Monday, October 3, 2022

Ways and Means

The US Civil War was a big deal. The violence, the effect on families, and the eventual emancipation of the slaves are the oft-discussed themes. But the financing of the war played an underrated role in determining not only the winner but the trajectory of the country following the surrender. In Ways and Means, author Roger Lowenstein describes the money situation for both sides during the war, and does so without making it boring!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Last Neanderthal

It's believed that humans once shared the world with Neanderthals. But our evolutionary cousins eventually died out, but not before leaving their marks in our gene pool. Why or how did they die? Nobody knows for sure, but using archeological findings there are a number of theories.The Last Neanderthal is a novel that offers one such interpretation.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Say Nothing

The IRA was big news for a number of decades, and then it just kind of disappeared from the public eye as peace took hold. Documents and other evidence from that period has now come out. What happened behind the scenes is fascinating, as told in the fantastic book, Say Nothing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Down the HALL

Some of my best investments have happened when a temporary shock to earnings causes a company's stock price to get smoked, providing a good opportunity to buy. If leverage is low, the company usually has time to root out or mitigate the problem, and so the patient investor is rewarded for waiting for things to get back to normal.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Rayonier Advanced Is Far Too Cheap

For a market leader, Rayonier (NYSE:RYAM) trades at a surprisingly huge discount to tangible book value. While the share price closed at $5.36 on Friday, the company's tangible book value was $11.86 as per the company's latest quarterly report. Read more...

Friday, August 12, 2022

The Lincoln Highway

The author of A Gentleman in Moscow has written another terrific novel, this time set around 1950 in the USA: The Lincoln Highway

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Why We're Polarized

Author Ezra Klein spends the first half of Why We're Polarized making a good case that America's two parties have become more polarized. The main change happened in the 1960s. Whereas prior to this point, there was a lot of diversity of opinion on several issues across party lines, since then each party has become more fixed and more polar across a range of issues, and more worriedly, "identities".

Friday, July 22, 2022

Don't Trust Your Gut

We make a bunch of intuitive decisions throughout the course of our lives. We might make better decisions if we didn't only have to rely on our intuition. In Don't Trust Your Gut, author Seth Stephens delves into some massive data collections in order to provide some statistical base rates that can improve our decision-making.

Monday, July 18, 2022

The Omnivore's Dilemma

The farm we picture as the source of our food, with various animals frolicking and grazing around different crops, is no longer our actual source of food. Various market and non-market forces have pushed our farms into becoming something else. It is this something else that Michael Pollan discovers and reveals to us in the fantastic book The Omnivore's Dilemma

Friday, July 8, 2022

Karsan Value Funds: 2022 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.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Power and Thrones

Power and Thrones is a fantastic book describing the history of the Middle Ages. I was engrossed from the first chapter, which describes the fall of the Roman Empire and thus begins a new period in human history (for western Europeans, anyway).

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Break

The cycle of poverty, crime and tragedy that haunts many Indegenous families is something of which I understand very little. The Break tells the story of one such family as its members struggle to survive in a society that doesn't offer them much.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Back to the Well with Beazer

I've lost count of the number of times I've bought Beazer Homes (BZH) over the years. Whenever the market gets spooked, this name takes an absolute pounding. This time is no different, as shares of BZH are down some 60% from their highs last year. The company now trades for a 60% discount to book value, most of which is land and newly built homes!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Death On The Nile

This Agatha Christie classic was made into a movie not once, but twice! The latest Death On The Nile movie came out just this year.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Smoke and Ashes

This is the third book I've read from Abir Mukherjee because I enjoyed the first two so much. This one is probably the best so far

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Smith & Wesson

Shares are down 60% from their highs. Considering the company's net cash position and consistent profitability, this is far too low. Enterprise Value to normalized estimated free cash flow is now under 8. Read more...

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Confessions of a Wall Street Insider

Michael Kimmelman was charged with insider trading as part of the US government's investigation into Raj Rajaratnam. But the evidence against him was much flimsier than that against the other guys who were charged. Kimmelman claims to be innocent, wrongly included as a conspirator because he misjudged his business partners. In Confessions of a Wall Street Insider, he tells his story.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A Rising Man

A Rising Man is the second novel by Abir Mukherjee that I've read, and I did so because the first one was so good. This one didn't disappoint either, with a fantastic story set in 1919 in India during the British Raj.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Hydrogen Revolution

As countries progress towards getting a smaller percentage of their energy from fossil fuels, hydrogen fuel is one of the least discussed alternatives. But Marco Alvera believes it may make up 25% of our energy uses by 2050, as he discusses in his very recent book, The Hydrogen Revolution.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Deadly Cross

I've heard of most of the highest paid authors, like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and John Grisham. But perhaps the highest paid author of the last decade is someone I hadn't heard of until a couple of weeks ago: James Patterson. So I decided to give one of his popular novels, Deadly Cross, a read, and it did not disappoint.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Guns of August

The lead-up to World War I was intense. Had the assassination of an archduke never occurred at that particular moment, I now still believe the same war would have broken out anyway. It was inevitable because of how the European powers, particularly Germany, were posturing. The Guns of August is a terrific book on this topic.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Karsan Value Funds: 2022 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.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth

From the beginning of our universe to our eventual extinction, A Very Short History of Life on Earth gives an excellent summary of how we got here and where we'll possibly go. It's a terrific refresher on the history of the universe and life on earth.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Becoming Trader Joe

The founder of Trader Joe's has written a book about how he built his company. Becoming Trader Joe was fantastic, and I say this as someone who is ambivalent about the brand, having never stepped in any of their stores.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

The Little Prince

I don't write a lot of negative book reviews on this site. That's not because I don't come across terrible books, but because I usually put such books down before finishing them, so any reviews would be based on incomplete information. But that's not the case here, as The Little Prince was short enough that I was able to power through it even though it was really bad.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

A Natural History of the Future

Predictions about the future are doomed to be wrong, and yet there are general concepts that we can learn about our past and present that can help us prepare for that uncertain future. Rob Dunn's A Natural History of the Future is a fantastic exploration of some basic tenets of ecology and evolution that can help guide our species to a more prosperous destiny.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Mr. Putin

What is Putin's end goal? Everyone seems to know what it is, but the problem is that they are saying different things. Is he trying to build an empire? Trying to re-create the Soviet Union? Simply protecting Russia from NATO? To help me make up my own mind, I just read Fiona Hill's Mr Putin.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Dame Mas GASSolina

Shares of GASS are down 80% from their 2014 highs, and thus trade at an 83% discount to the latest book value. Read more...

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The War Widow

At the end of World War II, the men who survived combat returned home to find that their jobs had been taken by women. As a result, there was a lot of pressure on women to relinquish their positions so that the men could have them back.

At the same time, while the war was now over, many of the particularly depraved Nazis who had inflicted especially egregious tortures on their victims had escaped and were hiding around the world.

It's with this backdrop that Tara Moss' historical fiction novel The War Widow takes place.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A Necessary Evil

India in the 1920s would have been a tumultuous place. Local kings ruled over swaths of oppressed peasants, and in turn those kings were controlled by the British. It's against this backdrop that Abir Mukherjee's novel A Necessary Evil takes place.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

To Live

To Live was an interesting historical fiction novel that takes place before, during and after the Cultural Revolution in China. The book was once banned in China, where it is now widely read.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Midlife Dawn

Midlife Dawn is the first in a series of popular books that takes place in a world where a few people are blessed/cursed with magical powers.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Karsan Value Funds: 2021 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.