Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Influential Reads – November 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Writing is often the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about.” – Farnam Street

My reading and writing was lacking this month.  But that is just where I was.

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

  1. The Man Who Called Bullshit on Uber – ” Companies that move people and things make money by closely controlling their workers and physical assets.”
  2. Are the New ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Services Good? – “If you’re not sure who’s funding the bottom line, Lowry told me, it’s probably you, in one way or another.”
  3. How Mormons Became American – “Mormons didn’t become avatars of a Norman Rockwellian ideal by accident. We taught ourselves to play the part over a centuries-long audition for full acceptance into American life. That we finally succeeded just as the country was on the brink of an identity crisis is one of the core ironies of modern Mormonism.”
  4. The Winds of Change – “In other words, in this extreme example, a U.S. president can be elected with just 47.0 million votes (22.0% of the total) versus 166.9 million for his or her opponent.”
  5. The CEO of you – “Big company CEOs get paid ridiculous amounts of money, but the good ones also do something that most of us avoid.  They make decisions.”
  6. Inflated – “And this ability to raise prices faster than inflation is really impressive given the industry is one of the most heavily subsidised in the U.S.”
  7. The Great Salt Lake Is Desolate. It’s Also Divine. – ” More disturbing is the destination of some of that water: my house. “
  8. Reset – “But some of it will flood the bank and brokerage accounts of the sort of people who are collecting jpegs of crudely drawn rocks and apes and other useless bullshit. I know, I don’t get it, blah blah blah. “
  9. Shortages are Unmeasured Inflation – “In the meantime, just remember that with inflation over 5% presently and shortly headed above 6%…the inflation rate is understated, and we know that because there are lots of shortages.”
  10. Johnny and Angel Collinson: Skiing comeback – “If somebody wants to explore their potential, whether it’s in sport or otherwise, that means they are going to walk into uncharted territory,” says Dr Gervais

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.

Top clicks across the site last month:

  1. Financial Model vs. Operating Model
  2. Influential Reads – October 2021
  3. I Didn’t Approve That
  4. Rules of The Game
  5. EBITDA Is Not A Good Proxy For Cash Flow

Updated stats through November:

Read ArticlesBooks
January654
February491
March643
April532
May970
June542
July1061
August1032
September1192
October911
November800
December
Total88118

Influential Reads – October 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

October 2021

“There is a meaningful opportunity in the dispersion of HQ, education, and healthcare.”  – No Mercy, No Malice

Finished the book, That Wild Country, by Mark Kenyon.  Enjoyed learning about the history of U.S. public lands.  More on that to come…I am a bit behind in my writing.

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

  1. This Market Makes No Sense – “The only thing I know for sure is there is a lot of money sloshing around in just about everything these days — stocks, bonds, savings accounts, start-ups, crypto, NFTs, collectibles and housing — and that makes this a difficult market to analyze.”
  2. I Collect Cashflows – “I like to collect the cashflows of the best businesses in the world. I pile them up high in my accounts, adding to them when values fall, automatically buying more when dividends and distributions are paid out.”
  3. Foreign Stocks’ Lost Decade – “Across the board, U.S. companies outperformed their overseas counterparts in every sector.”
  4. David Tepper shuns stock market – “Sometimes there’s times to make money…sometimes there’s times not to lose money.”  SMS: I ran into David Tepper in the hallway of my business school once. Tepper had just made a large donation and the school was being renamed and they were holding a celebration at our Friday Beers.  I had a buddy visiting from NYC who had just turned down a job with Appaloosa and had said on the way there, “I hope I don’t run into David Tepper”. And first thing, we ran into him.  I had a mortified look on my face and David Tepper made some off hand remark about that, that I am sure he doesn’t recall at all.  When I started to write that, I felt that would be a better story than it turned out to be.  Longer too.
  5. Understanding the Monty Hall Problem – “Here’s the general idea: The more you know, the better your decision.”
  6. Colin Powell’s 13 rules for how to lead – “It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning. Leaving the office at night with a winning attitude affects more than you alone; it also conveys that attitude to your followers.”
  7. A Pastor Embraces Slowness – “She forwarded all work calls to voicemail and put in place a rule saying she must wait 24 hours before replying to any message that either made her upset or elated.” SMS: Great rule.  I wish Outlook would let me put more than a two hour delay on my emails.
  8. Carcinogens – “Measurements of the impact are all over the map, but we know fraud is pervasive. By one estimate, 88% of digital ad clicks are fake.” SMS: Makes me feel even less good about my company’s digital advertising spend.
  9. Why You Should Stop Reading News – “To be completely cured of newspapers, spend a year reading the previous week’s newspapers.” SMS: Yes, yes, I know.
  10. How the Bobos Broke America () – “A third rebellion is led by people who are doing well financially but who feel culturally humiliated—the boubour rebellion.”

