Tag Archives: book

Soccernomics

Soccernomics.

If you love football (soccer) and have read one of the books of the “Freakonomics” saga or any book from Malcolm Gladwell, then “Soccernomics“, by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (430 pgs.), will be a great read for you.

The book is written in the same style as the other books mentioned above: using economics’ techniques, plenty of data, statistics, citing several papers, studies, etc., in order to bring up uncovered issues about football or refocus the attention about other ones. Some examples:

  • Mastering the transfer market. Departing from the example of Billy Beane in baseball, described in “Moneyball“, by Michael Lewis (of which a movie was also made starring Brad Pitt), the authors show how pouring money in transfer markets doesn’t bring titles. The key issue is to have a balanced net investment (sales/acquisitions). In soccer the main example would be Olympique Lyon which will “sell any player if a club offer more than he is worth”, for which each player is previously assigned a price (much like value investing).
  • The more money is paid to players the better (in salaries). Instead of buying new expensive players it seems to make more sense to pay well and ensure the adaptation of the stars already playing for the team.
  • The market for managers is not yet very open (e.g. no black coaches in main European teams), thus many of them do not make a real difference. There was even an English team Ebbsfleet United who dispensed the coach and allowed subscribed fans to vote the player selection for each match.
  • The book, written at the beginning of 2012 forecasted that soon teams from big European capitals would win the Champions’ League, being those capitals: London, Paris, Istanbul and Moscow. Few months later Chelsea won its first one, let’s see the others.
  • The main factors for the success of football national teams seem to be the experience (international games played by the national team), wealth and population.
  • The authors give much weight to Western Europe dominance of football due to the interconnectedness of continental Europe. Explaining the rise of Spain in the ’90s and ’00s due to its growth in population, improved economy since joining the EU, more experience and exchanges of styles with coaches of other countries.
  • The authors claim that future national football will be dominated by countries such as Iraq, USA, Japan or China.

As you can see there are many different topics, all with some data to support them (even if sometimes you doubt about the consistency of their claims, e.g. their statements on industrial cities as dominating football, dictatorships, etc.). I marked many pages with some anecdotes or papers that I would like to read.

One final anecdote: tips given to clubs and teams in KO competitions in case they face a penalty shoot-out. In the Champions’ League final of 2008, Chelsea and Manchester United reached the penalties. An economist had given Chelsea a study of Manchester goal keeper and penalty-shooters. Once you read the book and the tips the economist provided (“Van der Sar tends to dive to the kicker’s natural side”, “most of the penalties that Van der Sar stops are mid-height, thus is better to shoot low or high”, “if Cristiano Ronaldo stops half-way in the run-up to the ball chances are 85% that he shoots to his natural side”…), it is quite interesting to actually see that penalty shoot-out and how the different players acted.

[Pay special attention at Van der Sar’s reaction at 09’40”, when it seems he noticed about Chelsea having been tipped]

I definitely recommend this book to football fans. I also recommend two other books about which I wrote in the blog some time ago: “How soccer explains the World” and “Historias del fútbol mundial“.

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The Peter Principle

The Peter Principle says: “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence“.

The Peter Principle.

The book, by Laurence J. Peter, is a hilarious account of situations that arise in companies and institutions of why and how people are promoted, cornered, etc., or in his words is a treatise on hierarchology.

You probably have heard about the principle at some time. The author exposes a lot of other related concepts with invented jargon, including plenty of examples that we may have seen in our companies. The account of those seemingly contradicting, irrational, incomprehensible situations but which are so familiar to us is what makes the book hilarious.

Some of those other concepts and ideas introduced by the book:

  • The percussive sublimation: when someone is kicked upstairs to get him out of the road and unblock other promotions.
  • The lateral arabesque: when an incompetent employee is given a new and longer title and is moved to an office in a remote part of the building (easier in larger hierarchies).
  • Peter’s inversion: when internal consistency is valued more highly than efficient service (“xxx is methodical, consistent, he co-operates, is steady…”).
  • Pretty pass: getting out from under an incompetent to go up the ladder in a parallel circumvallation.
  • Flying T formation: organizations with plenty of VPs with few workers at the bottom… (I’m sure you can picture the T in your mind… and your organization).
  • Occupational incompetence is everywhere (a universal phenomenon).
  • In time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties.
  • Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.
  • You be the judge. Look at the mirror and ask whether… (there are no exceptions to the principle).

