Five Months Of Consistent Failure Leading To Magic

Five Months Of Consistent Failure Leading To Magic

In my last post - 2016 Performance Review - Five Full Years Beating Buffett and Crushing The Market I talked about many great things that happened in 2016.

Today's post is the complete opposite...  It's about the five months of consistent failure I've endured since October 2016 and the magic this is now leading to.

I planned for this post to come out shortly after the last one.  But until now, I didn't have enough time to write it.  Or the better term is that I didn't make enough time to write it until now.

I've been busy building the Rivera Holdings investor base.  Busy looking for deals.  Busy building my real estate career.  Busy making connections.  And busy trying to make money.

But those are excuses.

If I really wanted to I could have made time to write this post.  The main reason I didn't is because it's about failure.

Failure is hard on the psyche.  Failure isn't fun.  Failure is hard to talk about.  And it's certainly not fun to write about.

Even when you're learning, improving, and growing as I did in 2016 and have continued doing in 2017, failure without much success - or perceived success - takes its toll.

I'm extremely hard on myself, have been ever since I was a kid, and likely always will be.  I'm always trying to improve, learn, and succeed in anything I do.  And no matter how much I do always think I can do more.

Because of this anytime I endure consistent failure, thoughts like the following begin to creep in and lead to even more doubt and frustration.

  • Should I keep going?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • Is this worth it?
  • When is this going to work out?
  • Will this ever work out?
  • When will I begin to succeed?
  • Will I ever succeed?
  • Should I do something else?

But because I've gone through this many times now I know this is the process I go through before figuring things out.

While writing How To Value Invest the following process occurred.

I spent a month or two in the "this is terrible" and "I'm terrible" phase while writing, editing, and getting the book ready for publishing.

The whole process from planning the book, to writing it, to publishing it took almost 10 months.  So this means I spent about 20% of the time while working it in the "This is terrible" and "I'm terrible" phases.

I don't remember what got me out of that mindset other than continuing to work and grind every day and then publishing the book.

Earlier, I went through this same process before knowing what it was while beginning to learn about value investing.  And I've gone through this process multiple since then when starting businesses, raising capital, and with various other ventures.

I'm talking about all this because from October 2016 until now in Spring 2017 most of what I've done has failed.

But through failure comes progress...

We'll talk about progress soon but let's finish talking about how much I've failed in the last five months.

The Failed Acquisition

In November 2016 I posted that Rivera Holdings was going after its first acquisition target.  The owner and I agreed to an $8 million purchase price for the business and the land.  And we agreed on a 60 day exclusivity period.

The land, property, and equipment by themselves were worth between $6 and $7 million and I valued the business - including operations, land, and equipment - at between $10 and $15 million.

The business produced excess cash flow.  Had long-term competitive advantages.  And with some cost cuts and expansion, I projected cash flow to almost double within the first two years we owned it.

We had the chance to buy a cash flow producing business with long-term sustainable competitive advantages at a cheap price, with a huge margin of safety, and good potential upside.

So what happened?

The short answer is I failed...

Not because I didn't put in the effort or time to query and pitch to investors.  But because I was a horrible sales person and didn't have the right connections.

I sent emails, called, Skyped, and talked in person with more than 2,054 people during our 60-day exclusive letter of intent before informing the owner I wasn't able to raise the capital to buy his business.

Out of the more than 2,054 people I was in contact with about acquiring the business I got no response from more than 90% of them.  Major failure.

The people who did respond to me were receptive and said I impressed them with my analysis and detailing of the business.  But I heard two things over and over about why they wouldn't invest.

The first was that I lacked experience running a multi-million dollar business like this.

And the second was that because they didn't know me on a deep personal level we didn't have enough trust built up between us for them to trust me with millions of dollars of capital.

I had an estimated 98% failure rate talking with people about becoming Rivera Holdings investors so we could buy this business.

But what did all this failure lead to?

It helped me realize I needed to work on several things to get to the level I want to be on.

The first thing I needed to fix was being a horrible sales person.  Because by not closing this great opportunity I failed myself, my investors, and these potential clients.

The second thing was that I needed to gain experience owning and running a business.  This is one of the reasons I got into real estate. I'll talk about the other reasons in a separate post.

And the third thing it helped me realize is that I needed to grow my network of connections.

This leads us to much more failure...

Much More Failure

After the acquisition failed, I stopped to think about what I needed to do going forward and where I needed to improve.

I talked about these above and then got to work again.

This now leads to major failures - yes multiple - every day.

A typical work day of mine now looks something like the following:

Call 10 to 20 people to talk with them about their home or property.  Either for Rivera Holdings to acquire for investment purposes, or for me to list for sale as a real estate agent.

On average I hear back from only one to two of these people.  Or about a 90% failure rate.

Email 20 to 30 people about the same as above.  Generally, I hear back from 1 to 3 of these people.  Or a 90%+ failure rate.

Go to any appointments I've set to either list a home for sale or look to buy it for Rivera Holdings.

Learn by listening to Audiobooks anytime I'm in my car... The only time of my day I'm not failing.

Send out information to potential investors every week on deals I'm looking at now or have looked at in the past.  There's a 99%+ failure rate here.

Do preliminary due diligence on 5 to 10 assets I'm considering investing in.  This includes looking at single family real estate, multifamily real estate, public companies stock, private businesses, etc.  After doing this I generally only consider one of them a good investment.  Or a 90% failure rate.

After doing more due diligence I generally will put one to two offers in on properties per day.  Or consider doing further due diligence on a public or private business. This is after looking at more than 100 potential assets.

So on average for every 100 assets I look to invest in, after doing due diligence I will only consider investing in at most two of them.  Or a failure rate north of 98%.

As of this writing, I've had zero of the 30+ offers I've submitted accepted.  Or a failure rate of 100%.

And I have a wife and two young daughters so I get told "no" and am failing on a constant basis at home :).

After reassessing what I needed to do after the failed acquisition I now fail every day on a massive scale.  Something I haven't done on this large of a scale since I began learning about value investing 10 years ago.

I now swim in failure.  But by doing this over the last five months or so something magical has begun happening.

The Magic Of Massive Failure

Image result for grant cardone on failure

For years I've known I needed to take more action every day.

That I've needed to call and email more people, meet more people in person, research more public and private businesses for investment, and recently to research more properties to invest in and talk to more people about helping them buy and sell their homes.

