How Venture Capital Thrives by Betting on Weirdness

Laurence Articles

Vinod Khosla is the venture capitalist who backed the startup company, Impossible Foods, that makes the Impossible Burger. (It’s a plant-based burger that has become wildly successful because, unlike earlier veggie burgers, it tastes good.) Although each venture-capital success story is different, Mallaby — the author of The Man Who Knew, a biography of Alan Greenspan that I reviewed here …

Everything You Know Is Wrong

Laurence Articles

Einstein’s theory of relativity advanced Newtonian physics. That did not mean Newton was wrong — only that his theories could be improved upon. In an ambitious new book, the economist Andrew Smithers rejects core “Newtonian” principles of economics, replacing them with radical departures from conventional wisdom. But as I will explain, unlike Einstein, some of Smithers’ theories fail meet the …

Where’s Tobin? Protecting Intergenerational Equity for Endowments – A New Benchmarking Approach

Laurence Articles

with M. Barton Waring Abstract “The trustees of an endowed institution are the guardians of the future against the claims of the present.” –James Tobin, winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Economics. Tobin’s thoughtful admonition that endowment trustees should protect the spending power of the endowment for all time can’t be implemented in practice given today’s aggressive investment policies. …

Cloudy with a Chance of Technological Breakthrough

Laurence Articles

Will the cloud drive massive increases in productivity and wealth — as the internet did before it? That is the central question asked by Mark Mills in his stunning new book, The Cloud Revolution. Little changes sometimes morph into very big ones by stealth: you don’t see the big change coming until it has enveloped you. This is how ARPANET, …

How To Think: Steven Pinker’s Instruction Manual For Your Brain

Laurence Articles

An urban legend has Amos Tversky, the late cofounder (along with Daniel Kahneman) of behavioral economics, asking a computer scientist what he was working on. The computer man responded, “I study artificial intelligence.” Tversky, a notorious smart aleck, responded, “I study natural stupidity.” Steven Pinker has studied natural stupidity more carefully than almost any other living writer. Trained as a …

Is a Rejection of Classical Finance Justified?

Laurence Articles

Einstein’s theory of relativity advanced Newtonian physics. That did not mean Newton was wrong – only that his theories could be improved upon. In an ambitious new book, the economist Andrew Smithers rejects core “Newtonian” principles of economics, replacing them with radical departures from conventional wisdom. But as I will explain, unlike Einstein, some of Smithers’ theories fail meet the …

Generational Differences Are Less Important Than You Think

Laurence Articles

We shouldn’t read too much into pop sociology, especially when investing other people’s money. William Strauss and Neil Howe built a following by perpetuating a scholarship that embraces substantive differences among generations: Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen-X and so forth. But that view is mistaken, according to Bobby Duffy. Duffy asks whether our lives are largely shaped by when we were …

Friedman’s Bulldog? Edward Yardeni Presents a Brief for Capitalism

Laurence Articles

A Personal Reflection At some level you carry what you learned in school with you for the rest of your life. I went to the University of Chicago out of high school, hoping to study with Milton Friedman, who had published Capitalism and Freedom a decade earlier. I didn’t wind up studying directly with Friedman but I got to know …

Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman: The Epic Battle that Wasn’t

Laurence Articles

The British journalist Nicholas Wapshott’s Samuelson Friedman, a sequel to his earlier Keynes Hayek, promises an exciting Shootout at the OK Corral but doesn’t deliver. (The silly book titles don’t help either.) Nobel laureates Paul Samuelson, left of center, and Milton Friedman, firmly on the right, had much more in common than not — they were both passionate believers in …

Why Generational Differences Matter Less Than You Think

Laurence Articles

We shouldn’t read too much into pop sociology, especially when investing other people’s money. William Strauss and Neil Howe built a following by studying substantive differences among generations: Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen X and so forth. But that view is mistaken, according to Bobby Duffy. Duffy asks whether our lives largely shaped by when we were born, as popular “generational …

How to Think: Steven Pinker’s Instruction Manual for Your Brain

Laurence Articles

An urban legend has Amos Tversky, the late co-founder (along with Daniel Kahneman) of behavioral economics, asking a computer scientist what he was working on. The computer man responded, “I study artificial intelligence.” Tversky, a notorious smart aleck, responded, “I study natural stupidity.” Steven Pinker has studied natural stupidity more carefully than any other living writer. Trained as a cognitive …

Charles Gave Asks What Kind of Monetary Regime We’re In

Laurence Uncategorized

Are we in a Wicksellian or a Keynesian monetary regime? No, I’m not speaking a foreign language. Charles Gave, the legendary French investment manager, consultant, and onetime co-founder (with Hugh Eaton) of Cursitor-Eaton Asset Management, bases his macro forecasts and thus his investment strategy on the type of monetary and fiscal regime we’re in. According to Gave, there are two …

Fewer, Richer, Greener!

Laurence Articles

Interviewed by Kathryn M. Welling Larry Siegel’s Highly Contrary, Surprisingly Practical Future Vision There’s no getting around it. For all his financial acumen, intellectual firepower and years of experience in trying to meld the minds of Wall Street to scholarly research, Larry Siegel remains both highly rational and a dogged optimist. Amazing. Larry is also a familiar face to faithful …

Steven Pinker’s Instruction Manual for Your Brain

Laurence Articles

An urban legend has Amos Tversky, the late co-founder (along with Daniel Kahneman) of behavioral economics,asking a computer scientist what he was working on. The computer man responded, “I study artificial intelligence.” Tversky, a notorious smart aleck, responded, “I study natural stupidity.” Steven Pinker has studied natural stupidity more carefully than any other living writer. Trained as a cognitive psychologist …

Niall Ferguson Says We’re Getting Worse at Dealing with Catastrophes (But He’s Wrong)

Laurence Articles

Having suffered through the worst pandemic in a century, we are keenly attuned to catastrophe. Few people are better equipped to document the history of catastrophes and our response to them, for better or worse, than Niall Ferguson, the Scottish-American historian and documentary television star whose previous books have covered everything from The Ascent of Money to Colossus: The Rise …

How Did the World Go from Poor to Rich?

Laurence Articles

After tens of thousands of years of living at a subsistence level, how did the world suddenly become so rich? By “suddenly” I mean in the last 250 years (I’m a long-term investor). However, even if you think in shorter time frames, the rise of China in the last 40 years, and of the United States, Europe, and Japan in …