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My Favorite Investing Resources

I’ve received many questions about where to start, books to read and podcasts to follow for value investing. While the following addresses their specific request, I think this list of resources helps all investors.

Traders learn from value guys. Value guys learn from momentum traders. We all learn from each other.

I’ve broken down my favorite resources into three categories: Books, Podcasts and YouTube. Don’t worry! Each resource has outbound links.

This list isn’t exhaustive — and that’s the beauty of this sport. I’m adding new resources and content each day.

If you think I missed anything crucial, let me know in an email or in the Comm Center. I’ll make sure to add it to the list.

Let’s get to it!

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Books

Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham

    • One Sentence Summary: The bible that tells you everything you need to know about the psychology of investing.

Security Analysis, Benjamin Graham

    • One Sentence Summary: Ben Graham lays out exactly how he analyzes businesses, stocks and bonds with brutal

The Dhando Investor, Mohnish Pabrai

    • One Sentence Summary: Investing framework for thinking in terms of “heads I win, tails I don’t lose much.”

The Education of a Value Investor, Guy Spier

    • One Sentence Summary: How one man spent $650K to learn all of life’s lessons from Warren Buffett.

You Can Be a Stock Market Genius, Joel Greenblatt

    • One Sentence Summary: How to find corners of the market where you can make money.

The Little Book That Still Beats The Market, Joel Greenblatt

    • One Sentence Summary: Quantitative framework for finding businesses that generate excess returns.

100 Baggers: Stocks That Return 100-to-1 and How To Find Them, Christopher Mayer

    • One Sentence Summary:

The Most Important Thing, Howard Marks

    • One Sentence Summary: The most important thing is to be contrarian and be right.

Mastering the Market Cycle, Howard Marks

    • One Sentence Summary: Markets move in cycles, and if you know where you are in the cycle, there’s opportunity.

One Up On Wall Street, Peter Lynch

    • One Sentence Summary: Invest in what you know so that you can explain your thesis to a five year old.

Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Philip Fisher

    • One Sentence Summary: Think like a stock investor, not a stock trader.

The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radical Blueprint for Success, William Thorndike

    • One Sentence Summary: Thorndike highlights CEOs that acted differently, yet generated tremendous value for shareholders.

The Acquirer’s Multiple, Tobias Carlisle

    • One Sentence Summary: On the back of Joel Grenblatt’s research, Tobias reveals why deep value investing still works today.

Deep Value: Why Activist Investors and Other Contrarians Battle for Control of Losing Companies, Tobias Carlisle

    • One Sentence Summary: There’s value in bad, failing businesses; Tobias helps you find it.

Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond: Bruce Greenwald, Judd Khan, Paul Sonkin, Michael van Biema

    • One Sentence Summary: Incredible base-level framework for value investing with more conservative valuation techniques.

The Richest Man in Babylon, George S. Clason

    • One Sentence Summary: Some of the best financial advice is the oldest advice.

Financial Statements: A Step-By-Step Guide to Understanding and Creating Financial Reports, Thomas Ittelson

    • One Sentence Summary: This book breaks down the fundamentals of accounting and bookkeeping.

Margin of Safety, Seth Klarman

    • One Sentence Summary: Value investing’s cult-like relic that will cost you an arm and a leg.

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction,  Philip Tetlock

    • One Sentence Summary: Learn to unlock the power of feedback in your prediction process.

Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman

    • One Sentence Summary: Start thinking with your System 2 Brain, making slower, more deliberate decisions.

Intelligent Fanatics: Standing On The Shoulders of Giants, Ian Cassel and Sean Iddings

  • One Sentence Summary: What makes an intelligent fanatic, how to find and invest in them.

Principles: Life and Work, Ray Dalio

    • One Sentence Summary: Radical transparency and truth improves your personal and business life.

Hedge Fund Market Wizards, Jack Schwager

Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders, Jack Schwager

    • One Sentence Summary: Schwager interviews those that win BIG in financial markets from traders, scalpers to value investors.

Insider Buy Superstocks: The Super Laws of How I Turned $46K into $6.8 Million (14,972%) in 28 Months, Jesse Stine

    • One Sentence Summary: The man who returned over 14,000% in 28 months shares how he did it, and how you can too.

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business and Life, Rory Sutherland

    • One Sentence Summary: Thinking outside the box can result in money saved, projects improved and alchemy created.

Expectations Investing: Reading Stock Prices For Better Returns, Alfred Rappaport, Michael Mauboussin

    • One Sentence Summary: Stock prices aren’t functions of underlying fundamentals, but of embedded expectations.

The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports and Life, Michael Mauboussin

    • One Sentence Summary: Mauboussin exposes the role luck has in business, life and sports achievements.

The Joys of Compounding, Gautam Baid

    • One Sentence Summary: Gautam takes you through over 200 years’ worth of examples on the power of compounding.

The Rebel Allocator, Jacob Taylor

    • One Sentence Summary: A fast-paced, action-packed adventure into the world of effective and value-creating capital allocation.

