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Investing: The Last Liberal Art PDF, ePub eBook Offering a picture of investing within the larger world, this title explains how investment managing works by borrowing the big ideas from other complex disciplines: biology, economics, mathematics, philosophy, physics and psychology. In the biology chapter, Hagstrom analyses the central nervous system and the immune system as complex adaptive systems and then draws parall Offering a picture of investing within the larger world, this title explains how investment managing works by borrowing the big ideas from other complex disciplines: biology, economics, mathematics, philosophy, physics and psychology. In the biology chapter, Hagstrom analyses the central nervous system and the immune system as complex adaptive systems and then draws parallels with the behaviour of the economy and the stock market. In the physics chapter, he explores a mathematical distribution and considers the advantages of scale in relation to the bigger is better models that define the business strategies of Wal-Mart, McDonald's and Home Depot.

30 review for Investing: The Last Liberal Art

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ian Robertson

    Investing: The Last Liberal Art contains no direction on how to read a balance sheet, or on how to project earnings into the future and discount them back to today’s value, nor are there arcane financial terms to send readers scrambling for dictionaries. Still, Investing is an essential book for professional and amateur stock pickers who want to excel, portfolio managers preparing to interview prospective analysts, and investors trying to choose amongst the many advisors ready to serve their nee Investing: The Last Liberal Art contains no direction on how to read a balance sheet, or on how to project earnings into the future and discount them back to today’s value, nor are there arcane financial terms to send readers scrambling for dictionaries. Still, Investing is an essential book for professional and amateur stock pickers who want to excel, portfolio managers preparing to interview prospective analysts, and investors trying to choose amongst the many advisors ready to serve their needs. Hagstrom takes his central premise that a broad education will pay dividends in investment performance from Warren Buffett’s quieter partner, Charlie Munger. Munger, through several speeches and in his book Poor Charlie’s Almanack, contends that to be successful in stock picking “you’ve got to have models in your head ... and you’ve got to array your experiences - both vicarious and direct - on this latticework of models.” Hagstrom takes Munger’s latticework idea and provides both the ‘why’ and the ‘how to’ in a concise, straightforward and entertaining format - a bit like Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything through an investment lens. He covers physics, biology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, literature, and mathematics, and concludes with a chapter on decision making. Hagstrom helpfully appends the reading list for the Maryland’s St. John’s College, where “the entire curriculum is devoted to discussing the great books of Western civilization; [where] there are no separate disciplines or departments, no electives,” and his bibliography is even broader - another excellent source for those wishing to take up his challenge. There is, of course, information directly relevant to investors. In his chapter on Psychology, Hagstrom ponders the question ‘How often should investors review their holdings to be “indifferent to the historical distribution of returns on stocks and bonds?” From pioneering work of behavioural economists Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi, the answer is once per year. When smartphones come pre-loaded with apps allowing us second by second stock valuations, and when larger market swings generate headlines in all media, our instinctual “myopic loss aversion” kicks in and we are driven to suboptimal investment decisions. Without knowing our own psychological predispositions - we feel losses about twice as intensely as gains - it is impossible to correct for them and to achieve superior returns. We should be strategic rather than tactical with our investment portfolios. In his chapter on Philosophy, Hagstrom shifts from individual traits to those of the broader market. “One reason we have such difficulty understanding markets is that we have been locked into an equilibrium description of how they should behave.” “We must remain open minded to accepting new descriptions of systems that appear complex.” Hagstrom’s first point harkens to his chapter on physics, while the second relates to his chapter on biology. Markets are complex systems with many feedback loops, and “the only way to do better than someone else, or more importantly, to outperform the stock market, is to have a different way of interpreting the data that is different from other people’s interpretations. To that I would add the need to have sources of information and experiences that are different.” A broader reading list rather than more Google alerts. For investors trying to sort through investment advisors’ credentials and experience, Hagstrom offers some considerations in his final chapter on decision making. “Having been schooled in modern portfolio theory and the efficient market hypothesis, will [they] quickly and automatically default to [the] physics-based model of how markets operate, or will [they] slow down [their] thinking and also consider the possibility that the market’s biological function could be altering the outcome? Even if the market looks hopelessly efficient, will [they] also consider that the wisdom of the crowds is only temporary?” The latticework that advisors use is just as important as their technical education. “Reading this book requires both an intellectual curiosity and a significant measure of patience,” cautions Hagstrom, perhaps underestimating his audience, but readers will be well rewarded and very likely more successful with their investing. Despite its broad relevance, unfortunately, Investing will likely find audience only with those already inclined towards the Gatsby ideal - “that most limited of all specialists, the ‘well-rounded man’.” (With apologies for Fitzgerald’s gender bias).

