Charlie Munger believes that being rational and avoiding the common mistakes that human nature has wired us to make
are the secrets to being a successful investor. He rates these aspects to be more important than raw intelligence.
Reading voraciously and continuing self education so that an investor has an understanding of a broad range of disciplines is also more
important than high levels of specialist knowledge. For example, understanding human psychology tells you that management will be driven
largely by incentives. At Black Crane, understanding management and key shareholder's incentives is critical to assessing situations.
Dhandho investing is best illustrated by the saying, "heads you win a lot and tails you lose a little"; in other words, asymmetrical investments.
This is a critically important principle that we employ in selecting investments at Black Crane.
Mohnish Pabrai is a disciple of Warren Buffet and a great value investor in his own right. His book tells the story of the Patel's who emigrated
from post revolutionary Uganda to the United States. They originally emigrated from Gujarat, India and Dhanddo is a Gujarati word.
Upon arrival in the US the Patel's started buying small motels with almost 100% borrowed money as they had little capital and no job prospects.
Today, a massive percentage of US motels/hotels are owned by Patels. They very successfully employed the Dhando investment principle.
Like Black Crane, Mohnish is also a believer in highly concentrated portfolios and deep research. He advocates waiting three years to allow investments to play out.
Guy Spier is a close friend of Mohnish Pabrai and has also been heavily influenced by Warren Buffet.
Guy's book highlights the importance of the emotional factors in investing. He has designed his investment strategy
and rules to avoid the pitfalls which result from human emotions. His rules include: - never buy something from some-one
who is trying to sell you something; - he has a separate study away from Bloomberg where he reads and thinks; - he moved from New York to Zurich to avoid
the 'noise' and influences of NY city; - he tries not to make trading decisions when the market is open; - if a stock falls heavily he waits at least two years before selling.
I pride myself on thinking independently and making decisions based on information and analysis. However, I remain acutely aware of the potentially powerful effect emotions and external noise can have on investment decisions.
Taleb's third book brings together and extends his thinking from his two previous books, 'The Black Swan' and 'Fooled by Randomness'.
Antifragility is the ability to not only be robust to adverse outcomes but, most importantly, the ability to gain strength from adversity. It has implications
for all aspects of life and not just finance. In finance, the concept is closely aligned with owning options and making asymmetrical investments.
Black Crane's insistence on only making asymmetrical investments protects our investors from adverse outcomes.
The Intelligent Investor was one of the first investment books I read along with several biographies of Warren Buffett. One of the key elements of their approach to investing is to always have a ‘margin of safety’. I employ the same discipline in selecting investments at Black Crane; entering investments at a substantial discount to my estimate of their fundamental value.