But this is hard because it involves a lot of failure and discomfort through things like cold calls or sending out mail or email advertisements.

After writing my article about positive obsession - 10 Tips To Becoming A World Class Investment Analyst - and then reading things like Be Obsessed Or Be Average and the 10X Rule both by Grant Cardone, I knew I needed to do even more to get to where I want to be.

Without failure there is no learning or improvement.  Without massive action you'll never reach your goals because you'll never be putting anything into practice and others who are doing more will leave you in their dust.

But by doing both of these things you'll kick learning and improvement into overdrive.  And this will get you towards your goals and dreams faster.

And we all want to succeed faster.

So where has all this massive action and failure over the last five months gotten me?

I outlined some of the great things that happened since putting in massive amounts of effort every day in the 2016 Performance Review post.  And I repost these below:

  • Started Rivera Holdings LLC.
  • Began raising capital.
  • Grew personal connections by an exponential amount due to capital raising efforts.
  • Grew from 320 subscribers between Value Investing Journey and Press On Research to now 455 total subscribers between those two services and now also the Rivera Holdings Mailing List.
  • Read between 50 and 75 books in 2016.
  • Grew from 720 followers on Twitter as of the beginning of 2016 to 1,008 now.
  • Grew from 790 connections on LinkedIn as of the beginning of 2016 to 896 now.
  • As mentioned above we continued helping Mhicaella and her family in the Philippines survive and thrive.
  • For the first time in three years expanded my circle of competence in terms of industries.  I now understand and feel comfortable evaluating three new industries - marinas, hotels, and multifamily real estate.
  • Also expanded knowledge and experience into the private equity/investment arena as well.

But the above aren't the only things that have begun happening since taking massive action and experiencing massive failure.  I've also...

  • Continued expanding my personal network and connections by an exponential amount.
  • Had lunch with, rode in cars with, talked in person with, and talked on the phone, through email, or through Skype with people who are worth more than $700 million combined in the last few months.  And who have access to more than $1 billion in capital.
  • Have even talked with a few about consulting with them on some projects.
  • Built up a huge deal flow.  After losing the original acquisition I had nothing else to attempt to acquire for a couple of months.  I'm now looking at and putting multiple offers in every day on assets.
  • Expanded my knowledge of sales and the sales process immensely.
  • Gotten Rivera Holdings on more than a dozen distribution lists for businesses, homes, investment properties, multi-family properties and more.  These give us access to deals before they hit public market sites like Loopnet.
  • Begun setting and going to more appointments with potential investors, home sellers, business partners, and business brokers.
  • And have hired two part-time independent contractors that I plan to hire full-time within the next month.

Not only am I doing all the above things, but because I'm acting in such a huge way I'm learning faster than I have at any time since first beginning to learn about investing almost a decade ago.

So is failure really failure if you're learning, improving, and getting closer to your goals?  Or is not trying failing?

Case in point - the picture below is from a post I wrote on Facebook in February.

The picture on the left is truly failure...  While I have always read and learned as much as possible it doesn't matter if you never put anything into action.

March was almost completely filled up.  And April will be even more productive than March.

So am I failing?  Or am I gaining the wisdom, knowledge, experience, and connections required get to where I want to take Rivera Holdings?

And if you aren't even trying to achieve your goals and dreams, or you're thinking about giving up... Read this -  If Charlie Munger Didn’t Quit When He Was Divorced, Broke, and Burying His 9-Year-Old Son, You Have No Excuse.

Let me know some of your personal failures and how this has or will lead to your success in the future in the comments below.

Book Giveaway – Giving Away Another $100 Of Books For Free

Book Giveaway - Giving Away Another $100 Of Books For Free

When I started learning about value investing I had no one to turn to for help or guidance except the infinite internet.  I sifted through thousands of articles, websites, books, videos, and other etc. information to get to where I am today.

Now that I have a solid knowledge base built I'm helping other value investors so they don't have to struggle as much as I did when starting.

One of the ways I help is by giving away valuable books free to subscribers.  And I detail these book worth more than $100 below.

I'm a huge believe in Charlie Munger's Mental Models and Worldy Wisdom philosophies that the more we read the more we can know.  And the more we know the closer we are to reaching our goals, making a ton of money, and changing the world.

These books represent knowledge, power, goal and wealth attainment, and much more.  True knowledge is one of the most powerful forces in the world.  But few hold this power...

My goal is to help spread this power to as many as possible.  And next week a lucky subscriber is getting a step closer to their goals by winning the following 10 books valued at more than $100.

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Now on the Recommended Reading and Viewing Page in the Financial History/Regular History section.  I'd give it a 4/5.

This book offered some new things - especially when it came to some of the back room diplomacy Franklin was involved in - that were interesting but not enough to make it a great read.  If I hadn't studied this time period and Franklin so much this would have gotten a higher rating from me.

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon

I've not read this book yet.  It's been in my ever-growing to read pile for a while now though as I've heard nothing but great things about the book.

When I came across a cheap copy of the hardcover I had to buy it to give away.

Below is the description of the book from Amazon.

The New York Times's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist reveals how the financial meltdown emerged from the toxic interplay of Washington, Wall Street, and corrupt mortgage lenders.

In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson, the star business columnist of The New York Times, exposes how the watchdogs who were supposed to protect the country from financial harm were actually complicit in the actions that finally blew up the American economy.

Drawing on previously untapped sources and building on original research from coauthor Joshua Rosner—who himself raised early warnings with the public and investors, and kept detailed records—Morgenson connects the dots that led to this fiasco.

Morgenson and Rosner draw back the curtain on Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance giant that grew, with the support of the Clinton administration, through the 1990s, becoming a major opponent of government oversight even as it was benefiting from public subsidies. They expose the role played not only by Fannie Mae executives but also by enablers at Countrywide Financial, Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, HUD, Congress, the FDIC, and the biggest players on Wall Street, to show how greed, aggression, and fear led countless officials to ignore warning signs of an imminent disaster.

Character-rich and definitive in its analysis, this is the one account of the financial crisis you must read.

Profit from the Core: A Return to Growth in Turbulent Times

A great book that talks about competitive advantages.  How to gain them, how to cultivate them, and how not to lose focus on growing them.  This book is on the Recommended Reading and Viewing page in the Competitive Advantage/Competitive Strategy section.  I'd give the book a 5/5.

Messi

This is a great book even if you're not a soccer or Lionel Messi fan.  The lessons I took from this book were what it takes to become great.  What it takes to stay great.  And the trials you'll face on your way to greatness.

