A 22-Year-Old’s Tough Questions About Capitalism - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)

2019 Project Punch Card Conference notes (LINK)

Data Update 2 for 2020: Retrospective on a Disruptive Decade - by Aswath Damodaran (LINK)

Exiting Stage Left… - by Harris Kupperman (LINK)

Systemic Risk of Pandemic via Novel Pathogens – Coronavirus: A Note [Taleb, et al.] (LINK)

The Recycling of Ships [H/T @the5hippingman] (LINK)
Related link (book PDF): Maritime Economics 3rd Edition
Business Wars Podcast: Boeing vs. Airbus (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7)

Alpha Exchange Podcast: Michael Green, Chief Strategist, Logica Capital Advisers (LINK)

September stress in dollar repo markets: passing or structural? (BIS - December 2019) (LINK)

DoubleLine Round Table - Segment 3: Best Ideas (video) (LINK)

The Sherman Show (podcast video): David Rosenberg (LINK)

The Peter Attia Drive: #90 - Ryan Holiday: Stillness, stoicism, and suffering less (LINK)
Related book: Stillness Is the Key
The Positive Side of Shame (LINK)

The (simple) secrets of superconnectors - by Khe Hy (LINK)

Jim Lehrer’s 16 Rules for Practicing Journalism with Integrity (LINK)

Clay Christensen on Business and Life (LINK)

From the archives.... How Will You Measure Your Life? - by Clayton M. Christensen

"I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I'm like, 'My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don't have it. I just want to chill.' We all have self-doubt. You don't deny it, but you also don't capitulate to it. You embrace it." --Kobe Bryant

"Have a good time. Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile and just keep on rolling." --Kobe Bryant

Friday, January 24, 2020


"How ought one navigate an environment such as today’s? With great patience and strict discipline. Every position in the portfolio must offer the prospect of compelling rewards for the risks incurred. One must be vigilant to spot adverse developments and identify flawed theses, and be unemotional in taking appropriate action. One must sell when prices become full, even when there is nothing immediate to buy as a replacement. One must be willing to hold cash, but also positioned to move quickly to take advantage of opportunities that develop. Prudent portfolio diversification is necessary, but there must also be a willingness to concentrate in the best opportunities. One must avoid speculating, or chasing the latest investment fads. An investor must be wired for deep intellectual honesty and self-assessment, determined to get smarter and learn from experience, focused on where an edge is present, while moving out of strategies where one is not." --Seth Klarman (January 2020)

Artemis Capital Management: The Allegory of the Hawk and the Serpent (Research Paper, Audio)

How to Survive the 21st Century | DAVOS 2020 (Yuval Noah Harari - video) (LINK)

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO: An Insight, An Idea | DAVOS 2020 (video) (LINK)

Clayton Christensen, guru of disruptive innovation and Latter-day Saint leader, dies at 67 (LINK)

Thursday, January 23, 2020


"We’re more reluctant to sell [stocks we own] than most people. I mean, if we made the right decision going [in], we like to ride that a very long time. And we’ve owned some stocks for decades. But if the competitive advantage disappears, if we really lose faith in the management, if we were wrong in the original analysis — and that happens — we sell. Or if we find something more attractive." --Warren Buffett (2009)

Sit On Your Ass Investment Management (LINK)

My $2 Million Apple Mistake (LINK)

Peter Thiel calls for improving research grant, regulatory processes to enhance scientific innovation (LINK)

Today's issue of the Sinocism newsletter is out from behind the paywall....  Wuhan virus; US-China; Huawei and the UK - by Bill Bishop (LINK)

Four Trends in Consumer Tech (LINK)

Peter Attia interviews Sam Zell [on Tim Ferriss' podcast] (LINK)
Related book: Am I Being Too Subtle?: Straight Talk From a Business Rebel
Freakonomics Radio (podcast): The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: “It’s Not a Death Sentence” (LINK)

There’s a Perfectly Good Reason to Mass-Produce Snake Venom - by Ed Yong (LINK)

The Direction of Moats

It's easy for a value guy like me to see some technology companies—or those that claim to be technology companies—that are losing a bunch of money and valued at billions or tens of billions of dollars and call it all a bubble. 