Years later, professor Edward P. Lazear, from Stanford Graduate School of Business, published the paper “The Peter Principle: A Theory of Decline“,  where he analyzed the principle and substantiated it with mathematical formulae. As he describes in the abstract of the paper:

Some have observed that individuals perform worse after being promoted. […] Being promoted is evidence that a standard has been met. Regression to the mean implies that future ability will be lower, on average. Firms optimally account for the regression bias in making promotion decisions, but the effect is never eliminated. Rather than evidence of a mistake, the Peter Principle is a necessary consequence of any promotion rule. […] Usually, firms inflate the promotion criterion to offset the Peter Principle effect, and the more important is the transitory component relative to total variation in ability, the larger the amount that the standard is inflated.

If your promotion has been reject, you find yourself overwhelmed with your current job, you have consciously decided to go along in the office with minimum effort trying to be unnoticed, are happy with your current job and do not wish to be promoted by any standard… go and read the book 🙂

***

I have already mentioned sometimes in the blog that every time that I pass by an airport (and that is often) I try to go to the book shop to see if I can grab something interesting. I was after this book since I read about it in another book “Management gurus” in 2010 (of which I already wrote a review – in that post I remarked 4 punching books I wanted to read, one was this) and found it two years later at Dubai International airport, this only reinforces that habit :-).

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Le Petit Prince

Le Petit Prince.

Last summer I visited an exhibition on occasion of the celebration of “2011 Year of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry”. Elsewhere he is mainly known as the author of “The Little Prince” (Le Petit Prince), however I learnt in that exhibition that in Toulouse he is mainly known as an aviation pioneer, flying airmail routes (for the emblematic Aéropostale based in Toulouse) and then for the French Air Force.

I guess that some of you had read Le Petit Prince early in your lives, I didn’t. I received the book as a present from former colleagues when moving to France and only finished it some weeks ago, being the first book I’ve read in French. Not bad for a start, as according to the Wikipedia it is the most read book in French language and was voted as the best book of the 20th century in France.

It has some idealistic messages or fine criticisms, to name a few:

  • “One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
  • A businessman who goes on “owning” stars and counting them not having time for anything else, not knowing what to do with them and having a very serious thought of him.
  • The geographer, proud of his profession, but who lacks any practical knowledge as “that” is the responsibility of someone else, the explorer in this case.
  • The concept of domestication being two-ways. I loved when the prince goes Il y a une fleur… je crois qu’elle m’a apprivoisé… (“There is a flower … I think she domesticated me …”) I believe this could be applicable to many pet owners.

I felt especially caught when the book first said “Les grandes personnes aiment les chiffres” (adults love numbers) and later when it went:

“Si les deux milliards d’habitants qui peuplent la terre se tenaient debout et un peu serrés, comme pour un meeting, ils logeraient aisément sur une place publique de vingt milles de long sur vingt milles de large. On pourrait entasser l’humanité sur le moindre petit îlot du Pacifique.

Les grandes personnes, bien sûr, ne vous croiront pas. Elles s’imaginent tenir beaucoup de place. Elles se voient importantes comme des baobabs. Vous leur conseillerez donc de faire le calcul. Elles adorent les chiffres: ça leur plaira.

(“If the two billion inhabitants who people its surface were all to stand upright and somewhat crowded together, as they do for some big public assembly, they could easily be put into one public square twenty miles long and twenty miles wide. All humanity could be piled up on a small Pacific islet.

The grown-ups, to be sure, will not believe you when you tell them that. They imagine that they fill a great deal of space. They fancy themselves as important as the baobabs. You should advise them, then, to make their own calculations. They adore figures, and that will please them.”)

