Once in a life time events

Coronavirus is the reason, for most of the impending crisis, we will hear a lot and for the foreseeable future. The article on Monevator was up on 27th May 2020. The unorganised me took a while to read it and assimilate the information. But here it is for the records.



Can’t hurt me by David Goggins

If there is one ting that I have never managed to do is lose weight. I am suppose to be around 75-80 kgs. I have never been below 96 kgs since I was 16. I weigh 110 kg now.

I came across David’s book on The Investors Podcast.

The book is about David and his early childhood struggle and how he’s a fighter. He has a terrible childhood and how he turns his life around. His physical endurance is tested every time as he tries to be a part of the Navy SEALs.

The biggest lesson is how to cope with when your body wants to give up. David talk about the 40% rule, i.e. when your body tells you to quit, it has only achieved 40% of what it is capable of!

If you want to push yourself to a whole another level, this book has to be it! A genuinely inspiring tale of a person who had multiple handicaps, dysfunctional family, abusive father, you name it. He conquers it all to become one of the finest servicemen as well a well-respected endurance athlete.

Excellence wins by Horst Schulze with Dean Merrill

Cover page of the book called Excellence Wins by Horst Schulze with Dean Merrill.

Marketers usually classify businesses as B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to customers). I believe, there is only one kind of business P2P (people to people) and this is what counts.

Excellence wins is an amazing book by Horst Schulze, who led the Ritz-Carlton group of hotels. Boy oh boy, it is a fun and easy read. Just pick this up and read it. There are so many beautiful pieces of stories and takeaways that one can quickly adapt to our lives.

This book as validated my beliefs even more. I could share so many learnings from this book but this time I am going to break the rule and share the Eight key questions.

In chapter 14 Horst talks about eight key questions any leader who runs a business or is contemplating to start one needs to have answers to.

  1. Make a decision about what industry you are going to enter
  2. Decide which market segment of this industry you’re going to pursue – budget/bargain, mid-range, top-end
  3. Zero in what customers want in this market segment
  4. Start figuring out how to meet those desires as efficiently as possible
  5. Think about how you’re going to let the customer individualise or customise their experience
  6. How are you going to give your employees a sense of belonging, of buy-in, to the work
  7. Plan how you’re going to accurately measure what you’ve set out to accomplish
  8. Are you fully committed to making this happen

Boris Johnson

I watched Boris Johnson being questioned by the Health Committee over Coronavirus situation.

One thing that stands out is Boris’ lack of details.

Any leader – with a private organisation or that of a public/Government organisation needs to have two key qualities.

1. Rally the troops. You need to be one of the finest marketers out there. Someone who can get across their message to the masses.

2. A decision-maker. Taking in all the data that you can and then using it to make key decisions. You need to be analytical.

These two qualities are diagonally opposite and hence to master these you need to be an exception to the rule. Usually you are either good at one of the two things.

From what I see, Boris has marketing skills. That’s how he was able to rally the electorate to vote him into the power. But he lacks the analytical and decision-making skills to deliver his promises. The failure is apparent when it comes to the Covid-19, losing 39K lives is horrible. Sure, you can argue, maybe the death toll could have been even enormous, we will never know. My perspective comes from his vague responses to the Health Committee. Kier Starmer’s recent questions during the Question hour has shown how different he is to his predecessor. His clam, composed and forensic questioning will expose the lack of analytical skills of our Dear PM in the months to come.

I can be completely wrong. I usually am. Only time will decide.

Measurement vs Inspection

Below is a brilliant excerpt from the book Excellence Wins by Horst Schulze with Dean Merrill.

Emphasis is my own.

Chapter 13, page 187

It is absolutely essential to know where a company stands. Measurement is how we determine the gap between where we think we are and where we actually are.

. . .

If I don’t measure things, I won’t know which gaps need to be filled, and that means I won’t know where I need to improve.

. . .

Some people think measurement is the boss’s tool for control – a game of “gotcha”, a scheme to make employees look bad. No, that’s not the point at all. There is a difference between inspection and measurement. Inspection means you’re looking over someone’s shoulder, trying to catch them messing up. Measurement means taking samples to determine if you and the people you’ve chosen for your organisation are fulfilling your overall vision – and if not, how to get closer to the goal in the future.

The price of tomorrow by Jeff Booth

I watched Jeff Booth’s interview on Real Vision and since then this book was on the list. Preston Pysh, who I follow and consider one of my inspiration, budge me on Twitter to prioritise this book over anything else that I was reading. And, he was right!

This is one of the books which challenges your core belief system and what is considered as common knowledge. I rank this book in the same league as Zero to One by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel. The books explores a lot of topics and pitches why technology will result in deflation and how we need to be prepared for it.

This is a must read book to understand how technology will bring abundance and as a result will lead to deflation. Below are a few key insights/learnings from the book.

  • Our economic systems were not built for a world driven by technology where prices keep falling. They were built for a pre-technology era when labour and capital were inextricably linked, an era that counted on growth and inflation, an era where we made money from scarcity and inefficiency. That era is over. But we keep on pretending that those economic systems still work.
  • The only thing driving growth in the world today is easy credit, which is being created at a pace that is hard to comprehend.
  • When we use technology, there is an exponential effect in its output or power relative to its price. We get far greater benefit and the price continues to fall. The abundance that it brings to our lives is incredible and it is all around us.
  • With inflation, holders of assets win, since the dollars in the future are worth less and it would, therefore, take more dollars to buy assets at a later date—like my parents and their first house. With deflation, holders of currency are the winners, since their dollars can buy more goods and services in the future than they could today.

Trade like a stock market wizard by Mark Minervini

This is a good book for a trader who wants to understand what goes into buying trending stocks. Mark shares a great deal of information about his trading method and goes in-depth to explain this. There are numerous examples, as well.

Below are some memorable nuggets

Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.

—Muhammad Ali, three-time world heavyweight boxing champion
  • . . .most people have a natural tendency to overestimate what they can achieve in the short run and underestimate what they can accomplish over the long haul.
  • The difference between interest and commitment is the will not to give up. When you truly commit to something, you have no alternative but success. Getting interested will get you started, but commitment gets you to the finish line.
  • One thing you can count on is that history will repeat itself. The only question is: How good a student are you?

The world is full of people looking for a secret formula for success. They do not want to think on their own; they justwant a recipe to follow. They are attracted to the idea of strategy for that very reason.

Robert Greene

Uncertainty by Howard Marks

Howard is one of my favourite authors out there. His memos are a must-read and I have been a follower since past 18 months.

His recent memo which stands out is titled Uncertainty. You can read the full memo by clicking here

Below are some quotes as found in this memo.

In some recent memos, I’ve mentioned Marc Lipsitch, Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard’sT.H. Chan School of Public Health. In my version of his hierarchy, there are

(a) facts,

(b) logical inferences from past experience and

(c) guesses.

. . .if you’ve never experienced something before, you can’t say you know how it’s going to turn out.

No one can succeed in predicting things that are heavily influenced by randomness and otherwise inconsistent.

No amount of sophistication is going to allay the fact that all of your knowledge is about the past and all your decisions are about the future.

Ian E. Wilson (former Chairman of GE)

People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

George Orwell

Forecasts create the mirage that the future is knowable.

Peter Bernstein

The future you shall know when it has come; before then forget it.


Forecasts usually tell us more of the forecaster than of the future.

Warren Buffett