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.

On Float The 60 Page Book Released

On Float The 60 Page Book Released

Over the last seven months I've detailed investment float a lot here.  All the nuances, and both the positives and negatives of float.

The hope being we'll have a huge advantage over other investors by knowing the immense power float holds.  How to evaluate it.  And how it affects a company's value among many other things.

Over the last seven months, seven parts, 12,000 words, and 60 pages of content I explain all the following in detail.

  • What float is.
  • Why it's important.
  • How companies can use float as positive leverage.
  • How Buffett got so rich using float.
  • How to find float on a balance sheet.
  • How to evaluate float.
  • How float affects a company and its margins.
  • Maybe the most important thing why float affects a company and its margins.
  • How float affects a company's value.
  • And answered the question is float ever bad?

I released the last part of the On Float series on the blog last week so why am I writing this post?

Because I've compiled all the information above and put the content into a 60 page PDF book that's releasing free today.

And by free I mean free.

You don't have to pay me a cent.  Don't have to pass this along on Twitter or Facebook.  And don't even have to give me your email address to gain access to this book.

All you have to do to download this book is click on the link below.  That's it.

On Float The 60 Page Book

Feel free to share this with anyone you'd like and as many people as you'd like.  No restrictions and no hassles.

The only things changed from the blog posts to the transition into book were I deleted some redundancy from the blog posts and changed/fixed some formatting issues that popped up in the transition.

All other content to my knowledge is the same.

I hope you enjoy and learn as much from this information as I have.

Is Float Ever Bad? On Float Part 6

Is Float Ever Bad? On Float Part 6

The goal of this blog is to help us all improve as investors and thinkers so we're a little wiser every day.  The hope being that our knowledge will compound over time so we'll have huge advantages over other investors in the future.

The aim of today's post is to continue this process by talking about a topic few investors know about.  And even fewer understand.

Most people overlook float when evaluating companies because they either don't know what it is.  Don't know the power it can have within a business.  Or don't know how to evaluate it.

This won't be an issue here.

Press On Research subscribers already know this as I talk a lot about float in many of the issues I've written.  But I want to begin talking about it more here because float is one of the most powerful and least understood concepts of business analysis.

Today's post is a continuation of the earlier posts:

Today we're going to answer the question "Is Float Ever Bad?

Is Float Ever Bad?

I'm a guy who likes to live by the above quote.  If I can make things simpler I always do.  Not only does this make things easier to understand but it also can save a ton of time.

When analyzing investments and dealing with complex topics like investment float this isn't always possible.

Understanding the good things about investment float is definitely one of those things you can make only so simple.  The concept is simple to understand but the there are a ton of different nuances to understand which leads to complexity.  You can likely tell since it's taken me 51 pages thus far in the five earlier posts to explain the good things about investment float.

Luckily the answer to the titled question is a simple one.  And also involves simple and easy to understand concepts as well.

Yes, certain investment float is bad.  And no, not all float is equal.

The heuristic or mental model I use when evaluating float is that if the company isn't profitable - or near profitability - its float is useless.  And can even be a negative burden for a company.

Why?

Remember, float are liabilities that can become positive leverage if used well by management and the company is profitable.  But always remember leverage can go both ways as well.

If a company isn't profitable and hasn't produced profits in several years float turns into negative leverage.  This is because in the long run float are liabilities the company will have to pay at some point.

The longer a company goes without earning profits the longer it will take a company to pay its liabilities because it's not earning enough money.  This also makes it harder to fund operations and grow in a healthy way without taking on a ton of debt or even more liabilities.

Let's go through a quick example to show this.

Let's say we have two insurance companies.  Company A has an average combined ratio of 90% over the last five years and Company B has an average combined ratio of 110% over the last five years.

Not only does this mean Company A's profits are 20 percentage points better on average than Company B.  But it also likely means that Company B has continued racking up liabilities it can't afford to pay when due or when a catastrophe strikes.

This is because Company B hasn't earned a profit on average over the last five years.  And of course all else remaining equal a company earning 20 percentage points better profit's on average is the higher quality company.

