Premium Value Investing NewsletterDownload Free Issue

Archives for January 2018

Latticework of Mental Models: Naive Realism

Let me start by inviting you to have an intellectual and emotional experience. Take a few seconds and stare at the picture below.

Image-1 (Source: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey)

Observe closely. What do you see?

You’d probably see a woman who is looking away from you. You may notice that she is wearing a necklace. She seems to have high cheekbones, long eyelashes, and a pointy nose.

Now I ask you to take your eyes off her and focus on the second picture below –

Image-2 (Source: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey)

What do you see now? Another woman? What does she look like? How old do you think she is? What is she wearing? In what kind of roles do you see her?

You probably would describe this second woman as beautiful as the first one. You might guess that she is about 25 years old and fashionable. In fact, the second image looks like a lower resolution version of the first image.

[Read more…]

Safal Niveshak’s Value Investing Workshop – International

Time flies. It’s already been over six years since I started Safal Niveshak in mid-2011. Even the journey of my Value Investing Workshops is about to complete six years. So far, I’ve completed 70+ workshops across 15+ cities in India, covering 3,000+ investors. And it’s been a wonderful experience.

Over these years, I have also received quite a few requests for conducting such workshops outside India, which I have avoided so far.

However, given the continued requests, I am making an attempt now to conduct these workshops internationally.

To start with, I plan to conduct two workshops in the United States in February 2018. Tentative dates are 10th February (Saturday) in San Francisco and 17th February (Saturday) in New York.

If you are in the US that time and wish to attend any of these sessions, please fill this short form to show your interest, which will help me finalize my plans.

Also fill the form if you live in some other country and want me to visit there to conduct such a session.

If you need any other details on these workshops, please email me at

Thank you! Look forward.

My Interview with Kenneth Jeffrey Marshall

Note: This interview with Kenneth Jeffrey Marshall was originally published in the November 2017 issue of our premium newsletter – Value Investing Almanack (VIA). To read more such interviews and other deep thoughts on value investing, business analysis and behavioral finance, click here to subscribe to VIA.

Kenneth Jeffrey Marshall - Value Investing Almanack - Safal NiveshakKenneth Jeffrey Marshall is an American value investor, teacher, and author. He teaches value investing in the masters in finance program at the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden, and at Stanford University. He also teaches asset management in the MBA program at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of the 2017 bestselling book Good Stocks Cheap: Value Investing with Confidence for a Lifetime of Stock Market Outperformance published by McGraw-Hill. He holds a BA in Economics, International Area Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles; and an MBA from Harvard University. He splits his time between California and Sweden.

Safal Niveshak (SN): Thanks for doing this interview, Kenneth! Please tell us a little about your background and journey, and how you got into value investing?

Kenneth Marshall (KM): Well, I was first shown value investing in the late 1980’s. But it wasn’t like some sudden enlightenment. It actually took me a decade to get it. I’d rather not think about the cost of that delay.

[Read more…]

The Art of Asking Good Questions

Two hunters are out in the jungle when suddenly one of them collapses. His pulse is gone and his eyes are glazed. The other guy yanks out his cell phone and calls the emergency services.

He gasps, “My friend is dead! What should I do?”

The operator says “Calm down, sir. I can help. First, let’s make sure if he’s really dead.”

After few moments of silence, the operator hears a loud gunshot. Back on the phone, the guy says “OK, now what?”

The hunter was dumb but given the high adrenalin and panicky situation, the operator’s question wasn’t brilliant either, was it?

There’s some truth to the saying – the quality of your questions determine the quality of solutions. Computer programmers know this very well. They call it GIGO, i.e., garbage in garbage out.

Good question begets good answer. Bad question leads to bad answer.

[Read more…]

The Wisdom of Intelligent Investors (Special E-Book)

The Wisdom of Intelligent Investors (Special E-Book)If the history of stock market is anything to go by, investors often make decisions that can undermine their ability to build long-term wealth. As such, it is often very valuable to look back in history and study closely the principles that have guided the investment decisions of some of the best minds and practitioners in this field through both good and bad markets.

By studying these experienced investors, we can learn many important lessons about the mindset required to build long-term wealth.

With this goal in mind, here is a special e-book that aims to offer the wisdom of some of the best investment minds of current times from India and abroad.

[Read more…]

13 Secrets to Becoming a Better Writer

Note: Obviously this post is not about investing, so you may skip if you don’t want to read anything on Safal Niveshak except investing. Just that writing well – the topic of this post – can also help you think through your investments better. Most great investors write well for a reason. Now that got you interested, isn’t it? Read on.

There was a time when my writing hurt. Even my close friends were not interested to read what I would write.

That made me afraid to write because I feared offending others. I was afraid of the backlash I thought I would receive from what I wrote. I was afraid of people judging me. I was afraid of what people would say when they read what I had to say.

This was sometime in 2003 when I was about to get into a career of, well, writing about stocks. However, things improved over years as I wrote a lot. Apart from that, I read a lot of books on good writing. That helped me move past the fear of judgment and into a place where I could be confident about what I wanted to write about.

[Read more…]

Latticework of Mental Models: Impact Bias

Nobel laureate Albert Einstein formulated his theory of relativity mainly with the help of Gedankenexperiment. It’s a German term for thought experiments. In a thought experiment, one doesn’t conduct an actual test in the lab but uses imagination and logic to explore problems and generate insights.

Imagination is more important than knowledge, said Einstein. So let’s start today’s discussion with a thought experiment.

Imagine there was a sophisticated device which could measure happiness. Taking inspiration from the thermometer, we’ll call our device Happymeter. Once we attach this instrument to someone’s skull, it would show the amount of happiness and content that person is feeling at that time.

We’ll select two volunteers for our Gedankenexperiment. Our Happymeter tells that the present mental state of these individuals is 1000 units each. Now, these volunteers go through (in our imagination) two wildly different events.

1. The first person wins 10 million dollar lottery.
2. The second person gets into a terrible accident and both his legs are amputated.

Can you guess each person’s mental state one year down the line after the above two events have happened? In the first case, would his mental state be less than or more than 1000?

Of course, it would be more than 1000. Isn’t it? After all, he’s a wealthy man now.

[Read more…]

The Books That Made Me – Part 1

Hope you had a great start to 2018, and hope you have been able to maintain your new year resolution thus far. 🙂

A new year is not just about looking forward to what may transpire over the next 360+ days, of where you may go, but also to take stock of where you have come from. Like, for me, when it comes to reading books, a new year is not just a time to prepare a rough list of the books I wish to finish during the coming months, but also to look back at the books I have read in the past and would like to re-read.

2017 was one such year when most of the books I read were the ones I had read multiple times over the years. I don’t see 2018 turning out to be any different.

One of the few filters I use to choose the books I read is Taleb’s Lindy Effect. This, in simple words, means that a non-perishable thing (like technology, or books) that has survived the most, will survive the most. So, a book that has survived 50 or 100 or 500 years, and is still widely read because it contains timeless wisdom, will survive another 50 or 100 or 500 years because, well, it’s wisdom is timeless.

In this three-part series of posts, I aim to profile such books that have stood the test of time (almost, as some will be just 10+ years old) and have inspired me the most over years. In the first part today, I am profiling books on life and living that have inspired me the most. The second part will include my favourite books on thinking, learning and decision making, and the third part will be dedicated to investing books.

The Books That Made Me - Part 1 - Safal Niveshak

Let me start right away with the books that have inspired me the most in the way I live my life and conduct my daily affairs. This is not an exhaustive list but is made up of the books on life and living I go back to time and again, and return wiser.

[Read more…]