Top Podcasts of the Quarter

Below are the “Top Podcasts of the Quarter” with our new curator, Colby Donovan!  Holler with any feedback!

Today we have the best episodes of business and investing, sports, and more from the last quarter. There are a variety of topics covered, including episodes on evaluating portfolio managers, value and quantitative investing, financial fraud, the man who pioneered the OCIO, and the story of the tulip bubble.There are great episodes on leadership, learning to think with mental models, the impacts of stress on our brains, an interview with David Epstein on his newest book, and a great 3 part series on the importance of sleep.


  • Capital Allocators: Jordi Visser — Next Generation of Manager Allocation. One very prevalent investing theme is the match of human and machine and how that is the path to outperformance going forward. Visser is the CEO of Weiss Multi-Strategy, a market-neutral hedge fund that is applying lots of data and factor analysis to the investment process. I am biased because I interned at Weiss a few years ago, but I find Visser a great listen. His approach to helping PM’s use data to understand the risk in the portfolio and what factors are driving their performance is one I haven’t heard discussed. He spends a lot of time discussing how he analyzes managers and what he looks for. The episode finishes with what worries him going forward (high corporate debt levels) and what excites him about the future (biotech and healthcare). [March 25, 2019–1 hour, 19 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • The Meb Faber Show: #148 — Paul Lountzis — The Qualitative Characteristics Are Becoming Significantly More Meaningful and More Important in Company Analysis. There have been a lot of great value investing episodes lately and here is another one. The guest is Paul Lountzis, who is the Founder and President of Lountzis Asset Management, LLC. The conversation is wide-ranging, covering how he evaluates companies (high ROIC, FCF and revenue growth), why he is putting more of an emphasis on the qualitative factors when analyzing companies, and how he evaluates risk and position sizing. He finishes the episode with his thoughts on Berkshire Hathaway and where he sees the company going forward. [March 27, 2019–1 hour, 14 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • The Meb Faber Show: #150 — Bill Smead — The United States Economy is Highly Likely To Be The Strongest The Next 10 Years It’s Been Since The Baby Boomers Went Through … This is a great value investing episode, and by the end I was ready to buy every stock he discussed. Guest Bill Smead is the founder and CIO of Smead Capital Management. After beginning with his background, he discusses some traits of the best investors and gives his eight criteria for analyzing investments. Then he talks about the current market environment — why he thinks growth stocks are extremely overvalued (including the recent and upcoming IPO’s) and why he thinks value will outperform going forward. He finishes on a roll with some of his favorite holdings and the reasoning for each. [April 10, 2019–1 hour 3 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • Masters in Business: William Bernstein Discusses Neurology. Guest William J. Bernstein is a neurologist and co-founder of the investment management firm Efficient Frontier Advisors, and one of the most well-respected financial thinkers and writers. He has written a few popular books, including The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio. He and Ritholtz cover why and how he went from a neurologist to focusing on investing, why he writes, thoughts on market history and how the average person should invest. [April 18, 2019–1 hour, 35 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • The Acquirers Podcast: Marvel’s Hidden Assets: Joseph Calandro Jr. This is a fundamental investor’s dream episode. Joseph Calandro, Jr. is the Managing Director of a global consulting firm, a Fellow of the Gabelli Center for Global Security Analysis at Fordham University, and author of Applied Value Investing. The episode focuses on his most recent paper, M&A deal-making: Disney, Marvel and the value of “hidden assets”, which addresses the difficulty in evaluating intangibles which are increasingly more common on company’s balance sheets. He uses the Disney acquisition of Marvel as an example of a company who saw value in combining the brands, and has continually done that since then.[April 26, 2019–48 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • a16z Podcast: Innovating in Bets. Annie Duke has been on a lot of podcasts in the last year or so, but this was great to hear her discuss some of the topics from her books (Thinking In Bets) with Marc Andreessen. She starts the episode with the story she begins her book with: Pete Carroll and the Seahawks playing the Patriots (and losing) in the Super Bowl. She explains Pete Caroll was judged because the Seahawks threw an interception and lost the game, but goes on to explain we why can’t judge decisions based on outcomes (what she calls resulting). They go on to discuss how our society has become way too results oriented and has a tendency to view someone trying something new as either a visionary or lunatic. Andreessen explains how his firm tries to counteract this tendency and look back at what deals they passed on (they pass on 99/100 deals). Duke suggests we view our decisions from our future self, which both can help us realize we may overestimate the gravity of the decision in the moment and also help us view the decision from a different viewpoint. Finally, she wraps with a study that showed people who positively fantasize about a goal perform worse than people who negatively fantasize about the same goal. [May 8, 2019–46 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast  Stitcher  | Website Link


