Here is some stuff I am reading and thinking about this weekend…
Book I’m Reading – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM) is the autobiography of American writer and philosopher Robert Pirsig, wherein he chronicles his motorcycle journey across the country with his son. It is however much more than just an adventure tale. Through his journey, Pirsig explains his philosophy on life, creating a manifesto through motorcycle maintenance.
There are many lessons to be learned from this book, but a handful of persist throughout the story that can help reshape your perspective. Like, here is what Pirsig writes on how we lose so much time on unnecessary affairs that we move swiftly past what is really important –
We’re in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it’s all gone.
Then, here is Pirsig’s idea of how to fix the world –
The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there. Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to fix a motorcycle.
One of the most beautiful lessons I take from the books is the idea of enjoying the journey instead of just waiting for the destination. As Pirsig writes –
Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you are no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.
Nobody wants to look back on their life and say, “Wow, I sure wish I experienced more, but at least I’m rich!” In today’s world, we often equate monetary success with concrete success. But for Pirsig, it’s all about the quality of your success that matters. And quite honestly, that sounds a lot better than just living a rich but ultimately unfulfilled life.
ZAMM is a beautiful book. Read it when you can.
Idea I’m Thinking – Owning Stocks is a Long-Term Project
In the long journey of the stock of a high-quality business, the daily short-term jumps – or volatility as they call it in business news – that makes people nervous are “non-events.” Annie Duke writes in her brilliant book Thinking in Bets –
In our decision-making lives, we aren’t that good at taking this kind of perspective – at accessing the past and future to get a better view of how any given moment might fit into the scope of time. It just feels how it feels in the moment and we react to it.…We make a long-term stock investment because we want it to appreciate over years or decades. Yet there we are, watching a downward tick over a few minutes, consumed by imagining the worst. What’s the volume? Is it heavier than usual? Better check the news stories. Better check the message boards to find out what rumors are circulating.
Even noted psychologist Daniel Kahneman agrees –
If owning stocks is a long-term project for you, following their changes constantly is a very, very bad idea. It’s the worst possible thing you can do, because people are so sensitive to short-term losses. If you count your money every day, you’ll be miserable.
Thoughts I’m Meditating On
There is nothing like losing all you have in the world for teaching you what not to do. And when you know what not to do in order not to lose money, you begin to learn what to do in order to win.
~ Jesse Livermore
When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated. You begin to understand that writing/reading is, above all, a transaction. The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer must give him something worthy of his gift to you.
~ Steven Pressfield
Video I’m Watching – Enjoy Yourself
It’s a beautiful little video! Just watch it, and enjoy yourself!
Articles I’m Reading
- Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Transcript 2020 (Rev)
- Covid-19-Induced Need Versus Greed Decisions (Mint)
- Value Failed Because It Was Expensive (Distillate Capital)
- Inside the Biggest Oil Meltdown in History (Institutional Investor)
- What Have We Learned Here? (Collaborative Fund)
- Why Most Post-Pandemic Predictions Will Be Totally Wrong (Medium)
- This Version of Warren Buffett (The Reformed Broker)
- Speculative Booms (Investor Amnesia)
- If Charlie Munger Didn’t Quit When He Was Divorced, Broke, and Burying His 9 Year Old Son, You Have No Excuse (Joshua Kennon)
- Bad Arguments and How to Avoid Them (Farnam Street)
- Wizards of Dalal Street: How to Build A Crisis-Proof Portfolio? (CNBC)
A Question for You
When times are difficult, we find it hard to recognize our good decisions, and our wins, from the past. However, acknowledging them as we move into the future empowers us to seek out ideas, people and experiences that set us up for success.
Ask yourself – Looking back over the last 5 years, where did I go right?
That’s about it from me for today.
Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.