Every year I’m surprised by the posts that get traction and those that don’t. What I think is interesting and spend a lot of time on, can fall flat while something that seems like an afterthought, gets shared everywhere. I doubt I’ll ever figure it out, but I do appreciate it when it happens. So thank you for reading…and sharing.
Like last year, I dedicated most of 2017 to sharing what I dug up and read in books, articles, and interviews of some of the brighter minds in finance.
So what was read the most?
It’s no surprise that articles on the most recognizable investor’s today were the most popular. The lessons from those posts revolve around decision making.
Investing is a game of probabilities and success is driven by good decisions. But those decisions won’t always be right and/or get the results you expect. And part of making good decisions is knowing the consequences if you’re wrong and if you’re right.
Why? Because all of the great investors will tell you just how difficult it is to recover from huge losses.
Avoiding the catastrophic results – from mistakes, from being wrong, from being right but getting the worst result – that get so many investors in trouble, is one of the most important things in investing.
So if that means honing your decision-making skills, so be it. Or you can build an investment process that helps eliminate the tougher decisions that tend to lead to repeated mistakes.
The point is you may not always make the right decision and/or get the results you want but better decisions get better results overall. Especially, when you’re avoiding things that have a potentially catastrophic end.
Another thing that stood out from reading everything this year and last year, is that it’s not enough to just set aside time to read. It’s just as important to set aside time to think about and digest what you read. For me, that was during afternoon walks – no headphones, music, or other distractions – a few times a week (when the weather cooperated).
And lastly, some of the more interesting things I came across this year, where old – 1800s to early 1900s – in comparison to the posts below (the folks below didn’t think it all up on their own, they learned it from someone else).
So just because something is old doesn’t make it obsolete. Good investing advice is timeless.
With that said, here are the most read posts of 2017:
Buffett on the First Things You Have to Learn – in a ’98 Q&A session to college students, Buffett explained the three things most important things every investor must learn in order to avoid big mistakes.
Peter Lynch on Market History – I dug up a pile of Peter Lynch stuff I had saved over the years. What stood out were his lessons from bull and bear market history, economic uncertainty, and the relationship between company earnings and stock prices.
Buffett’s Lessons from Long Term Capital Management – in that same ’98 Q&A session referenced earlier, Buffett was asked about LTCM. Buffett shared the story of the role almost played in the saga of Long Term Capital Management and the lessons he took away from its downfall.
Peter Lynch’s Rules Worth Following – Lynch shared these 14 investing rules in an article he wrote in 1997. If you read any of Lynch’s books, most of these will sound familiar.
Howard Marks: Lessons from the Nifty Fifty – Howard Marks explains the lesson he learned while investing in the Nifty Fifty era and the difference “between buying good things and buying things well.”
Charlie Munger on Dexter Shoes and Handling Mistakes – At the Daily Journal annual meeting, Charlie was asked about learning mistakes in general (Dexter Shoes specifically). He laid out the benefits of learning from your own and other’s mistakes.
Seth Klarman: Consistency in a Bubble – After reading some Baupost letters, the one thing that stood out was Klarman’s consistency in the face of one of the biggest bubbles in market history. His letters not only show the discipline needed to stick with a strategy, but what it takes to do it in the face of a massive bubble that makes your strategy look foolish.
10 More Lessons from Peter Lynch – Lynch wrote 44 articles for Worth magazine from 1992 to 1999. These were the more important lessons I took away from reading all of them.
The Consequences of Reaching for Yield – Earning an extra 1% or 2% might seem like a great deal, but reaching for yield always comes with extra risks that go ignored.
Charles Ellis on “Winning” at Investing – After reading several Charley Ellis articles and interviews, this is what he believes investors must do to “win” at investing.
Notes from the 2017 Berkshire Meeting – These were my biggest highlights and lessons from Buffett and Munger at the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting.
Consequences of Being Wrong – Sucess in investing ultimately comes down to not only understanding the probabilities involved in decisions you make but in the consequences of being wrong.
Seth Klarman on Risk Aversion – Seth Klarman explains the importance of risk aversion and why it fits with his value investing philosophy.