Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Influential Reads – January 2020

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Books!  I read books.  Mostly fiction, but hey, that counts too.

Updated stats through January:

ArticlesBooks
January794
February781
March962
April964
May1273
June493
July
August
September
October
November
December
Total52517

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. As Stephen Colbert opens up about his anxiety, panic attack sufferers tell us how they cope at work – “‘You’re looking at it.’ Just tight circles around the couch.”
  2. It’s Time to Take Another Look at Energy Stocks, a Top Advisor Says – “One thing that’s not going away is the demand for energy, whether it’s drawn from the ground, the sun, or the wind, she says.”
  3. Why You Should Hire an Executive Coach (and What to Look For) – “Behind every great athlete there is an even greater coach.”
  4. To Fight Climate Change, One City May Ban Heating Homes With Natural Gas – “Last year, Berkeley, Calif., became the first city in the country to ban natural gas in newly constructed low-rise residential buildings.”
  5. Why the most important hedge is against unexpected inflation – “But the reasons for quiescent inflation in the face of low unemployment and the secular decline in interest rates are not fully understood.”
  6. Discipline is Hard – “Since the bottom of the 2008-2009 Financial Crisis, anything an investor did to diversify risk away from S&P 500 Index detracted from performance.”
  7. The Most Disruptive Trend of the Decade – “The US consumer, having had more disposable income, has been freed up to spend more on data services, wifi, smartphones, vacationing, second homes, luxury pickups and SUVs, upscale fast food, yoga clothes, video games, celebrity cosmetics and $500 pairs of Yeezy’s and limited edition Air Jordans.”
  8. How to Stop Thinking About Work at 3am – “Instead of looking at this as a learning experience, albeit a painful one, for future board meetings, she played it back in her mind over and over again, beating herself up, and lost sleep over it for weeks.” Stephen here – only weeks, you went easy on yourself!
  9. On Monks and Email – “Except unlike our deep working medieval forebears, the modern knowledge work organization seems to care little about cultivating and supporting this fundamental activity.”
  10. Double Loop Learning: Download New Skills and Information into Your Brain – “Meaningful learning doesn’t happen without focused effort.”

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Influential Reads – December 2019

Reading Time: 2 minutes

December was busy.  Budgeting, year end projects, and skiing twelve days in a row is all hard work!

Updated stats through December:

ArticlesBooks
January794
February781
March962
April964
May1273
June493
July
August
September
October
November
December
Total52517

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. The real scam of ‘influencer’ – “Part of the scam is that the pyramid scheme of attention will somehow pay off for a lot of people.” Stephen here: this is my vote for the part of the economy to get the biggest wake-up call during the next downturn (i.e., mortgage brokers in 2007 – no more $30 filet at Cheesecake Factory for you!)
  2. An End to War! – “They are memes of An End to War!, good-sounding narrative constructs structured to pretend that stand-off weapons, cruise missile strikes, targeted assassinations and UAVs are not part of what needs to end, but things we will define as not being acts of war at all.”
  3. Social Media’s Shift Toward Misery – “The largest effect we found in our entire meta-analysis was the negative correlation between well-being and SNS content consumption.”.
  4. Time arbitrage and the art of reading a book – “Books represent the culmination of decades of education on the part of the author and years of writing. Yet we have access to them oftentimes for free. The only investment we need make is the time to read them. This asymmetry is one we should all be taking advantage of.”
  5. Hyakujos Fox – “Accumulating wealth and power are just games we play.”
  6. Sunday Firesides: Simplicity Is Not Laziness – “By all means, ruthlessly cut out those commitments that don’t contribute to your desires, but ensure that which fills the gap does.”
  7. The attention crisis is real – “And each of us gets the same amount of attention to spend each day. It’s a competitive advantage to figure out how to focus it to get something done.”
  8. The Lies We Tell – “We tell ourselves stories that are convincing, cheap, and often wrong.”
  9. The Electoral College’s Real Problem: It’s Biased Toward the Big Battlegrounds – “A winner-take-all system within states can produce results counter to the majority for no high-minded reason.”
  10. The Art of Decision-Making – “He points out that Benjamin Franklin used a more advanced pro-and-con technique: in what Franklin called “Prudential Algebra,” a numerical weight is assigned to each listed item, and counterbalancing items are then eliminated.”

