Posts filed under “Apprenticed Investor”
Sometimes, these things just all come together at once:
The other day, someone sent me this rant by Scott Ritter (video below). Ritter goes off on a tear, but he makes some valid points. Note the crowd’s response not to his criticism of Bush or Congress, but if the media (I find placing so much blame on the press a little weird).
Then this evening, I see an interesting rant by Felix Salmon, Blogonomics: What CFAs Read, referencing another article: Blogs Slow to Influence Financial Advisors. Felix was not than enthralled with the CFA article.
I want to suggest another, perhaps more insightful approach.
The article in question is somewhat mixed in its criticism of blogs — but it has the sort of common sense bromides that can be applied to almost anything about investing. Like CEOs, or Wall Street research, or the mainstream media — anything some people accept mindlessly.
Indeed, you can rewrite the article: Anywhere you see the word "Blog" substitute the words "Wall Street Research" or "Corporate CEOs" "Business Press" or "Mainstream Media." The end result is nearly the same.
Here’s my rewrites (in italics):
“I don’t want to leave the impression that I would invest a client’s money based on a tip from a Wall Street Research.”
“Many who write articles in the Business Press are not professionals, most are not even licensed to render financial advice.”
"Russ Thornton of Thornton Wealth Management looks to the Mainstream Media for good “talking points” from investors whose investment strategy is similar to his. ‘It helps to see how others communicate and share investment concepts so I can become a better communicator myself.’ "
"Some Corporate CEOs may offer useful information, but even their fans believe you should approach them skeptically."
Hey, that’s pretty sharp stuff!
The article appears to be about blogs, but its really about critical reading and independent thinking. At least, that’s my take. Note we previously discussed similar issues in Lose the News . . .
Lose the News (June 2005)
Who Do You Trust? (January 2008)
Investment Strategy Blogs Slow to Influence Financial Advisors
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Advisor Persepctives, August 19, 2008
Taleb’s top life tips
1. Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.
2. Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.
3. It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.
4. Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.
5. Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.
6. Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.
7. Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).
8. Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants… or (again) parties.
9. Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.
10. Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.
click for video
Nassim Nicholas Taleb: the prophet of boom and doom
The Sunday Times, June 1, 2008