And in many cases, with specific companies, I think it's true. 

But in many other cases, the effects of the internet, the "software is eating the world" dynamic, and the tendency of "winner-take-all" to be amplified because of those characteristics means that, for the companies that succeed, the large majority of their value, and maybe more than all of their profits, will be realized many years from now. 

I've been thinking about all of this as I was reviewing my Final Decision Checklist and read the quote from Rob Vinall that I included on it: 
“In my view, widening the moat is more important than the width of the moat. Everyone is attacking a company’s moat, so the question is not how wide it is, but whether it is widening at a faster pace than competitors are filling it up. Innovation is central to the idea of widening a moat.”
Price matters. A lot. Almost everything is a good value at one price and a bad value at another. There are plenty of examples—such as Microsoft from 2000-2015—where business performance can be good to great to fantastic and yet, if you bought at too high of a price, you earn no positive return. 

Expectations can be too high for even the best of companies.  And competition that one couldn't see, or that may not have even existed, can enter the arena and cause the future of a given business to be worse than most may have imagined. 

So as one who still admits to being a value investor and puts most emphasis on the present and near-term future when making the decision to invest in something—as opposed to the far off future—I may miss investing in some great companies if the expectations are already fairly lofty. 

But because, according to people like Kevin Kelly or Jeff Bezos, we are likely still in the early days of the internet's effect on business and society, I think it's important to study the companies that have the potential to be some of the most important companies of the future—some of which are profitable today, and some which are not. 

And when I'm trying to decide which companies to watch and which to ignore for the time being, the main thing I think about is whether or not the industry will be more or less competitive in the future, and thus, whether or not a given company's competitive position is likely to be better or worse a decade from now. Or, in other words, what is the likely direction of the moat? 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


Hedge fund giant Seth Klarman says the ‘rocket fuel’ feeding this rally will soon ‘run out’ (LINK) [I haven't seen Klarman's letter yet, but if anyone happens to have a copy they'd be willing to share, it would be greatly appreciated (]

The Twenty Minute VC Podcast: Howard Marks (LINK)

Jamie Dimon on CNBC (video) (LINK)

Ergodicity economics: a primer (LINK)

"I actually don't like Plan B's. I find Plan B's de-focus you from Plan A. Plan B should always be 'Make Plan A work.'" --Jeff Bezos

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


My year-end letter at Sorfis is in the proofreading stage. If you are interested in receiving it as soon as it is released next week, you can sign up on the website HERE


Greenlight Q4 2019 Letter (LINK)

Fundsmith Annual Letter (LINK)

Apollo Asia Fund: the manager's report for 4Q19 (LINK)

Wealth Is What You Don’t Spend - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Every Company Will Be a Fintech Company (LINK)

Paul Tudor Jones on CNBC (video) (LINK)

Ray Dalio on CNBC (video) (LINK)

Brian Moynihan on CNBC (video) (LINK)

Stephen Schwarzman on CNBC (video) (LINK)

David Rubenstein on CNBC (video) (LINK)

Carlos Brito on CNBC (video) (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Rebecca Kaden – Thesis Driven Investing (LINK)

The James Altucher Show: 531 - Jocko Willink (LINK)
Related book: Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual
The Knowledge Project Podcast: #74 Jeff Hunter: Embracing Confusion (LINK)

Finding the One Decision That Removes 100 Decisions (or, Why I’m Reading No New Books in 2020) - by Tim Ferriss (LINK)

Hey, maybe the dinosaur-killer asteroid really did act alone! (LINK)

