How Joe Campbell Found Himself $106,445.56 In Debt to His Broker in a Matter of Minutes Because He Didn’t Understand the Risks of Shorting Stock

One of the major themes running through my body of work, both on this site and at Investing for Beginners, can be summed up in the statement, “Know your risks”. I hammer it home all the time; “risk-adjusted return”, talk about remote-probability events, explaining how much of wealth building is learning to “tilt probabilities in [your] favor”, admonishment to never invest in something you don’t fully understand and couldn’t explain to a Kindergartener in a couple of sentences. Consider this real-life tragedy a morality tale that can help you protect your own family.

Cecil the Black Maned Lion Killed by Walter Palmer

Financial and Life Lessons We Can Learn from Dr. Walter Palmer’s Cecil the Black Maned Lion Debacle

I’ve been thinking about the story that has captivated the country over the past two days – how, if various news reports are to be believed, Dr. Walter J. Palmer of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, owner of a practice called River Bluff Dental in Bloomington, Minnesota, and two of his guides poached the beloved Cecil the Lion from a national park in Zimbabwe, luring him from the sanctuary where he was protected, injuring him with an arrow before tracking him for two days, shooting him, beheading him, skinning him, and leaving the body behind with plans to mount the trophy in his office.

Donald Trump Financial Disclosures

Donald Trump Discloses Financial Details of His Empire

Billionaire Donald Trump has defied expectations and disclosed his finances as part of his campaign for the Republican nomination for the Presidency of the United States. Reading through the document, I actually laughed out loud because it’s clear he and his advisers know what they’re doing.  It would be difficult to bankrupt the guy because he’s arranged everything…

Hall of Paragons Case Study Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

It would be a serious mistake in judgment to think of Dolly Parton as merely a singer and actress. She is much more. Over the past 50 years, she has become one of the most adept investors in the world, with a portfolio of operating assets spanning everything from theme parks and hotels to media production…

Our nephew spent the past week with the family, which meant we were running all over the place; Lego Land, the aquarium, Chuck-E-Cheese. One afternoon, I was working on a MacBook at my parent's house, finishing up something I needed to get done before a time sensitive deadline passed. I promised him that if he could entertain himself for two hours, I'd go ride bikes for as long as he wanted (my brother and his wife had surprised him with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle bicycle, complete with matching helmet, arm pads, and knee pads, which was one of the coolest things I've ever seen). After confirming the clock had to say 7:00 p.m. for me to be done, he took the Lego firehouse set my mom bought let him pick out at the Lego Land store, scrambling off to the adjacent living room to play as I wrapped up my task. I hear him building, bricks moving, pieces coming together, shuffling, talking to himself. Then, after awhile, I can tell he's done. He's put the building together. He sets it down and it sounds as if he steps back to admire it. Sudden quiet. A moment of silence. Then, in the sweetest, softest, little four-year-old voice you can imagine, I hear him sing in perfect pitch: "Nationwide is on your side." The power of marketing is incredible. Billions upon billions of dollars driven by mental models such as mere association, absorbed in ways we don't even realize. A quarter-century from now, he may be in the market for home insurance and not even understand why he picked Nationwide over competitors. It's one of the reasons it can be difficult, if not impossible, to displace markets once they've been taken by a powerful brand, such as Wrigley, Hershey, Coca-Cola, Clorox, or Colgate-Palmolive.

The Power of Marketing

Our nephew spent the past week with the family as his parents and sister were off in Texas, which meant we were running all over the place; Lego Land, the aquarium, Chuck-E-Cheese (the handful of you following our lightly-used Instagram account no doubt figured this out earlier).  One afternoon, I was sitting at the dining room table over…

Data Driven Decisions Can Help End Negative Feedback Loops

Data-Based Decisions Are the First Step to Escaping Negative Feedback Loops

Shortly after Blue Fairy gives life to the eponymous wooden puppet in the 1940 classic animated film Pinocchio, she instructs him that he must, “Always let [his] conscience be [his] guide”.  Were she a rationalist, she might have added an important addendum: “And make decisions based upon objective, high-quality, third-party-recorded data to remove your own bias as much as possible…

The Poisoned Watermelon

The Poisoned Watermelon

There is an old joke that goes something like this… Not so long ago there was a watermelon farmer.  In June, during peak watermelon season, he began to notice that someone was stealing his fruit.  Slowly, but steadily, melons would disappear, along with it his profits. He tried everything until one particularly fine morning, he had an idea.…