  2. 5 out of 5

    May Ling

    I have rallied against STEM and business education for some time and it's rally against the liberal arts who like Ghandi do not put up a fight. This is yet another book that articulates so well the net affect on society. The book is written with such positive light of what a liberal arts education could do for a person. The ability to think is what should be the focus, not the acquisition of knowledge. It has several great book lists that I hope to add to my noggin. I love the examples from Char I have rallied against STEM and business education for some time and it's rally against the liberal arts who like Ghandi do not put up a fight. This is yet another book that articulates so well the net affect on society. The book is written with such positive light of what a liberal arts education could do for a person. The ability to think is what should be the focus, not the acquisition of knowledge. It has several great book lists that I hope to add to my noggin. I love the examples from Charlie Munger, as he was one of many inspirational characters who got me in gear to add reading as a part of my mental diet. I plan on making this book a necessary part of my internship program.

  3. 5 out of 5

    InvestingByTheBooks.com

    In the last chapter, the author writes something that perfectly sets the context for this in my mind slightly overlooked investment book (1st ed 2000): “Improving the resource condition of our System 2 thinking – that is to say, deepening and broadening our reserves of relevant information – is the principal reason this book was written”. Writing that in 2000, two years before Daniel Kahneman received the Swedish Riksbank’s economic prize in memory of Alfred Nobel for a lifetime’s effort to put In the last chapter, the author writes something that perfectly sets the context for this in my mind slightly overlooked investment book (1st ed 2000): “Improving the resource condition of our System 2 thinking – that is to say, deepening and broadening our reserves of relevant information – is the principal reason this book was written”. Writing that in 2000, two years before Daniel Kahneman received the Swedish Riksbank’s economic prize in memory of Alfred Nobel for a lifetime’s effort to put System 2 in people’s System 1 (so to speak), the timing was impeccable. However, Robert Hagstrom’s elegant book had one drawback: the title. Named Latticework: The New Investing it failed to catch attention. This was however resolved the next year with the paperback edition. Scholars populating the world of Benjamin Franklin, Charlie Munger and the Santa Fe institute are certainly familiar with the reference point of the original title: Munger’s presentation to the students at USC in April of 1994, where he spoke under the header Stock Picking As a Subdivision of The Art of Worldly Wisdom. This speech, and Hagstrom’s book shoot off from the assumption that uniting the mental models from several disciplines – physics, biology, psychology, philosophy etc. – to create a figurative latticework of understanding is a powerful tool to build a richer life and achieving superior investment results along the way. The journey towards worldly wisdom travels through two equally important territories. Firstly, learning significant concepts from the different disciplines (“the big ideas”). Secondly, learning to recognize patterns of similarities among them. Investing: The Last Liberal Art deals with the former, by way of educating and stimulating the reader of the starting points to the big ideas within seven disciplines. Perfectly fitting to the idea of interconnectedness and understanding X due to seeing the similarities with Y, Hagstrom is the obvious hand-in-glove author of this book. Being intimately familiar with the Buffett and Munger worldly views via several previous books (The Warren Buffett Way as the standout), he also works at Legg Mason Investments whose collaboration with the Mungeresque multi-disciplinary Santa Fe Research Institute, gives him a continuous and re-enforcing education on the topic. But then how is the world of economics and finance related to physics, biology and philosophy et al? For starters, what is supply and demand if not the (physics) law of equilibrium at work? The chapter on physics overall is a gem, where I personally am most intrigued by the importance of the cumulative nature of human knowledge – a backbone of the latticework model. There would be no “Sir” in Isaac Newton without Kepler, Galilei and Descartes. And furthermore would there have been a Eugene Fama without Newton, Bachelier and Samuelson? As for biology: “Natura non facit saltum” (the motto of The Origin of Species). Nature does not make leaps. And neither does capitalism, explaining why certain businesses generate “über-profits” without extra competition for prolonged periods of time (and vice versa). Great companies in good industries tend to stay that way, an obvious early-age Munger- realization. In one of the more intricate twists of irony, Sir Isaac Newton himself was made poster boy for another important piece of the latticework puzzle; sociology, via the infamous South Sea Company mania. How can sociology be important to one’s reference points? By interlinking biology’s adaptive systems with psychology, it explains the simultaneous brilliance and madness of crowds. The key separator of course is societies needing to be diverse and independent (i.e. individuals independent of each other), which of course is not the case in financial markets with everybody watching the same CNBC. As the author aptly suggests, let’s give Charlie Munger – who bizarrely could be one of the more underappreciated figures in finance outside a tiny cult-clique – the last word: “What I’m urging on you is not that hard to do. And the rewards are awesome. It’ll help you in business... It’ll help you in life. And it’ll help you in love...It makes you better able to serve others and...yourself, and it makes life more fun”. Loollapalooza, Munger-style!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Will Akins