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.

Top clicks across the site last month:

  1. Financial Model vs. Operating Model
  2. Family Adventure: Solarmere Loop Trail
  3. EBITDA Is Not A Good Proxy For Cash Flow
  4. Operating Model Tips
  5. Excel Template: Football Field Chart

Updated stats through October:

Read ArticlesBooks
January654
February491
March643
April532
May970
June542
July1061
August1032
September1192
October911
November
December
Total80118

Influential Reads – September 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“A man got to have a code.”  – Omar Little

Seriously?  Look at the chart on the right.  Talk about recency bias.  

Folks are in for a rude surprise at some point in the future if they thought September was a rough stretch.  That’s not a prediction of a near term melt down.  It is simply an observation about investor behavior and memory.

Finally finished Principles by Ray Dalio.  More to come here, but in short, I tried to read this book about 24 months ago and was just not in the right headspace apparently.  This time around, I really enjoyed it.  But it took some time and effort, in a good way.

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

  1. Boxes, trucks and bikes – “However, there’s also another way to split this, that I think is becoming increasingly important – instead of looking at the product category and the buying journey, look at the logistics model. “
  2. Business History with Gary Hoover – “The whole history of business and the economy is a story of one technological disruption after the other.”
  3. When Over-Ordering is More Than Hoarding – “So that customer who is ordering a lot more right now than they historically have is not doing it to “hoard.” They’re probably doing it just to manage inventory properly.”  See this as well.
  4. Put These Charts on Your Wall – “The market doesn’t have to do anything, least of all what you think it should do.”
  5. How To Escape Your Financial Cocoon – “Transient events constitute our experiences. Viewing them as permanent compounds our problems.”
  6. Worry About Yourself – “Somewhere along the way I think people forgot that we’re only in the market to make money…If others want to blow themselves up trading recklessly, let them.”
  7. 5 Ways to Build Resilience and Conquer Adversity – “Resilience is the ability to create positive adaptations to negative events.  It’s the ability to take things like anger and sadness and make them useful and productive.”
  8. The fraught future of recycling – “Despite the heavy machinery and increased automation involved, the process is still extremely dependent on humans.”
  9. Distribution and Demand – “Whereas AT&T competes for customers in a zero sum game, content is best leveraged by reaching as many customers across as many distributors as possible”
  10. The Intel Opportunity – “Massive demand, limited suppliers, huge barriers to entry. It’s a good time to be a manufacturing company. It is, potentially, a good time to be Intel.”
  11. A Tunguska sized airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam – “We present evidence that in ~ 1650 BCE (~ 3600 years ago), a cosmic airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam, a Middle-Bronze-Age city in the southern Jordan Valley northeast of the Dead Sea.”  SMS here: Talk about wrong place, wrong time…

One more than normal because I could not decide.  My blog, my rules…

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.

Top clicks across the site last month:

  1. Financial Model vs. Operating Model
  2. EBITDA Is Not A Good Proxy For Cash Flow
  3. Family Adventure: Grand Teton #3
  4. Operating Model Tips
  5. Excel Template: Football Field Chart

Updated stats through September:

Read ArticlesBooks
January654
February491
March643
April532
May970
June542
July1061
August1032
September1192
October
November
December
Total71017

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“In my life, I have given a fuck about many things. I have also not given a fuck about many things. And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference.” – The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

This is meant to be more of a book report, than a review.  In particular, I want to highlight three key take-aways from the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: The Counterintuitive Approach to Living A Good Life by Mark Manson, that I found impactful.  This also serves as a way for me to recall influential points in the book.

The title is certainly catchy.  Maybe a bit gimmicky.  The content of the book turned out to be a little different than I was anticipating.  Not in a bad way.  It just was.  And a lot of the themes are ones that I have encountered elsewhere – not to say they are not relevant or important or presented with a unique perspective here.

Three take-aways from the book:

  1. Not Giving A F*ck

This is the theme of deciding what is important and not important in your life. You should care about things that advance your goals and priorities, and care significantly less about those things that do not.  As I have written previously, the harder part and the part I still need to work on is what are those goals.

