Weekend Reads for Finance Pros: Buffett Wisdom, Grit, and Poetry
I read some smart advice this week, courtesy of Marc Andreessen: “You want to have as much ‘prepared mind’ as you possibly can. And learn as much as you can about as many things, as much as you can.”
Here’s my contribution to your efforts to learn as much as you can, about as many things as you can, with articles ranging from the prosaic (investing) to the profoundly intense and personal (grief).
- If you haven’t yet discovered Tren Griffin’s regular series “A Dozen Things I’ve Learned From [insert name of famous investor]” on his blog 25iq, you are missing out. Now Ben Carlson has turned the tables on this format with a smart post titled “A Dozen Things I’ve Learned From Tren Griffin.” (A Wealth of Common Sense)
- Aswath Damodaran’s musings on snowmen and shovels and whether there are any investing lessons to be gleaned. (Musings on Markets)
- “Buffett Wisdom That You May Not Have Heard Before” (Millennial Invest)
- Barry Ritholz risks heresy in a blog post, saying his deviation from Jack Bogle’s philosophy “isn’t due to hubris, but rather, mathematics.” (Bloomberg View)
- “Putting Some Distance between You and a 60/40 Portfolio” (Abnormal Returns)
- The inevitable post-Super Bowl investing article. (Bloomberg View)
— John Authers (@johnauthers) February 2, 2015
- “What Advisors Think, Know, and Can Prove” (Research Magazine via ThinkAdvisor)
- Understanding client goals is the key to effective wealth management, according to Jean Brunel, CFA. In times of unexpected market chaos, that understanding becomes even more important. “Wealth Manager Strategies for Uncertainty: Jean Brunel on Meeting Client Goals” (68th Annual CFA Institute Conference)
- “In Alzheimer’s Cases, Financial Ruin and Abuse Are Always Lurking” (The New York Times)
- Julie Littlechild recently asked 700 successful advisers to describe their level of personal and professional success and to share what they considered to be the core drivers. The analysis, she says, suggested a clear pattern — the most successful advisers focused on three levels of engagement: personal, client, and employee. While a lot of the literature on the drivers of success focuses on things such as optimism and hard work, Littlechild writes that another concept that is gaining significant popularity is the role of “grit” in determining success. Which begs the question: can we learn to be “gritty” or are we born that way? (julielittlechild.com)
- Advisers, “You Are ‘Out Manned, Out Funded and Out Gunned, but You Are Not Out Trusted‘” (Belay Advisor)
- “Why Does Bill Gross Have a Financial Advisor?” (A Wealth of Common Sense)
- “The Impact of Leakages on 401(k)/IRA Assets” (Center for Retirement Research)
— MichaelKitces (@MichaelKitces) February 3, 2015
- The SEC just published its “Cybersecurity Examination Sweep Summary.” Among its findings: “The vast majority of examined firms conduct periodic risk assessments, on a firm-wide basis, to identify cybersecurity threats, vulnerabilities, and potential business consequences. These broker-dealers (93%) and advisers (79%) reported considering such risk assessments in establishing their cybersecurity policies and procedures.” (US Securities and Exchange Commission)
- “There are two types of companies: those who have been hacked, and those who don’t yet know they have been hacked.” See: “What Does the Internet of Everything Mean for Security?” (World Economic Forum)
- Questions that most investors don’t ask, but should. (A Wealth of Common Sense)
- The topic of money is a difficult one. Especially when kids are involved. Are we rich? Are we poor? How much is our house worth? How much money do we have? How much money do you make? The list goes on. The good news is you’re not along if you have wrestled with how to answer these questions. For some insights on money and children, be sure to read Ron Lieber’s excellent article on why you should tell your children how much you make. (The article is adapted from his book, The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money, which was just published.) Moreover, if you’re an adviser and a client asks how to handle this, you’ll have a thoughtful response. (The New York Times)
- What’s the most disingenuous phrase financial advisers say? Click on the time stamp in the tweet below to see if any of your stock phrases are listed.
Quick: What's the most overused/disingenuous phrase financial advisers say?
— Morgan Housel (@morganhousel) January 28, 2015
Women in Business
- A scathing indictment of the culture in Silicon Valley: “What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women” (Newsweek)
- Rachel Sklar picks up on the article, and then some, in “Stop Equating Women in Tech with Engineers” (Medium)
- An interesting idea via the recent World Economic Forum:
— Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) January 27, 2015
And Now for Something Completely Different
- Not to be a downer or anything, but this week, purely by happenstance, I read two wonderful New Yorker articles about love, loss, and the passage of time. The first, “Lottery Tickets,” is by poet Elizabeth Alexander, and the second, “This Old Man,” published in February 2014, was written by essayist Roger Angell at age 93. Yes, 93! Both are beautifully written and deeply personal. (The New Yorker)
- Have you found your calling? Few people know early on, and with certainty, what they want to do with their lives. And for those who don’t, Paul Graham offers a simple heuristic. Ask yourself: What doesn’t seem like work? “If something that seems like work to other people doesn’t seem like work to you, that’s something you’re well suited for,” he says. (paulgraham.com)
- If you’re a regular reader of my Weekend Reads you’ll know I have a passion for photography. And, boy, did I have a visual treat this week: “Masters of Photography with Their Most Famous Images” (Agonistica)
— Lauren Foster (@laurenfosternyc) February 5, 2015
- Alan Turing’s Enigma Machine algorithms give great insight into how the brain assembles evidence to make decisions: “Safecracking the Brain: What Neuroscience Is Learning from Code-Breakers and Thieves” (Nautilus)
- Solving what seemed to be an unsolvable math problem: Yitang Zhang solves a pure-math mystery. (The New Yorker)
- This is a first for me, but this week I’m including a link to a book of poems, Here, Bullet, by Brian Turner, an Iraq War veteran. The book was published in 2005. Here’s what one reviewer had to say: “The day of the first moonwalk, my father’s college literature professor told his class, ‘Someday they’ll send a poet, and we’ll find out what it’s really like.’ Turner has sent back a dispatch from a place arguably more incomprehensible than the moon — the war in Iraq — and deserves our thanks for delivering in these earnest and proficient poems the kinds of observations we would never find in a Pentagon press release.” (The New York Times)
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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.
Image credit: ©iStockPhoto.com/Christian Mueller