    I have read a few books and blogs on mental models and applying those to decisions, but this is the first book that helped me understand them on a deeper level. I hit somewhat of an obstacle with applying mental models in my life which is what led me to this book. That, and I found it for $3. Prior to reading the book I could understand a concept (model), and then apply it to a situation, but I didn't know how to apply multiple models, and weigh them independently, in decision making. I have read a few books and blogs on mental models and applying those to decisions, but this is the first book that helped me understand them on a deeper level. I hit somewhat of an obstacle with applying mental models in my life which is what led me to this book. That, and I found it for $3. Prior to reading the book I could understand a concept (model), and then apply it to a situation, but I didn't know how to apply multiple models, and weigh them independently, in decision making. The models that Hagstrom provides are the big, basic models from different disciplines. I appreciated that, and he even gives background on the history of the model as well as a short biography when appropriate. As Munger says, it is helpful to understand a person and their life when trying to understand their work. While I will have to put what I have learned into practice to understand the models better and learn to acquire more models, I feel I have made a substantial advancement in understanding mental models. I have a better understanding of applying multiple models, deciding which work best, and also weighing the correctness of a given model in a situation. If I was reading it again, I would read the final chapter first before starting with Chapter 1.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Russ

    Interesting take on both investing and college education. After reading, I'd recommend reading the last 2 chapters first. Then, if intrigued, go back and read from the beginning. The author's premise is that the liberal arts degree was meant to expand our thinking not focus it in one limited area. I concur his his assessment. He spends a chapter on various liberal art topics - physics, biology, social sciences, psychology, philosophy and literature. He weaves his investment philosophy through ea Interesting take on both investing and college education. After reading, I'd recommend reading the last 2 chapters first. Then, if intrigued, go back and read from the beginning. The author's premise is that the liberal arts degree was meant to expand our thinking not focus it in one limited area. I concur his his assessment. He spends a chapter on various liberal art topics - physics, biology, social sciences, psychology, philosophy and literature. He weaves his investment philosophy through each topic. The general idea is that exposure to more than one discipline will give us a latticework of mental models which can be applied to our investing. Whether you're a professional investor or individual investor, there is merit in having a broader world view married to a formal system of critical analysis and decision making. Hagstrom is not providing investment advice. However, the book is worthwhile in its message of increasing understanding of subjects as opposed to fact gathering.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jai Gupta

