What I Have Been Reading – May 2019

Munger Teaching Buffett About Quality

 “At Munger’s 90th birthday party, Buffett pulled out an old, yellowed letter that Munger had written back in the day where Munger actually told Buffett explicitly that he had to change — that the cigar-butt stuff wouldn’t scale, that it was better to buy good businesses even if the price wasn’t dirt cheap




According to the survey, three in five Americans pay more attention to how their friends spend compared to how they save, with an equal number saying they’re at a loss to understand how their friends are able to afford the expensive vacations and trendy restaurant meals they portray on social media.



Fundraising Deception

A source close to the Florida man who raised over $22 million on GoFundMe in the “We The People Will Build the Wall” campaign just revealed today in their opinion money may be diverted to pay for a ‘million dollar’ yacht and high-flying lifestyle



New York City Taxi Medallion

Between 2002 and 2014, the price of a medallion rose to more than $1 million from $200,000, even though city records showed that driver incomes barely changed.

About 4,000 drivers bought medallions in that period, records show. They were excited to buy, but they were enticed by a dubious premise.



Alphabet/Google Failure Rate

A list of projects and products dropped by Google



Why Alphabet/Google Fails So Much.

To understand why this keeps happening, you need to understand the product and engineering culture at Google. As a group, Google engineers and PMs are obsessed with promotion. At the heart of every conversation about system design or product proposal lies an unspoken (and sometimes spoken) question: will working on this get me promoted?



Imporving Life By Decreasing Uncertainty

“ In countries including Korea and China, accidents at intersections have been reduced by simply displaying the number of seconds remaining before the lights turn green. This is because the mammalian brain has a deep-set preference for control and certainty. The single best investment ever made by the London Underground in terms of increasing passenger satisfaction was not to do with money spent on faster, more frequent trains – it was the addition of dot matrix displays on platforms to inform travelers of the time outstanding before the next train arrived.”


Debt Literacy

Overall, we find that debt literacy is low: only about one-third of the population seems to comprehend interest compounding or the workings of credit cards. Even after controlling for demographics, we find a strong relationship between debt literacy and both financial experiences and debt loads. Specifically, individuals with lower levels of debt literacy tend to transact in high-cost manners, incurring higher fees and using high-cost borrowing.


Climate Change and Automation Leading To Socialism

Two narratives, “The world is ending soon due to climate change” and “Robots are going to eat all the jobs” will usher in socialism on completely false, overblown, and exploited pretenses.

This alarmism isn’t from solutions-builders, it’s being elevated by bureaucrats and politicians for votes and fundraising. Perfect example is how Green New Deal disallows market innovation for climate — only gov’t “solutions”