A Few Things: Carlo Rovelli's Big Idea, Rubenstein's How To Invest, MS on Moonshots, Daniel Yergin on Energy, Private Equity Case Study, Changing Mind, Onboarding to Web3
September 22, 2022
Thank you and welcome to a number of you that joined this week on the back of Doomberg sharing last week’s post.
I am sharing this weekly email with you because I count you in the group of people I learn from and enjoy being around.
You can check out last week’s edition here: Learning From The Greats, Becoming a Learning Machine, Zoltan on Bretton Woods 3.0, Origins of Life, Career Advice, Doomberg onWhat's Next For Europe, Marko on Markets, The ETH Merge...
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
- Albert Einstein
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
- Stephen King
“The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us”
“You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.”
- Jerry West
“History as usually written is quite different from history as usually lived. The historian records the exceptional because it is interesting.”
- Will Durant
A. A Few Things Worth Checking Out:
1. Carlo Rovelli, the Italian physicist and writer had a great piece in the Guardian titled: “The big idea: why relationships are the key to existence”
Key bit here:
We understand reality better if we think of it in terms of interactions, not individuals. We, as individuals, exist thanks to the interactions we are involved in. This is why, in classic game theory, the winners in the long run are those who collaborate. Too often we foolishly measure success in terms of a single actor’s fortunes. This is both short-sighted and irrational. It misunderstands the true nature of reality, and is ultimately self-defeating. I believe, for example, that we make this mistake all the time in international politics. Prioritising individual countries, or groups of countries, over the common good, is a catastrophic error. It leads to the devastation of war and prevents us from addressing the true challenges that all of humankind – a node in nature’s network – faces as a whole.
2. David Rubenstein has written a new book - How To Invest.
Aggregating what he’s learnt interviewing a bunch of great investors.
He summarised some of the key bits in this video.
3. Morgan Stanley had a great research note titled: Moonshots. They covered 12 disruptive technologies coming our way. Thank you Wouter for sharing.
My favourite was probably Nano and Xeno-bots.
4. Many books could easily have been a blog post. Headway put out a great set of infographics summarising a number of good books into two pages each of infographics.
Here was my favourite.
Thank you Sami for flagging.
5. The brilliant Daniel Yergin, author, energy expert and historian was on Smarter Markets covering everything from his predictions in The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations to S&P’s recent Future of Copper Report.
Yergin packed the half hour with insights on Europe’s energy crisis, its impact on our road to decarbonisation, and what’s next now that Winter is Coming.
Daniel wrote “The Prize” which is the best book on the Oil Industry.
I finally read his original classic: “The Commanding Heights”, in September.
The big idea I got out of The Commanding Heights was that present day shareholder capitalism is very new. At best 40 years old. There is no reason it persists.
If you are curious about what the beginning of free markets and globalisation looked like, this documentary is a great way to remind you of where we came from.
6. Case studies are a great way to learn and really understand the nuances of investing rather than discussing abstractions and speaking macro.
I’m excited about Ted Seides new “Private Equity Deals” series.
Each episode of Private Equity Deals features a GP diving into an individual deal. The conversations will resemble those that GPs have with LPs behind closed doors and not often shared in public.
Season 1 kicks-off with Pete Stavros from KKR describing their recent success with C.H.I. Overhead Doors. The rest of Season 1 will feature top managers, including Thoma Bravo, Stone Point Capital, Berkshire Partners, Bain Capital, EQT, and more.
Here’s the first episode.
The level of depth covered in Private Equity Deals is not available in any other public forum.
7. How do empires rise? Why do they fall? And how have they shaped the world around us today?
William Dalrymple and Anita Anand explore the stories, personalities and events of empire over the course of history.
The first series looks at the British in India, covering the East India Company, the Raj, Gandhi, Independence and Partition.
8. The world was fixated on the English Monarchy over the last week. Apparently 5bn people watched Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
I loved this tweet storm covering everything you wanted to know about every English monarch in one tweet each!
B. The Changing Mind
Long term readers of A Few Things have enjoyed our many discussions on Longevity.
One of the books I read recently on the subject was Daniel Levitin’s “The Changing Mind”: A Neuroscientist's Guide to Ageing Well.
The book tries to answer two simple questions: a) what really happens to our brains as we get older and b) what can we do to keep our brains in good shape?
The appendix of the book had these 10 great suggestions on what to do:
Here’s a talk he gave at the Strand Bookstore on this book:
C. The Tech and Crypto Section:
1. Gabe Leydon is a gaming OG. He was on Invest Like The Best, discussing how Web3 can help onboard a billion users into blockchain / crypto.
2. The Treasury Department released 3 reports in response to Biden's executive order on digital assets in March, which directed federal agencies to analyze the sector.
The 3 reports largely recommend the government assessing crypto risks, keep up enforcement actions, and push forward with work on a digital dollar (without recommending the US should have one).
Can I ask you a favour?
Many of you bought my wife’s book, The Halfways. If you bought it on Amazon, I’d love it if you would leave a review. Thank you.
If you enjoyed this week’s email, please hit the like button.