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

How to Make Money with Global Macro
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A Review Of Javier Gonzalez’s “How to Make Money with Global Macro”

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

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The 5 Best Books On Economic History For Global Macro Trading & Investing

If your goal is to become a master global macro trader or investor, then you need to become a devout student of economic history. The books below cover various episodes of credit driven speculation throughout history. Studying these instances will show you that humans tend to repeat similar periods of economic delusion time and time again. This knowledge will help you stand apart from the crowd and form profitable “smart contrarian” opinions that will put you ahead of the game.

1.  Ray Dalio’s “How The Economic Machine Works”

How The Economic Machine Works Book

Ray Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater Associates — the #1 most successful hedge fund of all time. The reason for the fund’s success stems from Dalio’s deep understanding of the true driver of economies: credit. Booms, busts, and everything inbetween fit into Dalio’s view of credit and the short and long-term debt cycles it creates. Dalio’s “Economic Machine” is the foundation of the macroeconomic theory we use to analyze markets right here at Macro Ops.

2. Carmen Reinhart’s “This Time Is Different”

 This Time Is Different Book

As long as we continue to have credit cycles, we’ll continue to have financial crises. In This Time Is Different economist Carmen Reinhart conducts a comprehensive study of financial crises across 66 countries in 5 different continents over 8 centuries. Reinhart covers government defaults, inflationary spikes, unemployment rates, equity prices, and much more to show the similarities between all these events and why they’re bound to happen again and again.

3. Kindleberger’s “Manias, Panics, and Crashes”

Manias, Panics, and Crashes Book

Charles Kindleberger’s Manias, Panics, and Crashes once again dissects the centuries of credit booms and busts that have lead to financial crises. Speculative bubbles are an integral part of financial systems across history. You can’t avoid them because you can’t avoid human nature. This book once again proves why that’s true.

4. Chancellor’s “Devil Take The Hindmost”

 Devil Take The Hindmost Book

In Devil Take The Hindmost Edward Chancellor takes a deeper look at the psychology behind the booms and busts we’ve come to love. Why do people bet on markets?  And why does this speculation always spiral out of control? Chancellor takes his shot at explaining this phenomenon from a combination of a sociological and psychological standpoint.

5. Mackay’s “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds Book

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay was first written in 1841. This book goes way past just speculative bubbles. It also covers witch hunts, the Crusades, stylistic trends, and a host of other “popular delusions” that have permeated throughout history. The crux of the argument is that human nature doesn’t change. And because it doesn’t change, we can expect to see the same kind of delusions to continue ad infinitum.

Don’t just read these books. Study them thoroughly and understand the common links that drive markets. Understand why human psychology plays such a large part. As Mark Twain said “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes”. Know your history…

If you’re interested in a more comprehensive reading list for global macro traders & investors, click here. 

 

 

Diary Of A Professional Commodity Trader
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A Review Of Peter Brandt’s “Diary Of A Professional Commodity Trader”

It’s a rare opportunity to get an inside look at the trading process of a legend. But that’s exactly what Peter L. Brandt (PLB) provides with his book Diary of a Professional Commodity Trader: Lessons from 21 Weeks of Real Trading. Read more

Palindrome Ahead Of The Curve Book Review
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Soros On Soros: Staying Ahead Of The Curve Book Review

Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve is one of three books every aspiring trader needs to read; the other two being Reminiscences of a Stock Operator and Market Wizards (the original). George Soros, nicknamed the Palindrome, because his last name is the same forward and backwards, is arguably one of the greatest traders of this generation.

While managing the Quantum Fund, Soros realized astronomical returns for decades (averaging over 30% a year).

Soros has authored numerous books on topics ranging from philosophy, government, globalization, and of course, trading. Soros on Soros is the second of his two written on trading.  I refer to Soros on Soros as being The Alchemy of Finance-lite. Read more