The same general rule goes for non insurance companies as well.  If they aren't, haven't been, and show no signs of becoming profitable float should be viewed as negative leverage for a company.

I use the following rules when evaluating all companies float...

  • To view float as a giant positive for any company I like to see consistent profitability in the last five years.  And/or seven of the last 10 years.
  • If a company has off and on profitability I view float as neutral.
  • And if the company is consistently unprofitable I view float as a huge negative for the company.

I consider profitability of operating margin, ROIC, ROCE, and FCF/Sales.  The company doesn't have to produce huge excess profitability in each category.  I look for consistency and trend of profits more than anything when evaluating float.

This idea is a lot simpler to understand than the concept of what float is and makes it potentially great for companies and investors.

One last thing to remember when evaluating float is that whether the company has positive or negative acting float doesn't matter if the company doesn't allocate capital well.  And the management doesn't know what float is or how to use it.

To evaluate these potentials see the previous five posts on this topic.

Summary

If I've explained everything well enough in the series so far we should understand -

  • What float is.
  • Why it's important.
  • How companies can use float as positive leverage.
  • How Buffett got so rich using float.
  • How to find float on a balance sheet.
  • How to evaluate float.
  • How float affects a company and its margins.
  • Maybe the most important thing why float affects a company and its margins.
  • How float affects a company's value.
  • And answered the question is float ever bad?

In the next and final seventh chapter of this series I'll share the best resources I've learned from about float with you.

Knowing what we know now we should have a gigantic advantage over other investors who either don't know about float.  Or aren't willing to put in the time to learn what it is and what it can do for a company and investment.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments on float up to this point please let me know in the comments section below.

***

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.

Answering A Question On Quora – Is it possible to learn invest securities simply by reading?

Is it possible to learn invest securities simply by reading? If so name the books

Below is an answer I wrote on Quora to the above question.  The question and answer are important to how we all learn our craft of value investing so I've decided to post it here as well.

In this post I even show my first ever "analysis" article I wrote less than four years ago to prove how much someone can improve in a relatively short amount of time.

***

As Matus said the answer is no.

Books are a great place to learn concepts and theory but if you don’t know how everything works together in the real world it won’t matter. One of the best ways to learn this is by practicing a lot.

How does someone practice value investing?

There are several ways but the best thing to do once you know the basic finance and value investing terms is to begin reading company financial reports - 10K, 8K, Proxy, 10Q’s, etc - then taking notes while reading these financials. Value the company if you know how. And then build an investment thesis from all that information.

It’s then best to show this analysis to someone who knows more about value investing so they can give you feedback on where you can improve. Things and concepts you may have not thought of that you want to add for the future. Etc.

The best way to do this if you don’t know anyone personally who knows about value investing is to start a value investing blog to get feedback. And/or also by posting analysis on sites like Seeking Alpha and Guru Focus.

Beware and don’t take it personally but your first shots at analysis will be crap. Mine was and I post my unedited first ever written “analysis” below to prove this. Be prepared for the suck.


Vodafone Group PLC, ADR, (VOD) info

All information taken from Morningstar - Independent Investment Research, Vodafone's website, The Motley Fool, or Vodafone's most recent annual financial report.

Overview:

With 343 million proportional customers (total customers multiplied by its ownership interest), including its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, Vodafone is the second-largest wireless phone company in the world behind China Mobile. It is also the largest carrier in terms of the number of countries served. Vodafone has majority or joint control in 22 countries and minority or partnership interests in more than 150 total countries. The firm's objective is to be the communications leader across a connected world. They have four major markets that they break their financials into: Europe, Africa Middle East and Asia Pacific or AMAP, India, and the United States through a partnership with Verizon.

Pros:

1. Huge company operating in more than 150 countries making them more diversified and able to withstand drops in revenues and profits coming from a single region or country.

2. Generates huge free cash flows of at least $8.25 Billion in each of the last 8 financial years. Free cach flow or FCF is basically the money thats left over after expenses, dividends, payments, etc. that the Vodafone can use as it pleases. Generally VOD uses their FCF to increase their dividends, buyback their own stock, acquire other companies, or pay down debt.