  • Capital Allocators: Jon Hirtle — The Pioneer of OCIO. Something that has become more prevalent recently is the outsourced OCIO. Hirtile is credited with initiating the Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) model and is now the Chairman of Hirtle, Callaghan & Co., a $20 billion Outsourced CIO business. He starts the episode with his journey from the marines to Goldman Sachs to starting his firm in 1988. His goal is to take the advantage of a multi-billion dollar independent office and deliver it to a college with a $200 million college endowment. He discusses the nuances with customizing portfolios for different clients while having the same themes throughout their portfolio (all his clients are long EM). He also discusses a variety of other topics: corporate governance, private equity, using factors to improve performance, and his 13-F strategy. [May 6, 2019–56 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify Overcast  Stitcher Website Link


  • Recode Media: Eugene Wei explains why we’re all ‘status monkeys’ on social media. This week, Meb Faber posted a link of the highest rated episodes for some of the top podcasts, and the top episode of Invest Like The Best was with Wei. Wei’s background as working for both Amazon and Hulu. They start with one of his recent papers Status as a Service (StaaS)which revolves around two ideas: people are status seeking monkeys and people seek out the most efficient path to maximizing social capital. He explains how these ideasrelate to our use of social media and that young influencers use social media differently from the rest. He also gives his opinion on changes in the media landscape with Disney/Hulu, Netflix and Apple, and recent developments with Amazon and their decision to pull out of having HQ2 in NYC. [May 16, 2019–1 hour, 1 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • Odd Lots: Behind the Scenes of Financial Fraud. This is one of my favorite lessons I’ve ever listened to. Financial fraud is something that captivates everyone and it’s not often that someone who purposely committed fraud is an open book about what transpired. Crazy Eddie was a NYC electronics retailer that committed fraud for years and the CFO, Sam Antar, is the guest on this episode. He got a college degree and passed the CPA exam on his first try, all the time knowing that he was going to use his knowledge to commit fraud. He explains what and how they committed fraud (income tax evasion and insurance fraud) and were able to get away with it for years by distracting auditors with beautiful women he hired just for that purpose. They didn’t get caught until after they were public and the stock tanked, making them an acquisition target and more scrutinized. This episode is a good reminder some people are full of sh*t and you have to beware of what people say and do. [May 20, 2019–34 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • The Acquirer’s Podcast: What Works: Investor, Entrepreneur and Author Jim O’ShaughnessyO’Shaughnessy is the founder, Chairman, and Chief Investment Officer of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, LLC, an asset management firm headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. The episode begins with his background and a discussion around his first book, Invest Like The Best, which explained how one can replicate the investment strategies of professional managers using factors. This strategy actually outperformed the managers themselves because the managers intervened and hurt performance. This idea led him to become a factor based investor and write his second book, What Works on Wall Street (you can watch his Talk at Google on the topic here). He emphasizes that the worst thing an investor can do is override the investing model. He finishes with explaining some behavioral biases, including the information cascade phenomenon with the example of the 2008 housing crisis. [May 31, 2019–1 hour, 11 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link


  • We Study Billionaires: TIP 247: Legendary Investor Bill Miller. As they state at the start of the podcast, Miller holds the record for the most consecutive beats of the S&P 500 index with 15 consecutive years. The episode starts with how he views companies that are exposed to external shocks (like Micron, a stock that he owns, with the China trade war). He says he doesn’t worry about recessions because, as Peter Lynch said, more money has been lost worrying about or preparing for recessions than recessions themselves. He elaborates on the idea of viewing the market in cycles, as Howard Marks describes in his most recent book. He goes on to talk more about his investing process: how he pays attention to what others like David Tepper and Leon Cooperman are doing, how he thinks about position sizing, and how he tries to have a high active share (his is among the highest in the business at 100%), but emphasizes you must realize high active share comes with high tracking error. He finishes with touching on a few of his high beta investments and the rationale behind them. He talks about the shift towards cloud computing and that’s a big reason for his position in Amazon due to AWS. Then he talks about investing in both Bitcoin and Intrexon ($XON — a synthetic biology company) — both of which have low probabilities of working but the potential payoffs are very high, so he takes a low position and monitors it as it goes. FYI — his interview ends at 32:30. [June 16, 2019–39 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link


