Extra 30% Off Any Print Book


Black Friday Weekend 2015. Take an extra 30% off any book at with promo code HOLIDAY30. Print books only, max $10 off, must by sold and shipped by Valid until November 30, 2015 at 02:59am EST.

Stack with your $15 off $60 at Amazon from American Express, 10% off Amazon from Chase Freedom, and 5% off Amazon from Discover (10% with Double Promotion).

Here are some recommendations for those looking to give or receive some financial inspiration:

Here are all my book reviews in reverse-chronological order.

My favorite book of 2014 was Dinner A Love Story. It has some inspirational material to help you cook for yourself and your family, along with the best compilation of weeknight dinner recipes I’ve read in a cookbook. They taste special enough (not bland or boring), but they also take 30 minutes. I still use it to this day.

My favorite book of 2015… I looked back at my book reviews and didn’t really have a strong favorite. I would say one trend is that I have become a fan of re-reading Vanguard founder Jack Bogle’s classic books. His old stuff has a lot of common sense reasoning that doesn’t always fit with today’s “one-size-fits-all” advice.

Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor Book Review

mungercompleteI’ve just finished reading new book Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor by Tren Griffin. For the unaware, you can read the Wikipedia for Charles T. Munger, otherwise probably best know as the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and partner of Warren Buffett. The book is meant to corral all the various sources of Munger teachings into a “unified theory” of investing. As is my practice, here are my favorite highlights of the book followed by a quick review. I will try to clearly separate what are Munger quotes and Griffin book excerpts.

First, some good sentences on why learning from reading is awesome (Griffin):

The point is not to treat anyone like a hero, but rather to consider whether Munger, like his idol Benjamin Franklin, may have qualities, attributes, systems, or approaches to life that we may want to emulate, even in part. This same process explains why Munger has read hundreds of biographies. Learning from the success and failure of others is the fastest way to get smarter and wiser without a lot of pain.

Munger on efficient markets:

I think it is roughly right that the market is efficient, which makes it very hard to beat merely by being an intelligent investor. But I don’t think it’s totally efficient at all. And the difference between being totally efficient and somewhat efficient leaves an enormous opportunity for people like us to get these unusual records. It’s efficient enough, so it’s hard to have a great investment record. But it’s by no means impossible. Nor is it something that only a very few people can do. The top three or four percent of the investment management world will do fine.

The book also serves as a good introduction to value investing based on Benjamin Graham’s teachings. Griffin emphasizes the fact that it is about patience and waiting around a mispriced asset to appear. It is not about forecasting the future. Griffin:

Successful Graham value investors spend most of their time reading and thinking, waiting for significant folly to inevitably raise its head. Although Graham value investors are bullish about the market in the long term, they do not making investing decisions based on short-term predictions about stocks or markets.

What kind of qualities does any person owning stocks need (even index funds)? Here’s what Munger said when once asked about how much he worried about a big drop in the value of Berkshire:

Zero. This is the third time Warren and I have seen our holdings in Berkshire Hathaway go down, top tick to bottom tick, by 50%. I think it’s in the nature of long term shareholding of the normal vicissitudes, of worldly outcomes, of markets that the long-term holder has his quoted value of his stocks go down by say 50%. In fact you can argue that if you’re not willing to react with equanimity to a market price decline of 50% two or three times a century you’re not fit to be a common shareholder and you deserve the mediocre result you’re going to get compared to the people who do have the temperament, who can be more philosophical about these market fluctuations.

Why professional money managers don’t make big alpha (Munger):

For most professional money managers, if you’ve got four children to put through college and you’re earning $400,000 or $1 million or whatever, the last thing in the world you would want to be worried about is having gumption. You care about survival, and the way you survive is just not doing anything that might make you stand out.

Munger has been talking about the link between behavioral psychology and investing before it was popularized by books and mainstream media. There are many sources of misjudgments, but I like that he covers many of the more subtle ones that I put under “help me live a good life” more than “help me make more money”. Take envy and jealousy (Munger):

The idea of caring that someone is making money faster [than you] is one of the deadly sins. Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There’s a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on the trolley?

