Ideas and Investing

Morgan Housel (WSJ)

Morgan Housel (WSJ)

Ideas presented in thoughtful ways are sometimes hard to come by in mainstream media and entertainment. It’s remarkable when you stumble across something that stands out from the crowd for its treatment of ideas. I first heard Morgan Housel on the podcast Motley Fool Money, and it’s his approach to ideas and insightful commentary that sets him apart. I’ve taken what I consider to be his top recent posts and added my commentary on them below. Who knows, maybe you’ll find them useful and interesting as I did…

Read More Books And Fewer Articles; Read More History and Fewer Forecasts – With an ever-increasing number of sources and content available, it becomes harder to filter out the nuggets of gold from the rest of the media. And while there are plenty of bad books out there, the sieve for writing books is more restrictive than the sieve for writing articles. (Ironically, as I write this sentence I realize my own content falls into that latter category.) But the point about books being more of a barrier to entry for sloppy content is intriguing nonetheless – something I hadn’t really considered before.

Why We’re Terrible at Predicting Happiness – Referencing Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow (also on my list to read), this post highlights the importance of how much more we think we know about our own desires than we actually do. Couple this idea with the sunk cost fallacyloss aversionFOMO, and rationalization – and you now have a potent recipe for disconnecting our desires from our ability to effectively achieve them.

Why We’re Terrified of Typical – This post is such an important antidote to the tendency of pattern-seeking humans to identify trends or see the next catastrophe coming. The self-selection process of the financial (and other) media for sensational news being disproportionally weighed doesn’t help. But especially in discussing complex scenarios that are incredibly difficult to predict in the first place (e.g. the stock market), the ‘typical’ almost always lose out to competing black swans even though such things are rare by definition.

Really Smart Things Jeff Bezos Has Said – This one is little more than a collection of quotes from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, but worth a read. Given Amazon’s unique and unconventional approach to business, the insights are a refreshing and ideologically provocative take on business.

The full list of articles by Morgan Housel on The Motley Fool website can be viewed here or subscribe to the RSS feed. Most are focused on investing, but the majority integrate interdisciplinary ideas in ways you probably won’t find in many other financial journals or articles.

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