Fireside Chat with Jeff Bezos

"Every job comes with pieces you don't like.... You have to figure out how to set up your life in such a way that you can minimize the things [you don't like]. I've found that people don't dislike hard work. What people dislike is being out of control—they can't control their life; they can't control their environment. This happens to me when I get over-scheduled. I hate being over-scheduled. I want some time to be able to think and free myself. We all have the same amount of time in the world. Nobody has more time than anybody else. And when you become a very successful person, one of the things [that happens] is you start to get over-scheduled.... So you have to guard your time and try to stay a little bit flexible." --Jeff Bezos

Link to video

Monday, January 20, 2020


"Put yourself in situations where favorable consequences are much larger than unfavorable ones.... Indeed, the notion of asymmetric outcomes is the central idea of this book: I will never get to know the unknown since, by definition, it is unknown. However, I can always guess how it might affect me, and I should base my decisions around that." --Nassim Taleb, "The Black Swan"

Robert Vinall's Annual Q&A (video) (LINK)

What qualities do Endowments and Family Offices look for in young managers? A panel (video) (LINK) [More related videos, HERE.]

Intuitive Surgical – The Journey of the $70 billion Robotic Surgery Giant - by Ian Cassel (LINK)

Cash, Plastic or Hand? Amazon Envisions Paying With a Wave ($) (LINK)

DoubleLine Round Table [incl. Steven Romick] (videos) (Segment 1 [Macro], Segment 2 [Markets])

The Acquirers Podcast: Supermugatu: Tyro’s Dan McMurtrie (LINK)

The McKinsey Podcast: The future of air travel (LINK)

The Inner Game of Tennis: Why Trying Too Hard Can Be Counterproductive (LINK)

Why You Should Quit the News - by Mark Manson (LINK)
Related previous links: 1) Avoid News: Towards a Healthy News Diet - By Rolf Dobelli; 2) Dylan Grice Explains Why Reading The News Won't Help You; 3) Lose the News - by Chris Mayer 

Friday, January 17, 2020


"I can’t give you a formulaic approach [to determining intrinsic value] because I don’t use one. I just mix all the factors and if the gap between value and price is not attractive, I go on to something else. And sometimes it’s just quantitative. For instance, when Costco was selling at about 12 or 13 times earnings, I thought that was a ridiculously low value, just because the competitive strength of the business was so great and it was so likely to keep doing better and better. Well, I can’t reduce that to a formula for you. I liked the cheap real estate. I liked the competitive position. I liked the way the personnel system worked. I liked everything about it. And I thought, even though it’s three times book, or whatever it was then, that it’s worth more. If you want a formula, you should go back to graduate school. They’ll give you lots of formulas that won’t work." --Charlie Munger (2018)

Morgan Housel Interviews Brent Beshore at MicroCap Leadership Summit 2019 (LINK)

The next U.S. president will have little effect on the stock market. Here’s why. - by Roger Lowenstein [H/T @pcordway] (LINK)

Forecasts or Nowcasts? What’s on the Horizon for the 2020s? - by Rob Arnott & Jonathan Treussard (LINK)

Inside-Out vs. Outside-In: The Adoption of New Technologies (LINK)

Exponent Podcast: 179 — The Water We Swim In (LINK)

North Star Podcast: Robert Cottrell: The Secrets of Reading (LINK)


For Audible Members, the current sale ($5.95 each) has some titles worth noting:

Billion Dollar Whale

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

Never Split the Difference

Ten Drugs: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine

The Fall of Carthage

Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World

Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives

I Contain Multitudes

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Origin Story: A Big History of Everything

Thursday, January 16, 2020


"Another mistake that people often make is that they compare themselves with others who are making more money than they are and conclude that they should emulate the others’ actions ... after they’ve worked. This is the source of the herd behavior that so often gets them into trouble. We're all human and so we’re subject to these influences, but we mustn’t succumb. This is why the best investors are quite cold-blooded in their professional activities." --Howard Marks (Source)

The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast): #406: Bob Iger — CEO and Chairman of Disney (LINK)
Related book: The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
MOI Global: Selected Session Highlights from Best Ideas 2020 (LINK)

Patrick O’Shaughnessy's Q4 2019 Letter to Investors (LINK)

