Capital Allocators Monthly - November 2018

November 30, 2018 by Ted Seides

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Readings are few in quantity, very high in quality this month.  Found a few new terrific listens as well.

1. Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World
The news of the scandal at Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB is hitting the papers every day.  This in depth book tells the story in great detail.  It’s an extraordinary story about appearances, deception, and corruption.

2. David Salem, Notes from the Diamond
David is long-time friend, former founding President and CIO of TIFF, and currently Co-Chairman of New Providence Capital. We have long shared a passion for investing and baseball.  Somehow, he committed to writing 108 columns for Epsilon Theory about aspects of the allocation process that tie the two together.  David’s writing incorporates his deep thought process and cornucopia of baseball references, and the series’ initial four columns already are chock full of wisdom.  (Disclaimer:  David’s love of the Red Sox should not be construed as any knock on his intelligence or sanity).

3. Jesse Itzler, Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet
I first became astonished with SEALs training when my buddy Daryl Hodginkson and I probed recently retried SEAL Harry Wingo back in 1996.  The regimens have had plenty of publicity since, but this book has been my favorite read of them all.  Itzler (founder of Marquis Jet) hired a SEAL to train him for a month, with the only rule that he had to do everything the SEAL told him, no exceptions.  The storytelling is terrific – insane workouts and great lessons about pushing boundaries, crossing thresholds, and discipline.

Capital Allocators
1.  Mark Baumgartner, CIO of the Institute for Advanced Study, walks the walk on taking a different approach to meet a different portfolio objective than many of his peers.

2.  Annie Duke, decision-making expert and author of Thinking In Bets, joined me for a second conversation exploring some new things on her mind since the publishing of her best-selling book.

3.  Michael Lombardi, former assistant coach to Bill Belichick and author of Gridiron Genius, talks leadership and a week in the life of the Patriots.

4.  Jeff Solomon, CEO of Cowen Group and childhood resident of Squirrel Hill, joined me in the days after the tragic event to discuss the community and grief.

Best of the Rest
1. Brian Portnoy on My Worst Investment Ever, Brian was a recent guest on the show and was one of the most thoughtful hedge fund investors I knew when we both occupied that seat.  In this podcast, he talks about a confluence of events that led to a poor outcome.

2. Cliff Asness on ILTB.  Two quants, two brilliant minds, and one fantastic conversation.

3. oGoLead Leadership Podcast with David Novak.  I had hoped to get a certain friend in Omaha to join me for the 100th episode of Capital Allocators, but suffice it to say I wasn’t the only friend of his to ask. Warren is eschewing all, so as not to disappoint any one.  In the course of the conversation, he mentioned David Novak having asked as well.  David was the CEO of YUM Brands and his podcast has an all-star cast of characters talking about leadership – from Jamie Dimon to Tom Brady.  I couldn’t land the first prize on that call, but discovering this gem was an unexpectedly rich consolation prize.

Have a good one,