Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Liberated Syndication

Podcasts are a huge and growing market. In the spirit of selling shovels in a gold rush, Liberated Syndication (LSYN) hosts podcasts and provides other services (e.g. advertising) to podcasters.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Karsan Value Funds: 2018 Q1 Results

Karsan Value Funds (KVF) is a value-oriented fund, as described here. Due to securities regulations, the fund is not open to the public at this time. Should that change in the future, there will be an announcement on this site.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Great Beanie Baby Bubble

Somehow, there was a giant bubble in Beanie Babies in the late 1990s. It doesn't really fit the usual pattern of bubbles that I have come to understand, which I guess goes to show that when a narrative gets going and people start to herd, you can get a bubble in anything! The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: The Amazing Story of How America Lost Its Mind Over a Plush Toy--and the Eccentric Genius Behind It is all about this bewildering phenomenon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

Viemed

Viemed Healthcare (VMD) provides home respiratory services to those who need breathing assistance. As an investment, I believe it has a lot going for it, and so I bought shares in early February.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How Democracies Die

As Trump takes the world by storm, I've wondered whether there is a real reason to worry that America could become a politically unstable country, or whether that kind of talk is just fear-mongering. On the one hand, he has done some things which you would not expect from a democratic leader (e.g. attack the press, appoint family members to prominent roles, blur the lines between the presidency and personal business relationships, politicize institutions like the FBI etc.). But on the other hand, it seems improbable that we should live in exceptional times; considering America has been around for 240+ years, surely this kind of demagoguery has come and gone before...right? So it was with these ideas in mind that I read the fantastic book How Democracies Die.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Escape In Time

I generally love books about the Holocaust, and Escape in Time: A novel based on the true story of how a Jewish family in Hungary survived the Holocaust is no exception. It's a bit different from the others in that the main characters, by staying astray of the law, managed to avoid concentration camps by blending in with their Christian persecutors.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Soul of an Octopus

The common ancestors we share with molluscs like octopuses lived eons ago. So in some ways they are so different from us that learning more about them can be fascinating. And yet, life found some tools so valuable that they were developed by both us and them in parallel. In The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, Sy Montgomery explores this world of differences and similarities between us and the octopus.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Color of Law

All my life I had just assumed that the racial segregation we see in inner city communities was a "natural" occurrence. What a naive schmuck I was. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America has opened my eyes to how it was mostly government policy that has created what we now call ghettos/slums etc.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Nothing To Envy

What a book! Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea is a fantastic work that allows the reader to understand life in North Korea to the extent that it's possible.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Leonardo Da Vinci

I've never really understood the fine arts:

What does the subject's smile convey?
What do the background plants represent?

I've never been able to answer questions like these, and have often wondered if the whole industry isn't made of the same squishy, stinky stuff that drives the wine-tasting industry). But after reading Isaacson's biography of Leonardo da Vinci, I now realize that doesn't mean I can't have an appreciation for a true artist.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Principles

Ray Dalio's firm Bridgewater manages more than $160 billion of assets. In his book, Principles: Life and Work, he offers some suggestions to the reader who seeks to improve his lot in life.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Interserve Me Up Some Value

Interserve is a UK services and construction company that I have been following for some time. The price has taken a big hit recently, and therefore become a lot more interesting.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ghost in the Wires

Kevin Mitnick was once the world's most famous hacker. But his deeds got him into trouble with the law, causing him to constantly change identities to stay on the run. In his book Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker he tells us how he did it.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Fortune's Children

Cornelius Vanderbilt was once the richest man in America. Yet none of his descendents just three generations below him could count themselves as millionaires! How did this happen? Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt tells the tale.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Francesca's HODL'INGS

I can't help myself when it comes to train-wreck stocks. Francesca's has gotten smoked over pretty much any time period you can think of. It's down 78% from its IPO price many years ago, 79% from its price five years ago, 68% over the last year, and 41% over the last six months. It's safe to say that there are no momentum investors excited about this one.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Ready Player One

Ready Player One: A Novel is an absolute page-turner. I had a hard time putting it down, and I probably understood less than 10% of 1980s pop culture references on which the book is based.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Karsan Value Funds: 2017 Q4 Results

Karsan Value Funds (KVF) is a value-oriented fund, as described here. Due to securities regulations, the fund is not open to the public at this time. Should that change in the future, there will be an announcement on this site.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Barbed Wire

A book about barbed wire sounds pretty boring, but it's not really about wire, but about people. People have sought to control their environments, and the invention and spread of barbed wire resulted in unmatched control over animals and other humans. Barbed Wire: An Ecology of Modernity is a history book about how people came to control environments they never could before.

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