The Virtues of Great Investors: Mark Sellers and Jason Zweig (How is Your Writing?)
"Just like a company needs to develop a moat or suffer from mediocrity, an investor needs some sort of edge over the competition or he’ll suffer from mediocrity."
During last week’s conversation with Alix (I am preparing a transcript and audio to share with premium subscribers), we talked about what makes a great analyst. Alix focused on mindset and methodologies — the ability to recognize opportunity, practice, the ability to kill bad ideas quickly, how to find different forms of leverage, and how to breach what he calls the ‘barriers to scale’. I found this notable because typically people focus on the qualities of great investors. Depending on how we frame this issue, we can find ourselves in awe of natural talent or possibly find methods we can apply ourselves.
Why is this important? Well, besides becoming a better investor or businessperson, it can be tremendously valuable to identify a great investor and bet on them. In his interview with the Financial Times, Charlie Munger commented on the sources of his wealth. Two of his most important bets were bets on the jockey:
Munger said he had made most of his money from just four investments: Berkshire, retailer Costco, his investment in a fund managed by Li Lu’s Himalaya Capital and Afton Properties, a real estate venture that owns apartment buildings in California and New Jersey.
I think the answer to the question is multi-faceted, including innate traits, adopted mindsets, values, and virtues, learned skills and methods, and experience. It’s a unique combination for every exceptional player of the money game.
I intend to make this a little series and create my own framework to apply to future profiles. First, let’s start with two short pieces on virtues and qualities by Jason Zweig and Mark Sellers.
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