    The book is interdisciplinary in nature and talks about investing from multiple perspective. The author primarily focuses on the fact that the notion of investing, economics and markets are symbiotically associated with a larger body of human knowledge, yet the forces of this new era compels and demands us to specialise in one particular field. One needs to start on the quest of connections and parallels between Finance and ideas in multiple avenues of knowledge to be able to invest in a more in The book is interdisciplinary in nature and talks about investing from multiple perspective. The author primarily focuses on the fact that the notion of investing, economics and markets are symbiotically associated with a larger body of human knowledge, yet the forces of this new era compels and demands us to specialise in one particular field. One needs to start on the quest of connections and parallels between Finance and ideas in multiple avenues of knowledge to be able to invest in a more incisive, intuitive and astute way. Sir Robert Hagstrom beautifully builds upon the hypothesis that investment strategies derives its inherent nature from the discipline of varied fields like Physics, Biology, Philosophy, Social Sciences, Psychology and Literature and proves them with brilliant analogy. All in all, if you want to read about investing from a broader perspective, I'd recommend this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Igor Chalhub

    Great book on mental models.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Peter S

    I thought this book was going to be for people with a liberal arts background. I hoped Hagstrom would reveal all the great qualities a liberal arts education would have for an investor, and how to apply those ideas. Instead, it worked in the opposite view, and assumed the reader was not well read at all. So, it felt like it was for an investor who needed to be convinced about the merits of opening their minds. It had chapters on all the major fields of a liberal arts degree - math, physics, biol I thought this book was going to be for people with a liberal arts background. I hoped Hagstrom would reveal all the great qualities a liberal arts education would have for an investor, and how to apply those ideas. Instead, it worked in the opposite view, and assumed the reader was not well read at all. So, it felt like it was for an investor who needed to be convinced about the merits of opening their minds. It had chapters on all the major fields of a liberal arts degree - math, physics, biology, history, literature, sociology, psychology etc, and then went through the major works in each of those fields. So you learn a little about Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Marx, Tetlock, Kahneman, and so on. The greater your understanding of humans, the greater your understanding of markets and therefore investing. The book was based on the ideas put forward by Benjamin Franklin and Charlie Munger (whose hero is Benjamin Franklin). To be great at anything, you need to be able to rely on a latticework of mental models that are not domain specific. Unfortunately, there was not much by way of actionable info and only brief overviews of some of the great works of mankind. If you have read on a variety of subjects to any extent, this book is probabaly not worth reading. EDIT: I think this excerpt from the book's first chapter summarizes the thesis very well. Instead of reading the book, just try reading a lot about a lot. Charlie Munger believes that “true learning and lasting success come to those who make the effort to first build a latticework of mental models and then learn to think in an associate, multidiscplinary manner. It may take some work, he warned, especially if your education has forced you to specialize. But once those models are firmly set in your mind, you are intellectually equipped to deal with many different kinds of situations. You can reach out and grasp the model that better solves the overall problem. All you have to do is know it and develop the right mental habits.”

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Salzinger

    This is a rah rah book for the advocacy of Charlie Munger’s mental models and a more interdisciplinary attitude towards higher education. The author has separate chapters for physics, biology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, literature, mathematics, and decision making ( Kahneman’s Systems 1& 2) where he touches on basic knowledge in each discipline and then tries to show how this knowledge could help the investing professional. Not being an investing pro I guess what one could get out of This is a rah rah book for the advocacy of Charlie Munger’s mental models and a more interdisciplinary attitude towards higher education. The author has separate chapters for physics, biology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, literature, mathematics, and decision making ( Kahneman’s Systems 1& 2) where he touches on basic knowledge in each discipline and then tries to show how this knowledge could help the investing professional. Not being an investing pro I guess what one could get out of this book is a kick in the pants to make the effort to study the Great Books. He does add the St Johns reading list ( One of the few universities that specializes in a traditional Great Books education ) at the end which is useful, I guess.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nirav Mehta

