Top Podcasts of the Week

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

Today we have Mohamed El-Erian with his current thoughts on the economy, geopolitical expert Peter Zeihan on how COVID-19 is impacting international relations, and restaurateur and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer explaining the dire situations for restaurants.


  • The Long View: Mohamed El-Erian: ‘We Did Not Prepare for Something As Severe As What We’re Facing.’ Dr. El-Erian is Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz (the parent of PIMCO) and joins the episode to discuss the current state of the market. Note — this episode was on Monday, March 23, so some information may be outdated but it is well worth the listen. He touches on the difficulty for people to understand how a sudden economic stop spreads through the entire system and destroys both supply and demand, and we all need to realize sudden economic stops take longer to return from and are harder to handle than sudden financial stops. He also discusses why he wrote about COVID-19 accelerating de-globalization and de-regionalization because companies with global supply chains will realize while they’re both cheaper and more efficient, they aren’t as resilient as they thought. For more on geopolitics and the move towards de-globalization, look at the episode below… [March 23, 2020–34 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • The Investors First Podcast: Peter Zeihan and Steve Curley: COVID-19. With COVID-19 complicating relationships between almost every country, it’s a great time to listen to Peter Zeihan, a geopolitical expert, founder of Zeihan on Geopolitics, and author of Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World. Zeihan discusses the thesis from his most recent book that the world is becoming more de-globalized, how the COVID-19 outbreak is accelerating that process, U.S. and Chinese relations moving forward, thoughts on the November election, relations between Russia and the Saudis, and the importance of the U.S. having the global currency. [March 26, 2020–40 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Website Link
  • Top Traders Unplugged: 80 The Systematic Investor Series ft Eric Crittenden. This is a special Top Traders Unplugged episode with Eric Crittenden (the Chief Investment Officer at Standpoint) that covers a wide range of topics about trend-following. He addresses his belief that returns have somewhat decayed since trend following is a scalable strategy but he believes CTA’s can still generate alpha, discusses trend following being labeled “crisis alpha,” the role of managed futures, thoughts on the rise of passive, and why CTA’s need to focus on four things: scalability, durability, tax efficiency and understandability. [March 23, 2020–1 hour, 35 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • Capital Allocators: Michael Mauboussin — Consilient Observations in a Crisis. Mauboussin does a great job of bringing ideas from different disciplines and applying them to what’s going on with the market and economy right now. He starts with discussing research from Robert Sapolsky on the impact poverty and trauma has on people over time and how that will manifest as a result of what is going on right now (if that sounds interesting, hear Sapolsky on this podcast and read my favorite book of his here). He then says he expects there will be increase dispersion of returns for individual stocks going forward, so one’s ability to find a manager who can capture alpha is very important right now. Additionally, analysts need to perform multiple scenario analyses to try to gauge what the best and worst case scenarios are for companies in the near term. At the 31 minute mark he starts to discuss his paper that was just released on noise with regards to forecasting (also the topic of Daniel Kahneman’s next book and discussed on this podcast I shared last week), which he says is statistically 2x as important as bias in forecasting. [March 23, 2020–45 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • Odd Lots: A Longstanding Fear About The Corporate Debt Market May Finally Be Coming True. This is a great episode on what is going on in the credit markets with Chris White of Viable Markets. White discusses the difficulties in pricing bonds since there is no continual pricing like equity markets, the impact of companies’ inability to tap the corporate bond market if they need liquidity, the need to realize the entire credit market doesn’t move in unison (different maturities move in different ways depending on the situation), and the impact upcoming credit downgrades will have on the entire credit market. He finishes by saying he thinks both the stabilization in yields and creation of a centralized pricing system for the credit market could help stop the current strains. [March 23, 2020–42 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman: Special: Danny Meyer on the wrenching decision to do layoffs. The restaurant business is being hit as hard as any industry in the U.S. and it’s great to hear from someone like Danny Meyer, the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and founder of Shake Shack, on how he has had to handle COVID-19 and what the real impact is on the restaurant business. He discusses the difficult decision of laying off 2,000 people (80% of his staff), handling the balance between decisiveness vs. patience as a leader and manager right now, and what he expects to come next for the industry. [March 24, 2020–34 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link
  • The Meb Faber Show: #207 — Jeremy Yamaguchi — It’s…One Of The Last Markets In The US…That Has Been…Resistant To Technology. I’m fascinated by marketplaces and how they can be applied to different industries that you don’t typically think of, and this is a great episode about one. Yamaguchi is a multi-time founder who joins the episode to discuss his most recent company, Lawn Love, which is a marketplace to match customers with lawn care professions. He discusses the path that led him to the company, including killing off two other companies once he realized this had the best chance at success, participating in Y-Combinator and the benefits of the experience, his realization that there is no silver bullet for success, and what the future plans are for the company. [March 25, 2020–49 minutesiTunes Podcast | Spotify | Overcast | Google | Breaker | Website Link

Sam Parr (Founder, The Hustle):

  1. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk — Great book on dealing with trauma — not the trauma like soldiers in war who deal with PTSD — but the trauma that we all go through, whether it’s being abused by someone in life, or witnessing something scary like 9/11 — and this trauma shapes how you feel. The book helps you recognize when you’ve experienced trauma and how to deal with it.
  2. How To Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan— He’s incredibly fascinated by psychedelics right now and the book looks at trauma, how to deal with it, and why a lot of people are turning to psychedelics to help with it.

Jan van Eck (CEO of Van Eck Associates Corp.):

  1. The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Powers — Pulitzer Prize winning fictional book, where trees play a major part. It made him appreciate forests and the fact that they are more complex than most of us realize.
  2. Grant by Jean Smith— Biography of Ulysses S. Grant.

Ryan Holiday (Best-Selling Author):

  1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius — His favorite book of all time. One of the most unique historical documents, as it’s the most powerful person in the world writing really honestly and vulnerably to themselves.


Good investing,
Meb Faber