Harvard Business Review’s Guide To Buying a Small Business, Richard Rubak and Royce Yudokff

    • One Sentence Summary: This book teaches you how to buy a small business, and in turn, reveals how to analyze micro-cap stocks on public markets.

Technical Analysis and Stock Market Profits, Richard Schabacker

    • One Sentence Summary: The bible for classical charting principles.

Diary of a Professional Commodities Trader, Peter Brandt

    • One Sentence Summary: While not directly related to value investing, there’s always something to learn from a 30%+ compounder of capital.

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Podcasts

Focused Compounding, Geoff Gannon and Andrew Kuhn

    • One Sentence Summary: Geoff and Andrew talk all things value investing with a gear towards education for beginners.

We Study Billionaires, Preston Pysh and Stig Brodersen

    • One Sentence Summary: Preston and Stig collect information about the world’s best (and richest) investors and distill the information down into podcast episodes.

The Acquirer’s Podcast, Tobias Carlisle

    • One Sentence Summary: Deep value investing concepts from Tobias and well-known investors.

Master in Business, Barry Ritholz

    • One Sentence Summary: Barry dives into macro and micro business topics with top-notch thinkers in economics, business and corporate finance.

Macro Ops Podcast, Chris D.

    • One Sentence Summary: Need we say more???

Invest Like The Best, Patrick O’Shaughnessy

    • One Sentence Summary: Directly from the podcast: “Exploring the ideas, methods, and stories that will help you better invest your time and money.”

Chat With Traders, Aaron Fifield

    • One Sentence Summary: Learn how a diverse mix of traders went from zero to hero and how they successfully trade markets today.

Planet MicroCap Podcast, Bobby Kraft

    • One Sentence Summary: The best podcast for all things micro-cap investing.

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YouTube Channels

Investors Archive

    • One Sentence Summary: The best collection of interviews with the worlds best value managers, traders, private equity managers and real estate moguls.

Focused Compounding

    • One Sentence Summary: Along with full podcast episodes, Andrew breaks down value investing concepts in quick-hit videos.

Curreen Capital

    • One Sentence Summary: Christian Ryther of Curreen Capital provides breakdown on investing strategies, best practices and advice to wanna-be fund managers.

Tech Charts

    • One Sentence Summary: One of the best resources for learning classical charting principles (yes, value investors can use classical charting!).

Aswath Damodaran

    • One Sentence Summary: The OG of valuation posts entire curriculums, for free.

Talks at Google

    • One Sentence Summary: Be a fly on the wall as you learn alongside Google employees from experts in many domains.

Mohnish Pabrai

    • One Sentence Summary: Excellent collection of interviews with Mohnish Pabrai.

Bloomberg Quint

    • One Sentence Summary: Bloomberg for Indian financial markets.

Chat With Traders

    • One Sentence Summary: Aaron’s podcasts uploaded to YouTube.

Real Vision Finance

    • One Sentence Summary: Global macro focused finance channel (make sure to check out AK!).

MicroCapClub

    • One Sentence Summary: Ian doesn’t post many videos, but the ones on his channel are gold.

GreenWood Investors

    • One Sentence Summary: Steven Wood of GreenWood Investors posts stock pitches and interviews.

AK Fallible – Financial Entertainment

    • One Sentence Summary: Macro Ops’ own AK provides entertaining (and informative!) videos on stocks, finance and popular finance-related shows.

SNN Network

    • One Sentence Summary: Bobby Kraft posts interviews of his podcast episodes (Planet MicroCap).

MOI Global

    • One Sentence Summary: The Warren Buffett 1998 speech video alone is worth the sub.

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How to Identify the Consensus

Here’s John Percival, writing in his book The Way of the Dollar, describing how to identify the Consensus and act as a Contrarian. 

“Remember the last time you sold a currency at what proved to be the bottom, or bought at the exact top? That wasn’t just bad luck — nor even just foolishness. You and the crowd caused the bottom, or the top

The Consensus. 

I know of one top equity fund manager who has no other rule for handling the currency markets than to go against the consensus. It’s common sense. We must be ‘contrarians’, if we are to survive in financial markets in general and the currency markets in particular. During the great bull market in the dollar in 1981-5, it was the one single rule that assured survival. If you have any problem with that, I suspect there is no solution but to observe markets till it’s no longer a problem; for the shifts from pessimism to optimism and back are what bull and bear markets are about. 

The difficulty is to define “the consensus”. The crowd isn’t always wrong. When a price movement gets going, the crowd as often as not will line up in the direction of the movement. But standing against the crowd, at times can be as desirable as standing in the way of an express train. This is the drawback of such objective measures of opinions as Market Vane — a well known American service which measures bullish opinion among traders. If you poll traders, most of them will point in the direction of the trend. Bullish opinion as measured by Market Vane tells us the direction of prices over the past week, but not necessarily a lot more. 

