Massive Treasure Trove

Color Commentary

1. Magic on Twitter

Sometimes, investing practice easily appears, and it feels magical. I recently opened the fabulous Jason Zweig’s column, The Intelligent Investor, in the Wall Street Journal. Frankly, I intended to skim it and forget it. Instead – fabulously – I lost an entire morning to what I found there.

If you don’t read Jason Zweig’s work, start. It’s consistently useful and he is eminently reasonable. He’s also a direct line to the gurus of value investing, including Buffett and Munger, and recently interviewed Munger in a great and wide-ranging discussion.

In this particular column of his, he did little but point out that there is a treasure trove of knowledge on, of all places, Twitter. Financial Twitter, he called it. Eh, I thought. Slow week in financial commentary.

In the column, he listed a number of Twitter accounts worth reading for those interested in investing. I confess that I pretty much ignore Twitter and rarely tweet, but I clicked on a few. Somehow, I got lucky. Zweig’s column made me change my mind about Twitter. It was not a slow week in financial commentary, after all. Maybe Twitter does have a few things to offer my investing practice.

Note: I would copy Zweig’s list of Twitter accounts here for you, but I don’t want to just copy someone else’s work, regardless of Fair Use allowing me to do so. His work is valuable and I encourage you to log in and read the article itself, which you can find here.

Instead, I’m going to point to you to one tweet in particular and link to a document.

Here’s the progression of how I found it: Zweig linked to Austin Value Capital, which retweeted this Barbarian Capital tweet: “Someone (who?) shared this thick 148-page compendium of wisdom from many famous investors” and linked to a Google Drive document. I clicked on the document. It was a treasure trove of value investing wisdom.

In the responses to the Barbarian Capital tweet, someone tweeted that Phil Ordway was the author. Ordway responsed that yes, he compiled this document of value investing wisdom from gurus and commentators when he was taking notes for himself. Ordway is also on Zweig’s list of must-read financial Twitter. It took me five steps to find the document, but that’s how these things go.

It’s completely old and outdated now, and I don’t care. How extraordinary to have a gigantic volume of knowledge in one document, from which we can take what speaks to us, and then choose to go read further in the source material. I intended to skim it for thirty seconds. Nope. I read the entire 148 pages in one sitting and couldn’t stop. It has checklists, reminders, tenets of investing, and many points that contradict those on the previous page. It includes short selling ideas and distressed company checklists and all sorts of things not typically “value investing”. It’s not formatted, it’s not footnoted or clearly sourced, it’s not even proofread in some places, and none of that matters. The ideas ring through. It’s a beautiful mess. I highly recommend you stop reading this issue and go read that document.

Click here to go straight to the document on Google Drive.

If you’re a newbie investor, read it with a bucket of salt. As I said already, there are many contradictory points copied in there from people who disagree with each other on how to invest. However, reading it for the complementary points and the overall ethos of investing is highly worthwhile. It should inspire you to search deeper in the source material.

If you’re a more experienced investor, this treasure trove of deeply-thought-out knowledge should make you question your own tenets of investing and whether they should be different. It will make you think extensively about mistakes of omission and commission. It will remind you that all of our problems are shared by the great investors, and we are not so alone.

Following in Zweig’s footsteps, that’s it for this issue. Enjoy the 148 pages. And to Phil Ordway, thank you for sharing this work. We are better for it.

LET’S GET PRACTICAL

All reading the compilation made me want to do was read more, and more, and MORE. Distilled wisdom is great for sparking thought, but then I want to get to the source material to truly understand where a given pithy aphorism really came from. Here’s a selected list of the investors from which Ordway drew. I don’t necessarily endorse any of the following, and I doubt he does either; I’m simply passing along most of the people he mentioned.

Seth Klarman
Warren Buffett
Charlie Munger
Howard Marks
Phil Fisher
Ben Graham
Joel Greenblatt
Ray Dalio
Tom Gayner
David Dreman
Lou Simpson
Don Keough
Jim Chanos
Walter Schloss
Chuck Akre
Bill Ruane
Richard Pzena
Sam Zell
James Montier
Sir John Templeton

Ownership Disclosure: Danielle Town owns shares in Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) .

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