The Independent Market Observer

The West and the Middle World: A Review of Destiny Disrupted, by Tamim Ansary

July 24, 2019

For quite a while, the U.S. was focused on other parts of the world. Wars in the Middle East, the Greek crisis, and North Korea all made headlines and were front of mind for many investors. Recently, though, that view has largely faded. We are still at war in Afghanistan, but no one seems to be talking about. A hard Brexit is looming, same thing. Attention has returned to what is happening here in the U.S.

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Get Your Copy of Crash-Test Investing Today!

September 19, 2018

I am very pleased to announce that my book, Crash-Test Investing, is finally available for sale on Amazon. Right now, only the paperback version is available, but we are working on the Kindle version. You should buy a copy for every room in your house, all your friends and family, and all the rooms in their houses. Go ahead—I’ll wait! Unless you’re a Commonwealth advisor, in which case you’ll be getting a copy at our National Conference.

Before doing that, however, you might ask yourself these questions: Why do we need another book on investing? And what do I have to offer that made it worth my time to write?

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Book Review: The Absent Superpower, by Peter Zeihan

August 15, 2018

I will be away with my family in Iceland for the next 10 days and will be turning over the blog to my colleagues for that time. We have some very interesting pieces lined up, and I expect you will find them both entertaining and useful. But before I go, here is one last post—a book review!

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How Not to Be Wrong, by Jordan Ellenberg: A Book Review

August 16, 2017

Yesterday, I wrote about mistakes I’ve made in the past and how I am using that experience to avoid being as wrong—at least in the same way—in the future. So, you can certainly see why a book with “How Not to Be Wrong” as the title appeals to me. The subtitle, “The Power of Mathematical Thinking,” is also attractive, as math is one of the great organizing principles of my profession. On the face of it, this sounds like exactly what anyone in my position should be looking for.

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The Rational Optimist: A Response to the Doomsayers

July 27, 2017

One of the ways I am trying to control my screen-induced ADD is by making myself sit down and read more. It has been surprisingly difficult, as I have apparently largely lost my ability to sit down and concentrate on a book for a period of time. Now that I think of it, this is something that may have been due more to my small son than to screens. In any event, now that he is old enough that we can sit and read together, I am making the effort to relearn concentration.

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Book Review: Connectography

August 26, 2016

I don’t read too many books where I find myself repeatedly stopping to underline something while thinking I didn’t know that! There are even fewer that I keep on my shelf in order to reference the list of sources in the back. Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization, by Parag Khanna, earns both of those distinctions.

It also changed how I look at the world.

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A Review of The Courage to Act, by Ben Bernanke

November 17, 2015

Ben Bernanke wrote The Courage to Act to lay out his view, from inside the belly of the beast, of what happened during the 2008 financial crisis. It is worth reading—you will not find a clearer, more informed, and even essentially dispassionate account of the biggest economic crisis in the past several generations. I highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in understanding not only what happened but why.

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Book Review: The Checklist Manifesto

March 18, 2015

One of my particular interests in investing is how to make better decisions. I’ve written before about biases and problems we face, and much of the current research is in fields such as behavioral finance, with a focus on how to avoid mistakes that seem to be hardwired into our brains.

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Book Review: “Flashpoints,” by George Friedman

February 18, 2015

As I’ve noted over the past couple of days, Europe is back in the headlines. The confrontation between Greece and Germany has once again captured the world’s attention with the real prospect that the eurozone could break down.

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Book Review: "Thinking, Fast and Slow," by Daniel Kahneman

December 3, 2014

One of the fundamental principles of economics is “rationality”—the notion that all actors in a market have similar information, preferences, and abilities to project the future.

Like all economists, I know this isn’t really true, yet it still influences how I view the world. So the extent to which Daniel Kahneman proves this idea false—not just at the aggregate level, but at the individual level—comes as something of a shock.

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