  • Value Investing with Legends: Applying a Fundamental and Value-Oriented Approach to Investing. This episode is with investor David Abrams, who is the CEO of Abrams Capital, an investment firm founded in 1999 with over $9 billion in AUM. It begins with his background, working on merger-arb after graduating from UPENN and later going to Baupost to work for Seth Klarman to invest with a broader mandate. Then he started raising capital to start his own fund after the LTCM crash in the summer of 1998. Abrams dives into his investing process at the 13:15 mark. He explains the first thing he does when analyzing a business is ask himself “what are the risks,” and only after that does he look at the potential upside and range of outcomes for the stock. His investments typically fall in one of two categories: one with an upcoming catalyst that you sell as soon as that catalyst occurs, and one where you rely on the company’s future growth, whether that comes from improving operational efficiency, increasing revenues, pursuing acquisitions or returning capital to shareholders. He states that he has a bias towards companies where management owns a lot of stock and has a track record of creating value over the years. He finishes the episode with explaining how he exposes himself to different viewpoints (domestic and foreign, bearish and bullish), position sizing (topping out at cost of 6–7% of the portfolio) and why he doesn’t take on leverage. [June 14, 2019–52 minutesiTunes Podcast |
    Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link


  • The Readback: Special Episode: The Myth of the Tulip Bubble. This is a pilot episode from Barron’s new podcast, The History of Finance. The story of the tulip bubble is frequently told to warn against asset bubbles. However, Anne Goldgar, the author of Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age, provides some details that indicate the extent of the bubble has been exaggerated over the years. Based on her research, no one went bankrupt from the prices collapsing, the Netherlands economy wasn’t thrown into an economic crisis, and she found that only 37 people spent, what is in today’s terms, over $3,000 for a bulb (still a lot for a flower…). The story is still a good reminder than sometimes the things we buy aren’t as valuable as we may think, whether it’s a technology stock in 2000 or a house in 2008. [May 8, 2019–12 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link


  • Invest Like The Best: Chuck Akre — The Three-Legged Stool. Akre is a fundamental investor and founder of Akre Capital Management, which manages roughly $10 billion. He explains what he calls the three-legged stool, which he uses to analyze businesses. It consists of: 1) the quality of the business enterprise; 2) the quality and integrity of the people who run the business; and 3) the managements’ record of reinvestment and their opportunity for reinvestment going forward. He then walks through the thought process behind a few of his investments, including Mastercard in 2010, Dollar Tree, and O’Reilly Automotive. He also touches on the importance of keeping the investment process simple, avoiding noise, focusing on the long-term, and identifying CEO’s who focus on compounding the economic value per share instead of the stock price. He finishes with recommending the book 100 to 1 in the Stock Market: A Distinguished Security Analyst Tells How to Make More of Your Investment Opportunities, which emphasizes the idea of compounding. [June 18, 2019–47 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link


  • Invest Like the Best: Jesse Livermore — The Search for the Trust with the Anonymous Master. This episode is with someone who’s highly followed on finance twitter who writes anonymously and goes by the pseudonym Jesse Livermore. It’s one of the most interesting episode I’ve ever heard. He talks a lot about economics, how depreciation and accounting values create overstated earnings over time, and his soon-to-be-released paper which discusses his creation of a CAPE-esque valuation feature based on retained earnings (Price to Integrated Equity — PIE), which he and O’Shaughnessy say is the best single predictor of equity returns that they’ve found. He also discusses the importance of including FCF in your investing process to ensure a company’s earnings are of high quality. At 53:15, he talks about trend signals and what we can take from retail sales, housing starts, and other indicators, and that he thinks we will have longer economic cycles with fewer booms and busts going forward. He finishes with touching on a lot of topics — the effect of the supply of securities on their prices, his work with O’Shaughnessy on their Research Partners Program, and looking into how and why value and momentum work. [June 25, 2019–1 hour, 37 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link

