8 Fascinating Reads

Here are some great reads from the week. 

Time off 
Eighty years ago John Maynard Keynes predicted that by 2030 we'd all be working just a few hours a week. Some business leaders are starting to take him seriously

Google chief Larry Page -- no slouch in the wealth department -- says the workweek should be shorter. And most millionaires who commented in a recent survey agree.

In a discussion with tech investor Vinod Khosla, Page said "the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people's needs is just not true." Our true needs, he said, are basic. And we spend too much time working for things we don't need. 

Misconceptions
One of the biggest economic stories of the last few year is the surge in young adults still living with their parents. Derek Thompson explains why it's all wrong

There's just one problem with those official statistics. They're criminally misleading. When you read the full Census reports, you often come upon this crucial sentence: "It is important to note that the Current Population Survey counts students living in dormitories as living in their parents' home."

Adjust for the rise in college attendance and you get a competently different view. 

Journalism that helps
Jason Zweig has an idea for a new investing TV channel:

I once proposed the BGFN channel (Benjamin Graham Financial Network) that would cover market crashes as good news.

Why you're here
Josh Brown explains why markets work

People's mere attempt to do something -- Capitalize! Protect! Anything! -- is the secret to why investing works in the first place. If no one believed that anything could ever go wrong, asset prices would be permanently bid up to levels from which no gains could be reasonably expected in the future. If risk were to be permanently barred from the market, there would cease to be a market at all. Why would anyone sell anything? Why would anything trade at any sort of buyable discount? Why would any opportunities be left for us at all?

The greats
I love this chart by Harriman House, showing the performance of some of history's greatest investors: 

Gusher
No matter how often I see these stats they blow me away: 

The U.S. will remain the world's biggest oil producer this year after overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia as extraction of energy from shale rock spurs the nation's economic recovery, Bank of America Corp. said.

U.S. production of crude oil, along with liquids separated from natural gas, surpassed all other countries this year with daily output exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter, the bank said in a report today. The country became the world's largest natural gas producer in 2010. The International Energy Agency said in June that the U.S. was the biggest producer of oil and natural gas liquids.

Open mind
This advice from Charlie Munger is incredibly important in investing:

Another thing I think should be avoided is extremely intense ideology because it cabbages up one's mind. You see it a lot with T.V. preachers (many have minds made of cabbage) but it can also happen with political ideology.

When you're young it's easy to drift into loyalties and when you announce that you're a loyal member and you start shouting the orthodox ideology out, what you're doing is pounding it in, pounding it in, and you're gradually ruining your mind. So you want to be very, very careful of this ideology. It's a big danger.

More of these, please
Boston is putting cell phone chargers on park benches. Read more about them here.

Have a good weekend. 

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  • Report this Comment On July 11, 2014, at 3:07 PM, nberube wrote:

    Re : chart

    Look a this youngster Charles Munger, just dipping his toe in the investing world. A name to follow. ;-)

  • Report this Comment On July 12, 2014, at 6:49 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    A more important "stat" may be that the younger generation is doing everything later in life (going to/graduating from college, getting jobs, getting married, having kids, etc.) -- generally contributing to society at a much older age on average.

    [And after they move out of the dorms for the summer or holidays they still need to go somewhere -- and it's most likely back with their parents, hence why they are typically counted in that category]

    What is remarkable is that in spite of the repeated attempts by radical environmentalists/cultural elites/politicians to shut it down the domestic energy (i.e. fossil fuels) industry is doing so well. Most of the success is due to innovation and implementation of fracking and horizontal drilling (where it is allowed).

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2014, at 11:38 AM, slpmn wrote:

    Regarding the number of hours people will work in the future, rest assured it will be about the same as it is now. Productivity gains do not go towards reducing hours worked, they go to increasing production. Hopefully, mainstream contemporary economists do not still subscribe to the foolish notion that the reverse is true as it has been disproved continuously since the industrial revolution. If there has been any decline in hours worked, it has been due to laws protecting workers, not technology.

    And someone needs to tell Larry Page that working for the means to acquire more than you need is the foundation of a modern economy.

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