Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

I miss novels! Sure I can put a tea towel over Twitter, turn the other cheek to Facebook, and watch less funny cat videos on YouTube. That ephemera is easily ignored.

The issue is what my girlfriend calls “side reading”.

I find it impossible these days to read a novel without feeling curious, antsy, or unstimulated, and then reaching for an iPad to look up some bit of detail.

When did the samurai era really end? Can acid dissolve a human body? How close are we to a manned space mission to Mars?

Historical novels, thrillers, science fiction – none of it escapes my Internet-egged-on need to Know Right Now the answer to every question that flutters up.

Perhaps that’s why I found the article on money lessons from fiction posted on Marketwatch so – well – sweet. It’s quaint to imagine learning things from fiction, rather than a blog, a discussion forum, or Khan Academy.

In fact, according to the article novelists warn us that financial bloggers can be downright dangerous:

Don’t expect to find explicit tips on spending, saving and investing baked into the texts like messages in fortune cookies.

Novelists and dramatists seem suspicious if not disdainful of those who dole out advice about money — which is perhaps why, when they do offer worthwhile personal-finance counsel, the words tend to be put into the mouths of imbeciles.


Well, I won’t take it personally. I’m sure Dickens was thinking of some other financial blogger!

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

  • Post-break-up spending qualified – Lam Thuy Vo (via Ermine)
  • The 100% off Black Friday Sale – Mr Money Mustache
  • Complete a Monevator reader’s 5-minute student survey into crowd-sourced equity funding, and you could win a Google Nexus – Online Survey

Product of the week: What are we to make of Bitcoins, the price of which hit $1,000 this week? £4m worth of Bitcoins have been accidentally buried in a Welsh rubbish dump, reports The Guardian, which makes me wonder if prospectors will some day mine for old hard disc drives. Even FT Alphaville tried acquire some Bitcoins, with revealing results.

Mainstream media money

Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber of that site.1

Passive investing

  • Bernstein: Take some risk of the table – Index Universe
  • Swedroe: Investors’ hurt returns with poor timing – CBS
  • Swedroe, again: Is a manager’s alpha really just beta? – CBS

Active investing

  • Always buy on ‘black’ days for the market – Marketwatch
  • Trend-following hedge funds are broken – The Economist

Other stuff worth reading

  • Jack ‘Tracker’ Bogle’s son is an active fund manager – WSJ
  • Carney warns on homes, ends Funding for Lending support – Guardian
  • …mortgage rates will rise as a result [Search result]FT
  • The 1990s stock market bubble was crazier than you remember – Slate
  • Scottish independence could hit UK investors – Interactive Investor
  • Life in America is amazing and nobody is happy – Motley Fool

Book of the week: If you like the Howard Mark’s Memo I linked to above then you should read his book. This year’s version is called The Most Important Thing Illuminated, and it comes with extra insights from other investing bigwigs. Best for active investors.

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  1. Reader Ken notes that: “FT articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”.”

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