The Rest

  • Masters in Business: Joshua Miller Discusses the Hot Hand Phenomenon. One of the most famous academic studies in sports was the study that debunked the myth of the “hot hand” in basketball. Joshua Miller, an economics professor at the University of Alicante whose research interests include behavioral economics and decision theory, recently published a paper that actually says the hot hand phenomenon does exist. His paper is called Surprised by the Gambler’s and Hot Hand Fallacies? A Truth in the Law of Small Numbers. For anyone interested in how data analytics and behavioral biases can be applied to sports, this is a great listen. [March 28, 2019–1 hour, 23 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • Against the Rules with Michael Lewis: Ref, You Suck! This is the first episode of Michael Lewis’ new podcast series, which is about referees in all walks of life. This episode focuses on the relationship between NBA stars and the referees, and how it has changed, particularly in the last two years. The NBA has spent a lot of money into a review center in NJ which only corrects roughly 2 calls per game, but coaches and players are still not happy with how games are called. Lewis also mentions studies that have looked at different biases of refs and how games are called for home teams, which have pretty startling results. [April 2, 2019–39 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • Rising Coaches Podcast: Preston Greene — Florida Strength & Conditioning. Preston is one of, if not the, best strength coach in college basketball. He has been at the University of Florida since 2011, first working for Billy Donovan and more recently for Mike White. He talks about telling Coach Donovan he wanted to become the first college program to perform blood analysis of the players after the 2014 Final Four, which allowed him to analyze the players sensitivity to nutrients, which allowed him to take a more personalized approach to health and wellness and injury prevention for the players. He also discusses running food panels to see what foods players negatively react to, and gives the example of now Dallas Maverick Dorian Finney-Smith having a massive change in energy as a result of this test. He finishes with why he’s mentoring strength coaches from around the world and some funny stories on the different coaches he’s worked for (Johnny Dawkins at Stanford and Brad Brownell at Clemson, in addition to the two at UF). [June 18, 2019–41 minutes]iTunes Podcast | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link
  • The Knowledge Project: Becoming a Model Thinker. One of the Knowledge Project’s host, Shane Parrish, loves to talk about and has a vast amount of information on his website is mental models. There’s no better person (besides Charlie Munger) to have as a guest to discuss the topic than Scott Page, since he literally wrote the book. Page is a Professor of Complex Systems, Political Science, and Economics at the University of Michigan, and author of The Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You. He explains exactly what he means by a mental model, how it can help you become a systems thinker, and why we need to combine linear data driven models with human intuition to maximize our decision making ability. [April 2, 2019–1 hour, 23 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • Venture Stories: Robert Greene on His New Book “The Laws of Human Nature.” Greene is the best-selling author of multiple books, including The 48 Laws of PowerMastery, and most recently The Laws of Human Nature. This episode focuses on some of the topics covered in The Laws of Human Nature, which is all about how to better understand the motives behind human behavior. He chose to write the book because he felt people have become more socially ignorant and aren’t as empathetic as we should be. He touches on how our idea of self-worth is wrapped up in our successes and failures, how we can work to become less self-absorbed, how to better assess the character of others (especially in job interviews) and how to become less envious of others. [April 11, 2019–50 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • The Peter Attia Drive: Robert Sapolsky, Ph. D.: The pervasive effect of stress — is it killing you? There aren’t many people I enjoy listening to more than Dr. Sapolsky. As someone who provides short-term foster care and whose wife is a child welfare case manager, seeing the ideas Dr. Sapolsky discusses (impact of stress, trauma and poverty) manifested in some of the children we have had has been incredibly eye opening. Dr. Sapolsky discusses the connection between these three factors and our brains makeup over time, how stress and trauma literally transcend generations biologically, and how our behavior is altered when we are under stress. Regardless of your profession, this is a insightful episode to help understand our behavior as well as the people around us. [April 29, 2019–2 hours, 19 minutesiTunes Podcast | Overcast | Stitcher Website Link


  • Planet Money: #912: How Uncle Jamie Broke Jeopardy. It may seem like there aren’t a lot of opportunities to take advantage of inefficiencies, but sometimes they are sitting right in front of us. You may have seen how James Holzhauer has set Jeopardy records recently — he has won 22 straight games and over $1.5 million. This episode explains how he used statistics and probabilities to rethink how Jeopardy should be played. He flipped the script and decided to take a different strategy than anyone ever has and downloaded and analyzed every question and answer from all Jeopardy episodes. [May 10, 2019–27 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify Overcast | Stitcher Website Link


