This Week I Learned #5

“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up”
— Charlie Munger


  • Healthy: So many are doing intermittent fasting. I avoided it because I knew of no athletes that did it. Looking good aside, performance is priority for me. My belief was intermittent fasting would negatively impact my performance. I listened to a series of podcasts with Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Dr. Peter Attia, Tim Ferriss, Kevin Rose and George St. Pierre. Some are established athletes but all are people I respect. Bottom line is that there is nothing conclusive to say that intermittent fasting will work in the long run. Too early with not enough tests. But, so far there have been noted benefits with establishing better metabolism to lower body fat, increase lean muscle mass growth, enhance cognitive awareness, improve sleep among others. There is an app called Zero that also seems to be a good helper for such an endeavour. I know short term calorie restriction and macro-nutrient measuring works. I've used it to cut 8lbs in 5 days. But it is not sustainable and a shitty way to live. I've also had mixed results with slow-carb diet, which is my default mode. Also, FYI, drinking coffee is not okay when you fast. Even if it is black. Same for any herbal tea. Your body has to turn itself on to actually break the chemical components down so anything outside of water will break your fast if you try. 


  • Wealthy: Re-read Charlie Munger's "Talk Two" in Poor Charlie's Almanack. New learnings: 1) Dominate the niche, afterwards gain scale from dominating a niche. Scale can be in the form of an informational advantage (i.e. brand reputation in your niche is scaleable). Scale can also be FOMO, everyone buys the product so psychological perception creates such scale. Then scale gets too big, then you have bureaucracy, then you lose to the specialized new entrant. Cycle continues. 2) Companies either grow or shrink. Your moat widens or narrows. Better to see revenue grow, the cash flow growth can come later. Just make sure it will come. 3) Sam Walton's Walmart was nothing new. World already had discount stores. He just made each store identical and scalable. He built a better system and destroyed his local competitors. 4) Many markets get down to 2-3 big competitors or 5 or 6. My thought is to find those that will become the 2-3 when there are 20+ out there. Though, this doesn't matter much for pure commodities. 5) Munger asked a guy selling fishing lures: "My God, they're purple and green. Do fish really take these lures?" And he said, "Mister, I don't sell to fish." People feel insecurity with inaction. Work hard in search of ideas and just bet big on the few that are obvious. 


  • Healthy: Peter Attia on the principles of weight loss, among many other things on Joe Rogan's podcast. We make the choice of the kinds of food we put into our body but once it is in it's our hormones that dictate nutrient partitioning. Confusion of nutrient partitioning is what we are trying to hack with exercise and diet when it is focused on the purpose of weight loss. Big hormones there are insulin, cortisol and testosterone. Lower insulin to limit storing nutrients as fat, either through fasting or cutting carbs. Cortisol is anabolic to fat and catabolic to muscle, testosterone is the opposite. Cortisol increases with stress and less sleep. So you could be on that $50 rabbit food diet everyday but if you are stressed as shit from your life then it will all get stored as fat and also kill your muscles. Nutrients are important too but get your life in order first, that's step 1 of looking like you have a great life.


  • Wealthy: Revisited Charlie Munger's Stanford University address. Learnings: 1) Play the investing game the way it fits your own psychology and marginal utility. There is no right way to make money. He was good at taking 40% losses so he could go with a 3-6 stock portfolio. 2) "I'm going the best I can. But I've never grown old before. I'm doing it for the first time. And I'm not sure that I'll do it right." Berkshire is past $450bn in market cap, don't expect the same results or even similar from 20 years ago. Seems simple but all the morons who forecast seem to forget that. 3) Real estate investment in Manhattan compounded at 7% over 378 years. Context. Don't expect 20% or even 10% because the wealth of the world will compound at no such rate. 4) The fundamentals of the legal profession is that you will be dealing with grossly defective people because they are the ones that need lawyers. Charlie didn't like working with assholes, so he quit law. 5) Psychology models: People are heavily influenced by what other people think and do. People will repeat what worked for them the last time. That's 2 models universities will make you read textbooks for and it won't even teach it properly. 6) Aim low. I agree with setting low enough expectations for short term goals. But for long term, aim high. 7) Mark Twain: "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." And fuck if you don't read books... 


  • Wise: Some modern history learning from podcast. Learned that the estimation for those murdered in the Soviet Union under the Stalin era is at least 15MM, and Mao's China was at least 40MM. These seem to be the lower end of the estimates with some reporting upwards to 80~100MM for both. Didn't know that many people died because of Marxism. It seems in order to actually implement the theory of equality in outcome you'd need a tyrant to lead you... which has obviously turned out poorly so far. Imagining the Soviet Union world where farmers would be shot for owning farms because it wasn't fair to the "not-haves"... It reaffirms my belief that capitalism is the best system we have right now. Without capitalism, there would not be the Apple Iphone I listened to this podcast with Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson:


  • Healthy: So I've been buying "free-run omega-3 eggs". No, it's not pretentious. Given your body's health is your greatest asset to achieve anything it only seems logical it gets the most of your investment. Yeah, so I spend $2 more on my carton of eggs instead of $60 at a club to pour car fuel in my liver but that's just me. Anyhow, I was curious on the distinction of free-run vs. free-range vs. organic vs. omega-3. Turns out, organic is free-range + your chicken is fed organic food (i.e. no pesticide/hormones/chemicals). Free-range is chickens running freely outdoors but not organic feed. Free-run is they run in slightly bigger than cage spaces indoors. Omega-3 infused is chickens just get fed flax seed.. which I could just as well eat myself instead of needing a chicken to digest for me for a tiny 125mg worth. So now, I'm just going to buy organic eggs. Turns out it's about $6.50 per carton. Pair of Adidas sneakers or 20 cartons of eggs? Eggs. 


  • Wise: Dan Carlin, Host of the Hardcore History podcast, on the Joe Rogan Experience. "Life is a verb". Ergo, try. Take action. The most common regret among Dan's friends (people in their 50s) is that they didn't try.