Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week.  The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well.  We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.


Notes on the Warren Buffett Letters — (Part 1: 1959–’84) by Noon Six Capital (Medium)

A fantastic summary, with commentary, of early communiques penned by the Oracle of Omaha. A bit quicker and easier than reading them all yourself! [Link]

The Co-Founder of Long-Term Capital Management Wants You to Learn Your Financial Formulas by Tracy Alloway (Bloomberg)

A digestible example of the Kelley Criterion, and why it’s important in the world of investing…especially when professional investors are charging significant fees for their services. [Link]

Volatility Has Currency Traders Abandoning Stop-Loss Orders by Chelsey Dulaney (WSJ)

Executing at market when there is zero liquidity – as can sometime be the case with stop-loss orders – is starting to become a problem for many FX investors. [Link; paywall]

Long Reads

The Accidental City by Helena Fitzgerald (Catapult)

A gorgeous read on the evolution of how humans move around New York, from the mud to the confusing (for newcomers) subway system which ties the boroughs together. [Link]

Economic Models

Australia’s inflation target: “more like guidelines” by Matthew Klein (FT Alphaville)

Klein gives a good overview of the flexible approach that the Reserve Bank of Australia takes to economic management, partially a function of its less constrained monetary policy mandate. [Link; registration required]

Demographics and markets: The effects of ageing by John Authers (FT)

A summary of the vigorous debate surrounding the effects of an aging population on growth, inflation, and the structure of the economy. [Link; paywall]

Residual Seasonality in U.S. GDP Data by Keith R. Phillips and Jack Wang (Dallas Fed Working Papers)

More quantitative work on the seasonality of US economic data which is already seasonally adjusted. [Link; 21 page PDF]


The U.S. Retail Environment? It’s Doing Just Fine, Thanks by Matthew Townsend (Bloomberg)

Despite a strong consumer foundation, retail chains have had an extremely hard time generating sales, let alone profits. [Link]


RE/MAX getting into the mortgage business; launches Motto Mortgage by Ben Lane (Housingwire)

National realtor RE/MAX is unveiling a new mortgage brokerage business that will be co-located with agents. We’re interested to see how this new approach works out. [Link]

Francophone Politics

Meet Monsieur Magnette: The man who made Canada weep by Laurens Cerulus (Politico)

An in-depth profile of the Socialist leader of the Walloon region of Belgium, the man most responsible for the torpedoing of an EU-Canadian free trade deal this week. [Link]

French Presidential Hopeful Draws Comparisons to Marie Antoinette by Yasmeen Serhan (The Atlantic)

Cringe-worthy soundbites: now a feature of Presidential elections on both sides of the Atlantic! In a recent interview, Jean-François Copé had a true faux pas, completely missing a guess at the price of a chocolate croissant. [Link]

Election Machines

Spending on U.S. Elections Slides for First Time in Recent Political History by Rebecca Ballhaus and Brody Mullins (WSJ)

The advent of more cost-effective social media, less super-PAC engagement, and a very unique pair of candidates are all factors in the decline of spending on US elections. [Link; paywall]

Inside the Trump Bunker, With Days to Go by Joshua Green (Bloomberg)

Why build a national campaign and then just toss it aside after a year? An interesting look at the capabilities (and possible post-election plan for) the Trump campaign. [Link]


How the fleece vest became the unofficial uniform of Silicon Valley investors by Melia Robinson (Business Insider)

The vaunted vest – once a uniform for the finance industry on the East Coast – has become a key tent pole of the venture capitalist wardrobe. [Link]

Losing the thread by Virginia Postrel (Aeon)

A long, sweeping look at the role of thread and fabric as not only expression but also as technology, a bridge to “shrink the distance between nature and artifice”, and “an extension of our skin”. [Link]

AT&T-Time Warner

The ghost of AOL will haunt the Time Warner-AT&T deal by Kara Swisher (recode)

The combination of context and current, Swisher does an excellent job highlighting the difference between the current Time Warner megadeal and the one that marked the top of the late 1990s tech bubble. [Link]

In honor of AT&T and Time Warner, here are some of the worst corporate mergers in history by Christopher Zara (Fast Company)

Pretty straightforward, a list of some terrible mergers; not going to win a Pulitzer but definitely a fun trip down memory lane. Our personal favorite: Arby’s & Wendy’s, a meat mashup that was never meant to be. [Link]

Business of Sports

Mad Money by Pablo S. Torre (ESPN)

How do you turn 7.4 points per NBA game over the course of less than a season into a contract that’s halfway to 9 figures? [Link]

Mexico’s Most Popular Soccer Team Cuts the TV Cord by Andrea Navarro (Bloomberg)

The most popular soccer team in Mexico has opted out of a contract with its US broadcaster in favor of a direct link with fans via a streaming service costing $12 per month. [Link]

Background Knowledge

EveryCRSReport.com (Every CRS Report)

Frankly we’re ecstatic about this new project. It aims to post online every publicly available report from the fantastic Congressional Research Service. CRS exists to provide background knowledge on specific issues for Members of Congress and their staff, and the high quality information is often the most concise and easily digestible on a given topic. [Link]

Winners & Losers

How Inequality Is Rising Among Identical Workers as Companies’ Fortunes Diverge by Josh Zumbrun (WSJ Real Time Economics)

Outcomes for workers are intimately linked to the firms they work for, and the varying outcomes for those firms turn out to be a driver of economic inequality. [Link]

Silicon Valley Decides It’s Just Too Hard to Build a Car by Keith Naughton, Alex Webb, and Mark Bergen (Bloomberg)

It turns out that scaling code and scaling physical production (including supply chains involving tens of thousands of parts) are not the same thing after all. [Link]


There’s an Abundance of Lithium-6 in the Universe, and Scientists Don’t Know Why by Kelsey Houston-Edwards (Nova)

Differences between mathematical models of what elements the Big Bang should have yielded and the observable universe are posing questions.[Link]

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