On drug and alcohol addiction, this is Griffin writing about Munger:

His timeless advice is to avoid situations with a massive downside and a small upside (negative optionality). Why play dice with something that can ruin your life forever?

Commentary. This book was a solid, short introduction to the world of Charlie Munger from an investing point of view. It has a ton of Munger quotes, but Griffin also does a solid job weaving in quotes from other famous investors like Warren Buffett and Seth Klarman. If you are a fan of Warren Buffett, you will like this book.

Of course, what makes Munger special to me is that he talks about stuff beyond investing, like ethics and morality. For example, I liked that he points out the lifetime benefits of simply “being reliable”. So many workers are just not reliable. Therefore, for a more complete picture, I recommend reading Poor Charlie’s Almanack, which includes transcripts of all his talks, lectures, and public commentary. Reasons for why it is not more popular include the length (really long) and the cost ($50+). After reading and digesting it all, I feel it was fifty bucks well spent. However, if you choose to skip the Almanack, I’d say you’d get $15 of value out of this book.

Square IPO, Direct Deposit Loans, and Controlling Your Cashflow


As you've probably heard, the Square IPO was completed last week. For a while, I didn't understand how a company could have a $4 billion valuation when they basically offer a simplified merchant account. They let small businesses accept credit … [Read the rest]

Capital One 360 Savings Promo – Earn Up to a $500 Bonus

Capital One Bonus Banner

Up to $500 Promo is back until November 30th, 2015. Capital One 360 Savings has a limited-time sign-up bonus for up to $500 for new customers, tiered depending on your opening deposit. Here's a quick recap of the features of 360 Savings … [Read the rest]

OBi200 Adapter + Google Voice Installation Review + Current Deals


Updated, new limited-time Black Friday deals for under $30. Want the features of landline phone service at a drastically reduced price? How about under $50 upfront and then $0 a month? Perhaps you want to drop your landline bill, or you already … [Read the rest]

PSA: Beware When Shredding Your Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card


Every credit card is getting a smart chip these days, which means a lot of expired cards. My shredder is rated for 12 sheets of paper at a time, and up until recently handled every credit card, CD, and DVD sent its way. But not the Chase Sapphire … [Read the rest]

Verizon ThanksGetting Promotion: 2 GB Free Data For Existing Customers


Here's some free stuff for existing Verizon Wireless customers. Visit and Verizon will give you 1 GB of free data this billing cycle, and another 1 GB your next billing cycle. Starting on Wednesday 11/25, they'll start … [Read the rest]

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card New Bonus: 50,000 Points = $625 In Travel, Plus 5,000 Points For Authorized User


Updated with new offer, perk details. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a premium rewards credit card, now with an upped sign-up bonus to new cardholders that is the best publicly-available bonus in years. Bonus highlights: Earn 50,000 bonus … [Read the rest]

Plastiq: Pay Tuition, Rent, or Taxes With Credit Card at 1.5% Fee, Debit Card at 0% Fee


Updated, new promotion. lets you pay bills and invoices with a credit or debit card, even if they don't usually accept them. The standard service fee is 2.5% for credit cards and 0% for Visa and MasterCard debit cards. However, they … [Read the rest]

Straight Talk Promotion: Unlimited Monthly Plan Cards for $22.50 a Month


Straight Talk is a prepaid MVNO that offers the ability to buy SIM cards that you can pop into any AT&T-compatible, T-Mobile-compatible, or unlocked GSM phone. This includes many Samsung Galaxys and iPhones that you can buy refurbished or on the … [Read the rest]

Chase Freedom Review: $150 Sign-Up Bonus + 10% Cash Back at Amazon From 11/23 to 12/31

Chase Freedom Visa Banner

Updated. Sign-up bonus increased to $150. New 10% back at Amazon from 11/23 to 12/31/15. Registration required. The Chase Freedom® - $150 Bonus is a popular rewards credit card. What makes it unique is the combination having no … [Read the rest]

Realty Mogul Review: Fractional Investment Property Ownership, Hard Money Lending


Added bonus for new sign-ups. I've been a registered member of RealtyMogul for a while, and they recently emailed me that if I referred a friend, we'd both get a $150 Amazon gift card just for completing the registration process (i.e. zero … [Read the rest]