Top Podcasts of the Week

Below is our “Top Podcast” episode with our curator, Colby Donovan!

Today we have a must listen on putting the recent stock performance into historical perspective, an episode on leveraged ETFs, Brene Brown’s first podcast episode on embracing vulnerability when trying something for the first time, and Daniel Kahneman on the difficulties associated with the decision making process.


  • ***Must Listen*** The Pomp Podcast: #245 Meb Faber — Understanding the Current Market Mayhem. Meb joins the episode to discuss the wild month of the stock market and put it into perspective historically. He talks about valuations coming down after the sell-off which have increased expected forward looking returns, the benefit of trend following in a time like now and the importance of having a 20-year horizon when investing. At the 55 minute mark he discusses the misunderstanding of stock buybacks and why they aren’t just to pay executives but are a rational way for companies to allocate capital and are very similar to dividends. After that, he finishes with why he owns some farmland and how that fits into his personal portfolio. [March 19, 2020–1 hour, 36 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link

The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) does a weekly survey going back to the 1980’s asking if you are bullish, bearish or neutral on the stock market. The most bullish reading ever was in December of 1999 (the single worst time to be bullish in the history of our lifetimes) and the most bearish reading was in March 2009.

  • Animal Spirits Podcast: Talk Your Book: Positive and Negative Compounding: Trading Direxion Leveraged ETFs. Leveraged ETFs are something that are frequently misunderstood and Dave Mazza, head of product at Direxion, joins the episode to provide accurate information. He explains how they work, that 3x leveraged ETFs are more meant for trading than long term investing and perform well in straight up or down trending markets but lose lots of money in sideways markets, and then finishes with possible innovations for these types of products in the future, including thematic funds that can be 150% long value and 50% short growth (or vice versa), or 150% long cyclicals and 50% short defensive. [March 16, 2020–29 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • The Sherman Show: S8 E5 Terry Savage, Finance Professional. Savage is a personal finance expert and author of the book The Savage Truth on Money. She joins the episode to discuss her book and how she became so interested in personal finance after starting her career as a bond trader. She does a great job explaining to more sophisticated listeners how they should help others improve their own finances and why there is such a long way to go for us as a country to improve our individual financial situations. She says it’s important to teach others about 401(k)’s, ask our parents if they have a trust or a will, encourage others to learn their credit scores and then try to improve it over time, and encourage others to open a Roth IRA, 529 plan for children, or a savings account. She also says be sure you or others have a financial advisor who is a fiduciary and mentions the website to be matched to a fiduciary advisor near you. The episode ends at 52:45 and they finish with a word game. [March 5, 2020–1 hour, 2 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • The Meb Faber Show: #206 — Meb’s take on Investment Plans, Building and Maintaining Wealth, How Meb Invests, and Investing in the time of Corona. After the worst week for the stock market since 2008, this is a timely episode to help lengthen your perspective on the stock market’s performance and think more rationally and long-term. Meb goes through a few of his recent blog posts that all relate to what is going on now — he emphasizes the importance of having an investment plan before the market has a month like it has this March, explains the main ways you can build and maintain wealth, and then ties that into how he invests his own money, before finishing with some thoughts on investing while the coronavirus is dictating market performance. [March 18, 2020–1 hour, 27 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link

The Rest

  • ***Must Listen*** Unlocking Us with Brene Brown: Brene on FFTs. I’ve been looking forward to the release of Brown’s podcast and this is the first episode. Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston and the author of five New York Times #1 selling books about courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. This episode is about what she calls “FFTs” — F****** First Time. She says embracing vulnerability to start something new for the first time is really hard (and she’s going through that with this podcast). She gives three things we have to do when we’re in an FFT: 1) normalize it, 2) put it in perspective, and 3) do a reality check. We have to realize starting something new is going to be more difficult than we thought and decide to embrace the difficulty that comes with that, because continually doing things for the first time in life is the only way we grow. [March 20, 2020–37 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link

When we give up being new and awkward, we stop growing. And when we stop growing, we stop living. When we no longer feel that discomfort of being new, of being an awkward learner, things start to shut down inside us. The discomfort of exploration, of doing new things, of being that awkward rookie again, that’s the juice — it’s our life blood. The more we’re willing to embrace the suck and try new things, the more new things we’re willing to try. And it’s not because being new gets comfortable; it’s because we learn how to normalize discomfort.

  • ***Must Listen*** Choiceology with Katy Milkman: Judge the Judges: With Guests Daniel Kahneman, James Hutchinson, & G.M. Pucilowski. This episode is about the chance variability of human judgement, which is a widespread and costly problem and the subject of Nobel Prize winning economist Daniel Kahneman’s upcoming book about noise. The episode looks at judges in wine competitions, insurance underwriters, and judges making court decisions, and finds there’s a high degree of variability in their decision making in each case. Kahneman’s takeaway is that we may be better off introducing algorithms which are less biased than we are. Great episode for anyone involved in a decision-making process, be it deciding between investments or scouting college of high school players to draft or recruit. [March 16, 2020–32 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link

Esther Wojcicki (Journalist, Mother to CEO’s of YouTube & 23andme):

  1. The Pearl by John Steinbeck — It’s a short story that talks about a fisherman that managed to pull up an oyster with what was called the pearl of the world. The story talks about what happened to him as a result of having that pearl. Great book for everyone to read, especially young people.
  2. Failure to Launch: Why Your Twentysomething Hasn’t Grown Up…and What to Do About It by Mark McConville — Talks about some of the topics she covers in her own book, and the kids are what fail to launch as a result of the parenting problems going on today.
  3. Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment by Todd Rose — Talks about the kids who are the non-conformists and the ones the parents are pulling their hair out about, and how those kids are the ones that really change the world.
  4. Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt — About Bill Campbell, who was a coach to some of Silicon Valley’s CEO’s. His message is that you must trust and respect your employees, give them independence, promote collaboration, treat them with kindness and love them.

Meb Faber (CEO and CIO of Cambria Investments):

  1. Triumph of the Optimists: 101 Years of Global Investment Returns by Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh, and Mike Staunton — His favorite investing book.
  2. Angel: How to Invest in Technology Startups — Timeless Advice from an Angel Investor Who Turned $100,000 into $100,000,000 by Jason Calacanis — Great introductory book on angel investing.


Good investing,
Meb Faber