When I read the first paragraph and before reading the second, I was already writing a remainder note to make the calculation…

In demonstrations, the range of people per square meter is between 2 and 3.5 (4 being “like a rock concert”). A square of 20 miles by 20 miles covers an area of 1,035 millions of square meters. Therefore, in such a square we could pack between 2 and 4 billion people, the population of the Earth at the time, yes.

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Summary of (my) 2011

Let me share with you a brief recap of my 2011 (as I already did last year).

If I then characterized 2010 as a learning year, I would say 2011 was a year on the run.

At the beginning of the year I set out my objectives for 2011, of which I have achieved 71.4% (just above my 70% target!). One of them was only to “become again a frequent runner”, for which I set up some modest steps, e.g., buy new running shoes, run 3 days before mid-January, run a 10k popular race before November, lose some 10kg by June… If there was a yearly objective which I widely met, it was this one:

Último kilómetro de los 100km de Millau 2011.

Last kilometre at the ultramarathon "100km de Millau".

  • I ran over 170 days along the year, covering over 1,800 kilometres.
  • I took part in 11 popular races, including 6 of 10km, 2 half marathons, 1 marathon (42km) and 1 ultramarathon (100km). More races and more kilometres than ever before.
  • I found myself running in Granada, Villa del Río, Madrid, Torrelodones, Luarca, Rijswijk, Wijchen, Toulouse, Luz Saint Sauveur, Chicago, Washington DC, Des Moines, Montreal…

Learning. After taking some classes in Madrid, I continued studying French and now I feel more confident when facing shop attendants :-). I had to learn and continue to learn lots of new things every day at the new job where I landed about a year ago.

I still enjoy as learning moments the print weekly issues of The Economist or the monthly issues of Scientific American. I delivered the necessary speeches to become ACB within Toastmasters (though lately I’ve missed more meetings than I should). Finally, I read a dozen books along the year (a bit less than in previous years, though some in the new eReader!), being the ones I liked the most the following: first, second and third.

Investing & helping others. I set myself a high objective of saving and investing: I overachieved it by around 50%. I once mentioned it in Twitter: the best thing behind investing is the discipline of saving that is behind it. I not only dedicated a percentage of personal income to savings but as I announced in a post at the beginning of 2010, I directed a percentage to different charities. I initially set it out to be 0.7% of my income, but after raising some funds and contributing others to charities related to the races in which I am taking part, in the end this percentage has been well over 1% in 2011.

Travelling. We together visited Montreal, Ottawa, DC, Chicago, Omaha, and several places in the south of France and throughout Spain. The moment that I liked the most was attending the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, no doubt.

Javi 2.0. I continued to often write in this blog with some remarkable posts. I admit that my twitter account is one of my biggest sources of information / distraction.

Sports. Apart from the running, I recently re-started playing paddle with colleagues, became a kind of fan of the rugby local team, Stade Toulousain, had to subscribe to Canal + not to miss any of Real Madrid matches while living abroad.

Other reasons for joy have been:

  • our friends Teresa & Alberto, María & Óscar, Isa & Pedro got married,
  • we welcomed the newborns Mar, Hugo, Luis and Eneko, while another of our friends is pregnant today (that we know),
  • my sister Beatriz started working as an intern; my brother Jaime continued to enjoy his job in Airbus and moved to a new apartment; my mother Fidela continued to take several courses (and to give wonderful massages) and my father Juan Bautista finally and happily retired (after working for 43 years!).
  • Luca completed all the requirements to become a full-fledged lawyer, winning some court cases in the process.

To close the year, I started taking flight lessons, pursuing another childhood dream. This will allow me to continue learning and experiencing new things!

Now it’s time to update the objectives setting for 2012. This year the exercise will be easier as I already have the methodology and the habit. If the objectives are well chosen and challenging enough, next year’s account will be even shinier.

I wish you the same: a shinier 2012, enjoy it!

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The Unwritten Laws of Finance & Investment

The Unwritten Laws of Finance and Investment, by Robert Cole.

