“The key to successful investing is having everyone agree with you — LATER.” -Jim Grant
A while back my friend Mark Yusko introduced to an obscure book on investing and the markets called The Tao Jones Averages. In it, the author, Bennett W. Goodspeed describes what it is his company, Inferential Focus, seeks to accomplish:
IF’s discipline centers on the reading of 180 publications, which range from Adhesive Age to Yankee (many of these subscriptions are trade periodicals). Such reading serves as a “radar screen” on which the anomalies, or clues of change, first appear. This reading also provides a feeling for what is normal, as one needs to know normality in order to recognize an anomaly (something that shouldn’t be happening in terms of “conventional wisdom”). When sufficient anomalies or breaks in a trend are noted, IF infers that a new trend is forming.
This passage really resonated with me because this is something I have been doing for the past couple of decades. I spend a good portion of every day reading through a wide variety of publications, blogs, research reports and other sources in an attempt to understand what the consensus is towards any given asset class or security and how it may be evolving. To me, this is crucial in discovering those investment opportunities that everyone will inevitably agree with later, as Jim Grant so eloquently put it.
I thought it might be valuable to share some of the details of my daily reading routine and the tools I use in the process. First, and most important has to be twitter. I follow roughly 100 accounts I deem to be inordinately valuable to the mission set forth above. I read through the timeline twitter provides but I also use an app/site called Nuzzel that curates and lists not only the articles these folks share but the ones shared by the accounts they follow. So I look at it as a news source curated by some of the people I respect most in the world of finance and those they in turn respect.
Next, I have a list of blogs I read through an app called Feedly. These are at least as valuable to me as my twitter/nuzzel network. Some of my favorite sources these days include The Daily Shot, Knowledge Leaders Capital, Rick Bookstaber, Market Anthropology, The Acquirer’s Multiple, Variant Perception, Hedgopia, Inside Arbitrage, The Macro Tourist, Epsilon Theory, Top Down Charts, Eric Cinnamond, McClellan Financial and 13D Research.
Finally, Apple news has become an indispensable app for me over the past few months. When it first launched it wasn’t much but as they have improved it and I have fiddled with the sources I follow in it, it has gotten much better recently. In fact, I have added many of my subscriptions to publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist and Wired to the app and this seems to help it suggest other sources I might find valuable.
So those are a few of the tools I use on a daily basis in an effort to understand “normality” and to “recognize an anomaly” which suggests a “new trend is forming.” It usually takes me a few hours each day to go through the process but I’ve found it very valuable to me in my pursuit of successful investing.