Perhaps Bruce Kovner, of Caxton, nailed the problem when he said that what he was looking for was the consensus that is not confirmed by price action. That covered the entire 1981-5 bull market in the dollar when the consensus was constantly bearish. It also covers the price extremes, when the consensus is wrong by definition. 

Whether we are looking at the underlying multi-month/ multi-year trend or the intermediate multi-week moves, there are usually two phases when the consensus is not confirmed by price — early in the move and at the end of the move. Soon after a price reversal, majority opinion is usually aligned with the previous trend, i.e. the consensus lags. Similarly, majority opinion strengthens along with the on-going trend, trending to reach peak consensus at the price extreme. So the ideal position is to be contrarian at the beginning and end of a move, and pro-consensus in the middle. Nice work if you can get it so right. 

Never forget that the consensus 

usually includes you.

The consensus gauge is a subjective gauge. We read the papers and specialist commentators and we talk to people, and we conclude that most punters are facing one way. If we are facing the same way, we have to reconsider the situation in the light of our other sentiment gauges and cut back if they are flashing yellow. In the heat of a powerful favourable price move, we are often lulled into complacency: at that point, consulting the consensus is an essential discipline — it often comes as a shock to discover that we are in with the herd, and it can be very costly if we fail to make this discovery. When we diagnose a situation where the consensus is not confirmed by price, we should not just cutback but try facing the other way, to see whether anything clicks. If the market action feels right; if the open interest is extended; and if we can find a fitting rationale, we can reverse our position… 

Helpful Images

There is another description of the consensus-that’s-not-confirmed-by-price. It consists of two images that have become part of the ancient lore of Wall Street, the Wall of Worry and the River of Hope. A bull market we recall, “climbs a wall of worry” ; and “a bear market flows down a river of hope”. In point of fact, the description normally only applies to the early and middle stages in bull and bear markets. So we can be very comfortable when we diagnose a wall or a river — assuming we’re climbing and flowing respectively. 

In the later stages of the trend, things change. The worriers capitulate to the up-trend; and the hopers throw in the towel and give up the fight against the bear. At this stage, in a bull market, we find die-hard bears saying that, well, we are heading for a collapse, but prices are going to go up further before they head down. And in a bear market die-hard bulls assert that prices are far too low — but they can go lower still. The conversion process is nearing its end. Now we have to get a little wary, for obviously we are in the region of consensus. And this is a very dangerous region because nobody on earth can tell how far things can go. Currencies, stocks, commodities — it makes no difference. In this respect they’re all the same. 

It is said of Joseph Kennedy, father of President John Kennedy, that when he was having his shoes shined one day in autumn 1929, he was astonished to hear the shoe shine boy tip him a hot stock that was sure to go from 160 to 2000 or whatever. That was all Joe K needed. If shoe shine boys (or elevator attendants, or hairdressers, the cover of Newsweek or whatever) were tipping stocks, it was time to get out. So Joe K started selling short and thus laid the foundation of the family fortune — so the story goes. But if it’s true that Joe K went short at that moment then he was lucky. The sucker buys at the top of the market; geniuses and liars sell at the top of the market; but the super-sucker sells short at what he thinks is the top of the market. 

In 1979, the then financial editor of Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, Patrick Sargent (later to be a founder of Euromoney), called the top of the gold market at around $450. It was a perfectly sound call, in the light of the speculative heat in gold at the time especially from one who had been bullish of gold for a good time. Yet gold was to climb a further $400 by early 1980, when speculation turned from red-hot to white-hot. Imagine being short at $450! As I say, no-one on earth knows where a speculative trend will end — except with hindsight… 

This brings us to the question how you can distinguish a minor multi-week extreme from a major multi-month or multi-year extreme. The late stages in that great dollar bull market of 1980-5 provide a clue: you watch the way the conversion process trickles down through the different categories of currency observers. In mid-1984, the world was still full of die-hard dollar bears who had considered the currency overvalued ever since 1981. Who were they? It wasn’t the dealers, who are not and do not need to be overly concerned with underlying value; nor was it the trend-followers. It was the value-oriented analysts — researchers and economists by profession — with a long-term orientation. What happened was that some time during the autumn of 1984, the bearish consensus among this category turned round; and it happened relatively suddenly. You will see it quite clearly if you go back over the research material turned out by major banks at the time. “The dollar is grossly overvalued at DM 3.00, but we think it will head further up before it collapses”, that kind of thing. 

In other words, it’s just as you would expect. When the long-termers who were formerly skeptical at last capitulate to the trend, then you have a total consensus and the end is nigh for the major multi-month / multi-year move. Nigh, but not necessarily over. At this point one of our sentiment gauges comes into its own. We have to watch market action: the way the markets react in relation to the background and to news events.”