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Influential Reads – November 2019

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Good production in November on both fronts.

Updated stats through November:

ArticlesBooks
January794
February781
March962
April964
May1273
June493
July
August
September
October
November
December
Total52517

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. Tech’s Pioneers Have Been Left Behind. Their Stocks Are Cheap—and Complicated – “Legacy tech has stopped growing, and there are no easy fixes”.
  2. Bernstein Says Stop When You Win The Game – “When you’ve won the game, why keep playing it?”.
  3. Time Machines & Species Failure – “These firms pulled a Robin Hood on the greatest thieves of time in post-WWII America — ad-supported media”.
  4. First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge – “We’re all somewhere on the spectrum between coach and play stealer. We reason by first principles, by analogy, or a blend of the two.”
  5. From Chaos to Concept – “Life hacks make for good 90 second viral Internet videos but the minutiae will never help you get ahead in life.”
  6. Reflexivity Here In The Yield Curve & Everywhere – “In practice, momentum strategies buy winners and sells losers. Thus, it can create a self-reinforcing loop. … In fact, the same can be said for market-cap-weighted passive investment strategies.”
  7. What’s your big domino? – “we confuse effectiveness over efficiency; and we schedule more meetings to avoid making important decisions.”
  8. Millennials Should Be Happy They Are Stuck Renting – “Most of the rise in single-family house prices over time is due to larger new structures with more marble bathrooms, fancier kitchens, etc. “
  9. How to Prepare Yourself to Be a Great CEO – “The best way to do this is to join the management team of the best start-up that will have you.”
  10. The Obvious Way to Improve Your Career – “Knowing how to draw a detailed and accurate map of your career is the first step. The second is knowing how to navigate it. How to cultivate the skills, assets and signals that will move you forward in the direction you want to proceed.”

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Influential Reads – October 2019

Reading Time: 2 minutes

October was pretty unremarkable.

Updated stats through October:

ArticlesBooks
January794
February781
March962
April964
May1273
June493
July
August
September
October
November
December
Total52517

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. Hamilton pushed for impeachment powers. Trump is what he had in mind. – “Not only is Trump himself on trial, but he is also testing our constitutional system to the breaking point.”
  2. MARGINal – “I believe we are seeing the mother of all shifts from a focus on growth to margin.”
  3. Behind SaaS’s Choppy Day – “The broader selloff, however — coupled to an implied revenue multiple compression — paints a stagnant picture for SaaS companies more generally.”
  4. Why Hard Training Makes You More Impulsive – “Now we see that the arrow goes both ways, and that bolsters the idea that mental and physical exertion both draw on the same finite well of… something.”
  5. What The Downturn Will Probably Look Like in SaaS – “But second, enterprise customers all renewed.  Almost all of them.”
  6. The Art of Creating a Ritual for What Matters Most – “Our hours are precious and limited, and we can take care to only place the things that matter most into that limited space.”
  7. Stamina Succeeds – “the most successful have a lot more energy and stamina than do others.”
  8. Microsoft, Slack, Zoom, and the SaaS Opportunity – “This is why companies like Zoom and especially Slack are so valuable: they create new customers who are primed for growth; Microsoft, meanwhile, is mostly keeping its existing customers in-house.”
  9. How to build durable and long-lasting Atomic Habits – “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement”
  10. Let Children Get Bored AgainLet Children Get Bored Again – “Boredom teaches us that life isn’t a parade of amusements. More important, it spawns creativity and self-sufficiency.”

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Influential Reads – September 2019

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I’ve been trying out the reading books from the library on a Kindle strategy and it’s increased the number of books I’m reading, but maybe decreasied the amount of sleep I’ve been getting.  Mrs. SFTE thinks it’s the blue light?

