Weekend reading logo

What caught my eye this week.

Let’s end the year with a smile, or at least an ironic smirk. Here’s a bunch of things to put in your stocking or perhaps that of a significant other. (Mind out of the gutter…)

The Man Who Solved the Market
How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution

I don’t think it’s been a banner year for great investing books, or perhaps I just missed them what with all the exciting politics. Either way, it’d be hard to beat the best I read – Gregory Zuckerman’s The Man Who Solved The Market. If you’re an active investor, you can delude yourself that it could be you. If you’re a passive investor weighing up the competition from Simons and genius crew, you’ll be glad you’re not so deluded…

Quacks of Quedlinburg

I’ve written about what I’ve learned from my love of board games on Monevator before. The game featured in that article – Dominion – is still a favourite, not least thanks to a dozen or so mostly excellent expansions. But diversification isn’t just for our portfolios. This year I’ve also been playing the award-winning Quacks of Quedlinburg. It’s very accessible, though like all these games it hides its simplicity under a daunting rule set. This is a game about probabilities. Learn to think fuzzy!

Get a free share from Freetrade

This neat deal is still running. Sign up to Freetrade via this link, fund your account with £1, and we’ll both get a free share in our Freetrade accounts. Lots of Monevator readers have reported what free share they got in the comments on my original article, which also contains more details about the offer. The giveaway shares are typically around £5, but potentially much more. Which you can get for free!

Harriman House discount code

Thanks to John Kingham – aka UK Value Investor – for flagging up this one on Twitter. Financial book publisher Harriman House is running a special offer, where you can get 25% off its books until the end of January with the discount code FESTIVE25.

Investor Island: A free mobile game from The Motley Fool

This computer game is pretty bonkers, like a mash-up between a dozen of those infuriating free-to-play mobile games we’ve all had a spell of playing at 3am for three nights on the trot and, well, CNBC and The Motley Fool. It’s US, but relevant. Sort of. Heck, it’s free! A time sink, but less damaging than day-trading. (I’m not sure how to link to it, but search for Investor Island on the iOS app store).

Well there you have it, a very random assortment of fun in the best tradition of Secret Santa.

At least you didn’t get socks.

No more Weekend Readings until 2020, but do look out for the return of our Christmas debates next week!

Our last one, in – ahem – 2011 – was all about active investing. In this latest round, me, The Accumulator, and The Details Man turn our attention and rhetorical weapons on FIRE.

You won’t want to miss this. Particularly if the alternative is the Queen’s Speech.

Have a great Christmas and I hope a happy 2020.

From Monevator

Reflections on the investing and personal finance consequences of the 2019 Tory win – Monevator

The long comment thread on that post includes a good discussion about ‘bug out’ plans – Monevator

From the archive-ator: The Monevator millionaire calculator – Monevator

News

Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1

Andrew Bailey has been appointed as new Bank of England governor – BBC

House prices: regional winners and losers over the past decade – ThisIsMoney

More newly-minted unicorns than ever before were founded by females, data shows – TechCrunch

Whatever happened to Woodford? Mini-special

Aberdeen Standard Investments to take over Woodford Income Focus fund… – Investment Week

… while Neil Woodford has left industry stunned as he seeks new opportunities in China… – Portfolio Adviser

…and Woodford Patient Capital Trust has been given a new name, a new ticker, and a new loan – CityWire

Investors could face cash restrictions on Woodford-style funds – Guardian

Products and services

How would government plans to offer local home buyers a 30% discount work? – ThisIsMoney

Ratesetter will pay you £100 [and me a cash bonus] if you invest £1,000 for a year – Ratesetter

Here’s why your current account balance no longer shows your overdraft as potential funds – ThisIsMoney

Houses with big chimneys for Santa [Gallery]Guardian

Comment and opinion

Climbing the wealth ladder – Of Dollars and Data

Financial independence let me walk away from harassment at work – Financial Mechanic

Markets aren’t 100% efficient? Whatever! – The Evidence-based Investor

Intangible returns – Pragmatic Capitalism

An example of real-life portfolio returns on the financial independence journey – Retirement Investing Today

Hindsight Is 20/20. Foresight Isn’t. – Independence Advisors [h/t Abnormal Returns]

Charts of the decade [US perspective but interesting]A Wealth of Common Sense

Markets are up [as much as] 30% year-to-date. Your portfolio is not. Here’s why – The Big Picture

What investment factors work for stocks? [A summary of ‘smart beta’ research]Morningstar

Naughty corner: Active antics

How one investor made 42% from British-listed small caps in 2019 – Cube Investments

It’s probably too late to buy UK housebuilders – UK Value Investor

Where to invest in 2020 [Search result]FT

Grim tidings – Demonetized

After all its battles, Tesla’s stock price just hit an all-time high – CNBC

The US yield curve story is a candidate for the chart of the year – Crossing Wall Street

Want to learn stock valuation from one of the world’s leading academics, for free? – Musing on Markets

Politics

Parliament passes Withdrawal Bill with a 124 majority – BBC

Johnson revised the bill to limit Parliament’s roll in Brexit talks – Guardian

Tories accused of breaking minimum wage hike pledge after one week in office – HuffPost UK

Kindle book bargains

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou [The Theranos story] – £0.99 on Kindle

Mastering The Market Cycle: Getting the odds on your side by Howard Marks – £0.99 on Kindle

How To Have A Good Day: The Essential Toolkit for a Productive Day at Work by Caroline Webb – £0.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

Mathematician Terence Tao cracks a ‘dangerous’ problem – Wired

Social media’s shift towards misery – Cal Newport

The Instagram decade: #holidaytrends – Guardian

Will the Star Wars universe survive? [Spoiler-free]BBC

The thing about elephants – Seth Godin

And finally…

“Gold, for the instant, lost its lustre in his eyes, for there were countless treasures of the heart which it could never purchase.”
– Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

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  1. Note some 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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