    This book is different from most investing-related books that I have read. It follows the principle that investing is actually a liberal art, and being a good investor requires an individual to have broader horizons and the importance of wisdom over intellect. The book draws parallels from different streams of arts or sciences with the investing world, including physics, biology, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, etc. The conclusion is in line with Charlie Munger's investing philosophy - that This book is different from most investing-related books that I have read. It follows the principle that investing is actually a liberal art, and being a good investor requires an individual to have broader horizons and the importance of wisdom over intellect. The book draws parallels from different streams of arts or sciences with the investing world, including physics, biology, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, etc. The conclusion is in line with Charlie Munger's investing philosophy - that being a good investor is about constructing a latticework of mental models and having the flexibility to keep updating them. Would recommend this to people interested in the investing profession, who are more interested in the behavioural aspects.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Jas. Baker

    This book is an excellent tool, not only for investors, but anyone interested in broadening their scope of general knowledge. Since, this book is based on the conceptual ideology of bringing the various fields of academia together into a whole - the lesson basically teaches investors to use knowledge from every aspect of varied educations in order to make more informed market decisions. Well, I have been greatly inspired by this, and brought away a broader understanding of summarized, general in This book is an excellent tool, not only for investors, but anyone interested in broadening their scope of general knowledge. Since, this book is based on the conceptual ideology of bringing the various fields of academia together into a whole - the lesson basically teaches investors to use knowledge from every aspect of varied educations in order to make more informed market decisions. Well, I have been greatly inspired by this, and brought away a broader understanding of summarized, general intelligence! (Makes me wish I had been a financier!)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Massgreen

    Opening one's mind to absorb knowledge from multiple disciplines and linking them together so that they enforce each other to gain a better understanding of the world helps not only in investing but in many other aspects in life. Well written book, chapters are well connected, I have learned a great many of ideas (from different disciplines) in this books that I would now have to go and study the original work by respective authors.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elijah Oyekunle

    I really love the main concept behind this book, which is that having a broad knowledge in several fields can help improve every aspect of one's life through the combination of ideas. Then the author tries giving an overview of some really important fields although I didn't think those can do much except provoke an interest in the reader to dive deeper into those topics; because the overviews themselves are not enough. Overall, this is a good book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mourisham Jose

    Did not manage to squeeze into my MUST READ INVESTMENT BOOK but this book nonetheless offered me a new perspective especially on Charlie Munger's latticework of mental models. In order to survive in an unpredictable world that we are living in today, one must be equipped with worldly wisdom. A heavy duty book especially if you do not have science background.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tarin Bansal

    This book is basically a collection of summaries from various other authors like Taleb, Kahneman, Pabrai, Munger, Yuval Noah Harari etc. Good value add if this is among the first investment related books you pick, not so much otherwise.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    Brilliant concept of applying major principles from diverse disciplines. This book changed the way I see and interact with the world.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Harsh Thaker

    The book answers the question, why multi disciplinary thinking is required not only to be a better investor but also a better thinker

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pedro Zagury

    Great summary of main mental models, from different disciplines. Starting point for having Munger's elementary worldly wisdom.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Saikat Sengupta

    One of the best books to explain the 'lollapalooza effect'

  20. 5 out of 5

    Adora

    On mental models as it relates to value investing. Good multidisciplinary approach to the topic.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rahimul

    I agree with the overarching theme: be broad-minded in your understanding of the world. However, there is more form than substance.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. - Doesn't go into the numerous mental models advocated by Munger - Instead relates some of the big disciplines (e.g. biology) to investing

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gaurav Singh Kopite

    Brilliant. A must read for any investor who wants to learn what it truly takes to be a good one

