Joshua Kennon is a Managing Director of Kennon-Green & Co., a private asset management firm specializing in global value investing for affluent and high net worth individuals, families, and institutions. Nothing in this article or on this site, which is Mr. Kennon's personal blog, is intended to be, nor should it be construed as, investment advice, a recommendation, or an offer to buy or sell a security or securities. Investing can result in losses, sometimes significant losses. Prior to taking any action involving your finances or portfolio, you should consult with your own qualified professional advisor(s), such as an investment advisor, tax specialist, and/or attorney, who can help you consider your unique needs, circumstances, risk tolerance, and other relevant factors.

The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

Lessons from The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

It is January 15th, 1919.  You’re in Boston, Massachusetts shortly before lunchtime.  Sitting at 529 Commercial Street is a three-year old tanker owned by the Purity Distilling Company, a subsidiary of United States Industrial Alcohol.  At 50 feet high, housed within the steel body of this five-story behemoth is 26,000,000 pounds of sticky, sweet molasses; one of the most popular sweeteners…

Getting Closer to Thorne Miniature Room

The Thorne Miniatures at the Art Institute of Chicago Are Incredible

Narcissa Niblack Thorne was born in 1882.  She fell in love with her childhood sweetheart, James Ward, and they married.  He was the heir to the Montgomery Ward fortune, one of the biggest in the world at the time thanks to a chain of department stores that were once as ubiquitous as Target or J.C. Penney.  A graduate of art school, the Chicago socialite wasn’t content to sit around and make small talk all of her life.  She began designing and orchestrating these incredible one-foot-to-one-inch scale historical replicas of different architectural, interior design, and furniture styles throughout history to serve as models of how homes and spaces had changed over the years.  She was meticulous and insisted upon accuracy (e.g., the wood, down to the grain direction, of the tiny furniture had to be made in exactly the same way as the model piece upon which it was based.)

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…