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Circle of Competence #100


“The assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find why it went out of date. Was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where, and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this, one passes to the realization that our own age is also ‘a period,’ and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions.” – C.S. Lewis



I encourage everyone to read Peter Thiel's piece below ('Back to the Future') and wrestle with whether you believe it to be true or not.

I believe the idea that a society rich with technological success breeds comfort, comfort breeds complacency, and complacency is antithetical to progress.

The question that I'm left with after reading his op-ed is thisn- where is the real progress being made today? A few answers come to mind:

- Autonomous transportation (ground and air)

- Space exploration and travel for all

- Renewable energy (solar, wind, potentially fusion)

- Deep learning embedded into all electronics

- Robotics

- Genetic sequencing and engineering

I'd like to hear from you on areas that you believe are experiencing true breakthroughs or are ripe for more research.

Business Vault

I updated the Business Vault this weekend with:

- An Economics section for helpful historic economic papers and books

- A section on Li Lu's interviews and writings

- Allan Mecham's Arlington Value Investor Letters, 2008-2016

Slowly working to build a robust resource for those who want to take the time to study the masters.



Alphabet business breakdown (Ryan Reeves)

John Elkann's 2019 letter to shareholders (Exor)

Warren Buffett's 2019 letter to shareholders (Berkshire Hathaway)

Trish Higgins and Will Thorndike on the state of private equity (Capital Camp, Alex Bridgeman notes)

Askeladden capital Q4 2019 letter to investors (Samir Patel)

Tyro Capital 2019 letter to investors (Daniel McMurtrie)

Dan McMurtrie on Real Vision (Real Vision Finance)

Leithner Q1 2020 letter to investors (Chris Leithner)

Arlington Value Capital, letters to investors, 2008-2016 (Allan Mecham)

Mental Models

100 little useful ideas (Morgan Housel)

How to write usefully (Paul Graham)


Back to the future - reinvigorating scientific progress (Peter Thiel)

Ten years of Google X and the progress made (Wired)

Semper Augustus 2019 letter to investors (Chris Bloomstran)

Politics and Economics

The anatomy of double digit inflation - oldie but goodie! (Robert E. Hall)

Politics without politicians - what if serving in government were like serving jury duty? (The New Yorker)

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