Our world outsmarts us

When mulling over possible reasons for the alarming nastiness associated with the recent presidential election in the United States, I am reminded of my grade-school bully. Handsome, often charming, superbly athletic, the bully (let’s call him Mike) would frequently, usually without clear provocation, kick, punch and shove other classmates. Fortunately, for reasons not apparent at…

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Why I Lost My Bet With Warren Buffett

Almost a decade ago Warren Buffett made a bet with Ted Seides then of Protege Partners a specialised asset management firm that the S&P500 would over the next ten years beat a selection of the hedge funds. With the bet nearing its termination date Seides has admitted defeat and in an article for Bloomberg sets out…

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Hindsight Is The Perfect Investment Tool

I got bounced the table below the other day for comment which is interesting because my comments are generally so what. I have no idea where it came from so cannot vouch for its veracity. So treat it with the usual caution you apply to something you have not generated yourself. I am not certain…

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You May Have A Poor Person’s Mindset And Not Know It

Have you ever noticed that the poorest, most miserable people you know tend to be buyers of lottery tickets? C’mon lucky numbers 3, 10, 16, 22, 4, 50. I’m sure there’s a smart-sounding statistic somewhere lodged in a research report by some well-meaning PhD student who had to get funding from the So-And-So Foundation to…

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Where Do Returns Come From?

With the market making a valiant effort to push past 6,000 points I have been pondering where the gains in the market have come from over the past few years. In the past I have looked at the distribution of returns across groups of shares simply from the perspective of demonstrating that within a universe…

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Trading In Uncertain Times

The problem of trading in uncertain times crept up on the Mentor Program Alumni forum and I have been thinking about my answer. The original answer I gave is shown below – I think one of the things you need to be able to do is to define what is uncertainty. If you opt for…

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Jesse And The Quake

At eight o’clock in the morning of Wednesday April 18th 1906, Jesse Livermore was sound asleep in his New York hotel room after arriving back late from Palm Beach the previous evening. 3000 miles away, across the country in California, it was five o’clock in the morning and the city of San Francisco slept contentedly.…

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The Facts Of Luck

One of the greatest computer programmers of all time grew up near Seattle. He saw an upstart company, Intel, making computers on a chip and was among the first people to see the potential of these so-called microcomputers. He dedicated himself to writing software for the new device and, by one account, “wrote the software…

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A Day in the Life of a Food Vendor

It’s 6 on a Wednesday morning, and Kabir Ahmed has snoozed his alarm one too many times. He steps softly, barefoot, around his small, second-story apartment in Jamaica, Queens, creaking through the green and pink hall. He is late, but careful not to wake his wife and their three children, or his mother, who will…

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