(Not) boring finds for June 2015
Our team comes across hundreds of weird and wonderful reads in our daily research. Below are the handful that stood out for us this month.
Not everything below is technically about investing—but everything relates back to investing or decision-making in some way.
- What Buffett learned from Munger
- UK elections expose crash obsessed stock market pundits as worthless
- Are you house poor? The secret lives of house poor Canadians
- Is it the end of the commodity boom? Australia forecasts a staggering 90% plunge in projects spending
- Don’t like Big Brother spying on you? Here’s how you can encrypt everything
- The Singularity is near: Are we getting closer to quantum computing?
- See how quickly robots are advancing: Robot cheetah jumps over hurdles
- Having an impact: One man’s millions turn a community in Florida around
- The Untold Story of Silk Road: How a 29 year old idealist built a global drug bazaar and became a murderous kingpin: Part 1 and Part 2
How much do you know? How certain are you that you know it?
One of the most pervasive biases in people is overconfidence. As the Heath brothers highlight in Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, one study shows that doctors that were “completely certain” about a diagnosis ended up being wrong 40% of the time. And in a similar test where students made estimates, they were usually wrong 27% of the time when they thought they had less than a 1% chance of being incorrect. On average, people tend to be grossly overconfident.
Think you’ve got a good handle on your confidence level? Take this test and find out.
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, Dan and Chip Heath
If there’s one book that we’re excited about right now, it’s this one. In a follow-up to Switch and Made to Stick, the Heath brothers tackle one of the most useful questions out there: how can we make more effective decisions?
Merely being aware that we are bad decision makers does not help us improve. In their new book, the Heath brothers provide a practical framework for how we can build better decision making skills. They identify four major failings—narrowly framing questions, seeking information that confirms biases, getting swayed by short-term emotions and overconfidence—and propose solutions for each. It is a practical toolkit for any individual.
Sheryl Sandberg’s Exceptional Facebook Status Update – “Let me not die while I am still alive”
In a raw and moving update on her Facebook page yesterday, Sheryl Sandberg shared her thoughts on losing her longtime partner and husband, Dave Goldberg. In addition to being brutally honest and touching, this update offers incredible perspective on what it means to be resilient, to have empathy, to feel gratitude and to really live with meaning. We include it here because the Facebook COO and Lean In author’s words are beautiful and because they remind us what is truly important in life.