Now on the Recommended Reading and Viewing page designated as a MUST READ!!! in the Learning/Self-Improvement/Productivity section.  I'd give the book a 5/5.

The Black Swan

I've not read this book yet either like some mentioned here.  But I came across a copy of the paperback and had to get it to give away.  Heard nothing but great things about this book as well.

Below is the description of the book from Amazon.

A black swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences.

In this groundbreaking and prophetic book, Taleb shows in a playful way that Black Swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we—especially the experts—are blind to them. In this second edition, Taleb has added a new essay, On Robustness and Fragility, which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.

Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

Another great book talking about competitive strategy and competitive advantages.  This book is in the Recommended Reading and Viewing page marked as a MUST READ!!! in the Competitive Advantage/Competitive Strategy section.

The first 1/4 of this book is bland generalities and theory about strategy.  But the last 3/4 of the book are great once it gets to the real world and business case studies.

I give the book a 5/5.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

I've not read this book yet either like some mentioned here.  But I came across a copy of the paperback and had to get it to give away.  Heard nothing but great things about this book as well.

Below is the description of the book from Amazon.

Winner of the Lincoln Prize

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.

Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.

It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war.

We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through.

This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.

Only The Paranoid Survive

This book is on the Recommended Reading and Viewing page in the Competitive Advantage/Competitive Strategy section.  I give the book a 4/5.

Below is a mini review I wrote of this book in January 2014.

I read Only The Paranoid Survive after it was recommended by Charlie Munger in Poor Charlie's Almanack and I am glad that I did.

This book is mainly about the decisions Mr. Grove (Former COO, CEO, and chairman of Intel) made, and helped make, to completely reform Intel from a memory company that was suffering a slow death against Japanese competitors to helping it become the worlds biggest semiconductor company.

He walks you step by step on how and why the decisions were made within Intel which in and of itself is fascinating to me.  He also goes through some case studies on decisions that other companies made (and still make) that lead to companies losing market share or possibly even dying altogether.

The case studies and examples specifically from Intel do a great job of showing you examples of how you can spot these trends or potential trends in companies that you are managing or looking to invest in.

Is it as good as Competition Demystified?  In my opinion no, but it is not specifically a book about strategy like CD is.  It is one mans advice, stories, and case studies about decisions he made and helped make that helped start to turn Intel into the powerhouse it is today.  Along with Mr. Munger, I also highly recommend reading this book.

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

I've not read this book yet either like some mentioned here.  But I came across a copy of the paperback and had to get it to give away.  Heard nothing but great things about this book as well.

Below is the description of the book from Amazon.

Would you be surprised that road rage can be good for society? Or that most crashes happen on sunny, dry days? That our minds can trick us into thinking the next lane is moving faster? Or that you can gauge a nation’s driving behavior by its levels of corruption? These are only a few of the remarkable dynamics that Tom Vanderbilt explores in this fascinating tour through the mysteries of the road.

Based on exhaustive research and interviews with driving experts and traffic officials around the globe,Traffic gets under the hood of the everyday activity of driving to uncover the surprisingly complex web of physical, psychological, and technical factors that explain how traffic works, why we drive the way we do, and what our driving says about us.  Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we think we are. He demonstrates why plans to protect pedestrians from cars often lead to more accidents. He shows how roundabouts, which can feel dangerous and chaotic, actually make roads safer—and reduce traffic in the bargain. He uncovers who is more likely to honk at whom, and why. He explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our quest for safety, and even identifies the most common mistake drivers make in parking lots.

The car has long been a central part of American life; whether we see it as a symbol of freedom or a symptom of sprawl, we define ourselves by what and how we drive. As Vanderbilt shows, driving is a provocatively revealing prism for examining how our minds work and the ways in which we interact with one another. Ultimately, Traffic is about more than driving: it’s about human nature. This book will change the way we see ourselves and the world around us. And who knows? It may even make us better drivers.

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More

This book is on the Recommended Reading and Viewing page in the Competitive Advantage/Competitive Strategy section.  I give the book a 4.5/5.

I read this book so long ago that I don't remember a lot of the specifics about it.  But the lessons I do remember - the powerful economics of the long tail as one example - stick with me to this day years later.  It's a powerful book that I recommend.

Since its been so long since I read the book I'll let the Amazon description tell you more about it.

What happens when the bottlenecks that stand between supply and demand in our culture go away and everything becomes available to everyone?

"The Long Tail" is a powerful new force in our economy: the rise of the niche. As the cost of reaching consumers drops dramatically, our markets are shifting from a one-size-fits-all model of mass appeal to one of unlimited variety for unique tastes. From supermarket shelves to advertising agencies, the ability to offer vast choice is changing everything, and causing us to rethink where our markets lie and how to get to them. Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it, from DVDs at Netflix to songs on iTunes to advertising on Google.

However, this is not just a virtue of online marketplaces; it is an example of an entirely new economic model for business, one that is just beginning to show its power. After a century of obsessing over the few products at the head of the demand curve, the new economics of distribution allow us to turn our focus to the many more products in the tail, which collectively can create a new market as big as the one we already know.

The Long Tail is really about the economics of abundance. New efficiencies in distribution, manufacturing, and marketing are essentially resetting the definition of what's commercially viable across the board. If the 20th century was about hits, the 21st will be equally about niches.

A lucky subscriber will win these 10 books - valued at more than $100 - free next week.  And I will even ship the books at my cost to anyone anywhere in the world.

All you have to do to have a chance to win is subscribe to Value Investing Journey for free.  Or be a Press On Research paid subscriber.  And this isn't all you'll get when you subscribe either.

You also gain access to three gifts.  And a 50% discount on a year-long Press On Research subscription.  Where my exclusive stock picks are evaluated and have crushed the market over the last four years.

And you can subscribe to Press On Research for only $49 if you're a free Value Investing Journey subscriber.

If you have further questions about Press On Research go to its FAQ linked in this sentence or email me at jasonrivera@valueinvestingjourney.com

***

My new investment holding company Rivera Holdings is now open to investors.  There is no minimum required investment.  And you DO NOT have to be an accredited investor to invest.

For more information please go to the Rivera Holdings link above or email me at JasonRivera@valueinvestingjourney.com.

