Category Archives: Uncategorized

Links of Interest – June 22, 2012

3 Stocks in Sweet Spot: Yacktman

Why Newspapers Were Doomed All Along – Justin Fox – Harvard Business Review

Southwest Airlines’ profitability: How the company uses operations theory to fuel its success. – Slate Magazine

The Brooklyn Investor: Net Interest Margins etc.

The Path to Global-Brand Investing –

Charlie Munger’s 30 Best Zingers of All Time (BRK-B, USB, WFC)

Free eBook: 115 Profitable Investing Ideas

My new eBook comprises a collection of ideas culled from the last two and one-half years of my investing blogs here at These ideas have helped me to become a better investor, and I believe they will help you too. Read them, study them, and let them inform your investing philosophy and process. And please share them with others who may benefit from them. Also, I’d love your feedback on the eBook.

Here is a link to the PDF version or you can go to Scribd by clicking the link or image below. I posted the PDF here because there may be a fee to download it at Scribd.

PDF Version

115 Profitable Investing Ideas

Scribd Version

115 Profitable Investing Ideas

Links of Interest – September 30, 2011

Buffett says Berkshire has begun share buybacks | Reuters

Why an Old Fashioned Value Fund Like Sequoia Owns Google

Fairfax’s Watsa sees Dirty Thirties pain ahead – The Globe and Mail

GuruFocus Interview with Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa: IRE, RIMM, DELL, BRK.A, BRK.B

Coaching a Surgeon: What Makes Top Performers Better? : The New Yorker

Share buybacks – Friend or Foe? – Terry Smith Straight Talking

Berkshire Share Repurchase — First Time Since 2000 | Alice Schroeder: The Official Website

Berkshire: Not All Buybacks Are Created Equal | The Reformed Broker

Some Thoughts on Buffett’s BRK Buyback Announcement | Vitaliy Katsenelson Contrarian Edge

Warren Buffett Buying Stock Bargains with U.S. Recession ‘Very, Very Unlikely’ – CNBC Video

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Kindle eBook: How to Become a Better Investor

I have put together my thoughts on improving your investment process into a Kindle eBook titled How to Become a Better Investor.  It is now available at

I hope you find these ideas useful. I am confident that if you apply them, your results will improve. I’d love to hear your feedback – both positive and otherwise. Finally, I encourage you to tell others about this eBook if you think it can be of use to others.

“Highly recommended” – John Mihaljevic, CFA, Managing Editor, The Manual of Ideas

Michael Harkin’s speech at Grant’s 2011 Conference: “Embrace Reason, Shun Theories or Think Big, and Go Broke”

Michael Harkin is great value investor with a formidable record. He is worth reading carefully. The following is his rate of compounded returns after fees:


Last 12 Years…..+12.7%

Since Inception 1980…..+12.9%

Here is his speech at James Grant’s annual conference in New York.

“Embrace Reason, Shun Theories or Think Big, and Go Broke”

My speech, all gall, divides in three parts.  What you shouldn’t do, what you should do, and what Jim wants me to do.  “Aw Michael, just give them CUSIP numbers,” was my invite.  I’m coming to that presently.  The face of American investing is a spittle flying, neck vein popping, barnyard noise making character who spews economic nostrums twenty to the dozen.  Foretell the economic future, make it loud and Croesus will grow jealous of your wealth shortly.  Right.  A generation of American investors has been taught this, and the idea is not only wrongheaded, it is dangerous, and I want to spend a few minutes illustrating why, but first a brief moment of personal history.

Slide 1–General Theory

When I was an eighteen year old undergraduate, I sat in the stacks at Cornell reading John Maynard Keynes’ General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money because I wanted to know something of the original flavor of this one work I had heard so much about.  I was besotted instantly, and within a fortnight I had consumed every major work that he wrote.  Worse yet, I had started using words like fortnight and besotted.  To an undergraduate mind, Keynes was instantly addicting.  He was also a trading legend.  He once cornered the market in wheat, the shorts surprised him by forcing delivery, and he calmly proposed to the Cambridge Dons that they vacate Kings College Chapel, so he could use it as his personal silo.  In the event, this didn’t fly, but imagine the cheek in trying it on.  He then claimed the wheat wasn’t in good deliverable form, got the sellers to clean it, the market recovered in the interim and he made a profit.  Great stuff, no?  And chapter 12 of this book is the wittiest and wisest 17 pages you will ever read on markets. Well worth the price of admission all by itself.   It is also part of an elaborate front to conceal a dirty little secret, one that I only found out many years later from this book.

Slide 2–Economist as Savior

This is Robert Skidelsky’s brilliant work of scholarship, in three volumes by the way, and the title of this volume tells the story in typical British understatement.  Keynes really was the savior of western capitalism.  He also wasn’t what he seemed to be, and here I have to let Robert Skidelsky tell you the tale directly.  This is from pages 524 and 525, lightly edited by me for concision.

“In 1929 Keynes had lost practically all his money, in 1931 he even tried to sell his two best pictures, his Matisse and his Seurat, but found no buyers.  Keynes personal investment philosophy changed with his economic theory” says Skidelsky, which if I can interject, is better than you can say for most of us.    After all, Keynes did once say, “When the facts change, I change my opinion.  What do you do, sir?”  Back to Skidelsky, “In the 1920’s Keynes saw himself as a scientific gambler.  He speculated on currencies and commodities.  His aim was to play the cycle.  This was the height of his “barometric” enthusiasm, when he believed it was possible, by forecasting short term rhythms, to beat the market.  The gambling instinct was never quite extinguished.”

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