The Double-Edged Sword

Why Some Strategies Can Lead to Both Success and Failure Stavanger, Norway (2017) Take a deep breath. The air filling your lungs is 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. A Swedish pharmaceutical chemist by the name of Carl Wilhelm Scheele first discovered both of these elements in the mid 1770s, but he didn’t get any credit for it….

Beyond All Expectations

When Old Patterns Break and How to Think About Financial Data It had been nine days since Volkert Evertszoon and his fellow shipmates had consumed anything other than their own urine. The men were on death’s door as their longboat floated helplessly throughout the western part of the Indian Ocean. Then…a miracle occurred. After washing…

There Are Many Ways to Win

Why A Few Simple Rules Are More Important than Specific Strategies In every laboratory experiment ever conducted between the fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) and the woodland ant (Pheidole dentata), fire ants have overwhelmed and eaten their woodland counterparts. Because fire ant colonies are typically 100 times larger than woodland colonies, the woodland ants never stand…

It’s Not About the Money

On Lifestyle Diversification in Retirement Photo: Flickr The task was simple. Each team was given an envelope and one specific goal: Start a business and earn as much money as possible within two hours using only the money inside the envelope. The problem? Each envelope only contained $5. It was a Wednesday afternoon and each…

A Little Knowledge is Dangerous

How to Deal with Overconfidence in Financial Markets It had been a little over a week since anyone had seen Karina Chikitova. The forest she had walked into nine days prior was known for being overrun with bears and wolves. Luckily, she was with her dog and it was summer in the Siberian Taiga, a…

The Constant Reminder

How The Right Decisions And Compounding Can Lead to Huge Results Every 175 years something remarkable happens — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune come into close alignment. An American aerospace engineer by the name of Gary Flandro discovered this while working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the summer of 1964. More importantly, Flandro realized that the next…

The War Between Fear and Evidence

On Evidence-Based Investing and How You Can Profit From It A war is currently being fought every day throughout the world. This war was here before you were born and will be around long after you are gone. I am talking about the war between fear and evidence. While humanity has access to more information today…

Is Bitcoin in the Optimal Portfolio?

How A Little Bitcoin Goes a Long Way The age of cryptocurrency is upon us and Bitcoin is leading the pack. If you don’t know what Bitcoin is, please explain your whereabouts over the last 6 months, or tell me where you keep your cryogenic sleep chamber. My friends, my friends’ friends, and all of the…

Shaking the Hourglass

On Time’s Role in Investing Photo: The Persistence of Memory (Salvador Dali) Recently I finished an incredible book by Alan Lightman called Einstein’s Dreams. The book describes a series of short thought experiments about worlds in which time behaves differently from our own. Naturally, I thought it would be fun to imagine how investing might…

Losing With a Winning Hand

The Nature of Underperformance and Why it Pays to Wait Photo: Pixabay It was late 1999 and Warren Buffett had experienced his worst year in a decade. While the S&P 500 was up over 20%, Berkshire Hathaway’s stock price was down 20%. Some started to believe that Buffett had lost his magic touch. An article titled…