The Power of Serendipity – Jason Zweig [Invest Like the Best EP.03]

In this episode, Jason Zweig and I discuss investing, financial advice, books, and life in general. The method for living discussed in the last 30 minutes will be useful for everyone. Jason is the Intelligent Investor columnist for the Wall Street Journal and author of several books, including his latest, the excellent “The Devil’s Financial Dictionary.”  His insights and advice are the results a life of critical thinking, reading, writing, humility, and curiosity.  Please enjoy!


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Books Mentioned in this Conversation

10:13 – “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”: Further Adventures of a Curious Character

10: 19 Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

15:41 – Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

15:45 Life and Fate – Vasily Grossman

1:00:12- The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel – Benjamin Graham and Jason Zweig

1:01:43 – The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity: A Study in Sociological Semantics and the Sociology of Science – Robert Merton

1:02:57 – Luck Factor – Richard Wiseman

1:08:50 – Your Money and Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich – Jason Zweig

1:08:52 – The Devil’s Financial Dictionary – Jason Zweig

1:15:35 – Montaigne: Essays – Michel de Montaigne



Show Notes


1:31 (first question) – In true form, Patrick and Jason shift from investing and start talking about their family and the lessons they Jason has instilled in his kids.


4:57 – Jason reveals the two most important tools to have in your toolkit in order to succeed


8:13 – Some of Jason’s life changing books and why he is such a huge fan of Richard Feynman.


13:55 – Patrick suggests that everyone check out Richard Feynman’s lectures on youtube.


14:29 – Jason explains his procedure for finding new books to check out


16:40 – While there are benefits to social media, there are dangers of living in an echo chamber and suffering from confirmation bias.


18:55 – You should probably avoid only watching CNBC all day long with the sound on


19:53 – Jason lists some of his can’t-miss writers (apologies to those that just weren’t on the tip of his tongue at the time)

Matt Levine

Jesse Livermore

Steve Randy Waldman

Bob Seawright

Josh Brown

Barry Ritholtz

Morgan Housel


21:36 – Jason highlights one of the challenges in mass communications, getting the right balance of skepticism and anger/nihilism.


23:10 – Patrick questions Jason on the current state of the financial advisory business – Now that Vanguard has absorbed much of the active management business, so the next question is what happens to financial advisory.


24:45 – Jason says there needs to be a disruption in the fee-based advisory business


27:45 – Jason explains why we should probably begin to unbundle some financial services offerings


30:20 – What changes Jason would make if he was given czar-like powers to regulate the industry


32:40 – How Jason’s investing strategy has involved over his career.


40:18 – Diving into the impact of academia doing research on the markets and the right way to analyze the markets using data


48:40 – Reasons Jason believes some investors are better off with active managers over index funds, and some of the ones he specifically admires.

Seth Klarman –  Baupost

Howard Marks – Oaktree Capital

Mason Hawkins, Stanley Kates  – Longleaf Partners

Oakmark Funds


53:24 – Some of the people that Jason has enjoyed interviewing

Joe Rosenfield – One of Warren Buffett’s best friends, Chairman of Younkers Department store, and Chairman at the Investment Committee at Grinnell College


57:23 – Patrick questions about the kindest thing anyone has ever done for him professionally and Jason reveals why personal relationships are so important in your professional life


1:01:26 – The importance of serendipity and luck and how they differ.


1:05:48 – Patrick reveals his tip for breaking out of the routine and improving his life, an app called Way of Life


1:07:31 – Jason references a speech given by Benjamin Graham on his 80th birthday about doing something new, nice and surprising every day.


1:08:40 – Which one book would Jason recommend people read first if they are unfamiliar with his work.


1:15:20 – Jason reveals the book that he would miss most had he not read it





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