John Mauldin's Outside the Box

John Mauldin reads hundreds of articles, reports, books, newsletters, etc. and each week he brings one essay from another analyst that should stimulate your thinking. John will not agree with all the essays, and some will make us uncomfortable, but the varied subject matter will offer thoughtful analysis that will challenge our minds to think Outside The Box.

John Mauldin's Outside the Box

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  • Dare to Be Great II

    I can’t tell you how many thousands of hours I have spent, over the years, thinking about, reading about, and talking about how to be a consistently successful investor; but I can tell you this: I’m still working at it. And once in a while – less frequently as the years pass, it seems – I come across investment advice that strikes me as fundamentally strong, innovative, and worth assimilating.

    I feel that way about today’s Outside the Box. It’s a client memo sent last week by Howard Marks, founder and chairman of Oaktree Capital Management. He calls it “Dare to Be Great II,” since it’s a follow-up to the famous memo by that name he wrote in 2006.

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  • Risk On, Regardless

    In today’s excerpt from Gary’s quarterly INSIGHT letter, he tackles head-on the shift in sentiment and economic performance that has ensued since then. He steps us through the ebullient headlines and forecasts that dominated at year-end, and then remarks...

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  • Hollow Men, Hollow Markets, Hollow World

    I’m sitting in the British Airways lounge at Heathrow terminal 5, or in other words in my usual office, and trying to catch up on my reading. I was particularly intrigued by my good friend and economic philosopher Ben Hunt’s latest Epsilon Theory post, which he calls “Hollow Men, Hollow Markets, Hollow World.” As he points out, an increasingly smaller portion of trading in the markets is between individuals looking to actually own a fractional portion of a public company for the long term. Instead, trading is gravitating to machines competing with each other in milliseconds and for a profit of milli-cents.

    In today’s OTB, Ben Hunt doesn’t really focus all that much on high-frequency trading but rather on the fact that so much of economics and investing itself is hollow. Our job, he says, is to find the signal amidst all the noise. This is an Outside the Box that you will need to think through as opposed to merely read.

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  • Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis

    Looking back, I see that I have mentioned the name Hyman Minsky in no fewer than ten Thoughts from the Frontline letters in just the past two years; and his name has popped up in all four letters so far this month, most notably on March 1, when we brought back one of my most popular pieces, “Black Swans and Endogenous Uncertainty” (the “sandpile” letter) and last week, when the letter was titled “China’s Minksy Moment?”

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  • Gavekal on Russia and Japan

    I look at dozens of sources a day on global macroeconomics, but one source I go to every day is my good friends at Gavekal. The Gavekal partnership – father Charles Gave, son Louis-Vincent Gave, and noted economist and journalist Anatole Kaletsky – spans three continents: Charles is based in Paris, Anatole is in London, Louis has set up shop in Hong Kong, and the firm also has an office in the US. And they have an extensive team of outstanding analysts.

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  • Seth Klarman: Investors Downplaying Risk “Never Turns Out Well”

    Today’s Outside the Box is unusual in that it isn’t an original document but rather a summary of a client letter from one of the greatest investors of our generation, Seth Klarman, who is also one of the more reclusive – he rarely speaks in public or grants interviews. He is known for his very deep value investing style and willingness to pursue value where others get very nervous.

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  • Ukraine: Three Views

    All eyes are on Ukraine as the drama continues to unfold. Today, for an early Outside the Box, I’m going to offer three sources on Ukraine. The first is a note that I got from the head of emerging-market trading at one of the world’s largest hedge funds. This is what he sent out last week, ahead of any real action:

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  • Buffett’s annual letter: What you can learn from my real estate investments

    It does not hurt to be reminded once in a while about what it means to be a “true investor,” and who better to remind us than Warren Buffett? Today’s Outside the Box comes to us from the pages of Fortune magazine (hat tip to my good friend Tom Romero of Capital Research Partners, who is a pretty fair investor in his own right).

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  • Notes to the FOMC

    Janet Yellen, the new Fed chair, has her admirers and her detractors. One unabashed admirer is my good friend David Zervos, Jefferies' chief market strategist, who during the past several months has taken to hollering "Dammit Janet, I love you!" He was at it again yesterday:

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  • Challenging the Consensus

    It’s been a busy week here in Dallas, but then aren't they all lately? But it’s good to be busy at home for the next few weeks. Lots of material to be written and edited, plans to be made, and trips to be scheduled, of course. My current sedentary lifestyle will soon revert to its normal peripatetic frenzy, but it’s good to give the body a bit of rest. Enjoy your week.

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  • Hoisington Investment Management: Quarterly Review and Outlook Fourth Quarter 2013

    Last week Greg Weldon made the case for rising interest rates on US treasuries. This week Lacy Hunt offers us the case for a continued low-interest-rate environment for long-term treasuries. This is one of the most fascinating tugs-of-war in the investment world today. I’ve made the argument that we are in a deflationary deleveraging world for quite some time to come, or at least until the velocity of money turns around. Lacy makes that point, too, and offers some insights into the velocity of money. This is a fascinating Outside the Box, and I won’t spoil it by stealing any more of Lacy’s thunder.

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  • The United States: Are the Seeds Already Sown for the Next Macro-Market Deflation Crisis?

    Greg Weldon has long been my favorite slicer and dicer of data – his charts and insights on charts really help me keep my eyes peeled. But in order to get across to us the drastic state of the economy as we plunge headlong into 2014 – a year that we all know will be pivotal – Greg has felt it necessary to resort to a rather trenchant metaphor from the year just past. Yes, says Greg, the economy is... Breaking Bad.

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  • The Demographic Cliff and the Spending Wave

    For today's Outside the Box, my longtime friend Harry Dent is letting us have a look at chapter 1 of his latest (and I would say his greatest) book, The Demographic Cliff: How to Survive and Prosper During the Great Deflation of 2014-2019. Harry's grasp of the impact of demographics on economies and investments is unexcelled and unambiguous. We all know that demographics really matter, but Harry has looked deeper and harder and understood better than any of us.

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  • Knowledge and Power

    In last week’s Thoughts from the Frontline I talked about the Age of Transformation, attempting to refute Robert’s Gordon rather stark and gloomy view of the future growth potential of the economy. That letter generated a rather significant amount of reader response, both pro and con, as not everyone agrees with my decidedly optimistic long-term view of the future. It might be fun and thought-provoking, in fact, to do a letter that deals with some of the issues you raised. I really do have some of the smartest readers of any economics and investing letter out there.

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  • Half & Half: Why Rowing Works

    For today's special Christmas Eve Outside the Box, my good friend Ed Easterling brings us pearls of wisdom on the subject of rowing vs. sailing. "Rowing?" you ask. "Sailing?" And, you're thinking, "I would surely prefer to be a sailor." Well, not so fast. Let Ed explain why putting your back into your investing process can pay off handsomely. A nice piece to think about as you are mashing the potatoes or icing the cake. You can see more of Ed’s marvelous work at www.crestmontresearch.com.

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