Updated stats through September:

ArticlesBooks
January794
February781
March962
April964
May1273
June493
July
August
September
October
November
December
Total52517

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. Underrated Skills – The entire article, read it.
  2. Yogababble – “Nope, similar to Chuck Norris, Christie Brinkley, and Tony Little, you sell exercise equipment.”
  3. On The Great Jihad And Other Possible Futures – “The differences between stocks will matter again. Why? Pricing power is why. Businesses with pricing power will survive and even thrive. Businesses without pricing power will struggle. Many will die.”
  4. Everyone has forgotten about why Donald Trump can’t win a trade war with China – “There seems to be a fundamental inconsistency between achieving that outcome and the Trump administration’s other economic nationalist priorities, which focuses on bringing manufacturing production back to the United States, even if that comes at the expense of everything else, including American farmers.”
  5. The Dow’s 1.6% Gain Hid Turmoil Beneath the Market’s Surface – “But those numbers entirely miss the point. It was a week when everything that had been working stopped working, when losers were suddenly winners.”
  6. The Endgame for the Bull Market in Bonds – “The worst asset to hold in this hypothetical bonfire of the currencies? A “sovereign bond with a negative yield, closely followed by paper money at zero yield, both with a theoretically infinite supply.”
  7. Cloud software is nuts, and it’s crashing – “Momentum — buying stocks that are going up — is the crucial factor here because the cloud companies, with their sky-rocket-in-flight share prices, are some of the stocks commonly found in this particular factor strategy.”
  8. Only the Fed Can Save Us – “Jerome Powell and the Federal Reserve must stand up to Trump. If they don’t, the American economy is heading for disaster.”
  9. The Trade War Is About to Hit Your Pocket. Literally – “While 82% of intermediate inputs are already affected by tariffs, just 29% of consumer goods have had levies to date. That figure will now rise to 69%, and 99% when a final tranche is imposed on Dec. 15…”
  10. The upside down, inside out negative yield financial world – “If normal creditors and lenders cannot provide a reasonable story for their negative time value of money, we are left with an explanation that these negative rates are imposed on the markets as a form of financial repression by central banks.”

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Influential Reads – August 2019

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hey, a book.  Finally. I had to change genres to get it done.  But I thoroughly enjoyed Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.

Updated stats through August:

ArticlesBooks
January794
February781
March962
April964
May1273
June493
July
August
September
October
November
December
Total52517

New feature – in order to add some perspective to each article, I’m adding a quote or comment for context.

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. The Buzzkill News About Drinking Alcohol  – “The notion that one or two drinks a day is doing us good may just be wishful thinking.
  2. Why Cryptocurrencies Look Like a Bubble, and How Investors Can Brace for Lower Returns – “I have big tolerance for maverick risk.”
  3. Taylor Swift is smart enough to not let her shows sell out – “Although some naive critics derided the tour as a “disaster” for not selling out, Swift is laughing all the way to the bank.
  4. The Quote of the Decade – “You can’t talk about savers without talking about consumers. And the latter outnumber the former by orders of magnitude. Whatever people are not receiving from a low rates is being more than made up for in their mortgage and other items that are financed.” Got it, people should take out more debt and stop complaining about not earning anything on their savings.  If they have more debt than savings, it’s all good. If not, just go buy something on credit (e.g., a house, or a second home, or a couple cars). It really doesn’t matter so long as it’s financed. Brilliant. And, isn’t the second sentence going to become a problem at some point?
  5. Today’s Reckless, Irresponsible, Politically-Motivated FOMC Rate Cut – “There are very few legitimate reasons to cut rates from the low Effective Federal Funds rate of 2.38%. Some argue Underemployment is a reason, others say its insurance against an ordinary recession (?!), still others say it is needed to reduce the strength of the US Dollar.  To which I call bullshit.
  6. Reading and rabbit holes – “Follow the questions, not the books per se.  Don’t focus on which books to read, focus on which questions to ask.
  7. This is what leaders need to do to prevent work-life stress from taking over – “A leader I worked with previously used to say, ‘You should trust the people who work for you; if you don’t, they shouldn’t work for you.’ ”  Hmmm, this probably cuts both ways, don’t you think?
  8. A Clever Hack to Reading More Books – “But one thing has: an electronic library card tied to a Kindle. You can get one online, signup with your mobile phone number and start checking out books in less than five minutes.”  Yes, I commandeered my daughter’s Kindle.
  9. The Decision Matrix: How to Prioritize What Matters – “The decisions we spend the most time on are rarely the most important ones.
  10. How to Do Great Things – “You need to strive for excellence. This isn’t as easy as it sounds but it as an essential feature of doing great work.