Michael Lewis wrote in his book Liar’s Poker that: 

Everyone wants to be, but no one is, for the sad reason that most investors are scared of looking foolish. Investors do not fear losing money as much as they fear solitude, by which I mean taking risks that others avoid. When they are caught losing money alone, they have no excuse for their mistake, and most investors, like most people, need excuses. They are, strangely enough, happy to stand on the edge of a precipice as long as they are joined by a few thousand others…

It’s incredibly difficult to identify the consensus and act as a contrarian in markets. A good first step is to acknowledge that you suffer from the same base cognitive impulses that drive the rest of the herd — we’re ALL part of the Dumb Money crowd. 

As soon as you accept this, you can then go about learning some tools to help you step back from the crowd and better understand the popular narratives and emotions that are driving prices. Doing so is more art than science and it takes a lot of work. But it’s better than standing on the edge of a precipice… 

-Alex

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There Are No Limits

“Bruce [Lee] had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a-half minutes per mile]. So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.” I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.”

“He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.” I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.” So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go anymore and so I say to him, “Bruce, if I run any more,” — and we’re still running — “if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.”

“It made me so mad that I went the full five miles. Afterward, I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”  ~ John Little, The Art of Expressing the Human Body

Calvin Coolidge once said “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Growth lives in the space beyond your comfort zone. Persistence and determination is the only way to travel there.

How are you exceeding your level?

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Trader Vic’s Market Methods

I first came across Trader Vic over a decade ago while meandering through an old book store. My dog eared and excessively highlighted copy still sits on the bookshelf next to my desk. It’s one of the few trading books I regularly turn to for a reread. The book covers everything from trade management to market psychology, to technicals and fundamentals, and even some economics.

Below are a few of my notes from the book.


On Thinking in Essentials

“If I had to reduce all the components of my methods to a single phrase, it would be thinking in essentials.

It’s not necessarily how much you know, but the truth and quality of what you know that counts. Every week in Barron’s there are dozens of pages of fine print summarizing the week’s activities in stocks, bonds, commodities, options, and so forth. There is so much information that to process all of it, and make sense out of it, is a task beyond any genius’s mental capacity.

One way to narrow down the data is to specialize in one or two areas. Another way is to use computers to do a lot of the sorting out for you. But no matter how you reduce the data, the key to processing information is the ability to abstract the essential information from the bounty of data produced each day.

To do this, you have to relate the information to principles — to fundamental concepts that define the nature fo the financial markets. A principle is a broad generalization that describes an unlimited number of specific events and correlates vast amounts of data. It is with principles that you can take complex market data and make it relatively simple and manageable.”

This is why we at MO practice Ruthless Reductionism. Einstein said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”. Your information intake is a key part of your process. Strip away the fat, know what you consume and why you consume it, search for key principles and let them guide your way.


A Business Philosophy for Consistent Success

“I base my business philosophy on three principles, listed here in order of importance: preservation of capital, consistent profitability, and the pursuit of superior returns. These principals are basic in the sense that they underlie and guide all of my market decisions. Each principle carries a different weight in my speculative strategy, and they evolve from one to the other. That is, preservation of capital leads to consistent profits, which makes pursuit of superior returns possible.”


Preservation of Capital

“Preservation of capital is the cornerstone of my business philosophy. This means that, in considering any potential market involvement, risk is my prime concern. Before asking, “What personal profit can I realize?”, I first ask, “What potential loss can I suffer?”

… In my terms, money isn’t green… it’s either black or white. Black and white have come to be associated with false or true, wrong or right, bad or good. In ethical terms, most of society has been taught that ‘there are no blacks and whites — there is only gray’: gray — the mixed and contradictory — the lack of absolutes. But on a ledger sheet, htere are nothing but absolutes: 2+2 is always 4, and 2-6 is always -4! Yet, in a subtle way, the modern investor has been taught to accept gray by the money management community. He is encouraged to rejoice if his account goes down only 10% when the averages are down 20% — after all, he has outperformed the averages by 10%! This is B.S., plain and simple.

There is one, and only one, valid question for an investor to ask: “Have I made money?” The best insurance that the answer will always be “Yes!” is to consistently speculate or invest only when the odds are decidedly in your favor, which means keeping risk at a minimum.”


Consistent Profitability

Obviously, the markets aren’t always at or near tops or bottoms. Generally speaking, a good speculator or investor should be able to capture between 60 and 80% of the long-term price trend (whether up or down) between bull market tops and bear market bottoms in any market. This is the period when the focus should be on making consistent profits with low risk.

Consistent profitability is a corollary of the preservation of capital. Now what do I mean by a corollary? A corollary is an idea or a principle. IN this case, consistent profitability is a corollary of the preservation of capital because capital isn’t a static quantity — it is either gained or lost. To gain capital, you have to be consistently profitable; but to be consistently profitable, you have to preserve gains and minimize losses. Therefore, you must constantly balance the risks and rewards of each decision, scaling your risk according to accumulated profits or losses, thereby increasing the odds of consistent success.

…Anyone who enters the financial markets expecting to be right on most of their trades is in for a rude awakening. If you think about it, it’s a lot like hitting a baseball — the best players only get hits 30 to 40% of the time. But a good player knows that the hits usually help a lot more than the strikeouts hurt. The reward is greater than the risk.