I believe I have already mentioned at some point in the blog the ritual I have almost every time I get into an airport of going to one of the book shops to check whether I can find something to take with me.

I found “The Unwritten Laws of Finance & Investment”, by Robert Cole, at Frankfurt’s airport some months ago during a scale from Amsterdam to Toulouse.

The book is a collection of investment and finance maxims, advice, quotations, etc. It can be read in one shot (159 light pages).

If you are to read this book probably nothing of what you may find in it will be completely new to you, but the compilation and the witty style in which the “laws” are written make it an entertaining read and serve as repository where to find well established ideas.

Let me finish by quoting some passages from the laws that I enjoyed the most:

  • “I don’t want a lot of good investments; I want a few outstanding ones”, Philip Fisher.
  • It is impossible for investors to get their timing precisely right always. [I will come back to this in the future].
  • “In this business, if you’re good, you’re right six times out of ten. You’re never going to be right nine times out of ten”, Peter Lynch.
  • Before you go in, look for the way out. – This one is beautifully explained with a story from Winnie-the-Pooh. [I will come back to this in the future].
  • “Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on scepticism, mature on optimism and die one euphoria”, Sir John Templeton. – This one reminds us to that of Warren Buffett “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”.
  • “There are huge mathematical advantages to doing nothing”, Warren Buffett (on compounding interest).
  • “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave”, the Book of Proverbs 22:7, The Bible.
  • “The practice of contracting debt will almost infallibly be abused in every government. It would scarcely be more imprudent to give a prodigal son a credit in every banker’s shop in London, than to empower a statesman to draw bills, in this manner, upon posterity”, David Hume.
  • “The four most expensive words in English language are ‘This time is different'”, Sir John Templeton. [I will come to this in the future].
  • “Investment is most intelligent when it is most businesslike”, Warren Buffett.

 

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The confession (book review)

I’ve lost count of how many John Grisham novels I have read, but they’re over a dozen. They all look the same: legal thrillers, young lawyers, similar location (South USA states), etc., and yet they’re grabbing your attention from start to finish. I guess that the guy picked the formula some 20 years ago and knows how to exploit it (the formula even calls for books of about 450 pages, with about 12 pages per chapter…).

This last one I read, “The confession“, is no exception to the rule. The plot: an innocent man in death row is about to be executed when the confessed killer pops up out of nowhere and will try to stop the execution and around them: a small firm led by an energetic single lawyer, and some despicable characters including a detective, district attorney, governor, hysterical mother of a victim, etc. The result: a rollercoaster of emotions and engaging novel. I even ended a couple of times with headache due to the anger produced by what I was reading!

I recommend the book.

 

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Historias del Fútbol Mundial

Tengo la costumbre de, siempre que paso por un aeropuerto, visitar la tienda de libros y revistas, a ver si encuentro algún libro. Siempre que vuelo ya llevo algo de lectura conmigo y estas visitas a la tienda de turno las hago por si encuentro algo interesante. A veces lo encuentro.

El año pasado antes de emprender un viaje a Holanda, cuando se estaba jugando la Copa del Mundo en Sudáfrica, encontré en Barajas el libro “366 Historias del Fútbol Mundial”, de Alfredo Relaño. Tras ojearlo un poco, lo compré pensando que estaría bien como complemento al evento futbolístico del momento que tan bien acabó para España. Digamos que para imbuirme un poco más del espíritu futbolístico.

El libro no tiene un hilo argumental, sino que está estructurado a modo de calendario. Ordenadas según los meses del año, el libro tiene una historia por cada uno de los días del mismo. Cada historia una hoja, dos páginas. Perfecto para tener en la mesilla y leer unas pocas historias de vez en cuando.

Muchas de las historias son muy conocidas, algunas casi contemporáneas, y otras tantas no tanto. Por ejemplo, en estas semanas de abril y principios de mayo, cuando se van a vivir tantos partidos entre Real Madrid y Barcelona, en el libro aparece una historia con bronca entre ambos equipos en las semifinales de copa de 1916 tras la cual estarían hasta 10 años sin volver a enfrentarse. ¿Qué diría la prensa durante 10 años sin un partido del siglo cada semana?