Again, a bit gimmicky. But the heuristic of saying to yourself “I have no more f*cks to give here” is certainly memorable and helpful.  It has helped me in more than one meeting.

“Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given. We give too many fucks about the rude gas station attendant who gave us our change in nickels. We give too many fucks when a show we liked was canceled on TV. We give too many fucks when our coworkers don’t bother asking us about our awesome weekend.”

“The idea of not giving a fuck is a simple way of reorienting our expectations for life and choosing what is important and what is not. Developing this ability leads to something I like to think of as a kind of ‘practical enlightenment.’ “

  1. Most Things Are Unimportant

Most of our lives are pretty small and unimportant in the grand scheme of things.  We would prefer not to think about this too much.  I would also add that our view of the world tends to be pretty limited and incomplete.

“All day, every day, we are flooded with the truly extraordinary. The best of the best. The worst of the worst. The greatest physical feats. The funniest jokes. The most upsetting news. The scariest threats. Nonstop. Our lives today are filled with information from the extremes of the bell curve of human experience, because in the media business that’s what gets eyeballs, and eyeballs bring dollars. That’s the bottom line. Yet the vast majority of life resides in the humdrum middle. The vast majority of life is unextraordinary, indeed quite average.”

“It’s these dynamics that plague us now. We are so materially well off, yet so psychologically tormented in so many low-level and shallow ways.”

  1. Problems & Negative Experiences = Meaning

This is a theme that I have encountered more and more in my recent reading.  And I wholeheartedly agree with the idea.  Problems are a feature, not a bug.  I stole that from somewhere.  

I really enjoy solving problems.  Even better.  I really enjoy solving problems on teams with people I respect.  This has been a good self-learning for me as I try to set some goals.

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”

“Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others. The pain of honest confrontation is what generates the greatest trust and respect in your relationships. Suffering through your fears and anxieties is what allows you to build courage and perseverance. Seriously, I could keep going, but you get the point. Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.”

“Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded. Happiness comes from solving problems.”

“True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.”

A few other recent book reviews:

  1. Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
  2. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
  3. Fortune’s Formula
  4. The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  5. The Conscious Parent

Influential Reads – August 2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“No one values inflation protection because inflation has declined for 42 years.”  – Barrons

There are a lot of things going on right now that seem normal, because they have been going on for so long, no one remembers otherwise.  I’m not saying the market is going to crash imminently.  I am saying that it seems like most people cannot remember the last time that happened, that didn’t turn into a BTFD moment three days later.  And if the market does correct for more than three days, you will see fewer articles advising investors to be 100% in stocks.  Somebody smart once said, “But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.” (https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2009/11/25/the-10-dumbest-banker-quotes-of-all-time.aspx)  Oh wait, no one thinks that was a smart thing to say anymore.  At some point in the future, the risk will be an important part of risk adjusted returns again.

I added two more books to the list this month, but GoodReads is informing me that I am four books behind schedule of reaching my goal of 30 for the year.  However, GoodReads has never seen me binge read Carl Hiaasen.

Lots of articles again this month.  Maybe not a good thing.  The news is not so positive these days, so probably should spend a bit less time there.

