Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Imperial Ginseng

Ginseng is popular for consumption in Asia, but grows well in Ontario. Imperial Ginseng (IGP) is an Ontario grower and exporter of Ginseng that has hit a slew of what are hopefully temporary issues that have caused the stock to fall by about 80% over the last two years.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Karsan Value Funds: 2020 Q2 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, June 22, 2020

When The Bubble Bursts

Canada's housing market is in an insatiable, multi-decade upward rise. In When the Bubble Bursts: Surviving the Canadian Real Estate Crash, financial advisor Hilliard MacBeth explains the causes and potential ramifications for investors.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

The End is Always Near

Our society is seemingly on a path where continued improvements (at least in absolute terms, on average) are the norm. It can feel as though this process can go on forever, or at least as long as the span of our lifetimes. But such feelings have occurred before, in different societies, and been very wrong. In The End Is Always Near, Dan Carlin takes us through what went wrong (or almost did) in a number of societies that preceeded ours.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Moth Smoke

Inequality is high, and as a result the children of the rich and well-connected have opportunities that the rest of the population doesn't. Such is the situation in Pakistan in Moth Smoke, a novel by Mohsin Hamid.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Elephant in the Brain

The main idea of The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life is that sometimes we're better off not consciously knowing things, so as to deceive both others and ourselves. Our brains evolved in such as a way as to have figured out what's important to know, and perhaps as importantly, what's important not to know!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Magellan Arrow Space

Magellan Aerospace's stock price has gotten absolutely obliterated, down 71% from its 2-year high and down almost 60% since February. The company name says it all; who wants to bet on air travel at a time like this? Any manufacturer reliant on Boeing and Airbus that has fixed obligations coming up could be in serious trouble. But sometimes, babies get thrown out with the bathwater, and I believe this to be the case here.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Perdoceo: Downside Risk Emerges

Less than two months ago, I discussed Perdoceo as a potential value idea. Unfortunately, a new risk has arisen which is stopping me from continuing to enjoy the upward momentum.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Culp

Culp Inc. sells mattress and furniture fabrics to mattress and furniture makers. The stock has taken an absolute nosedive, down almost 90% since its 2016 high, and also down 55% since the beginning of the year. With these numbers, it's behaving like a risky, over-levered bit player, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Wabash Your Head In

Wabash National "designs, manufactures, and distributes transportation and various industrial products primarily in the United States. The company operates through three segments: Commercial Trailer Products, Diversified Products, and Final Mile Products. The Commercial Trailer Products segment provides dry van trailers; platform trailers; refrigerated trailers; converter dollies, big tire haulers, and steel coil haulers; aftermarket parts and services; and used trailers."

Thursday, May 7, 2020

22 Immutable Laws of Branding

What's a good brand? How do you make it better? How do you make it worse? Al Ries takes these questions on in The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Station Eleven

The pandemic theme of my book selections continued with Station Eleven, a novel during which a flu pandemic takes out most of the world's population.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Ride of a Lifetime

Robert Iger was Disney's CEO for fifteen years, and retired only a few months ago. In The Ride of a Lifetime, Iger discusses his rise to the top and the lessons he learned along the way.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Rationing

A virus is spreading, killing Americans, as the government is not properly prepared to deal with it. Maybe it sounds like real-life, but it is actually the plot of a May 2019 (!) novel by Charles Wheelan called The Rationing.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Karsan Value Funds: 2020 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.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Perdoceo

If you've been a value investor for some time, you might recognize online education provider Perdoceo (PRDO) as it is formerly known as Career Education Corp (CECO). CECO appears to have been a bad actor in the for-profit education sector that was forced to clean up its act after a series of scandals rocked the industry several years ago.

The structure of the industry (uneducated and often poor customers/students, government financing of tuition) made it possible for snake-oil salesmen and swindlers to make a lot of money while returning little of value to society, and the industry paid for its sins in the form of bankruptcies, fines and...brace yourself...lower multiples! This latter is what attracted me to the industry, and I struck gold by recognizing and buying one of the few ethical players around, Strayer Education. Sadly, I sold it too soon, as the market eventually recognized it as a stand-out and restored its lofty multiple.

Now, I might be getting another chance.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Everybody Lies

Official stats show no changes in child abuse during the Great Financial Crisis. But Google searches for "Why does my dad hit me" (and other similar searches) spiked during that period! In Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are, the reader is shown new means of collecting and slicing data that can shed a light on things we thought we knew, but don't.

It's a lot like Freakonomics. It goes deep into some unique data to offer insights that either weren't available before or weren't thought of. I highly recommend the book.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Bees, her

So you people have started buying guns and ammo. Maybe it's a good idea. If the virus gets really big, you might be able to shoot it. I took advantage of the short-term spike to exit my position in Smith & Wesson maker American Outdoor, a lonely green shoot in an otherwise burning sea of red that is my portfolio.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Team of Rivals

I have been meaning to learn more about the revered Abraham Lincoln, and I found a great book to do it with. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln takes you through the lives of Honest Abe and his allies/rivals as they grew up, took power and eventually presided over a civil war.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Course of Love

When I first started reading The Course of Love: A Novel, I thought I must have gotten something wrong. It didn't seem like the type of book I normally read, and so I had to go back through my notes to check the title/author to make sure I was reading the right book. By the end of the book, I was blown away!

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Handmaid's Tale

In the dystopian future depicted in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, toxicity levels are so high that successfully birthing a baby has become difficult. As a result, a new societal order now rules.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Goliath

Goliath tells the tale of America's multi-century war against monopolies abusing their economic power. Government responses to monopolies and oligopolies seems to be cyclical: sometimes monopolies have abused their power to such an extent that the citizenry has fought back through the government to break them up. Other times, the population is complacent, allowing a fresh crew of monopolies to rise to power, against causing a backlash.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Ishmael

Ishmael is an interesting novel that makes you think about Man's place in the world. There are spoilers in the writeup below, so if you plan to read it, you may not want to scroll down.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Adventures of a Curious Character

Richard Feynman was a world-renowned physicist who, among other things, worked on the atomic bomb and won the Nobel Prize. In Adventures of a Curious Character, we learn more about him, through his own eyes, as he walks us through a bunch of anecdotes from his life.

Friday, January 3, 2020

See VG, 'Aye!

On the surface, Commercial Vehicle Group (CVGI) looks like a very cheap stock. This supplier of electronic systems and seats for cabs in trucks and other vehicles trades for just $200 million, having seen its stock price halved from 2018, despite ttm operating income of $64 million. An expected slowdown in the trucking industry has potentially provided an opportunity for investors in a respected, well-entrenched, relatively high-margin vehicle supplier.

Karsan Value Funds: 2019 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.

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