Pursuit of Superior Returns

As profits accrue, I apply the same reasoning but take the process a step further to the pursuit of superior returns. If, and only if, a level of profits exists to justify aggressive risk, then I will take on a higher risk to produce greater percentage returns on capital. This does not mean that I change my risk/reward criteria; it means that I increase the size of my positions.

Trading is a business and should be treated as such. Know your edge, play the game of making money versus trying to be right, and don’t take unwarranted risks.

Best Global Macro Podcasts
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The Best Trading Podcasts For Global Macro Investors

These days we’re flooded with information with barely enough time to digest it all.

To help solve this, our team at Macro Ops tunes into trading podcasts.

With trading podcasts, all those hours you spend driving, doing chores, or working out can also be used to catch up on markets and learn something new.

Below you’ll find a list of the best trading podcasts we listen to on a monthly basis to keep our game sharp. We’ve separated them into two categories — process based and news/commentary/narrative based.

The process based podcasts help us develop our macro trading strategies while the commentary helps round out our global macro research. We find both very useful.   

Best Process Based Trading Podcasts

#1 Chat With Traders     

Chat With Traders

Chat With Traders is the leading process podcast for anyone interested in markets. In each episode, host Aaron Fifield invites a guest trader onto the show and breaks down their strategies. The focus is always on their mental models and trading framework — not their current trade ideas.

One of the best ways to improve your own trading is to listen to how others approach markets. You can take their experience and advice and apply it to your own unique style.

The show’s guest list is diverse and ranges from HFT all the way to global macro traders. You’ll get as taste of everything.

Recommended Episode

Chat With Traders, EP. 79 featuring Raoul Pal

I don’t know any of the better known traders who didn’t start with a chart. Paul Tudor Jones always a chart, Stan Druckenmiller always a chart, George Soros always a chart. Many of these guys, most of these guys are all chart based. – Raoul Pal

Raoul cut his teeth advising the biggest macro names in the industry including Paul Tudor Jones, Stan Druckenmiller, and George Soros. He then used his knowledge and experience to run a macro fund before retiring at the ripe age of 36.

Aaron does a great job digging into Raoul’s trading process to figure out how he plays the global macro chess game.

Key areas discussed include:

  • The definition of global macro trading
  • Combining technicals and fundamentals to create better trade signals
  • How to quantify the business cycle using the ISM number
  • How to trade around a position as a macro theme plays out

This is a must-listen episode to see how a veteran global macro investor thinks.

 

#2 Masters In Business

Masters In Business

Masters In Business is a podcast hosted by Barry Ritholtz — a wealth manager and popular financial blogger. Barry has deep domain expertise that makes him an incredible interviewer. He uses his experience to ask the right questions and pull as much as possible out of his guests.

Recommended Episode

Masters In Business featuring Ed Thorp

When people talk about efficient markets they think it’s a property of the market. But I think that’s not the way to look at it. The market is a process that goes on. And we have, depending on who we are, different degrees of knowledge about different parts of that process. – Ed Thorp

Ed Thorp has proved the Efficient Market Hypothesis incorrect over and over again throughout his career. He’s shown that it’s possible to win if you understand the concepts of edge and probability. Thorp does a fantastic job breaking these concepts down into digestible bite-sized pieces.

Key areas discussed include:

If you’re looking to beef up your “quant chops”, listen to this now.

 

#3 Invest Like The Best       

Invest Like The Best

Invest Like The Best is hosted by Patrick O’Shaughnessy — a portfolio manager at O’Shaughnessy Asset Management and blogger at http://investorfieldguide.com/. His show focuses on longer-term investing rather than shorter-term trading. Patrick invites guests with a variety of investing backgrounds in areas like cryptocurrencies, venture capital, and equities. The best episodes are equity related as Patrick always brings on the sharpest guys in the world of stock picking. If you’re into analyzing specific companies, this show is a must.

Recommended Episode

Invest Like the Best, EP.54 featuring David Gardner

Many of the really important things that determine what wins in business are not captured on the financial statements. – David Gardner

This episode does a great job explaining investment narratives. Successful investing, especially in global macro, isn’t always about the numbers. Narratives and investor expectations often drive the macro landscape more than the data itself.

David Gardner, co-founder of the Motley Fool, talks with Patrick about how he invests using compelling narratives instead of traditional valuation metrics.

Key areas discussed include:

  • Narratives over numbers
  • Wisdom of crowds
  • How visionary leadership is key
  • How “overvalued” can actually be a buy signal

This conversation ties in well with Soros’ theory of reflexivity. Positive beliefs about a company can influence its underlying fundamentals to create a positive feedback loop that sends prices higher and higher. Naive traders that short these positive feedback loops end up paying the price.

 

#4 Better System Trader       

Better System Trader

Better System Trader is a show primarily focused on short to mid-term systematic trading. If you’re a discretionary trader looking to get into systems, this podcast provides a great look into that world. The show is also good for more experienced system traders as Andrew Swanscott does a fine job balancing system building basics with more advanced topics.