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Influential Reads – July 2019

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I continue to be shut out on books.  I’m reading Principles by Ray Dalio which I’m enjoying – just not moving through it very quickly.

Updated stats through July:

ArticlesBooks
January794
February781
March962
April964
May1273
June493
July
August
September
October
November
December
Total52517

New feature – in order to add perspective to each article, I’m adding a quote for context.

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. Sunday Firesides: I Have Kids – “The commute to work kind of sucks . . . but how awesome that you have a job.”
  2. A Decade of Low Interest Rates Is Changing Everything (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-23/a-decade-of-low-interest-rates-is-changing-everything) – “The 30-year Treasury bond, a favored debt security, yields about 2.5%—compared with an average 6.5% since the 1970s.”
  3. I Tried Emailing Like A CEO And Quite Frankly, It Made My Life Better – “So is the boss email also a power move, a way of asserting dominance? I doubt many bosses sit staring at their employees’ emails trying to figure out what “ok” really meant.”
  4. Want to cut your work hours in half? Create an A/B schedule – “So I tell my clients, they need to put on one hat–one role–at a time, and adopt an A/B schedule.”
  5. One Thing That Great Leaders Understand – “Leadership is about assembling a group of talented people who all want to work for your team and are motivated to work together.”
  6. Your First Thought Is Rarely Your Best Thought: Lessons on Thinking – “Shane, most people don’t actually think. They just take their first thought and go.”
  7. Smarter, Not Harder: How to Succeed at Work – “Incredibly successful people focus their time on just a few priorities and obsess over doing things right. This is simple but not easy.”
  8. Why We Struggle to Make Time for Solitude – “To do this, we have to stop letting the uncertainty rule our lives. It can be with us, a constant companion, and we can learn to be comfortable with it and even love it as it is. But it doesn’t have to drive us.”
  9. This Is How To Have A Long Awesome Life: 7 Secrets From Research – “All of the old folks say it before they eat. It means ‘Eat until you are 80 percent full.’”
  10. How to Do Great Things – “You need to strive for excellence. This isn’t as easy as it sounds but it as an essential feature of doing great work.”

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Influential Reads – June 2019

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Well, that was fast – 2019 is half way over. I continue to start to read non-fiction books that I really want to read, but get bogged down in them, as they feel like work. The key is probably somewhere in the Motivation Over Discipline article below…

Updated stats through June:

Saved ArticlesBooks
JanuaryN/A2
February901
March390
April630
May393
June630
Total2946

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. Jell-O Could Be the Secret to Stronger Bones and Tendons
  2. Goodbye, Chrome: Google’s web browser has become spy software
  3. Interest Rate Chasing in Your Savings Account – A Wealth of Common Sense
  4. How active listening can improve your work (and love) life
  5. How to Have More Focused Hours in Your Day
  6. GMO’s Montier on the rise of the dual economy
  7. Twelve Principles
  8. Book review: The Power of Less
  9. Motivation Over Discipline
  10. Execution is Everything

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Influential Reads – May 2019

Reading Time: < 1 minute

An improved month of reading (sort of) with a caveat.  I turned to some old favorites (Carl Hiaasen) to lighten the mood and get back into reading some books – which is really the area where I should probably be allocating more reading time.

Updated stats through May:

Saved ArticlesBooks
JanuaryN/A2
February901
March390
April630
May393

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. Strategy vs. Tactics: What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?
  2. Risk, Uncertainty and Ignorance in Investing and Business – Lessons from Richard Zeckhauser
  3. Lessons from Scott Belsky’s Book “The Messy Middle”
  4. The Errors That I Don’t See – Of Dollars And Data
  5. Does Norway Have the Answer to Excess in Youth Sports?
  6. Walmart is becoming a Technology Company
  7. The professor who beat the roulette table
  8. The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received (and Are Willing to Pass On)
  9. Jeff Bezos: Big Things Start Small
  10. Uber’s Rocky IPO, What Went Wrong, The Perils of Private

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.