What I Do To Fight Depression

What I Do To Fight Depression

I talk about my past experiences to try to help anyone I can in whatever situation they may be dealing with.  I'm an open book and always have been.  If you ask me a question I'll do my best to answer it if I know the answers or can just share personal experiences.

I share the good and the bad because no matter what you read from others.  And no matter how good appearances are.  Everyone goes through rough times.

On this blog I've shared my failures and triumphs when it comes to investing.  Some issues both health and personal in my private life.  And have a series called Famous Failures detailing now hugely successful people and some of their failures, problems, and haters they had to deal with on the way to success.

The hope being with all this like everything else on this "investment" blog is to help people.

One of the things I've talked about here besides value investing and finance that strikes a chord with readers is how I've dealt with my depression.

Even in the developed world mental health issues are still a huge taboo due to fear, embarrassment, masculinity, arrogance, shame, and other emotional responses.

But this is nothing to be ashamed of...

According to research about 20 percent of people in the United States deal with a mental illness in any given year.  Classified as minor anxiety and going all the way up to schizophrenia.

This site breaks down those numbers even further to specific illnesses.  And this three page PDF talks about some of the demographics and economics of mental illness.

Today I want to shed some more light on this topic...

Below is an unedited email I sent to a reader/emailer who asked how I've dealt with depression.  How I continue to battle it when it crops up.  And some of the things I do to keep myself out of that state.

I was going to keep this private but with the blessing of the emailer I've decided to make this public.  I'm doing this because in the last several weeks a person I went to high school with committed suicide after silently dealing with depression.

Like in many cases everyone I've talked with said they had no idea he was dealing with anything.

I hope by releasing this someone who may be dealing with similar issues may find some answers.

The person who emailed me asked specifically about habits I used to get and keep myself out of a depressive state.

I also want to preface the following advice by stating that I'm obviously not a medical expert in any fashion.

I'm only stating what worked for me in the hope of helping others.  If you are seriously depressed please talk with a professional or someone you trust to start getting help.

***

Hey (NAME REMOVED),

Thanks for reaching out.  And hope you're doing well.

The problem with recommending specific habits is that changing any habit - either good or bad - takes time.  Hard work.  And dedication.  Only you can know what your true passions and goals are.

The best thing specifically I recommend for you is to read the books The Power of Habit.  Willpower: Rediscovering The Greatest Human Strength.  Choose Yourself.  Mindset.  And The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science.  Also my blog posts "You Can Do Anything You Put Your Mind To."  And 17 Things That Changed My Life - which it looks like you've already read.  These will help you learn for yourself what may help you when you need it.

Outside of that I can recommend some more general things that helped me fight through depression.

  1. Find someone you trust absolutely that you can talk to when you need to.

I'm close to all my family but didn't want to burden them with how I was feeling.  And didn't want to be embarrassed if I told them what I was thinking about and dealing with.  If I didn't have someone I could have talked to - my wife - I don't know what I would have done.

      2. Read as much as possible about things that interest you.

I'm interested in a variety of things now so this is easy.  But growing up I never read and I hated it.  I've learned more in the past 5 years about things I'm interested in - including how to make myself get out of a depressive state when I'm falling back into one - than I have in my previous 20+ years of life.

This is a dual goal as well...  At least for me the more I learn the happier it makes me because I love learning and am curious about everything.  Not sure if this will work for you or not.  But if you're like it me its crazy how much learning helped me.

     3.  This may be the most important thing - Find something you're deeply passionate about and pursue it.

When I was at my worst health and depression wise it was when I felt worthless to everyone and everything.  Finding some passions and feeling like I was useful to others helped me out of that state more than anything.  For me it was learning, value investing, and helping others.  I've added saltwater fishing to that list now that I've moved to Florida and I'll talk more about this next.  Again, these helped me more than anything else.

     4.  Find something that helps you think and relax.

I'm a workaholic, especially now that for the most part my dizziness is gone and I can do more things.  I also have two young daughters I have to take care of and a wife that I'm always trying to make money to contribute towards supporting our family.

To this day I have to force myself to stop worrying about what I'm going to work on next.  What needs to get done now.  How many hours did I work today. And what I "should" be doing instead of taking some time for myself.

***

MY UPDATED NOTE HERE: This is all pressure I put on myself...  No one else says I need to be doing anything.  Even as a kid I can remember always being like this and pushing myself as much as possible.  Many times in the past to the detriment to my physical and mental well-being.

Yes, I know this isn't the healthiest way to live.  And it's still something I have to work on every day.  But I want to work, learn, and improve as much as possible to help build a better life for my family and others I'm helping.

To me if I'm not doing this I'm failing not only myself but others.

Now let's get back to the unedited email I sent to the reader.

***

Until I got down to Florida and started saltwater fishing nothing I did would get me out of the above mindset.  But when I'm in or on the water casting, retying line and lure, baiting up my hooks, and trying to catch fish I don't think about anything else for the few hours I'm out there each week instead of what I'm trying to do at the time.

Ever since I can remember I've had horrible insomnia... Some days it takes me three, four, even five plus hours to fall asleep.  But now that I've started going fishing more I've also slept better at nights after letting my mind rest for a few hours each week while on the water. This all has helped my mental and physical health.

Try to find your version of fishing that will help you relax and take your mind off other things.  Something you can do by yourself or with a few close friends. Even if its only for a few hours a week.  This short amount of time has helped me a lot already.

I hope this helps.  And I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

***

Please let me know your thoughts on this in the comments below.  If it helped you in any way.  And please let me know if you have any tips you personally use to put yourself in a better mood.

If you know someone this article may help please pass it along to them.  You never know whose life you may change today with one of your actions so be as helpful as you can to everyone.

Giving Away $300 Worth Of Books Next Week

Giving Away $300 Worth Of Books Next Week

It's been a while since I've updated this... September 22nd 2015 to be exact or almost five months ago as of this writing.

Between the move from South Dakota to Tampa Florida.  Getting behind on work.  And then catching up on everything - finally - I'm reading again more.  And remembered I was giving away books to subscribers last year.

To say sorry for this delay I'm giving away $300 of books next week.  Even if we're not at 500 total subscribers between Press On Research and Value Investing Journey combined.

This was the original cut off to give away more books but I feel bad for neglecting the giving away of valuable knowledge for so many months.

What do you have to do to have a chance to win these books?

If you're already subscribed to either of the above services you don't have to do anything.  But if you're not subscribed to either you'll need to by March 25th to be entered to win.

