Here are seven good reads from this week. 

How to be happier with money

From an interview with Harvard professor Michael Norton:

So, everything you buy, think about how it's going to affect your time. Not the product itself, but what you're going to do with it later and that massively changes your decision-making. So, not to come back to TVs, but buying a TV, you think, "Oh. This is going to be great. I'm going to have friends over and we're going to watch TV and the kids will be there. We'll have family movie night." It turns out, when you buy a TV, what you do is you watch it by yourself in a dark room. It's not good for you. If you think about, "Wait. How am I actually going to use this TV? How will it actually change my time?" you might say, "Maybe I don't want to get a TV."

This is why you can't have nice things

An interview with Bill Miller shows why most investors fail: 

As his Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust fund sank to the bottom of the rankings, fleeing investors shrank its assets to $2.8 billion from $21 billion. He refused to but his losses  on shaken financial firms like Bear Stearns Cos. and American International Group Inc., which were then nearly wiped out. ....

[Now that stocks have rallied, Miller's fund] brought in a net $189 million last year, the fund's first increase since 2007, and money has kept coming in so far this year, boosting total assets to $2.2 billion.


Ben Carlson has a great idea for an investing TV show:

  1. It would only be on once a week.
  2. Weekly guests would include the different ETF and mutual fund providers along with portfolio managers to explain their strategies and fund options.
  3. The audience could call/email/tweet their questions on the portfolio management process.
  4. There would also be a financial advisor segment to discuss how they run their client portfolios and any issues that seem to come up on a regular basis.
  5. Guests would get at least 15-20 minutes a piece instead of the 5 minute soundbites they get now so they could explain themselves and their positions in detail (other guests would include authors, bloggers, academic researchers and successful individual investors).
  6. Obviously, you would need many different voices to share their experiences and thoughts since there isn't a single way of doing things.
  7. A focal point would be investor behavior and how human nature messes with our decision-making process. There is talk of the 'dumb money' from time to time on financial programs these days, but not much coverage gets paid to the long list of cognitive biases that seem to affect every investor, both professional and novice, in different ways.


Josh Brown shows the divergence between the United States and Europe:



For your 4th of July pleasure:

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, for example, periodically administers an exam called PISA to 15-year-olds in 69 countries. While results vary somewhat depending on the subject and grade level, America never looks very good. The same is true of other international tests. In PISA's math test, the United States battles it out for last place among developed countries, along with Hungary and Lithuania.


Vehicle sales are on fire:


Summer travel

This list of travel tips is hilarious: 

Don't fly an airline where your checked bags might cost more than your seat.

Unless it's to a remote island, the word "Connection" should not appear on your itinerary.

Unless you are flying first class international, never eat the food, period.

Enjoy your weekend. 

Contact Morgan Housel at The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.