Recommended Episode

Better System Trader, Episode 59 featuring Scott Phillips

The first fix [for drawdowns] is to bank partial profits along the way at a point that doesn’t sacrifice your total return too much but reduces the standard deviation of your winners. – Scott Phillips

Scott Phillips has an incredible trading journey that began as a recovering meth addict in prison. While inside, Scott read every trading book he could get his hands on. He even had people send him high, low, open, and close data that he would record by hand in a scrap book! Scott is a high energy, no-bullshit guy that delivers brutal truths about the difficulties of system building.

Key areas discussed include:

I really enjoyed this episode because of Scott’s directness. There’s no fluff at all in this conversation. Every minute is well worth your time.

 

#5 Futures Radio Show 

Futures Radio Show

Futures Radio Show is hosted by Anthony Crudele. Anthony got his start on the floor of the CME back in 1999. He’s traded millions of futures contracts over his lifetime and was also one of the first to trade the E-mini S&P electronic contract. Since Anthony’s show revolves around futures, it has a macro fundamental bias. You’ll find some newsy segments here and there but the majority of the content focuses on trading process.

Recommended Episode

Futures Radio Show, Minisode 16: Kevin Muir

All those gaps add up, and they actually cause the futures chart, when you are looking at the continuous chart over a longer period, to not be indicative of what the asset return is during that timeframe. – Kevin Muir

Anthony Crudele invites Kevin Muir aka “The Macro Tourist” on the show to talk process and current events. Kevin is a veteran macro trader who now trades for himself. He specializes in derivative products like futures and options. Since he’s no longer in the institutional game, all his advice is very applicable to the retail trader.

Key areas discussed include:

  • Thinking about carry in the futures markets
  • Adjusting futures charts to see the carry
  • How to think about implied volatility vs realized volatility when trading options

I thought Kevin did a great job breaking down these complex concepts. You’ll learn a whole lot about the derivative markets in just a half hour.

 

#6 The Tim Ferriss Show        

The Tim Ferriss Show

This is the one podcast out of the entire list that isn’t finance focused. It’s on here because Tim specializes in process building across all disciplines. Successful trading and investing is a lifelong journey that requires optimization in every area — health, fitness, business, etc. Tim talks to top performers across a variety fields to help you build great systems and habits into your life.

Recommended Episode

The Tim Ferriss Show, Episode 264: Ray Dalio, The Steve Jobs of Investing

Every buyer has behavioral characteristics for certain reasons, let’s say stocks, to use a very simple example, a typical individual, maybe mutual fund buyer, will buy after something’s gone up because they think it’s a better investment. They’ll sell when it goes down because they’ll get scared, and they think it’s a worse investment. Whereas, a typical institutional investor or pension fund, will buy when it goes down because they have to rebalance their portfolio to keep an asset allocation mix at a certain level.     – Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio is one of the preeminent macro traders of the modern era with the track record to prove it. His hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, is the most profitable hedge fund of all time — making billions upon billions of dollars for its investors.

Any media Dalio does is worth a listen. The man has so much wisdom and insight, he could go on for hours and hours. We only get two here, but it’s a solid two hours. Tim is an excellent interviewer who knows how to pull the maximum amount from his guests.

Key areas discussed include:

There’s no way to master global macro without deeply understanding the concepts Dalio discusses. Listen to this once, and if it doesn’t quite click, keep listening again and again. The wisdom here is timeless.

 

Best News/Commentary/Narrative Based Trading Podcasts

#1 Financial Sense Newshour      

Financial Sense Newshour

Financial Sense Newshour is a podcast available as a paid subscription through the FS Insider program. In it you’ll find market strategists with various backgrounds sharing their views. This show is a useful tool to stress test your own market theses. Everyone suffers from confirmation bias and actively seeking out opinions that differ from your own helps “red team” your analysis.

 

#2 Adventures In Finance       

Adventures In Finance

Adventures In Finance has the highest production value of any financial podcast on the net. The hosts always put on an entertaining show chock full of interesting nuggets. The content of each episode varies greatly, but for the most part it focuses on bringing you the most compelling global macro narratives. They also have a brilliant segment titled “Things I Got Wrong”, where a money manager explains mistakes they’ve made and what they’ve learned from them.

Recommended Episode

Adventures In Finance Episode: 22 – Murderer, Gambler, Aristocrat & Pauper. John Law, The Godfather of Central Banking

In this highly entertaining episode, the team explores the fascinating story of John Law, a man whose economic ideas have influenced and shaped modern central banking. Law’s financial shenanigans created the “Mississippi Bubble”, a spectacular boom and bust process that played out in early 18th-century France. Listening to history is a great way to educate yourself on the perils of modern monetary policy as well as the timeless fear and greed that dominates our markets.