And if you're chosen as the winner you'll get the books for free.

I will mail all the books to you at my cost.  All you have to do is supply me your name and address and you'll get all the books for free.

But this still isn't all...

When we left off last September there were 14 books worth more than $250 dollars in the prize pool already.  These books are below.

If you want my reviews and thoughts on the books go to these links as well.

Since then I've found/read another six great books to giveaway bringing the total prize pool over $300.  The new books are below.

Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw

I've not read this book yet.  It's been in my ever growing to read pile for a while now though as I've heard nothing but great things about the book.

But I came across a cheap copy of the hardcover and had to buy it to give away.

Below is the description of the book from Amazon.

Celebrated historian David Nasaw, whom "The New York Times Book Review" has called "a meticulous researcher and a cool analyst", brings new life to the story of one of America's most famous and successful businessmen and philanthropists - in what will prove to be the biography of the season.

Born of modest origins in Scotland in 1835, Andrew Carnegie is best known as the founder of Carnegie Steel. His rags to riches story has never been told as dramatically and vividly as in Nasaw's new biography.

Carnegie, the son of an impoverished linen weaver, moved to Pittsburgh at the age of thirteen. The embodiment of the American dream, he pulled himself up from bobbin boy in a cotton factory to become the richest man in the world. He spent the rest of his life giving away the fortune he had accumulated and crusading for international peace.

For all that he accomplished and came to represent to the American public - a wildly successful businessman and capitalist, a self-educated writer, peace activist, philanthropist, man of letters, lover of culture, and unabashed enthusiast for American democracy and capitalism - Carnegie has remained, to this day, an enigma.

Nasaw explains how Carnegie made his early fortune and what prompted him to give it all away, how he was drawn into the campaign first against American involvement in the Spanish-American War and then for international peace, and how he used his friendships with presidents and prime ministers to try to pull the world back from the brink of disaster.

With a trove of new material - unpublished chapters of Carnegie's Autobiography; personal letters between Carnegie and his future wife, Louise, and other family members; his prenuptial agreement; diaries of family and close friends; his applications for citizenship; his extensive correspondence with Henry Clay Frick; and, dozens of private letters to and from presidents Grant, Cleveland, McKinley, Roosevelt, and British prime ministers Gladstone and Balfour, as well as friends Herbert Spencer, Matthew Arnold, and Mark Twain - Nasaw brilliantly plumbs the core of this fascinating and complex man, deftly placing his life in cultural and political context as only a master storyteller can.

Playing For Keeps

Michael Jordan and the World He Made

This is a fantastic book detailing the rise of Michael Jordan from being cut by his high school basketball team.  To becoming the greatest basketball player ever.

The book also details a lot of the behind the scenes stories of how he negotiated his contracts and endorsement deals.  The infighting that led to the dismantling of one of the best NBA teams ever.  His decision to retire from basketball to play baseball after his father's death and much more.

While none of this book is directly related to investing many of the lessons on Michael Jordan's drive, determination to be the best, persistence, and passion are things we all need to learn from as we aspire and work toward our greatness.

And as you know I've written a lot about failure and greatness here.

I give this book a 5/5.

Diplomacy By Henry Kissinger

I've not read this book yet either.  But as with Andrew Carnegie above came across a copy of the hardcover and had to buy it to give away as I've heard it's great.

Below is the description of the book from Amazon.

A brilliant, sweeping history of diplomacy that includes personal stories from the noted former Secretary of State, including his stunning reopening of relations with China.

The seminal work on foreign policy and the art of diplomacy.

Moving from a sweeping overview of history to blow-by-blow accounts of his negotiations with world leaders, Henry Kissinger describes how the art of diplomacy has created the world in which we live, and how America’s approach to foreign affairs has always differed vastly from that of other nations.

Brilliant, controversial, and profoundly incisive, Diplomacy stands as the culmination of a lifetime of diplomatic service and scholarship. It is vital reading for anyone concerned with the forces that have shaped our world today and will impact upon it tomorrow.

The Partnership

The Making of Goldman Sachs Updated and Revised Edition

This is an amazingly in-depth look at the rise of Goldman Sachs.

It details many of the most important decisions made - and the process behind those decisions - that led Goldman Sachs from a small shop to becoming the world power it is in finance.

It talks about many of the most important people throughout Goldman's history.  And it's failures and triumphs.  This is one of the best company history books I've ever read.

I give this book a 5/5 and have added it to the Recommended Reading and Viewing page as a MUST READ!!!

The Black Swan

I've not read this book yet either yet like the couple mentioned above.  But I came across a copy of the paperback and had to get it to give away.  Heard nothing but great things about this book as well.

Below is the description of the book from Amazon.

A black swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences.

In this groundbreaking and prophetic book, Taleb shows in a playful way that Black Swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we—especially the experts—are blind to them. In this second edition, Taleb has added a new essay, On Robustness and Fragility, which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.

The Art Of Profitability

I've not read this book yet either yet like the ones above.  But I came across a hardcover copy and had to get it to give away.  Heard nothing but great things about this book as well.

Below is the description of the book from Amazon.

Presented in 23 compact lessons, THE ART OF PROFITABILITY features an ongoing tutorial between two fictitious individuals: the old and wise teacher, David Shao, the business master, and his pupil, Steve Gardner, a young and ambitious manager.

Along the way, Zhao goes through a number of business models and pushes his student to examine how a variety of businesses go about making money. Through Zhao's teachings, Steve begins to see how profits can be improved simply by taking a step back and gaining a new perspective.

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There are now more than $300 worth of book up for grabs and all you have to do to get a chance to win them all is subscribe to either Value Investing Journey for free.  Or subscribe to Press On Research.

Doing either of the above will enter you to win the above prizes but you'll also get a lot more.

Remember if you want access to my exclusive notes, preliminary analysis, and access to all posts as they come out you need to subscribe for free to Value Investing Journey.  And this isn't all you'll get when you subscribe either.

You also gain access to three gifts.  And a 50% discount on a year-long Press On Research subscription.  Where my exclusive stock picks are evaluated and have crushed the market over the last four years.

And you can subscribe to Press On Research for only $49 if you're a free Value Investing Journey subscriber.

If you have further questions about Press On Research go to its FAQ linked in this sentence.  Or email me at jasonrivera@valueinvestingjourney.com

10 Tips To Becoming A World Class Investment Analyst

10 Tips To Becoming A World Class Investment Analyst

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This post is written in conjunction with Quandl as part of a series on how to become great investment analysts.

