Friday, March 17, 2017

Prisoners of Geography

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to explain the world's current political state of affairs using just a few maps? That's what Tim Marshall attempts to do in Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World. I enjoyed the geography and history lessons, but I thought the author's conclusions were poorly supported.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

One hundred and fifty years ago, people who considered themselves moral, upstanding Americans suffered no cognitive dissonance in the ownership of other human beings. Today the concept of slavery seems ludicrous around these parts, but it took a while to get there. In the masterful novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain colourfully depicts the absurd situation as it was at the time.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Incredible Shrinking Alpha

I have seen a lot of recommendations for The Incredible Shrinking Alpha: And What You Can Do to Escape Its Clutches so maybe my expectations were too high, because I didn't like it. To me, it sounded like the same efficient market BS that one has been able to read about for decades.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Best of Charlie Munger

Charlie Munger hasn't written a book, but he may as well have, because there are those among us who have compiled his speeches into a 350-page text. The work is available here for free.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Selling Apple

When I bought Apple just over a year ago, I really thought it would end up being a long-term holding. A combination of 1) market pessimism - the market appeared so fixated on hardware numbers that it seemed the stock was destined to languish as hardware margins were sure to fall over time and 2) rising intrinsic value - the company's recurring revenues and share buybacks were likely to force me to continually increase my estimate of the company's value over time, resulting in an increasing margin of safety in my eyes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

When Breath Becomes Air

A lot of us spend our lives delaying gratification. Often, the reward is higher later if you can forego the pleasure today. Value investors know all about this. But there is a risk that tomorrow doesn't come. When Breath Becomes Air is written by a guy who spent his whole life deferring potential rewards, only to be cursed with terminal cancer just as he was about to graduate as a surgeon.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Spring Chicken

A long lifespan is great, but only if you're healthy enough to enjoy it. So how does one expand one's "health span"? This is the central theme in Bill Gifford's book, Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever.

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