  24. 5 out of 5

    Turgut

    Recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patrik Bergman

    Fantastic One of the greatest books I have read where liberal arts and broader wisdom are applied to investing. Highly recommended.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joel Gray

    LIBERAL ARTS - STUDY INTENDED TO PROVIDE GENERAL KNOWLEDGE AND TO DEVELOP GENERAL INTELLECTUAL CAPABILITIES (IE RASON AND JUDGEMENT) AS OPPOSED TO PROFESSIONAL OR VOCATIONAL SKILLS. IT TURNS OUT THAT THE TRULY BIG IDEAS IN EACH DISCIPLINE, LEARNED ONLY IN ESSENCE, CARRY MOST OF THE FREIGHT. Master the best that other people have figured out rather than sitting down and trying to dream it up yourself. There are no shortcuts to greater understanding. We LIBERAL ARTS - STUDY INTENDED TO PROVIDE GENERAL KNOWLEDGE AND TO DEVELOP GENERAL INTELLECTUAL CAPABILITIES (IE RASON AND JUDGEMENT) AS OPPOSED TO PROFESSIONAL OR VOCATIONAL SKILLS. IT TURNS OUT THAT THE TRULY BIG IDEAS IN EACH DISCIPLINE, LEARNED ONLY IN ESSENCE, CARRY MOST OF THE FREIGHT. Master the best that other people have figured out rather than sitting down and trying to dream it up yourself. There are no shortcuts to greater understanding. We have become a society that prefers specialisation to breadth. Equilibrium - states of balance between two opposing forces, powers or influences. The crowd is an independent organism greater than the sum of the parts. It has the ability to operate independently and as such forms its owns identity and will. The two critical variables necessary for a collective to make superior decisions are diversity and independence. Most people are risk averse. Older people and women are more cautious. Wealth levels don't seem to affect risk levels. Storytelling is a very effective way of transferring ideas. One of the most difficult intellectual conversions is to adit that you are wrong. Pragmatism has no prejudices - it will entertain any hypothesis and consider any evidence Pragmatism focuses on results rather than standards or abstract ideas - those things that are actually working and that help you reach your goals. The successful investor should enthusiastically examine every issue from every possible angle, from every discipline, to get the best possible description of what is going on. Only then is an investor in a position to accurately explain. Once your field of vision is widened, you are able to understand more fully what you observe, and then you use these insights for greater investment results. Our culture encodes a strong raise either to neglect or ignore variation. We ted to focus instead on measures of central tendency, and as a result make some terrible mistakes. Be patient in answering questions so that reason overtakes intuition - leads to increased accuracy. For intuition to be accurate the environment must be sufficiently regular to be predictable. People in more complex environments are must less likely to develop intuition. The aggregate success in forecasting of foxes was better than hedgehogs because hedgehogs have a tendency to fall in love with pet theories, which gives them too much confidence in forecasting events. Hedgehogs were also too slow to change their viewpoint in response to disconfirming evidence. Foxes appreciate the limits of their own knowledge.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    gnothi seauton, carpe diem, and keep reading! A poem by Bertolt Brecht springs to mind, the SONG ABOUT THE GOOD PEOPLE: 1 One knows the good people by the fact That they get better When one knows them. The good people Invite one to improve them, for How does anyone get wiser? By listening And by being told something. 2 At the same time, however They improve anybody who looks at them and anybody They look at. It is not just becaus gnothi seauton, carpe diem, and keep reading! A poem by Bertolt Brecht springs to mind, the SONG ABOUT THE GOOD PEOPLE: 1 One knows the good people by the fact That they get better When one knows them. The good people Invite one to improve them, for How does anyone get wiser? By listening And by being told something. 2 At the same time, however They improve anybody who looks at them and anybody They look at. It is not just because they help one To get jobs or to see clearly, but because We know that these people are alive and are Changing the world, that they are of use to us. 3 If one comes to them they are there. They remember what they Looked like when one last met them. However much they’ve changed — For it is precisely they who change — They have at most become more recognisable. 4 They are like a house which we have helped to build They do not force us to live there Sometimes they do not let us. We may come to them at any time in our smallest dimension, but What we bring with us we must select. 