Otras historias de estas semanas:

  • El plante del Barcelona en la vuelta de la semifinal de Copa del Rey contra el Atlético de Madrid en el año 2000.
  • La victoria de España en la Copa del Mundo Sub-20 en Nigeria, con Xavi y Casillas. Preludio de lo que ocurriría 10 años después un poco más al sur.
  • El nacimiento de la expresión del “miedo escénico” del Bernabéu en la final a doble partido de la UEFA contra el Colonia en 1986.
  • El accidente que acabó con el Torino en el monte de Superga en 1949.
  • El nacimiento de la Copa en 1902, cuya primera edición duró 3 días y ganó un equipo conjunto formado por jugadores del Athletic y el Vizcaya de Bilbao (que más tarde se fusionarían); o del Scudetto en Italia, cuya primera edición duró 1 día y ganó el Génova.
  • La derrota del Barcelona en la final de la Copa de Europa en Sevilla frente al Steaua de Bucarest.
  • La aparición de las tarjetas amarillas.

Y así hasta 366…

Todavía no he terminado de leer todas las historias del libro, pero las que llevo leídas (algunas releídas) ya me permiten recomendar el libro sin miedo a equivocarme.

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Summary of 2010

Let me share with you a brief recap of my 2010.

This was a heavy learning year, to name a few learning experiences:

  • I continued to study French,
  • Toastmasters: I delivered some speeches at Toastmasters, received the CL and ALB awards, and attended 2 District 59 conferences and 1 Division H conference.
  • I went to several EOI conferences and others, including one with the economist Robert E. Lucas who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1995 and the TEDx Madrid event.
  • I read over a dozen books, many of which I commented here (being the 3 ones I liked the most these ones: first, second and third). At the end of the year I was given an eBook so I expect this trend to continue.
  • I continued to enjoy the subscription to The Economist (frankly, one of the best decisions I’ve taken in recent years) and subscribed to Scientific American for a dime.

I also had lots of fun reading and learning things related to aerospace & defence, to investments, and enjoyed supporting some charities and especially seeing some friends starting to support them as well.

Travelling. Either we together or I visited for the first time Porto, Morocco, Tunisia, Poland and Egypt. We also spent some time in Luxembourg, Brazil, Netherlands, Sevilla and France. Travelling well over 65,000 km last year (equivalent to 1.6 rounds to the Earth). Of all the places we visited, the view that I liked the most was the falls of Iguaçu, no doubt.

Javi 2.0 Encouraged by Luca and some friends I started this blog in February 2010 and a twitter account shortly afterwards. I reckon that my twitter account has become one of my biggest hobbies and sources of information apart from a communication channel with friends. I even saw some friends (here and here) and my sister starting their own blogs!

In the sports side… even though this has been a great year for Spanish sportsmen, it hasn’t been so for Real Madrid: not for the football or basketball section (being the last year I attended with the season ticket). On the personal side I competed in two championships of Minifutbol but won neither one, the same applies to paddle tournaments… the best sports moment was completing once again the San Silvestre race.

Other reasons for joy have been:

  • our friends Amalia & Paco, María & Alberto, Janine & Rients, Leyre & German got married,
  • we saw the newborns Paula and Javier, while two of our friends are pregnant today (that we know),
  • my sister finished her bachelor and continued studying a master; my brother finished his MBA and joined my company; my mother continued to take several courses.

To close the year, I got a new position within the same company in another country, where I moved a month ago. This will allow me to continue learning and experiencing new things!

I use to tell my friends and family that since long ago I feel that I enjoy more and more each coming year and am happier with time; this year, with a few bad moments included (including some sad losses), has been no exception to the trend. Thanks to all of you who contributed to it. As I say, if it continues like this, I may explode one of these years :-).

Now it’s time to make some few resolutions for 2011 as well… I have thought of 5, that if I manage to fulfill, next year’s account will be even shinier. I wish you the same: keep learning and enjoying your time.