  • Invest Like The Best: David Epstein — Wide or Deep? Epstein is the author of The Sports Gene and his newest book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. The first 18 minutes of the episode review some of the topics covered in “The Sports Gene,” including the nature vs. nurture debate and the now famous 10,000 hour rule. Epstein’s explanation of not taking scientific papers and research as gospel is fascinating and that process has led him to write about most of the topics he discusses in both books. The conversation then turns to his newest book and he provides a lot of data on why being a generalist is important — whether it’s getting promoted faster at work or being drafted in the NFL (29/32 of 1st rounders in 2017 played multiple sports in high school). He explains why we need to tighten feedback loops with what he describes as kind environments (clear feedback and goals), argues that children should not specialize in one sport at a young age, and finishes by sharing some learning hacks (chunking, spacing your studying, and doing a lot of practice questions and tests). [May 28, 2019–1 hour, 23 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • The Learning Leader Show: 314: John Calipari & Michael Lombardi — Building & Sustaining A Culture Of Excellence. This is a great episode on leadership and culture building that applies to anyone in a leadership position. Calipari is the NCAA Champion basketball coach at the University of Kentucky, and Lombardi worked in the front-office with NFL legends like Al Davis, Bill Walsh and Bill Belichick, and is the author of Gridiron Genius: A Master Class in Winning Championships and Building Dynasties in the NFL. Both talk about establishing your culture before your players are officially signed (when recruiting or meeting with players during free agency), creating buy in from everyone in your program, earning your players trust through honesty and transparency, and ensuring players know the history of the program so they understand they are part of something bigger than themselves. The most insightful part of the episode is when they discuss building out a staff; they touch on what to look for when hiring, how to evaluate your assistants, and how to empower them to grow and move on to become head coaches themselves. They wrap with the importance of seeking out mentors and learning when to rely on them when you face challenges or important decisions. [June 10, 2019–1 hour, 9 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Breaker | Website Link

Three Part Series on Sleep

Over the last 3 weeks, Peter Attia has hosted Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience at UC Berkeley and author of the best-seller Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams to explain the importance of sleep and the impact good and bad sleep hygiene can have on us. It is one of the most valuable podcasts I have ever listened to and I highly recommend listening.

  • The Peter Attia Drive: #47 — Matthew Walker, Ph. D., on sleep — Part I of III. Dangers of poor sleep, Alzheimer’s risk, mental health, memory consolidation, and more. Walker starts the episode with how he has linked lack of sleep to an increase in the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, the different stages of sleep and how poor sleeping habits can effect those stages, the dangers of chronic sleep deprivation and how that leads to car accidents, and the role it plays in mental health and teen suicides (I was shocked that poor sleep is one of the strongest indicators of teen suicide). [March 31, 2019–1 hour, 43 minutesiTunes Podcast | Overcast | Stitcher Website Link


  • Peter Attia Drive: #48 — Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep — Part II of III: Heart disease, cancer, sexual function, and the causes of sleep disruption. In this episode, Walker addresses the impact sleep has on weight loss (when you sleep 6 hours or less, 70% of the weight you lose comes from lean muscle mass and your body holds onto its fat), the negative impact an early school start time has on kids, how using tablets at night limits your body’s ability to produce melatonin, and how checking our phones as soon as we wake up causes anxiety (and lowers the amount of deep sleep we get). [April 7, 2019–2 hours, 5 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Stitcher | Website Link


  • The Peter Attia Drive: #49 — Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep — Part III: The penetrating effects of poor sleep from metabolism to performance to genetics, and the impact of caffeine, alcohol, THC, and CBD on sleep. In the last part of the series, Walker starts with explaining how insufficient sleep can hurt your metabolism, appetite regulation, decision-making, athletic performance, leadership, and even genetics. Then he goes into specifically what different sleep aids do to us (and none of it is good). He explains the half life of caffeine (having coffee at noon leaves caffeine in your body when trying to go to sleep at night), why having a night cap may feel like it helps you sleep but causes you to get less sleep, and why THC has the same effect. [April 14, 2019–2 hoursiTunes Podcast | Overcast | Stitcher Website Link


Good investing,
Meb Faber