The 47,500% Return: Meet The Billionaire Family Behind The Hottest Stock Of The Past 30 Years (LINK)

Where the Shelters Are Full and the Skyscrapers Are Vacant (LINK)

IEA Conversations (podcast): Matt Ridley: The last decade was the best in human history (LINK)

Macro Voices Podcast: #202 Grant Williams [enters at the 16:33 mark] (LINK)

Freakonomics Radio (podcast): The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: “We’ve Addicted an Entire Generation” (LINK)

Weird dust clouds orbiting our galaxy’s central black hole may be weirder than we thought (LINK)

This Strange Microbe May Mark One of Life’s Great Leaps [H/T Linc] (LINK)

How Did Humans Boil Water Before the Invention of Pots? (LINK)

"No tree which the wind does not often blow against is firm and strong; for it is stiffened by the very act of being shaken, and plants its roots more securely: those which grow in a sheltered valley are brittle: and so it is to the advantage of good men, and causes them to be undismayed, that they should live much amidst alarms, and learn to bear with patience what is not evil save to him who endures it ill." --Seneca ("On Providence")

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Greggory Warren (Morningstar): Why own Berkshire Hathaway? (November 2019 video) (LINK)

Focused Fridays Leadership Forum Series, Justin Wheeler (Chief Executive Officer, Berkadia) (video) [H/T @mabtito] (LINK)

The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite - by Matthew Ball (LINK)

Jeff Bezos says Amazon to invest $1 bln in digitizing SMEs in India (video) (LINK) ["If you ever get lucky enough to be hiring people, make sure you're hiring people not only that you can teach—you can teach them what you know—but make sure you're hiring people who also are going to teach you things, and that they can be your tutors. And that has been the secret to the scaling of Amazon, all along the way."]

ValueAct Capital CEO Jeff Ubben discusses the Spring Fund (video, starting at about the 4-minute mark) [H/T @Greenbackd] (LINK)

Less Research? No Problem, Hedge Funds Say. ($) (LINK)
Some investors say they are benefiting from new regulations that have reduced analyst coverage of stocks
Conversations with Tyler (podcast): Reid Hoffman on Systems, Levers, and Quixotic Quests (LINK)

7 Billion-Year-Old Stardust Is Oldest Material Found on Earth (LINK)

Naval Ravikant: Finding Time to Invest in Yourself (LINK)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Daniel Kahneman: Thinking Fast and Slow, Deep Learning, and AI

Daniel Kahneman is winner of the Nobel Prize in economics for his integration of economic science with the psychology of human behavior, judgment and decision-making. He is the author of the popular book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" that summarizes in an accessible way his research of several decades, often in collaboration with Amos Tversky, on cognitive biases, prospect theory, and happiness. The central thesis of this work is a dichotomy between two modes of thought: "System 1" is fast, instinctive and emotional; "System 2" is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The book delineates cognitive biases associated with each type of thinking. This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast.

This conversation was recorded in the summer of 2019.

Link to video

[or, Link to podcast]


"Success in gambling doesn’t go to those who pick winners, but to those with the ability to identify superior propositions.  The goal is to find situations where the odds are generous to one side or the other, whether favorite or underdog.  In other words, a mispricing. It’s exactly the same in investing.  People often say to me, 'XYZ is a great company with a bright future, so I bought the stock.'  They’re picking a favorite but ignoring the proposition.  The former alone isn’t enough; they should consider the latter as well.... While in investing we generally aren’t offered explicit odds, the attractiveness of the proposition is established by the price of the asset, the ratio of the potential payoff to the amount risked, and what we perceive to be the chance of winning versus losing." --Howard Marks‬ ("You Bet!")