 

#3 Macro Voices        

Macro Voices

Macro Voices is a weekly podcast reviewing the largest global macro themes driving equities, rates, currencies, and commodities. The host, Erik Townsend, is a tech entrepreneur turned global macro fanatic who loves discussing the big picture. Erik’s show has a different flavor than your typical market commentary because he actively trades through a small hedge fund. He has skin in the game and cares about getting things right.

If you want to hear more about Erik, Chat With Traders did a feature on him that you can listen to here.

 

#4 McAlvany Weekly Commentary       

McAlvany Weekly Commentary

David McAlvany hosts this valuable global macro show where he discusses all the latest political and economic news that matters to financial markets. There’s a strong bias against central banks and for gold, but if you can get past that, there’s plenty of interesting macro themes to chew on. This show is best used to help with trade idea generation, but there are also various intelligent guests that come by and talk broader macro theory.

 

That concludes the list of podcasts we listen to. If you have any recommendations that we missed, just leave them in the comments below…  

 

If you’re interested in a thorough global macro book list, be sure to check out our rundown of the best global macro books here.

And if you’d like to see how our team trades, check out the Macro Ops Handbook here.

 

 

George Soros The Way Ahead Lecture
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A Review Of George Soros’ “The Way Ahead” Lecture

The following review is straight from Operator James, a member of the Macro Ops Hub.

With my TV broken for the last several months, and a useless repairman backed by a company going out of business, I’ve had a lot of time to devote to learning and thinking. Recently I realized I need to dig into fundamentals and decided George Soros was the best place to start. Thankfully there’s plenty of his speeches and lectures online (along with a lot of ‘Soros is the devil’ articles and something about him being a Nazi).

Soros’ “The Way Ahead” lecture series from 2010 is very interesting. It covers his theory of reflexivity and how it applies to financial markets. The lecture contains some interesting ideas that have yet to happen, but seem to apply to the near future. You can watch the lecture below. To follow are my quick notes and thoughts on the material presented.

7:00 to 8:00 – Back in 2010 Soros felt the financial crisis was not the end. He expected another crisis within a year or two. Obviously that didn’t happen. But he explains that he didn’t see the recovery from 2009. I’m not saying a crisis is around the corner, but we should never lose sight that one could be.

9:00 to 9:30 – Eventually the US won’t dominate the world as it has in the past. If Soros is right, a new paradigm will emerge. There will likely be many potential opportunities to profit during the shift. As a 13th generation American, I’m saddened by the short-sightedness of our leaders, but a new world order is not the end, but rather an opportunity.

12:00 to 17:50 – Soros discusses the concept of central and periphery currency flows.

20:30 to 21:00 – After talking about global financial regulations needing a force with teeth, Soros mentions how the system is currently constructed to give rise to ‘financial protectionism’ that could disrupt the global markets.

40:40 to End – Soros discusses many points in the last few minutes of the lecture. The overriding theme is: what happens after the dollar rises and puts developing countries in a bind? The world does not seem to trust American leadership anymore and that could spell trouble for US debt and dollar dominance. My intention is not to say that the following will absolutely happen, but rather to game scenarios to see where things may land. Ultimately, how do we profit from these events should they happen? I will try to encapsulate as many points as possible:

  • If the USD continues to advance higher, will the other powers (including China) want to operate under the Bretton Woods arrangement? Soros’ suggests the world should move to an SDR basket as a reserve currency. But could this realistically happen? I doubt the current US administration would be willing to sit down with the Chinese and allow a new world order where the dollar ceases to be the reserve currency. After all, USD reserve currency status provides certain advantages to the US government (e.g. greater debt spending because foreign governments are willing to buy in).
  • Would it be in China’s best interest to join an SDR-like arrangement? With all the poverty still racking their country, I doubt they’d want to give up their manufacturing advantage by becoming the reserve currency. Maybe they think they can do better than the Americans and prevent the hollowing of their rust belt. But of course I should mention that America can still produce a lot. I see it everyday. However, I also happen to know by dealing directly with the Chinese that they’re skeptical of automation (plant automation is my profession).
  • Around 46:50 to 47:00 Soros concedes that if Obama fails to prevent a double-dip, the population could become susceptible to populism. We didn’t have another dip in asset prices, but the folks in the places that voted for Trump didn’t see it that way. Shortly before the election I interviewed an engineer who worked for the steel industry in western PA. He told me he was looking for a job because a lot of plants had shut down and he knew he was next. This is a common story that illustrates that the people that voted for Trump did not care about stock prices.
  • At 48:50 Soros mentions that China will need a more open society if it wants to be considered a developed country. This point makes me wonder whether a crisis will serve to open China up, or makes it more isolated. This is something we’ll have to wait to see.

These are just my own thoughts on the lecture. I would love to hear yours as well. Please feel free to respond in the comment section below. Thanks!  

To learn more about our investment strategy at Macro Ops, that includes wisdom learned from Soros, click here.

