The Story of Philosophy, Grantham on Climate Change Investing, Niall Ferguson on Inflation, Solana vs Ethereum

July 21, 2021

“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

- Jean-Paul Sartre

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

- Albert Camus

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." 

- William Shakespeare

“Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide”

- Napoleon Bonaparte


A. A Few Things Worth Checking Out:

1. One of my favourite courses in University was Philosophy, so I’m a big of books like the Story of Philosophy by Will and Ariel Durant, which is a top 5 lifetime book, in terms of its impact on me.

What I loved about this book was that it really told you the story about the philosophers as people, their works and the historical context. It wasn’t a dry discussion of concepts, instead it brought these people and their work to life.

A few months ago, I found the Philosophize This! podcast, which takes it to the next level, and explains the works of the great philosophers in 30min bites and leaves you with real understanding of why their work is important. Highly recommended. Stephen West the narrator is very smart and funny.

This week I was learning about existentialism and the works of Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus:

Episode 1: Sartre and Freedom

Episode 2: Camus, Sisyphus and the Absurdity of Life

Episode 3: Sartre vs Camus and the greater good

2. CAS Partners is one of my favourite hedge funds, and Cliff Sosin was on the Business Breakdowns podcast discussing Cardlytics (Ad platform with purchasing power) with Patrick O’Shaughnessy.

Disclosure: I’ve been a Cardlytics shareholder for 18 months.

3. I’ve been a fan of Ted Seides Capital Allocator’s podcast for a long time, and his recent format: Manager Meeting is smart. In the latest,he had Joel Wittenberg (former Chief Investment Officer of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the U.S.) speak with Eli Casdin.

Eli is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Casdin Capital, a $3.5 billion dollar investment firm focused on investments in life sciences. Their conversation started with Eli’s thematic case for biotech and role of big pharma, and covered how Eli’s team finds businesses to invest in and why the Kellogg Foundation invested in Casdin Capital.

4. There is probably no better episode of the Capital Allocator’s podcast than the one with Rahul Moodgal, which had a big impact on my life. Rahul spoke about his career, what it was like raising $20bn for TCI in 3.5 years, and what’s he’s learnt about the fund management history. Loved his discussion around transparency and the importance of building long term relationships of trust.

5. Jeremy Grantham shares his views on climate change, why he calls it the “Race of Our Lives” and how he is investing to combat it. They cover venture capital investing around climate change - a subject I’ve been hearing more about from clients.

6. Niall Ferguson on WealthTrack - Inflation: Understanding the History.

7. The eloquent Russell Napier on: We Are Entering a Time of Financial Repression. On why 3-5% inflation is possible and what does it mean for asset prices.

I’m probably in the fade inflation camp, because a lot of jobs will be displaced and unemployment will be a bigger issue than market realises. The economy is going to feel close to 2018 soon. Thank you Wouter J for sharing.

8. Short Wave Podcast: Three Guidelines To Understanding The Delta Variant.

Delta is quickly becoming the dominant coronavirus variant in multiple countries. The variant has spread so fast because it is more contagious than the variants that came before it.

Ed Yong, science writer for The Atlantic, talks with Maddie about the interaction between the variants and the vaccines and how that will be crucial in the months ahead.

9. Prof. Scott Galloway on Banks and the Future of Fintech. Thank you David Giampaolo for flagging.


B. The Crypto and Tech Section

1. Most of you have heard of Ethereum, but have you looked at Solana? It’s a blockchain designed from the ground-up to be faster and handle far more transactions at cheaper costs with less latency then other chains. Thank you Yuriy for highlighting many months ago.

Worth listening to this Acquired Podcast: Special: Solana (with CEO Anatoly Yakovenko). Thank you Andre K for flagging.

And there is lot being built on Solana.

2. Bloomberg Odd Lots Podcast: Vlad Zamfir on the Dangers of Unstoppable Software and What People Get Wrong About Blockchains.

3. Great post on the changing nature of tech regulation, particularly in China.


Poet Mary Oliver on living a curious, engaged life:

"When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real. I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world."

Source: When Death Comes