Practical analysis for investment professionals
27 November 2013

Charley Ellis’s Lessons on Grand Strategy (Podcast)

What can investment managers learn from military strategists? According to Charles D. Ellis, CFA, quite a lot.

Ellis heard Charlie Munger make the argument that anyone who wants to consider himself an educated person must study different models of thinking. And so, Ellis began to consider how investment managers could learn from strategists in other disciplines, which resulted in his guest editorial in the July/August 2013 Financial Analysts Journal, “Lessons on Grand Strategy.”

Ellis discussed his ideas with Rodney N. Sullivan, CFA, head of publications at CFA Institute and editor of the Financial Analysts Journal, in the following interview.


Reading this on mobile device? Click here to listen to the audio.


“I think all of us who are involved in investment management would be very, very smart to be sure that we — and everyone in our organizations — are trying to find new ways of thinking,” Ellis says. He draws from some of history’s masters of grand strategy — Carl von Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, and Alfred Thayer Mahan — to find applications for those involved in the daily “combat” of investment management.

Investment managers should “think about things in a somewhat different way, at least for a period of time, and see if we can’t draw lessons back to our own daily practice,” Ellis says.

To hear Ellis discuss his insights into the applications of Grand Strategy, listen to the complete interview above or download the MP3.

You can also access the full article on the CFA Institute Publications website.


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.

About the Author(s)
Abby Farson Pratt

Abby Farson Pratt was an assistant editor at CFA Institute. Previously, she worked at the Denver Post and the University of North Carolina Press. Pratt earned the Claritas™ Investment Certificate and holds a BA in journalism and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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