Quandl provides access to data and information useful to us as investment analysts.  So if you’re looking for specific data to make your analysis pop make sure to check out their site linked above.

***

Are you sure you want to be great?

No one admits they’re fine being average.  But our actions show otherwise.

Most of us would rather watch TV or random YouTube cat videos instead of working on improving and learning the skills necessary to improve and reach our goals.

The ones who do work towards greatness are often labeled antisocial hermits for not hanging out with friends and partying more…  Especially when young.

This social stigma keeps many of us from doing what we really want to do…

If you want to achieve greatness you must do things different than everyone.

If you want to improve fast you must endure short-term pain.  And sometimes ridicule from peers when you’re not doing what they expect you do to.

If you’re willing to do the work necessary to become a world class investment analyst below are the top ten things you have to do every day.

  1. Be Patient

Are you fine searching through thousands of companies only to invest in a few of them?  Are you fine going months or years without buying a new investment?

If you answer no to either you won’t be a great analyst.

I invest in less than 1 out of every 500 companies I research.  You need to have extreme patience and enjoy the hunt of buried treasure as much as actually finding it.

  1. You need to be an autodidact

Do you rely only on your degrees and certifications to get you by? Do you seek out new and sometimes contradictory information to continue to learn and improve processes?

To be a world class investment analyst you have to love learning, reading, and gaining knowledge on your own.

Degrees and certifications have nothing to do with how great of an investment analyst you are or can become.

If you’re not willing to read and continue learning you won’t become a world class investment analyst.  Because people like me who constantly read, learn, and work to improve will always be ahead of you.

  1. You must have strict and disciplined processes

If you can’t make unemotional decisions based on how your analysis plays out you won’t be great.

You can’t rely on preconceived notions, hearsay, emotion, or what Mr. Market’s doing.  Let your analysis take you where it does.

If you spend 100+ hours researching a company only to find at the end it’s not one you want to invest in don’t invest in it.

Just because you spend a lot of time evaluating a company doesn’t mean you need to invest in it.

If you have strict processes and have the discipline to stick to these processes you’ll invest in a fraction of the companies you research as mentioned above.

Don’t be average be great.  Again, this requires you do things different than everyone else.  Be selective in your investments to produce greater returns.

  1. Practice everything you learn as you learn it

When I started investing I would read everything but not practice anything I learned.  This led to years of wasted time as I had to go back and relearn things as I came across them and needed to know what they meant.

Don’t do this.

And when I say practice I don’t mean the normal practice most people do.  I mean deliberate practice.

  1. You need the fundamentals down pat

If you can’t explain what free cash flow, operating margin, and return on invested capital mean in terms a 6th grader can understand you don’t understand it well enough yourself.

You need to understand the basics better than other analysts to have an advantage over them.

  1. Be selfish with your time

If you’re friends are doing something you don’t want to do don’t do it.

This sounds easy but it’s not…  Remember the social stigma I talked about above?

If you want to improve fast be selfish with your time and find any spaces of time you have to learn.

As an example if your significant other’s taking forever getting ready to go out, instead of getting mad and anxious about them wasting your time read something.  Even if it’s only for five minutes.

The more you learn the faster you’ll improve.  Knowledge like money compounds over time.

Note on above quote: Most people – including me – can’t reach the 500 pages every day goal because of kids, significant others, family, work, relaxing so you don’t burn out, and life.  But it’s a goal to reach towards.

Read as much as you can every day.

  1. Don’t get complacent

There’s always more to learn.  Always an investment or thought process you can improve.  There are always more companies to look through.  Etc.

"The thing that amazes me about him {Nick Saban} is that he doesn't let up," says retired Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. "People start winning, they slack off. But he just keeps jumping on 'complacency, complacency, complacency.' Most coaches don't think like that."

To learn more about what it takes to be great read my post: Greatness According to Nick Saban.

  1. You need confidence in your abilities

“You need to balance arrogance and humility…when you buy anything, it’s an arrogant act. You are saying the markets are gyrating and somebody wants to sell this to me and I know more than everybody else so I am going to stand here and buy it. I am going to pay an 1/8th more than the next guy wants to pay and buy it. That’s arrogant. And you need the humility to say ‘but I might be wrong.’ And you have to do that on everything.” Seth Klarman

This doesn’t mean being overconfident.

You need to be humble enough to spot and fix any mistakes you make in your analysis that may only come out after you invest in or recommend something.

But if you’re not confident in yourself and judgments you make why should anyone else be?

  1. You can’t be afraid of mistakes.

No matter how great of an investment analyst you are you’re still going to make mistakes.  Investing isn’t something anyone can perfect.  Even Buffett, Munger, Klarman, and the other greats in our business make mistakes.

As investment analysts were doing great things if we’re right four to six times out of 10.  No one is right 10 out of 10 times in this business.  Leave your perfectionism at the door.

You need to be comfortable making mistakes.  And be humble enough to learn from them so you don’t repeat them going forward…  Hopefully.

If you’re stubborn like I am this may be a hard learned long-term lesson you need to work correcting every day.

  1. Be obsessive.

No one starts life as a great investor or thinker.  You need to train yourself to become great.  And the faster you learn the faster you’ll become great.

If you’re obsessive about learning the craft of becoming a world class investment analyst nothing can stop you.

High IQ isn’t necessary in this field.  It will be a hindrance if high IQ comes with overconfidence and not being humble.  So the only thing stopping you from becoming a great analyst is the amount of time you’re willing to put in.

Note the reading of 500 pages quote from Buffett above.

Are you obsessive enough about investing and analyzing businesses to work towards that goal?

Do you love learning, reading, and constant improvement enough in this field to continue to work even on days you don’t want to?

Bonus – Write your analysis down and let others critique your work.

Most of us hate being critiqued.  When we put dozen, hundreds, or thousands of hours into something over days, weeks, or years it’s natural that we don’t want people to point out the flaws in what we’re doing.

Fight this urge…

If you want to become great write your investment analysis down and have others critique it.  A great way to do this is to start a blog.

When I started my blog Value Investing Journey and began getting feedback my improvement as an analyst jumped into hyper speed.

I went from this “analysis” when I started the blog less than four years ago to being told a version of the following on a regular basis:

"If I were to go to anyone else in the entire company to get a second opinion valuing and analyzing an investment... I would go to you first."

