Archive for February, 2008

February 22, 2008

Ten investment advice things:

1. Measure risk. All investment evaluations should begin by measuring risk, especially reputational. To protect your portfolio, don’t set yourself up for complete failure in the first place. Avoid people of questionable character.
2. Be independent. Only in fairy tales are emperors told they’re naked. It’s critically important to make sure you believe that what you’re doing is right. Chasing others’ opinions may seem logical, but investors like Munger and Buffett often succeed by going against the grain.

3. Prepare ahead. The only way to win is to work, work, work, and hope to have a few insights. The diamonds in the rough are out there, but finding them requires effort.

4. Have intellectual humility. Acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom. If you struggle to comprehend what the business does today, you might as well be throwing darts.

5. Analyze rigorously. Use effective checklists to minimize errors and omissions. The numbers don’t lie.

6. Allocate assets wisely. Proper allocation of capital is an investor’s No. 1 job. The amount of money employed in each of your investments should relate directly to its attractiveness. When you find a great investment, don’t be afraid to bet big on it.

7. Have patience. Resist the natural human bias to act. While it can be tempting to jump in and out of the market, true fortunes are made from big commitments in quality companies, held indefinitely.

8. Be decisive. When proper circumstances present themselves, act with decisiveness and conviction. This also goes back to not following the herd. When others are jubilant, you should be scared, and vice versa. Don’t let others’ emotions sway you; the market masses should help you find opportunities in their absence, not guide you down their own path to mediocrity.

9. Be ready for change. Accept unremovable complexity. The world around us won’t always conform to our preferences and prejudices, and sometimes our best ideas will prove incorrect. If you aren’t willing to roll with a changing market, you may find yourself fighting a lost cause.

10. Stay focused. Keep it simple and remember what you set out to do. Buy good companies at a good price, and holding them until they’re fully priced.

February 22, 2008


To succeed, avoid failure, Charlie Munger’s (Warren Buffet’s Partner) response wasn’t just for a laugh. In his direct way, he reminded us of an important lesson in investing and life alike: Before spending an ounce of energy on how you’ll succeed, focus first on avoiding ways to fail. You’ll never worry about how to get out of a sticky situation if you’re never in one. Munger also likes to say, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.”

Stay within your circle of competence and ensure there’s a margin of safety. By sifting out whatever you aren’t familiar with, and giving yourself room for error, you’ll reduce the odds of getting in trouble.