Stoic Investing

Wisdom Pill – Vol 1

First of all, let me thank you for taking interest in this newsletter. My intention of this, as I mentioned earlier too, is to share good stuff that I read over the week. The topics are mostly related to Investing, Economics, Business, Psychology, Behavioral Economics and occasional topics like Wellbeing and other which I feel might be beneficial to the readers. Many readers are not from India and hence please feel free to skip India specific topics which are for the benefit of around 70% of the readers who are from India.

Here is the list for the week

  1. Without a moment of delay, I open Howard marks Memos as and when they hit the mailbox. These memos are legendary. In his book, “The Most Important Thing”, Howard Marks has given one chapter each on many important aspects but has devoted 3 chapters to ‘Risk’. This Memo is no different from his key focus. The title is “Risk Revisited Again”. The message is the one we have often heard from every great value investor.

That Volatility is not risk and Risk is not quantifiable. Please read it here and it’s always worth the time spent.

  1. A good article by Sam Mcnerney on the idea that no information is ‘Neutral Information’. Read here.
  1. Always look at both sides of a story. If you have a view on something, always look for disconfirming evidences. We learn from Nasim Taleb and Charles Darwin, the importance of seeking disconfirming evidences.

In that spirit, no matter what your view on Greece Situation is, have a look at both sides of the debate

One view is that Greece has nothing to lose by saying no to Creditors

Counter View: Greece can’t afford to default

Few points kept together in debate form are mentioned here

Should Investors in India be concerned? Here is a view of portfolio managers on the same. But before you take this as sacrosanct, always know the incentives. Would you expect them to say something else? Why? Why not? Something to think about.

  1. A wonderful interview of Prof. Sanjay Bakshi by Ian Cassel of Microcap Club.

In case you are not aware of Prof. Bakshi (I highly doubt it), he is a professor at MDI (my alma mater) and teach a course called BFBV. He has influenced me (and many other investors) greatly. I have taken his course twice (once as a student at MDI and once as an Alumnus). My own lectures (for MBA students) and my teaching style are highly influenced by him.

  1. A very nice read on Why FC Barcelona is a wonderful business in Harvard Business Review. Read here
  1. There are five articles in last month (May Issue) of Harvard Business Review which forms the cover story. It’s on Decision making. It’s a subject very close to my heart and also a lot of my research and lectures are based on this. All the 4 articles are worth reading (and not only because I love the subject)

Here are the five articles

  1. Fooled by Experience
  2. From “Economic man” to Behavioral Economics
  3. An organization – wide approach to good decision making
  4. Outsmart your own biases
  5. Leaders as decision architects


  1. The Nestle debacle has opened a can of worms.’ India Today’ magazine has done a cover story which was a very good read on the topic. There have been many activists in developed countries that have organized efforts against adulteration and have changed the industry for good. The same is now observed in India. I hope it will have a strong impact in the long run. Read the article here

Other good articles but no links available on them. You can read them, in case you lay hands on these magazines or planning to buy some magazine for the 2 hours of flight J

  1. Ban De Mataram (India: A Prohibition Nation?) by Jyoti Malhotra from India Today (taken from Readers Digest, May 2015). The article is on the growing intolerance and inflexibility in the country paralleled with its economic growth.
  2. A very detailed discussion on Tunnel Constructions in India which discusses the key trends, equipment, best practices etc in this industry. The article is covered in the May edition of Indian Infrastructure magazine.

Quotes of the week

“It may rain tomorrow, or it may not, but nothing that happens tomorrow will tell you what probability of rain was as of today. And the risk of rain is a very good analogue for the risk of loss – Howard Marks Memo (June 8, 2015)

A developed country is not a place where poor have cars; it’s where the rich use public transport. – Enrique Penaosa (Colombian Politician) taken from Reader’s Digest

When thinking in terms of decision making, one has to recognize that you are going to make mistakes. Indeed, if you are not making any mistakes, then you are not innovating enough. Making mistakes is OK; so long as they don’t destroy you and also that you don’t repeat those types of mistakes again. – Prof.Bakshi in his interview with Ian Cassel of Microcap

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