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Friday, 20 December 2019

Weekend Reading

Reading across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen. Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week.

The last decade in pictures
A peek into the happenings of the last decade through the lens. Some stunning pictures remind us of the good, bad and ugly events that shaped the world.


Zanshin - Focus on the process more than the results
We live in a world obsessed with results. Like Herrigel, we have a tendency to put so much emphasis on whether or not the arrow hits the target. If, however, we put that intensity and focus and sincerity into the process—where we place our feet, how we hold the bow, how we breathe during the release of the arrow—then hitting the bullseye is simply a side effect.
The point is not to worry about hitting the target. The point is to fall in love with the boredom of doing the work and embrace each piece of the process. The point is to take that moment of zanshin, that moment of complete awareness and focus, and carry it with you everywhere in life.
It is not the target that matters. It is not the finish line that matters. It is the way we approach the goal that matters. Everything is aiming. Zanshin.


The wisdom of Nemish Shah
Investing, according to him, is simple and complicated at the same time, in a sense a lot like art. He says while investing in India follows the same rules as elsewhere, there is one crucial difference—here, the quality of the management has to be considered closely. “Abroad one can go by what is there in the books, but here you have to add one additional layer—the management,” says Shah. But as long as the management is focussed and understands allocation of capital, he is comfortable with the business. What he isn’t comfortable with are companies that are hasty and raise capital regularly. In fact, Shah has ignored many companies where the management did not give him the right vibe.


How to read news
Rather than reading less, portfolio managers must learn to rapidly detect what is nonsense and move on. It’s a necessary skill when confronted with the hype and sensationalism now masquerading as news. Pseudo news and pseudo analysis clutters the web, making it harder to stay well informed.
Turn off your political bias when you read and interpret the news, and be wary of commentators who have political agendas.
Before you read the news, you must have your own framework in place for decision-making. Otherwise, you’ll be unduly influenced by what you read. As Ed Stavetski, founder of PCM Partners LLC, put it, “You must have an independent view of the markets or the media will force a view upon you.”


How to Read: Lots of Inputs and a Strong Filter
Most books don’t need to be read to the end, but some books can change your life – means you need two things to get a lot out of reading: Lots of inputs and a strong filter.
If you only pick up books you know with certainty you’re going to like you’ll confine yourself to reading the same authors on the same topics. It gives fresh oxygen to confirmation bias and limits your ability to connect the dots between different fields and different cultures. It’s better to have a low bar in what books you’re willing to try, and even the faintest tickle of interest should be enough to make the cut. Kindle samples are free so excuses are minimal.
Once you’ve flooded your desk with inputs comes the filter. It should be ruthless, taking no prisoners and offering no mercy.

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