Practical analysis for investment professionals
26 September 2013

Weekend Reads for Advisers: Investing, Poker, and Retirement

This week I heard something that really stuck with me: “Follow your ignorance.” It’s a phrase that my colleague, Jason Voss, CFA, likes to use, and it’s a mantra we all should adopt. Said another way, it could be: “Follow your curiosity.”

I like to think that that attitude is what informs this reading list and gives it more of an eclectic feel.

From time to time, I stray into mathematics, literature, photography, or whatever else piques my curiosity. And while I try to include links that are relevant to the profession — such as investing,  retirement, or behavioral finance — I often find that the most enjoyable reads are not necessarily those directly related to our day-to-day jobs but the ones that take us to places we didn’t know existed; that spark — or satisfy — our curiosity.

That happened to me this week, when I saw this tweet:

I had three immediate questions: Who is Jeremy Denk? (A: A classical pianist and one of this year’s 24 recipients of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grants.”) What are the Goldberg Variations? (A: A work for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach, consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations.) And, how are they connected to Hannibal Lecter? (A: See section “And Now For Something Completely Different.”)

Curiosity underpins success because it begets relentless questioning. Adam Bryant of the New York Times captured it well in the column “Distilling the Wisdom of C.E.O.’s.”

“Why ‘passionate curiosity’?” he asks. “There are plenty of people who are passionate, but many of their passions are focused on just one area. There are a lot of curious people in the world, but they can also be wallflowers. But ‘passionate curiosity’ — a phrase used by Nell Minow, the co-founder of the Corporate Library — better captures the infectious sense of fascination that some people have with everything around them.”

And as Jason notes in his recent post, “Advice on How to Become a Research Analyst,” curiosity is an important trait. After all, by reading across a wide array of topics and publications, we create, what he calls, “a mosaic of knowledge.”

One of the tips in his post is “to read, read, read, read. Read investment texts. Read texts on geopolitics. Read texts on mergers and acquisitions. Read economic texts. Read anything that sparks your curiosity, even fiction.”

With that in mind, here’s this week’s selection of articles and video clips that sparked my curiosity:

 Investing

Behavioral Economics/Behavioral Finance

Retirement

Estate Planning

Work/Life (im)Balance

Mathematics

And Now For Something Completely Different


Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.

Photo credit: ©iStockphoto.com/JLGutierrez

About the Author(s)
Lauren Foster

Lauren Foster is managing editor of Enterprising Investor and co-lead of CFA Institute’s Women in Investment Management initiative. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for Barron’s and the Financial Times. Prior to her freelance work, Foster spent nearly a decade on staff at the FT as a reporter and editor based in the New York bureau. Foster holds a BA in political science from the University of Cape Town, and an MS in journalism from Columbia University.

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