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Master in common sense

What is the main thing you learn from studying an MBA? When I have been asked this question I always answer that the learning process is different: Most of the subjects present you with situations / cases that once solved you said to yourself “well, it was applied common sense, wasn’t it?” Yes, applied common sense to some situations you never encountered or reflected on before. This is one way you learn, the other is hearing from first hand hundreds of real stories experienced by your teachers.

It is not like learning to solve fluid dynamics or differential equations exercises… it is not that before you didn’t how to solve a problem and then you know it, at least this is how I felt at EOI. The learning process during the MBA is more like encouraging you to apply common sense to many issues, making you reflect on new topics from those that entertained you at university.

I tell this because after reading “How to win friends & influence people”, by Dale Carnegie, I felt the same.

I found that Dale Carnegie is a great story-teller and nothing is better to learn or reflect on different issues than seeing the application of solutions, skills or techniques in stories, real stories. Some of the ones in the book came from Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Roosevelt, Rockefeller, several American generals… and many others were stories from lay people like you and me.

I remember that one of my teachers in the MBA used to say “70% of your work within a company is just human relationships; and precisely that is not taught anywhere”.

The skill to deal with other humans effectively is so important that, as Dale Carnegie tells in the book, Charles Schwab was the first person to earn a million dollars a year (when 2.500$ a year was considered a good salary), when he was picked by Andrew Carnegie (no relation) to become the first president of United States Steel company in 1921… Why? As Charles put it: “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement”. (We may argue whether he indeed deserved a salary hundreds of times higher than the average… I already discussed this when I commented other book in this blog).

Now, I leave you the different principles that Carnegie offers to improve your effectiveness when dealing with people (a rare animal indeed!), reflect on them:

Fundamental techniques in handling people:

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six ways to make people like you:

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Win people to your way of thinking:

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re wrong”.
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a leader:

  1. Begin with praise and hones appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

“Obvious…” This is one thought that may come to our mind when reading some of these statements. However, we’re not acting in that way every day, being as obvious as they may be – thus getting the results we get…

I encourage you to read the book (~260 pgs.) and see in those stories many examples applicable to yourself; daily situations in which to apply those principles.

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The Snowball, Warren Buffett bio (book review)

Last Christmas, my brother gave me “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life“, by Alice Schroeder. He completely hit on the spot, though I only started reading it during last August holidays (Luca also started reading it to the point that she ended up buying her own Kindle version of it!).

The book is a thorough review of Buffett’s life, including relationships with family & friends and investment decisions. I had previously read other books about Buffett, but they were merely about his investment “strategy” so to say, nothing compared to this one. To complete the book, the author made over 250 interviews, so you can imagine the many insights contained in it.

There are many lessons or just ideas that can be taken from this book. Let me just point the few I can recall at the moment of writing this post:

  • The Inner Scorecard: the idea of acting and valuing yourself according to what you care about and not according to what others’ deem important.
  • The concept of margin of safety: from Benjamin Graham (recommended reading “The Intelligent Investor“).
  • Circle of competence: the idea of looking for simple business that have an enduring competitive advantage (technology companies are not that simple).
  • Cigar butts: companies which are worth more “death than alive” (looking for cheap price to book).
  • Snowball: the idea that compounding interest acts as a snowball falling down the hill, the sooner you start the larger the ball will be down the road (thinking about retirement here).
  • The story of the genie: or that you should invest in your own health as your body is the only one you are going to be given in this life.
  • The Ovarian lottery and the idea that philanthropy achieves more if exercised now and trying to maximize its impact.

Throughout the book you get to learn about many great entrepreneurial characters (e.g. Rose Blumkin, Bill Gates); about the workings of the board of directors of some companies (e.g. Coca Cola, Berkshire Hathaway); about some of the most impressive falls in corporate history (e.g. Solomon Brothers, Long Term Capital Management); about several depressions, recessions and crisis; and above all you learn about what were the thoughts and calculations behind some of Buffett’s investments decisions since the early 1940’s to date.

I definitely recommend this book (700+ pgs.).

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