The above quote is what a former colleague told me upon leaving my job.

The company had around 50 employees.  And every other analyst had an MBA.  Decades of experience investing.  And ran or helped run billions of dollars at various hedge funds and firms before joining the investment newsletter we worked for.

I get told a version of the above on a regular basis but I’m not telling you this to brag.

I’m telling you this because if I can achieve this without any formal education and severe health issues while beginning my investment journey imagine what you can achieve with your formal training, degrees, mentors, and certifications.

If you don’t already have a or want to start a blog post articles on places like Seeking Alpha and Guru Focus to get feedback.

If you take this route beware of haters making personal attacks though.  Ignore these people and pay attention to the constructive feedback.

Conclusion

If you paid attention above you’ll notice many of the above tips go together.  And a lot of it revolves around how you choose to spend your time.

The choice is now yours… Are you willing to put in the time to become great?  Or are you fine being average and producing average returns and recommendations?

Time is the only thing keeping you from becoming a world class investment analyst.

So what are you going to do next?

 

Greatness According To Nick Saban

Greatness According To Nick Saban

If you're a sports fan you know with the dawn of free agency and rise of player movement in the last two decades it's become almost impossible to win championships on a consistent basis.

Before the 1980's in the US sports dynasties were normal.  They could do this because player movement was restricted.

This kept player salaries down and meant that the best teams had huge competitive advantages over poor teams.  If you're all getting paid about the same doesn't it make sense to stay with a great team instead of going to a bad one?

This changed in the US in the 1980's though...

Free agency, drafts, and salary caps became the norm.  Poor teams could now pay huge amounts to star players to lure them away from championship teams.  Drafting players became more important as they're generally cheaper than star players.  And salary caps in professional football and basketball meant talent was spread around the league instead of concentrated on a handful of teams.

This all led to higher salaries for great - and sometimes even average - players.  More player movement.  And fewer super teams and dynasties forming as talent spread around.

Now most teams in all sports around the world go through periods of relative success followed by failure until the cycle repeats and the team goes on an up - or down - swing again.

Few teams win championships.  And even fewer win them on a consistent basis.  The ones that do should be studied.

Unlike most people in America who root for the underdogs in big games and playoffs, if my favorite team isn't involved I always root for greatness to beat the underdog.

I want to watch the best of the best play for and win championships.  I don't like watching inferior teams beat better ones with a "lucky bounce" or fortunate call by referees.

I love when skill, hard work, perseverance, drive, and passion trumps luck.  So when I see greatness I try to study it.  And I thought this would be a great topic to post about since all of us here are trying to reach greatness.

This post is the first in a planned three post arc focusing on great teams from the world of sports.  In these posts I'll focus on the head coaches, star players, and team structures over the long-term.  The hope is we all can learn something about what it takes to become - and stay - great at what we do.

If these posts are popular I'll turn it into a regular series.

Today's Part 1 is about head coach five time football champion head coach Nick Saban now of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.

Saban's led the Crimson Tide to championships in four out of the last seven years.  Only the second team since 1936 to do this.  Saban's other title was when he coached at LSU.

Below is a profile of this championship coach with linked articles detailing his processes.

Nick Saban

Excerpts below are from linked articles.  Bolded emphasis is mine.  My notes are the non quoted lines.

The following is from: The Lesson From Nick Saban's Championship Reign is to stop trying to copy Nick Saban.

Success breeds imitation in every industry. In football, when a coach figures out something, hoards of administrators notice.  Offenses come up with something new, defenses adjust, offenses adjust to the adjustment, etc.

With Saban, however, teams have attempted to copy without figuring out what they should be copying. They hire his assistants, hoping his influence rubs off. Sometimes it does. Former Alabama DBs coach Jeremy Pruitt became Florida State's defensive coordinator in 2013 and helped to boost the Seminoles to the national title under head coach and fellow former Saban assistant Jimbo Fisher. Often, it doesn't. Former defensive coordinator Will Muschamp took the Florida head coaching job three years after a Gator national title and won more than seven games just once.

To imitators, Saban's Process™ seems to consist of strong defense and occasional offense. Because he is a former defensive coordinator himself, that is the product. But that isn't the Process. The Process is the path, not the style.

Love this saying.

To truly imitate Saban, you look first for someone who runs the most organized, effective recruiting operation on the planet...

The following list is from the article talking about how Saban approaches everything.

You must develop.

Saban pushes a lot of kids out the door. If you do not fill a depth chart spot or fill a niche, odds are pretty good that you will be transferring. But many are willing to wait a couple of years for serious playing time because they know they'll develop.

What is your niche?  What is your competitive advantage?  Are you willing to put in the time to improve?

You must deploy your talented, well-developed players appropriately.

You don't have to take many strategic risks when you've got a talent advantage in every game, but you need to make sure that these players belong to a system is built to defeat the opponents you will play on a yearly basis. And if your offense or defense gets a little staid, you must be willing to make changes.

If you're in a leadership position are you putting your "players" into the proper positions to succeed?  If so are they the right people for your system?

You must be impossibly organized.

A place for everything, everything in its place.

Love this saying as well.

If, despite all that, you find yourself in a dogfight for the national title, you must have the guts to call for a surprise onside kick by Griffith with 10 minutes left in a tied game.

If you read the article you'll know this play wasn't a fluke.  Saban and the coaching staff knew from watching film to look for this tendency during the game.  And since they saw Clemson doing the same thing over and over on kick returns they knew this onside kick would work if executed properly.

The teams that find a way past Alabama do it by following a path that isn't Alabama's.

Strive for greatness but don't emulate something that doesn't adhere to your philosophy and principles.  Create your own path for greatness.

This sport requires you to learn the right lessons when you fail, lest you be doomed to fail even more. Those who attempt to imitate Saban have already failed. There is only one Nick Saban.

There's also only one Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Seth Klarman, etc in our business.  Strive for greatness by taking knowledge from the greats.  But don't try to emulate them exactly.  Create your own path for greatness.

The following is from Nick Saban: Sympathy For The Devil.  This is an older article... He's now won five total national titles.  And four of the last seven.

Saban's pathological drive helps explain why he's both one of the most successful coaches in American sports and, simultaneously, one of the most polarizing. He has now won four national championships—one at LSU and three over the past four years at Alabama, a coaching run unmatched in college football in more than half a century—

"The thing that amazes me about him is that he doesn't let up," says retired Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. "People start winning, they slack off. But he just keeps jumping on 'complacency, complacency, complacency.' Most coaches don't think like that."