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

  1. Get Ready for a Shift Away From U.S. Stocks – “We’ve already had 12% dollar depreciation since last April. And investors are way too exposed to the U.S. Our valuations versus every other asset class on Earth, with the exception of North Asia, are incredibly extreme, and the dollar’s overvalued.”
  2. How To Be Successful – “In a world where almost no one takes a truly long-term view, the market richly rewards those who do.”
  3. Advice to Grads: Be Warriors, Not Wokesters – “Be a highly skilled, devastatingly strong warrior who exerts their power by example and leaves their weapon in its sheath. Forgiveness is strength. Demonstrate it, every day. Be a warrior, not a wokester.”
  4. Give Your Brain Some Breathing Room – “I suggest the following compromise: check in on the news for 45 minutes, once a day, preferably in the morning.”
  5. The Most Important Number in Personal Finance – “The reason I prefer the LWR to something like income or net worth is that it controls for both the stock and the flows in your personal finances.  Your net worth is a stock (i.e. a snapshot of your accumulated wealth) while your income is a flow (i.e. a measure of how your wealth is changing through time).  They are both great, but limited.  ” Stephen here: This was an informative exercise.
  6. Howard Marks on economic growth in a ‘low return world’ – “We’re in an asset bubble. It’s everything. It’s not particular to high-yield bonds, or to bonds, or stocks. It’s real estate, it’s private equity, it’s everything. “
  7. Is valuing SaaS stocks a special form of the Petersburg Paradox? – “But the point is for individual stocks, there can be handful of stocks that can be valued at multiples so high that defies any logic, and still be able to beat the benchmark. The Petersburg Paradox is perhaps indeed the perfect description for such companies.”  Stephen here: But my guess is that most of the companies are not the companies that defy the logic.  Amazon twenty years ago. Yes. Every SaaS business out there today. No.
  8. Companies and Families Are Loading Up on Debt. It Could Be a Dangerous Trend – “What’s also surprising is that the BNPL model goes against perceptions that consumers are flush with savings, fostered by uninterrupted income for those who continued working during the pandemic and government stimulus payments to those not so fortunate, combined with the spending constraints during lockdowns.” Stephen here: There. Is. So. Much. Money. Every. Where.
  9. An Oral History of Adam Sandler, Pickup Basketball Legend – “Literally, it looked like he had them clothes since the 1990s, like literally the 1990s. “
  10. Wildfires prompt air quality alerts across the West – “If people have whole-home air-conditioning, installing high-efficiency filters and running the system can filter smoke that’s gotten inside.”

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.

Top clicks across the site:

  1. Financial Model vs. Operating Model
  2. EBITDA Is Not A Good Proxy For Cash Flow
  3. Family Mission: Solamere Loop Trail
  4. Excel Template: Football Field Chart
  5. Operating Model Tips

Updated stats through August:

ArticlesBooks
January654
February491
March643
April532
May970
June542
July1061
August1022
September
October
November
December
Total59015

Three Take-Aways: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Superforecasters are perpetual beta.” – Superforecasting

This is meant to be more of a book report, than a review.  In particular, I want to highlight three lessons from the book, Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by  by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner that I found impactful.  This also serves as a way for me to recall influential points in the book.

Forecasting is near and dear to my heart. Although I have evolved my view a bit over the years.  One thing is for certain in my financial forecasts.  I am wrong.  It’s just a matter of how “wrong”.  But in many cases, the most important part of forecasting is not the absolute accuracy of the forecast, it is the discipline and planning the forecasting process instills.

Three take-aways from the book:

  1. Forecasting Is Not Mystical

“Foresight isn’t a mysterious gift bestowed at birth. It is the product of particular ways of thinking, of gathering information, of updating beliefs. These habits of thought can be learned and cultivated by any intelligent, thoughtful, determined person.”

This kind of reminds me of how strategy is sometimes viewed.  Forecasting and strategy have a bit of mystical aura.  In practice though, both are bit less sexy than most folks think.  They are hard work. They are an incremental process.

If you think someone is going to hike up to the mountain top and come down with the answer, prepare to be disappointed. If someone tells you they can go to the mountain top and come down with the answer, be highly skeptical.   

  1. Forecasting As A Skill

Similarly to the first point, forecasting is a skill.  And skills require consistent practice to build and maintain.

“Superforecasting demands thinking that is open-minded, careful, curious, and—above all—self-critical. It also demands focus. The kind of thinking that produces superior judgment does not come effortlessly. Only the determined can deliver it reasonably consistently, which is why our analyses have consistently found commitment to self-improvement to be the strongest predictor of performance.”

One of the tools I use to assist in my forecasting practice is the Stagger chart – that I learned about in Andy Grove’s book, High Output Management.

  1. An Ensemble Approach

Good forecasters assimilate lots of external information.  Constantly.  And update their views accordingly.  See my incremental comment earlier.

“Now look at how foxes approach forecasting. They deploy not one analytical idea but many and seek out information not from one source but many. Then they synthesize it all into a single conclusion. In a word, they aggregate. They may be individuals working alone, but what they do is, in principle, no different from what Galton’s crowd did. They integrate perspectives and the information contained within them. The only real difference is that the process occurs within one skull.”

And asking questions is an important part of getting additional information.

“Practice “constructive confrontation,” to use the phrase of Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel. Precision questioning is one way to do that.”

And do not expect a consensus view (a major pet peeve of mine).

“A smart executive will not expect universal agreement, and will treat its appearance as a warning flag that groupthink has taken hold.”