5 They know how to give reasons for their presents If they find them thrown away they laugh. But here too they are reliable, in that Unless we rely on ourselves They cannot be relied on. 6 When they make mistakes we laugh: For if they lay a stone in the wrong place We, by watching them, see The right place. Daily they earn our interest, even as they earn Their daily bread. They are interested in something That is outside themselves. 7 The good people keep us busy They don’t seem to be able to finish anything by themselves All their solutions still contain problems. At dangerous moments on sinking ships Suddenly we see their eyes full on us. Though they do not entirely approve of us as we are They are in agreement with us none the less.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    This book is more about investing and less about the liberal arts. The chapter on literature is more about literary criticism than about the works themselves. For example, there are endless lessons one can glean from Shakespeare--leadership, research, empathy, diversification, honesty, self-awareness, decisiveness--but there was no discussion of these works, just discussions about talking about Shakespeare. Similarly, the chapter on math was just a repeat of the wisdom of probability This book is more about investing and less about the liberal arts. The chapter on literature is more about literary criticism than about the works themselves. For example, there are endless lessons one can glean from Shakespeare--leadership, research, empathy, diversification, honesty, self-awareness, decisiveness--but there was no discussion of these works, just discussions about talking about Shakespeare. Similarly, the chapter on math was just a repeat of the wisdom of probability and statistics. Ok. I guess. But what about the life-lessons of James Nash--and the Nash equilibrium--that has revolutionized public auctions and many aspects of market dynamics. And what about math as philosophy? Couldn't we get something from Bertrand Russell? "Latticework" was the original title, and seems appropriate: pre-fabricated, designed to obscure what's behind, which is often nothing. This book promises far more than it delivers. Which is sad, because it could say so much more.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Investing is an accessible apologetic for a liberal education. It illustrates the idea that successful investor must develop and incorporate mental models from a variety of disciplines. At the foundation of that development are the thinkers that make up the Western canon. Thinkers from physics, biology, the social sciences, psychology, philosophy, and even fictional literature will help the investor to think critically and develop ways of seeing the world that will approach the world more accurately. It’ Investing is an accessible apologetic for a liberal education. It illustrates the idea that successful investor must develop and incorporate mental models from a variety of disciplines. At the foundation of that development are the thinkers that make up the Western canon. Thinkers from physics, biology, the social sciences, psychology, philosophy, and even fictional literature will help the investor to think critically and develop ways of seeing the world that will approach the world more accurately. It’s hard work, and necessary though not sufficient, to becoming a successful investor. I recommend Investing to all of my former MBA classmates and colleagues in the investment community as a challenge to broaden their reading, thinking, and conversation.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joma Palana

    Charlie Munger, the business partner of the better known Warren Buffett, has popularized the use of mental models as a tool to be a better investor. From this starting point, Hagstrom has given us the big favor of doing a systematic study of the different fields of the liberal arts from which we can draw to build up our arsenal of mental models. The book is up-to-date and includes findings from the recent business literature. As a bonus, it provides the reading list of the humanities course from Charlie Munger, the business partner of the better known Warren Buffett, has popularized the use of mental models as a tool to be a better investor. From this starting point, Hagstrom has given us the big favor of doing a systematic study of the different fields of the liberal arts from which we can draw to build up our arsenal of mental models. The book is up-to-date and includes findings from the recent business literature. As a bonus, it provides the reading list of the humanities course from St. John's College to give us a flavor of what can be interesting reading. To make the point, he cites graduates of this college who have gone on to be successful investors. This is an important work that makes for required reading for anyone in finance and business.

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