My Favorite Investment Writing of 2019
As the Christmas break approaches, the team at Marcellus gets ready for some heavy duty reading over the holidays (alongside, of course, copious amounts of good food consumed at a leisurely pace with friends & family). If you are looking for good stuff to read over the holidays, you will find Nick Maggiulli – yet another good writer from the Ritholtz stable. Nick points you towards several superbly written articles and good books that he read in 2019. Here are some of our favourites amongst Nick’s recommendations
- “Three Big Things: The Most Important Forces Shaping the World” by Morgan Housel (https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/three-big-things-the-most-important-forces-shaping-the-world/): This is a mindblowing piece from the great writer. Housel begins the piece by explaining how World War II has influenced almost everything in our lives – the internet, the civil rights movement in the US, the concept of a ‘social security safety net’, extensive highway networks, birth control, women in the workplace, etc. He then asks what are the 3 Big Things – as big as World War II – which will have profound impact on the coming decades. Read the Housel piece if you want to understand how the world around us really works.
- “Debunking the Silly “Passive is a Bubble” Myth” by Ben Carlson (https://awealthofcommonsense.com/2019/09/debunking-the-silly-passive-is-a-bubble-myth/): The ‘Wealth of Commonsense” author takes on Lehman Brothers crash predictor Michael Burry’s latest prediction (that Index funds, like sub-prime CDOs, will blow up). Carlson also takes Seth Klarman who has opined that index investing is a passing fad. Carlson says that index funds are nothing special – they are simply a low cost, low turnover, simple to understand way to gain access to the stockmarket. In the US, they account for only 15% of shares issued by public companies (much lower than US mutual funds). Even more importantly Carlson points out that “Yes, index investors are free riders, but this is the way most markets work. We don’t go to the grocery store to bid on prices of oranges against one another to set an equilibrium. The market does that for us.”
- “The MBA Myth and the Cult of the CEO” by By Dan Rasmussen & Haonan Li (https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1db3jy3201d38/The-MBA-Myth-and-the-Cult-of-the-CEO): At Marcellus we love to challenge this whole notion of “credentialism” i.e. the notion that elite individuals (usually men) who get themselves an elite education (usually a foreign MBA) are any more or less useful than a hardworking, honest and intelligent, person from an unknown educational institution. This painstakingly researched, data driven article goes hammer and tongs at de-bunking corporate myths around the usefulness of MBAs, giving ESOPs to CEOs and superstar CEOs.