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The holidays are a great time to catch up on reading (especially if you are snowed in). Here are the top articles and stories I found through my own reading this past week, in order of how long it takes to read.
Short: Howard Marks' "All That Glitters"
Howard Marks is chairman of Oaktree Capital, which manages almost $80 billion in assets. He pens a monthly letter, and this past month, he wrote a thoughtful discussion of the arguments for and against gold. As more investors than ever flock to gold via SPDR Gold Shares
Short: CAPS' Weekly Top Stock Idea
Shameless plug. Each week, I cull a top stock idea from the pitches made on CAPS, The Motley Fool's 170,000-member free investing community. Last week's pick was Colgate-Palmolive, but there's been a variety of stock ideas with a full write-up for each. If you're interested, you can subscribe to the series' RSS feed here, or follow on Twitter here. You can also see an archive of all the articles here.
Long: "Bruce Berkowitz: The Megamind of Miami"
Fortune has a great profile of Bruce Berkowitz, the founder and manager of the Fairholme Fund (FAIRX). Bruce was recognized last year by Morningstar as the U.S. stock manager of the decade. He has made a name for himself by producing an average annual return of 11.6% over the past decade, during which the S&P 500 only rose 0.7% on average. He has done this by running a fairly concentrated portfolio and by taking large positions in companies where he sees value but where other investors are afraid to tread. Good examples of this include AIG, Citigroup
The best for last: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
No matter if you are a fan of Harry Potter or never read it, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a must-read and the best thing I've read in 2010. This work-in-progress book, currently 63 chapters, uses Harry Potter to teach lessons in rationality, with each chapter devoted to one aspect of the subject. (For fans, Harry's Aunt Petunia married a scientist instead of Vernon Dursley, and Harry grows up to be a rational scientific prodigy.) While you may roll your eyes, I hope you give the book a chance; everyone I've passed it onto has become hooked. The author of the story is Eliezer Yudkowsky, an AI researcher and expert in decision sciences and rationality, and he's writing it to stay sane as he also works on a textbook on rationality. Click here to read Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality -- it's my Christmas present to you, the reader. Enjoy!
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Dan Dzombak can be found on his Twitter account: @DanDzombak. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.