Howard Marks on Bloomberg TV (video) (LINK)

Risk Is What You Don’t See - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Visa, Plaid, Networks, and Jobs - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Masters in Business Podcast: Matthew Benkendorf on Managing Equities (LINK)

Invest Like the Best Podcast: Matt Clifford – Investing Pre-Company (LINK)

Matt Ridley: Get Brexit Done (LINK)

The Bleak Future of Australian Wildlife - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Monday, January 13, 2020


‪"Great investing requires both generating returns and controlling risk. And recognizing risk is an absolute prerequisite for controlling it.... Risk means uncertainty about which outcome will occur and about the possibility of loss when the unfavorable ones do." --Howard Marks‬

Haters - by Paul Graham (LINK)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Culture of Trust (LINK)
Related book: Margin of Trust
Jim Grant on the Hidden Forces Podcast (LINK)

Aspen Ideas to Go Podcast: Netflix’s Ted Sarandos on Streaming, Competition, and What’s Next [H/T @JerryCap] (LINK)

A playlist of short videos on mental models [H/T @anshul81] (LINK)

Boeing Employees Mocked F.A.A. and ‘Clowns’ Who Designed 737 Max (LINK)

Meet 2020 AV2, the first asteroid found that stays inside Venus's orbit! (LINK)

Current Kindle book deals worth considering:

High Growth Handbook by Elad Gil ($1.49)

Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick ($1.99)

Also, for audiobook listeners, I noticed that Cable Cowboy as well as Common Stocks and Common Sense are now available on Audible.

Howard Marks Memo: You Bet!

Link to Memo: You Bet!
What really is a bet? How does one make decisions under uncertainty and with imperfect information? 
In his latest memo, Howard Marks weaves his own life story to discuss the process of thinking in bets, parses the world of gambling, and draws parallels between investing and games of chance.

Friday, January 10, 2020


"When Charlie and I ran funds, we didn’t worry about whether something was up or down. We worried about what it was worth compared to what it was selling for. And we tried to have most of our money in a relatively few — very few — positions which we thought we knew very well. We do the same thing now. We’d do the same thing a hundred years from now....... We would own the half a dozen or so stocks we like best — and it wouldn’t have anything to do with what our cost on them was. It would only have to do with our evaluation of their price versus value." --Warren Buffett (2009)

Apple and Microsoft Are Dazzling Investors. That Won’t Last. - by Jason Zweig ($) (LINK)
The shiniest stocks are driving the bull market higher. But rusty old bargains will eventually have their day.
The Only Constant Is Change… - by Harris Kupperman (LINK)

Prognosis Podcast: How U.S. Health Care Broke The Bank (LINK)

20 Books to Help You Live Better in 2020 - by Ryan Holiday (LINK)

Wednesday, January 8, 2020


"There’s a whole group of companies, a very large group of companies, that Charlie and I just don’t know how to value. And that doesn’t bother us. I mean, we don’t know how to figure out what cocoa beans are going to do, or the Russian ruble—there’s all kinds of financial instruments that we just don’t feel we have the knowledge to evaluate. And really, it might be a little too much to expect that somebody would understand every business in the world. And we find some that are much harder for us to understand. And when I say understand, my idea of understanding a business is that you’ve got a pretty good idea where it’s going to be in ten years. And I just can’t get that conviction with a lot of businesses, whereas I can get it with relatively few. But I only need a few." --Warren Buffett (1997)

Woodlock House Q4 Letter - by Chris Mayer (LINK)

The Absolute Return Letter, January 2020: The Known Unknowns of 2020 (LINK)

What I Believe Least - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

The Last Chapter in the Middle East? - by Peter Zeihan (LINK)

EU can look to 1783 for a way through Brexit - by Matt Ridley (LINK)

Inside Carlos Ghosn's Great Escape: A Train, Planes and a Big Black Box ($) (LINK)

Skift: The Megatrends Defining Travel in 2020 (LINK)

What Scientists Learned by Putting 3-D Glasses on Cuttlefish - by Ed Yong (LINK)

COMPLEXITY Podcast: W. Brian Arthur (Part 1): The History of Complexity Economics (LINK)

Ten Percent Happier Podcast: #221: All Your Sleep Questions, Answered | Dr. Matthew Walker (LINK)

