What I Have Been Reading – March 2020


Working From Home

Beyond lost creativity and companionship, the gravest threat to many companies from remote work is that it breaks the social bonds that are necessary to productive teamwork. Several years ago, Google conducted a research project on its most productive groups. The company found that the most important quality was“psychological safety”—a confidence that team members wouldn’t embarrass or punish individuals for speaking up.

The atlantic

 

Ingenuity

Children were presumably glad to be off school – until, that is, an app called DingTalk was introduced. Students are meant to sign in and join their class for online lessons; teachers use the app to set homework. Somehow the little brats worked out that if enough users gave the app a one-star review it would get booted off the App Store. Tens of thousands of reviews flooded in, and DingTalk’s rating plummeted overnight from 4.9 to 1.4. The app has had to beg for mercy on social media: ‘I’m only five years old myself, please don’t killme.’

lrb.co.uk

 

Psychology of the 1918 flu pandemic:

It is our duty,” he said, “to keep the people from fear. Worry kills more people than the epidemic. For my part, let them wear a rabbit’s foot on a gold watch chain if they want it, and if it will help them to get rid of the physiological action of fear.”
The face mask might have offered as much protection as a rabbit’s foot. But it allowed people to feel as if they were doing something proactive, which, even a century ago, was understood to be of great psychological importance.

the atlantic



Psychology of investing

Years ago, the psychologist Daniel Kahneman told me that one of the keys to investing is having what he called “a well-calibrated sense of your future regret.”
By that, he meant that you need to be able to tell, in advance, how bad you will feel if your decisions turn out to be wrong. As he warned with that word “well-calibrated,” it isn’t as easy as it sounds.

wsj

 

Sanitiser Surge

U.S. hand-sanitizer sales were just below $200 million in 2019, a 4.5% decline from the previous year, according to Nielsen. The most recent data available shows U.S. hand-sanitizer sales were up more than 470% for the week ended March 7, compared with the year-earlier period.

wsj

 

Retirement Is Liberating – And Hard Work

“Almost everyone is just thrilled with the first days of retirement, and the big thing is: ‘I do not have to set my alarm,’ ” said Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile. Eventually, another thought dawns on a new retiree: “I don’t want to turn into one of those people who sits around in their jammies half the day. I need more of a routine.”

Squared Away Blog

 

This Too Shall Pass

Over the past six weeks, we’ve experienced cascading fears about the pandemic, accompanied by wild swings in the stock market. We’re rightly scared for our health, our families, our communities, our livelihoods and our financial future. There’s very little we can do to combat this threat, save the mundane tasks of washing hands, sanitizing and self-quarantining. The full impact on our daily lives and the economy are still to be determined.

As horrifying as things seem today, I believe we will come through this. It may take longer and hurt more than we expect, but we will survive. The stock market will come back and we will see new highs. We will have our hour of pride once again.

Humble Dollar

 

Dollar Cost Averaging During A Crises

The retirement contributions you make into the stock market during a market crash will invariably be the best purchases you ever make, especially when you are still relatively young.

The beauty of dollar cost averaging is you don’t need to nail the bottom in order to succeed. Simply continuing to invest while stocks are far below where they were five weeks ago is much easier than trying to bottom tick the market.

A Wealth Of Common Sense

 

Should You Buy Stocks Now?

On average, when the VIX is higher so are future returns!

And with the VIX currently at 75, now seems like a better time to buy stocks than almost any other. 

Of Dollars And Data

 

Boring Companies Win

Here are the top 20 stocks in the S&P 500 over the past 20 years…
https://twitter.com/charliebilello/status/1229491837922095105

 

Time Moves Slower When Dealing With New Experiences

Time seems to have slowed down.

March felt like it lasted longer than some years. February feels like a different lifetime.
It’s not just you. Everyone I talk to feels the same.

There’s a well-known idea that time feels like it speeds up as you age. Summer break feels like an eternity when you’re nine years old but your 60s can skip by in a flash.

The leading theory for why this happens is that the perception of time relies on the number of memories formed in a period, and memories are encoded from new and surprising experiences. The monotony of commuting to work on the same road for 20 years passes without leaving a mark. But every day is a memorable surprise to a child experiencing her first summer camp, or learning how big the universe is for the first time.

Time slowed in March because for the first time since childhood many of us are being bombarded with new and surprising experiences.

Collaborative Fund



The Curse Of Wealth

Growing up in a family where your father’s pretty wealthy is much more complicated than growing up in a family where your father is not wealthy. When your family is not wealthy, you’ve got to really achieve something or you’re not going to get anywhere. You’re on your own.

Whereas my own children, and the children of families like mine, I think have a bit of a disadvantage. As a general rule of thumb, the people running the world are people from blue-collar families who are lower middle class. It’s rarely the case that somebody whose father was a billionaire turns out to be better than his father, becoming a multibillionaire or running the world

Ny times