Are you grounded enough to continue to work towards greatness after success?

Most big-time head coaches leave camp duty to assistants—the daylong photo session with every last camper is considered enough—but in Saban's mind that wouldn't be right. He has a saying: Right is never wrong. It means, in essence, there is only one way to do things: the correct way. A Nick Saban Football Camp without a great deal of Nick Saban would be something short of entirely right and is therefore, to Saban, unthinkable.

Love this saying and mindset.

Saban's guiding vision is something he calls "the process," a philosophy that emphasizes preparation and hard work over consideration of outcomes or results. Barrett Jones, an offensive lineman on all three of Saban's national championship teams at Alabama and now a rookie with the St. Louis Rams, explains the process this way: "It's not what you do, it's how you do it."

Taken to an extreme—which is where Saban takes it—the process has evolved into an exhausting quest to improve, to attain the ideal of "right is never wrong." At Alabama, Saban obsesses over every aspect of preparation, from how the players dress at practice—no hats, earrings, or tank tops are allowed in the football facility—to how they hold their upper bodies when they run sprints. "When you're running and you're exhausted you really want to bend over," Jones says. "They won't let you. 'You must resist the human need to bend over!'"

"He pretty much tells everybody what our philosophy is, but not everyone has the discipline to actually live out that philosophy," Jones says. "The secret of Nick Saban is, there is no secret."

What is your philosophy?  What are your processes? And do you have the discipline to live by them?  Every day?

If you poke around Alabama for a few weeks, you'll run into a lot of people who've had similarly awkward interactions with Saban—on the golf course, perhaps, or at booster banquets, where Saban often looks like a man held captive. Those close to him make excuses for the behavior. His wife, Terry, says he's shy and introverted. His golf buddy Rumsey says Saban has a kind of tunnel vision that short-circuits social niceties.

"He'll walk by people and they'll think he's rude," Rumsey says. "He's not an asshole—he never saw 'em!"

Reminds me of stories I've read of Munger in places like the book Damn Right.

Even among his adversaries, Saban is regarded as a master of X's and O's.

"I don't want people to think I'm not happy when we win—I am," Saban says. "But there's a difference between being happy for the feeling of accomplishing something and being overjoyed and feeling 'This is it—we conquered the world.' We didn't. We just won a game."

The following is from: Do You Really Want To Know What It Takes To Beat Alabama?

If you want to know how to beat Alabama, the answer is simple. You need five turnovers and need to make none yourself. You need a lottery ticket, a lightning strike, or both. You need a whole bureaucratic apparatus devoted to reducing any possible loss to a gross accumulation of statistical anomalies.

Even then, you don't get the two things that make this all work.

The first is Saban. He is not a renewable resource, as far as I know, but his transformation of Alabama into a ratings-killing certainty so oppressive it might have blacked out the sun for an entire generation of rickets-stricken coaches and players is complete. There is no adjustment against him. He will outwork you or hire people to outwork you and the people you hire. No one is more committed to building Football Walmart and bankrupting your mom-and-pop programs. No one.

How committed are you?

Give up on this idea of doing his thing better. Hire a bandito with a spread passing attack and zero fear of death. Hope for five turnovers or the NFL to poach him away*. Life is about being brave in the face of inevitable doom. Until someone does, Saban will charge you all unfair rates for sunlight.

The following is from Nick Saban Is Ready For Everything.

"He understands every element of human performance," Moawad wrote in the email. "And there is no contingency that he doesn't prepare for."

Are you prepared enough?

It's true. There are no accidents. There are onside kicks that will almost certainly work. There is an army of assistants and former assistants versed in the Process and ready to serve at a moment's notice. And there is a head coach who has no idea when he'll finally be ready to stop kicking everyone else's butt.

So... Are you really ready to strive for greatness?  Are you willing to outwork the titans of the investment and business worlds to achieve that greatness?  Let me know in the comments below.

Also let me know in the comments below how I can improve this series going forward as I already have two other articles planned.

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Remember if you want access to my exclusive notes and preliminary analysis you need to subscribe for free to Value Investing Journey.  And this isn't all you'll get when you subscribe either.

You also gain access to three gifts.  And a 50% discount on a year-long Press On Research subscription.  Where my exclusive stock picks are evaluated and have crushed the market over the last four years.

Value Investing Journey 10 Most Popular Posts Of 2015

Value Investing Journey 10 Most Popular Posts Of 2015

The following list is the Value Investing Journey 10 Most popular Posts of 2015.

If you missed any when they were first posted make sure to check them out below now.  Here's looking forward to an even better 2016.

10. Car Wash Psychology, Mental Models, And The Power Of Habit

9. Searching For Case Studies - Turning $2 Million Into $2 Trillion

8. My Answer To How Do You Find Stock Opportunities?

7. Armanino Foods Case Study Part 1 - Preliminary Analysis

6. On Failure

5. The 15 Steps I Took To Become An Excellent Value Investor

isaac newton

4. 17 Things That Changed My Life - Some Saved It

3. Why The P/E Ratio Is Useless - And How To Calculate EV

2. Lionel Messi Is A Failure

And the number one most viewed post on this site in 2015 was...

1. Warren Buffett And Charlie Munger Are Failures

File:Charlie Munger.jpgFile:Warren Buffett KU Visit.jpg

From the views it looks like you're interested in a variety of topics.

Valuation, case studies, Buffett and Munger, failure, psychology, habit, mental models, and personal improvement were major themes of the above list.

According to Munger reading a wide variety of things means we all improved as investors and thinkers in 2015.

Remember, no matter how fast you improve or learn as long as you continue to learn and improve this will compound over time and lead us closer to our goals.

Bonus - Most Viewed Page Of The Year

The number one viewed page on the blog - besides the home page - was the Recommended Reading And Viewing Page.  This one page got almost 8,000 unique views last year by itself.

If you've never visited this page you should.  It holds links to all the best resources I've learned from over the years.  And gets updated regularly.

Is there anything I haven't written about yet that you want me to in 2016?  Did your favorite post make the list? If so which one was your favorite?  If not which post was your favorite that didn't make it?  Let me know in the comments below.

And to make sure you don't miss any more great content subscribe to Value Investing Journey for free here.

Once subscribed you'll also get entered to win prizes.  Get a 50% discount on a One Year Press On Research subscription.  And get three gifts.