Jocko Podcast: 211: Leadership Strategy and Tactics Review. Pt 2. (LINK)
Related book: Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual
Radiolab Podcast: 60 Words (LINK)
This hour we pull apart one sentence, written in the hours after September 11th, 2001, that has led to the longest war in U.S. history. We examine how just 60 words of legal language have blurred the line between war and peace.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020


"Leverage is what causes people trouble in this world. So you never want to be in a position where somebody can pull the rug out from under you. And you also never want to be emotionally in a position where you pull the rug out from under yourself. You don’t want to have other people force you to sell and you don’t want to let your own fears or emotions to cause you to sell at the wrong time." --Warren Buffett (2009)

TABLE STAKES: Unblock Your Business [] (LINK)

The End of the Beginning - by Ben Thompson (LINK)

Real Conversations: Jim Chanos, Founder & Managing Partner, Kynikos Associates (video, filmed Nov. 21, 2019) (LINK)

SoftBank shafts startups (LINK)
SoftBank Vision Fund has walked away from investing in several startups, months after submitting term sheets worth hundreds of millions of dollars and promising that closing delays were only temporary.
The Meb Faber Show (podcast): The Best Investment Writing Volume 3: Selected Writing from Prominent Investors and Authors [all 17 chapters; over 5 hours] (LINK)

Invest Like the Best: Peter Buffett – Finding Your Note (LINK)

The Knowledge Project Podcast: #73 Steven Strogatz: Exploring Curiosities (LINK)

STEM-Talk Podcast: 100: Peter Attia gives an update on his views regarding longevity and health span (LINK)

What I Learned in Avalanche School [H/T @pcordway] (LINK)

What Should You Work On? - by David Perell (LINK)

Monday, January 6, 2020


"Accepting that we cannot predict the future⁠—i.e., that there will always be unexpected and highly consequential events⁠—is the first step in becoming less fragile and more adaptable. People should be highly skeptical of anyone's, including their own, ability to predict the future, and instead pursue strategies that can survive whatever may occur." --Seth Klarman (Source)

The Art of (Not) Selling [Akre Capital Management] (LINK)

The Future of America’s Contest with China - by Evan Osnos (LINK)

7 Reasons Why Video Gaming Will Take Over - by Matthew Ball (LINK)

⁠Are You Undervaluing Your Customers? [H/T @BrentBeshore] (LINK)

Amazon Has Long Ruled the Cloud. Now It Must Fend Off Rivals. ($) (LINK)

In Carlos Ghosn’s Escape, Plotters Exploited an Airport Security Hole ($) (LINK)

Railroads are cutting workers at a pace not seen since the Great Recession [H/T Linc] (LINK)

What Will Happen In The 2020s - by Fred Wilson (LINK)

“What is Happening to US Shale Production?” [H/T Linc] (LINK)

The Acquirers Podcast: Gregory Zuckerman on Renaissance / Rentech (LINK)

Capital Allocators Podcast: Gregory Zuckerman – Decoding Renaissance Medallion (LINK)
Related book: The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution
EconTalk (podcast): Melanie Mitchell on Artificial Intelligence (LINK)

Hidden Forces Podcast: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in Today’s Specialized World | David Epstein (LINK)
Related book: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Odd Lots Podcast: Why So Many Emerging Markets Are Blowing Up Right Now (LINK)

OPIS Crash Course Podcast: IMO 2020 Is Here! Refinery Impacts and Oil Price Analysis (LINK)

Sean "Diddy" Combs Has A Next-Level Conversation W/ Mentor Ray Dalio (video) [H/T Linc] (LINK)


Chart of the day (with description), via John Hussman's "One Tier and Rubble Down Below":
As I’ve noted before, individual price/revenue ratios aren’t clear indications of value in and of themselves. Typically, low ratio stocks include retail, grocery, and banking companies, while high ratio stocks include technology and emerging growth companies. What’s more important is the comparison of each group with its own norms, as well as dispersion across the behavior of different groups. 
Presently, it’s clear that except for the most expensive 10% of stocks, every other decile is at valuations 10-50% more extreme than those observed at the 2000 market peak.