A few other recent book reviews:

  1. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
  2. Fortune’s Formula
  3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  4. The Conscious Parent

Influential Reads: July 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Problems are a feature. They’re the opportunity to see how we can productively move forward. Not to a world with no problems at all, but to a situation with different problems, ones that are worth dancing with.” – Seth’s Blog

July disappeared.  Time seems so distorted these days.  March 2020, the beginning of the pandemic for most folks, seems like both an eternity ago and just the other day. I am coming up on my three year anniversary at work, but have not seen anyone face to face for half that time. Crazy.

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

  1. How to Think: The Skill You’ve Never Been Taught – “Good decisions create time, bad ones consume it.”
  2. Tradeoffs: The Currency of Decision Making – “Tradeoffs aren’t always easy, which is probably why we try to avoid them.”
  3. The thirsty West’s dreaded water crisis is here – “At the heart of the problem is a lie — or call it, more forgivingly, a convenient fiction.”
  4. What Does the Delta Variant Mean for the U.S. Economy? – “For the variant to have a major impact on G.D.P. and employment, Zandi said, businesses would have to close down again and people would need to go back to sheltering in place, both of which he considers very unlikely.”
  5. Comments on existing home sale prices – “A huge number of people held off selling during the pandemic lockdowns last year in spring. Those houses are going to come back on the market, and I expect inventory to surge as the pandemic recedes.”
  6. How This Ends – “We are in the middle of one of the great asset bubbles of modern times.”
  7. The OODA Loop: How Fighter Pilots Make Fast and Accurate Decisions – “If you are able to be nimble, assess the ever-changing environment, and adapt quickly, you’ll always carry the advantage over any opponents.”
  8. The Surprising Power of The Long Game – “The most successful people in any field all play the long game.”
  9. A Memo to Investors – “This surely will sound quaint and stale to a few readers, but – and I’m sorry – the future value of a thing is ultimately based on the dividends the thing will eventually pay you, or someone to whom you are prepared to sell your shares.”
  10. Robinhood and iAddiction – “The company’s mission to “democratize finance for all,” is similar to Pablo Escobar saying his mission was to “democratize cocaine.”

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.

Top clicks across the site last month:

  1. Financial Model vs. Operating Model
  2. Excel Template: Football Field Chart
  3. Family Mission: Solamere Loop Trail
  4. EBITDA Is Not A Good Proxy For Cash Flow
  5. Three Take-Aways: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Updated stats through July:

MonthArticlesBooks
January654
February491
March643
April532
May970
June542
July1061
August
September
October
November
December
Total48813

Three Take-Aways: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“The way of the Essentialist is the relentless pursuit of less but better.” – Essentialism

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” – Essentialism

This is meant to be more of a book report, than a review.  In particular, I want to highlight three key take-aways from the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, that I found impactful.  This also serves as a way for me to recall influential points in the book.

  1. Trade-Offs & Boundaries

Trade-offs and boundaries are good things.  Acknowledging that everything is a series of trade-offs will help you not try to do it all and be more thoughtful about where you do spend your energy.This one is pretty intuitive for me, maybe because of my training as an engineer.

However, I can definitely work on setting better boundaries.  The pandemic and work from home have not helped keep clear boundaries.  This is one I will need to work on a bit.  

“Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?” The cumulative impact of this small change in thinking can be profound.”

“Mastering this Essentialist skill, perhaps more than any other in this section, requires us to be vigilant about acknowledging the reality of trade-offs. By definition, applying highly selective criteria is a trade-off; sometimes you will have to turn down a seemingly very good option and have faith that the perfect option will soon come along.”

“Essentialists, on the other hand, see boundaries as empowering. They recognize that boundaries protect their time from being hijacked and often free them from the burden of having to say no to things that further others’ objectives instead of their own.”

  1. Priorities

However, before you can really evaluate trade-offs and set boundaries, you need to have a clearer sense of your priorities and values.  Without knowing what you want to focus on, want to accomplish, want to contribute etc., one cannot effectively prioritize.  

“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

“What if society encouraged us to reject what has been accurately described as doing things we detest, to buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like? What if we stopped being oversold the value of having more and being undersold the value of having less?”

“The first type of nonessential you’re going to learn how to eliminate is simply any activity that is misaligned with what you are intending to achieve.”

I most definitely need to spend some time on this one.  Here were two good thoughts about figuring this out.

