July 28, 2017

If you were to read only one thing…

Daily Mail – Has this man found the secret of happiness? – Mo Gawdat 7/20

  • A very moving personal account of success, loss, and perspective.

Perspective

NYT – Behind an $18 Billion Donation to a New York Charity, a Shadowy Chinese Conglomerate – Michael Forsythe and Alexandra Stevenson 7/26

  • “At first glance, it appears to be one of the most generous donations in the history of philanthropic giving in America.”
  • “A Chinese man has transferred more than 29% of HNA Group of China — the equivalent of as much as $18 billion — to a New York-based private foundation. The donation puts him in the same league as donors like Bill Gates and Warren E. Buffett and almost matched the combined giving of all American corporations in 2016.”
  • “But it has not been disclosed how that man, Guan Jun, who is in his 30s, came to own such a large piece of one of China’s biggest conglomerates. His registered address in Beijing is a modest apartment at the end of a dingy hallway littered with discarded furniture and bags of trash.”
  • As an aside, the charity was only just set up in December of 2016. Basically, lots of open questions at this point.

FT – Can an electric shock help curb your spending? – Aime Williams 7/25

  • “Tech companies believe that knowledge is power, and the digital banks vying for the world’s savers are no exception. By offering colorful apps that promise users control over their finances, companies such as Atom, Monzo and Tandem think that giving people more information will help them make smarter decisions.”
  • “But a dark question stalks these ambitions: what if people have no self-control? What if, when told they spend a third of their monthly salary on takeaway coffee, they continue overspending? When it comes to money, sometimes people just don’t want to know.”
  • There are apps that subtly set aside money into your savings accounts when you don’t spend all of your earnings, but for some that is not enough.
  • Enter “Pavlok — its name inspired by Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov — is a bracelet that gives you a mild electric shock if you do something you don’t want to do. This method has no interest in your comfort and dignity, only in ‘allowing you to achieve 100 per cent of your goals 100 per cent of the time’ (in the words of its creator).”
  • “None of this is particularly sophisticated, of course. But perhaps it’s the logical conclusion of the never-ending clamor for our attention and cash. Maybe our willpower is weaker than before, just as our attention spans are shorter, and the Pavlok is both the result of a tech-powered information overload and an antidote to it.”
  • “There is only one more problem but Sethi (Maneesh Sethi, Pavlok’s inventor) seems to have considered it already. What if I just decide to take off the bracelet? ‘We’re developing a lock,’ he replies.”

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

Oaktree – There They Go Again…Again – Howard Marks 7/26

  • Looking for a thorough explanation of the current investment environment right now and thoughtful opinion on the risks that lie within… look no further.

The Reformed Broker – Tennis with Howard Marks – Joshua Brown 7/27

  • An epilogue to the memo from Mr. Marks.

Energy

WSJ – Daily Shot: eia – Per capita residential electricity sales in U.S. 7/27

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