Friday, January 3, 2020


"Risk and uncertainty aren’t the same as loss, but they create the potential for loss when things go wrong. Some of the biggest losses occur when overconfidence regarding predictive ability causes investors to underestimate the range of possibilities, the difficulty of predicting which one will materialize, and the consequences of a surprise." --Howard Marks ("The Most Important Thing Illuminated")

J.P. Morgan Asset Management's Guide to the Markets (LINK)

The New Yorker Radio Hour (podcast): Dexter Filkins on the Air Strike that Killed Qassem Suleimani (LINK)
Qassem Suleimani was Iran’s most powerful military and intelligence leader, and his killing, in a U.S. air strike in Baghdad on Thursday night, will likely be taken as an act of war by Tehran. Dexter Filkins, who wrote the definitive profile of Suleimani, in 2013, spoke with David Remnick about the commander’s central role within the Iranian regime. Reprisals against the U.S., he says, might be carried out anywhere in the world, either by Iran’s Quds Force or by affiliates such as Hezbollah. The Trump Administration experiences tension between a desire for regime change and the President’s desire to avoid foreign wars; Filkins notes that embattled Presidents, like Bill Clinton during his impeachment, often have itchy trigger fingers.
Another Round in the Middle East? - by Peter Zeihan (LINK)

Parenting "Range": An Interview with Range Author David Epstein (LINK)
Related book: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
NGC 4455: A nearby galaxy that's the stepping stone to the Universe (LINK)

"Plans fail because of what we have called tunneling, the neglect of sources of uncertainty outside the plan itself.... The unexpected almost always pushes in a single direction: higher costs and a longer time to completion. On very rare occasions, as with the Empire State Building, you get the opposite: shorter completion and lower costs—these occasions are becoming truly exceptional nowadays.... As I said earlier, we are too narrow-minded a species to consider the possibility of events straying from our mental projections, but furthermore, we are too focused on matters internal to the project to take into account external uncertainty, the 'unknown unknown,' so to speak, the contents of the unread books." --Nassim Taleb ("The Black Swan")

Thursday, January 2, 2020


"Everything is affected by everything else in the financial world. When you say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, you’ve got to compare that to every other bush that’s available." --Warren Buffett (2009)

Jimmy Iovine Knows Music and Tech. Here’s Why He’s Worried. (LINK)

2020: What a Time To Be Alive - by Morgan Housel (LINK)

Where Are You Still Using Single-Ply? - by Tim Ferriss (LINK)

HBR IdeaCast (podcast): 716: The Right Way to Form New Habits (LINK)
Related book: Atomic Habits
Jocko Podcast: 210: Leadership Strategy and Tactics. First Look and Review, Pt.1 (LINK)
Related book: Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual
The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks tomorrow (LINK)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


"The first step toward antifragility consists in first decreasing downside, rather than increasing upside; that is, by lowering exposure to negative Black Swans and letting natural antifragility work by itself." --Nassim Taleb 

Tiffany's invited Warren Buffett to bid for the company. He turned it down. (LINK)
After Tiffany's received a takeover bid from LVMH, the jewelry giant invited Buffett to make a counteroffer but he declined, the Financial Times reported.
51 Ideas from 2019 - by Vishal Khandelwal (LINK)
I thought I’d share a handful of ideas I’ve learned, re-learned, and wrote about in the past twelve months. Here are 51 of them categorized under the subjects of investing, learning, and life. I hope you find these useful, as much as I did.
What Should You do When the Stock Market Goes Bonkers? (LINK)

It’s 2020 and you’re in the future - by Tim Urban (LINK)

History’s Largest Mining Operation Is About to Begin (LINK)
It’s underwater—and the consequences are unimaginable.
The Survival Advantage of Being a Fancy Baby Coot - by Ed Yong (LINK)

Book of the day [H/T @mjmauboussin]: Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans