What We’re Reading

A few good pieces the Collaborative team came across this week …

Jason Zweig on writing roughly the same thing:

My answer was, between 50 and 100 times a year, I say the exact same thing in such a way that neither my editors nor my readers will notice I’m repeating myself. That is kind of the way I think about my job. It’s because I am in the business of giving advice on investment decision making. And I think there’s only a handful of things that are true. And when you try to sort of expand beyond that set, you quickly get into the position of starting to tell people things that are bad for them. So I’ve willingly put myself in a box.

Why complicated things break:

Complex systems run as broken systems. The system continues to function because it contains so many redundancies and because people can make it function, despite the presence of many flaws. After accident reviews nearly always note that the system has a history of prior ‘proto-accidents’ that nearly generated catastrophe. Arguments that these degraded conditions should have been recognized before the overt accident are usually predicated on naïve notions of system performance. System operations are dynamic, with components (organizational, human, technical) failing and being replaced continuously.


Between 2002 and 2014, the price of a medallion rose to more than $1 million from $200,000, even though city records showed that driver incomes barely changed.


The past 12 months were the wettest May-to-April period in the contiguous U.S. since record-keeping began in 1895, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Since March, heavy snow and rain have brought record flooding to parts of the Midwest, and rivers have overflowed their banks from Illinois to Nebraska.


Bill told me he doesn’t understand why people would want to leave an inheritance, to which I replied, “I don’t know how I’m going to feel about leaving my kids money when I’m older, but here’s how I feel today. If I die prematurely, of course I want them to be taken care of, like I was. My mother passed when I was 25 and the money she left us allowed me to pay my bills when I didn’t have a job, pay for a wedding, and buy my first home. Now, to state the absolute obvious, I would give anything for this to not have happened, and I felt very conflicted about the money she left us, but I’m glad it was there, and I know she was too.”

Have a good weekend.