“To discern what is truly essential we need space to think, time to look and listen, permission to play, wisdom to sleep, and the discipline to apply highly selective criteria to the choices we make.”

  1. Step Back And Apply An Editorial Mindset

There is a reason newspapers and book publishers use editors.  Sometimes, you need someone who can step back, look at the bigger picture, and apply a critical eye.  Editors use their judgement and guiding principles to apply selection criteria about what should be included and what should not.  And they strive to ensure the included content is accurate, truthful, and consistent with the voice of their publication.  And a good editor seeks to bring out the best in their published content.  We should all spend time applying those editorial areas of focus to our own lives.

“Doing less is not just a powerful Essentialist strategy, it’s a powerful editorial one as well.”

“What I mean is that a good editor is someone who uses deliberate subtraction to actually add life to the ideas, setting, plot, and characters.”

“Being a journalist of your own life will force you to stop hyperfocusing on all the minor details and see the bigger picture. You can apply the skills of a journalist no matter what field you are in—you can even apply them to your personal life. By training yourself to look for “the lead,” you will suddenly find yourself able to see what you have missed.”

Off-Leash

Reading Time: < 1 minute

I like dogs.  And most animals for that matter.  My wife tried to kill a spider in our bedroom the other night, and I yelled at her, and intervened to perform a rescue and recovery mission to the back porch. 

However, off-leash does not give your dog permission to sniff my crotch.  Or anywhere else on my body.  

My. Personal. Space. Is. My. Personal. Space.  Whether or not your dog is tethered to you.  

Your dog’s “way of saying hi” might intersect with my way of saying “stay away from me”.

I was a competitive distance runner long enough to have fought off a wide variety of four legged animals.  So, if your dog comes at me unexpectedly.  I am betting on the human to come out on top.  We have been doing it for thousands of years.  Keep that in mind, if your dog is not socialized and is not tethered to you.

Off leash does not equal out of control.  Just because McDonald’s has a playground, doesn’t mean my eight year old can eat your french fries.  Same goes with your dog in public multi-use spaces.

Influential Reads – June 2021

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Waiting for the right time is seductive. Our mind tricks us into thinking that waiting is actually doing something.”  – Farnam Street

Half way through 2021.

Updated stats through June:

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

  1. CDC eviction moratorium: Supreme Court leaves ban in place through July – “The ban has just been extended another month, until the end of July, and the Biden administration said it will end then.”
  2. A Working Narrative – “The future of remote work is also, however, easily linked to general labor concerns, the role of work in American lives, corporatism and the social contract with our present system of capitalism.” SMS here: The current conversation at the executive level in my company seems to be missing the point that some portion of the employee population has now experienced remote work and does not want to go back to the office for that reason – unrelated to COVID concerns.
  3. 20 of the Best Adventure Quotes of All Time, Courtesy of Author Bill Bryson – “What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die of course. Literally shit myself lifeless.”
  4. On the Crisis and Inflation, Barron’s Shows How the Past Can Be Prologue – “Americans may take the chance to go on more vacations and go to more concerts and movies in the next few years, but they probably won’t be getting more haircuts or more takeout.”
  5. Infrastructure Finally Gets Its Week. But Inflation and Jobs Haven’t Gone Away – “So, there’s the bipartisan package totaling $559 billion to fund unambiguously needed projects for transportation, power grids, broadband, and the like, which will be financed without tax increases but by unused past spending authorizations, increased IRS enforcement, and things like selling off part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.”
  6. We Were Shocked – Shocked! – that Massive Stimulus Caused Inflation – “So clearly, the big mismatch between supply and demand in this cycle is the problem. And it isn’t just in used cars and trucks. It isn’t just in hotels and airfares. In fact, it is a myth that there is a small set of categories that are inflating wildly while other prices are inert.”
  7. The Fed Pulls Back on Its Ultraeasy Stance. Volatility May Follow – “Yet the admission of this seemingly self-evident fact took markets by surprise.”
  8. Overwhelming Moab – “The common theme is incredible recreational experiences and towns that are a bit off-kilter.”
  9. ‘Revenge Travel’ Will Be All The Rage Over The Next Few Years – “The term is also retribution against COVID-19 and how it is losing its power to control our lives, including canceling travel plans.” SMS here:  You are not owed anything, and certainly not anymore than anyone else.
  10. The remedy for high house prices is . . . high house prices – “As always, sales lead prices. If sales continue to trend much lower, expect prices to reverse course soon.”

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.