 

 

Anthony Bolton's Investing Against The Tide
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A Review Of Anthony Bolton’s “Investing Against The Tide”

The following review is straight from Operator Kean, a member of the Macro Ops Hub. To contact Kean, visit his website here.

Anthony Bolton is one of Britain’s most well-known investors. He’s managed money professionally for close to 3 decades at Fidelity Investments, and during his time as head of the Special Situations Fund, he’s averaged annualised return of 20%!

Bolton shares his wealth of experience in his professional self-styled journal titled Investing Against The Tide. Forwarded by well-known investor Peter Lynch, a long-time colleague of Bolton’s, the 200+ page book reflects Bolton’s investment philosophy and practices.

While the book isn’t as light a read as Scott Fearon’s Dead Companies Walking, I found it to be more valuable from a practical perspective. Bolton not only shares his experiences, but his conceptual investment framework as well.

The book is split into 2 parts. The first is titled “principles and practices from a life running money”. The second is titled “experiences and reflections from a life running money.” The former covers the ‘how and what’ of Bolton’s investment framework, while the latter is more introspective, with commentary on the ups-and-downs of his investment career.

The first part includes:

  • What to look for in management
  • Developing an investment thesis
  • Gauging market sentiment
  • Constructing a portfolio of shares
  • Assessing the financials of a company
  • Understanding valuations
  • Technical analysis and the importance of price charts
  • Market timing

These sub-chapters are brief (some barely 2 pages long), with Bolton offering his take on what to look for during the investment process. Given that bottom-up fundamental analysis can be quite complex, workable ‘Occam’s Razor’ parameters are needed for decision making.

The second part of the book covers:

This is the section where Bolton reminisces about his career, including his own mistakes and what he sees as the future of the industry.

Bolton also shares 12 attributes needed to be successful in the markets:

One interesting part of Bolton’s strategy is his use of technical analysis. Not many fundamental bottom-up stock pickers are known for calibrating their investments with technical analysis. Bolton explains:

The way I look at technical analysis today is as a framework or overlay into which I put my fundamental bets on individual stocks. I see it as a discipline for my stock picking. What I mean by this is that, if the technical analysis confirms my fundamental views, I may take a bigger bet than I would do otherwise. However, if the technical analysis doesn’t confirm my fundamental positive view, it makes me review my investment thesis on a company, for example checking that there aren’t negative factors we have overlooked. If my conviction is very strong I will often ignore the technical view; at other times if it conflicts I will take a smaller bet or reduce my position…

… I look at the technical situation as a summation of all the fundamental views available on a stock at that particular moment and it can sometimes be a warning signal of problems ahead. In a world where every professional fund manager knows that at least two out of five share picks they make will not work out as they hoped this is very useful…

… One of the great disciplines of technical analysis is that it forces you to cut losses and run profits – something that’s always easier said than done. Although at heart I’m a fundamentalist I have definitely found that the combination of two approaches seems to work better than just one on its own. A few years ago I spoke at a technical analysis conference and said that if I was on a desert island and was only allowed one input for my investment decisions, it would be an up-to-date chart book. I think today I would still be of the same opinion. The trouble with fundamental data is that I can’t single out only one source that on its own would be sufficient. I could, if pushed, run a portfolio with just a chart book – although on a desert island, it wouldn’t be high up on my list of survival items.

So who says technical analysis is voodoo?

Bolton’s book is great for long-term equity investors, particularly for those who are value-oriented. I’d rate it a 4 out of 5.

To learn more about our investment strategy at Macro Ops, click here.

 

 

A Review Of Lawrence Creatura’s “Long and Short
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A Review Of Lawrence Creatura’s “Long and Short: Confessions of a Portfolio Manager”

The following review is straight from Operator Kean, a member of the Macro Ops Hub. To contact Kean, visit his website here.

Lawrence Creatura recently shared his insights from over two decades of investing in markets. The following are my takeaways from Long & Short: Confessions of a Portfolio Manager.

Identify Your Comparative Advantage

Creatura advises that investors understand their edge. This point is similar to Warren Buffett’s advice about knowing your ‘Circle of Competence’ — finding what you’re really good at and being aware of where that boundary/circle ends. Creatura writes: Read more

A Comprehensive Reading List For Global Macro Traders & Investors
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A Comprehensive Reading List For Global Macro Traders & Investors

The successful macro investor must be some magical mixture of an acute analyst, an investment scholar, a listener, a historian, a river boat gambler, and be a voraciousreader. Reading is crucial.

~ Barton Biggs

After being asked countless times about the best books to read when it comes to markets and trading, I finally decided to create a comprehensive list.

I’ve read hundreds of books on trading, markets, economics, history and psychology over the years. And even now I still try to read a new one every two weeks. Reading is not only vital to developing yourself as a trader, but also as a person who’s able to get what they want out of life. Read more

Dead Companies Walking
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A Review Of Scott Fearon’s “Dead Companies Walking”

The following review is straight from Operator Kean, a member of the Macro Ops Hub. To contact Kean, visit his website here. Read more