Please find below my newsletter — a list of what I’m reading, enjoying, learning and thinking. If you like the content below be sure to sign up or share.


Deep Work by Cal Newport. One of the best books I have read. Get in the Deep Work zone to get amazing work done.

Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit.

Shallow Work: Non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

Deep Work is where we make bounds forward. To get there, simply turn off all your distractions (email, messages, Facebook etc.) and force yourself to do the hard work that makes the difference. Once you enter that Deep Work zone the creativity will flow and you’ll gain real satisfaction from producing the results you want.

Business & Investing

Should I be surprised that the best-paid CEOs run the worst-performing companies? MSCI found that $100 invested in the 20% of companies with the highest-paid CEOs would have grown to $265 over 10 years. The same amount invested in the companies with the lowest-paid CEOs would have grown to $367.

Leaders from the world of business and money management have been meeting secretly to develop what they are calling ‪ A Road Map For Fixing What’s Broken In The Boardrooms Of Corporate America through common sense principles.

‪Jeff Bezos’ letter may be even better than Buffett’s.

One to bookmark: ‪‬‬‬A comprehensive investor’s reading list.

0 to $640M: Non-Obvious Lessons Learned at BrightRoll.

Some ideas on pricing models.

To all my friends running software companies, read this.

Economics and Politics

The 2016 Presidential election map.

What happened when Uber shared its surge-pricing data with Steve Levitt, an economist at the University of Chicago? It allowed Levitt to study an actual demand curve rather than a theoretical one. This story gives a view into Uber’s data-based decision making. Imagine, if you always accept higher surge price than other Uber users, then it makes sense that Uber will always aim to charge you more. We are only starting to see the consequences of shared real-time pricing data spreading into new markets.

There are so many good points in Howard Mark’s recent memo it is hard to know where to start. Perhaps the fact-checking of the presidential candidates — it is no surprise that Trump tells the most lies:

According to PolitiFact, an independent fact-checking outlet, 28% of Hillary Clinton statements that they’ve checked are “Mostly False” or worse. In Donald Trump’s case, it’s an astounding 70%.

But more interesting is Mark’s explains about trade barriers:

Think about two cities. City A has more jobs than people, and city B has more people than jobs. Initially, people in city A – where labor is relatively scarce – will be paid more for doing a given job than people in city B. The key to their continuing to earn more is the existence of barriers that prevent people from moving to city A. Otherwise, people will move from city B to city A until the ratio of people to jobs is the same in both cities and so are the wages. Among other things, geographic inequalities are dependent on the immobility of resources.

For much of the last century, barriers kept our pay high. Other countries’ output wasn’t as good as ours. Some lacked investment capital, and some were decimated by war from time to time. Perhaps they didn’t possess our ability to generate technological advancements or our managerial skills. High transportation costs, tariffs, prejudices (when I was a kid, “Japanese transistor radio” was considered synonymous with “low quality”) or legal restrictions (e.g., keeping foreign airlines from competing freely in our markets) may have protected American wages. International trade wasn’t what it is today. But all of these things can change over time, and it’s hard to see how the earnings supremacy of U.S. workers will be sustainable. (Emphasis added)

The economic reality is that these trends – international specialization, automation, rising productivity, job losses, the need for education, and a feeling of hopelessness among those affected negatively – are real and powerfully influential. Whether we like them or not, they’re here to stay. They’re economic reality, and they cannot be ignored or refuted.

The combination of productivity improvements and foreign competition has been very hard on unskilled and semi-skilled labor – what’s called “the working class.” People employed in uncompetitive industries at the time globalization takes place are particularly disadvantaged. Their incomes decline at a minimum, and they may lose their jobs and be unable to find new ones. Society should cushion the blow on these people.

After the summer of sadness it feels like the worst year ever, but is it? The annual data on war death figures have come out from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, and it is down for 2015 compared to 2014. The same is true for killings of unarmed civilians. The rate is still higher than it was a decade ago — mostly due to the Syrian civil war — but still far lower than it was in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. The reversal of the increase over the preceding three years is not quite good news, but not as bad news as one might have feared—namely that the world would see a continuing rise.


Martin Sorrell tells his story of WPP at LBS.

This excellent video presentation from Columbia University on Negotiation vs. Persuasion Skills offers great insights. It begins by explaining the difference — negotiation has a deadline and an agreement is likely, while persuasion is changing the thinking of others over a much larger timescale and hence requires a different approach.

Negotiation and persuasion are opposite psychology processes and require different set of behaviours.

90% of all concession-making is made in the last 10% of time spent negotiating.

Deadlines determine your negotiation position. For example. car dealers that have end-of-month quotas are more likely to do a deal. In each negotiation the person with a deadline is in weaker position. Persuasion, change of opinion, does not happen in a flash of inspiration but in a series of incremental changes in thinking over time.

If you found the video above interesting learn more here:
Change the way you persuade.
Getting to Yes: Negotiating an agreement without giving in.

Quote that Made Me Smile

“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.” — Charlie Munger.

Tim O'Shea
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Tim O'Shea

Fund Manager with 15 years' experience as a successful business owner-manager. Passionate about helping people benefit from the power of long-term investing.
Tim O'Shea
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Tim's Newsletter December 2016
Tim’s Newsletter September 2016