3. Current dividend yield of 6.97%, the average company in the S&P 500 has a yield of around 2%. Pays a semiannual dividend in June and November of each year. Also receiving a special dividend from Verizon, $ 1 billion of which will go to paying down Vodafone debt, $3.5 Billion will go to pay a special dividend to Vodafone shareholders in January or February of 2012.

4. FCF/Sales ratio over 16% each year since the 2002 financial year. Anything over 5% means they are generating huge amounts of cash.

5. Interest coverage ratio of 23.4, anything over 1.5 is good. Interest coverage ratio is how many times they can cover the payments of interest on their debt.

6. Payout ratio of around 50% for the dividend meaning the dividend should be safe for the foreseeable future.

7. Raising their dividend an average of 7% per year for the next 3 years.

8. Lower debt/equity than their industy competitors.

9. Growing a lot in Asia, Middle East, India, and parts of Africa. Also still a lot of room to grow in those areas as they are relatively new to them, especially India.

10. Paying down debt with FCF.

11. Gross margin, net margin, and EBT margin all over 17% which is very good.

12. Still a lot of room to grow their revenue through people upgrading to smartphones and paying for data packages which they make more money off of then regular phones.

13. Executive pay is linked to how well the company does, and they encourage their executives and directors to own company stock.

Cons:

1. Still a lot of debt even though they are paying it down, around $40 Billion

2. Most of Western Europe except Germany, are having huge economic problems which has led to lower sales an profits in those areas.

3. The fear or actuality of another global recession would hurt their sales and profits.

4. Problems at Verizon which VOD owns 45% of would hurt future payments from Verizon to VOD.

5. Most of their revenue is generated in Europe where as above, there are big financial problems.

6. Since they are in so many countries they have to deal with many regulations and sometimes even lawsuits from other goverments or companies in those countries.

Final Thoughts:

Overall I feel very good about Vodafone's prospects to be a great investment for the long term. We are buying them when they are valued at a very good price, especially compared to their competitors. They have huge growth potential in India, a country that has over 1.3 billion people, as they have only penetrated that market by around 10%. They are paying down debt, upping their dividends and receiving a special dividend from Verizon. Even if their share price doesn't go up over the next few years, which I believe it will by quite a bit, then we are still covered by the near 7% dividend that they are going to keep growing atleast 7% a year for the next 3 years. Also, with their huge FCF they can maybe pay down debt faster, acquire other companies to keep growing, pay more dividends, or buyback their stock.

As always if there are any questions let me know. I believe we will all do well with this stock in our portfolios over the long term.

Jason Rivera


Man that’s painful to look back on. But it's also inspiring as well.

The analysis is painful to look at because along with the obvious misspellings I didn’t even attempt to correct for whatever reason the analysis doesn’t do anything but spout off random stats I pulled from it financials and places like Morningstar.

That’s not analysis. That’s a regurgitation of facts.

You can see glimpses of analysis in the above piece such as the paying off debt with FCF line. But I don’t take these lines any further. I again chose to just leave off by stating facts. Not what the underlying effects of these things would have on the company. That’s analysis.

At this point I’d been learning about value investing off and on for years but wasn’t improving much because I hadn’t written anything down or shown it to anyone else until the above post.

I actually sent the above “analysis” to a family friend who I was managing some investment money for. Bless their hearts they still stuck with me. They must really love me to have done so 🙂

But the above is also inspiring because in less than four years I’ve gone from the above train wreck to being hired by a prominent investment newsletter due to my analytical ability.

Writing regular 30 to 50 page analysis reports on companies for subscribers and investors I manage money for.

Have written an acclaimed value investment education book teaching everything from the concepts of value investing, to various valuation techniques, how to develop the proper mindsets and processes. Etc.

My stock picks and portfolio have crushed the market in the last four years 2014 And 2015 Portfolio Reviews - Still Kicking Mr. Market's Ass.

And am told a version of the following on a regular basis - “If I were to go to anyone in the entire company to get a second opinion on my company analysis I would go to your first.”

Posting analysis - and the above one less than four years ago was my very first written remember - jumped my analysis articles, abilities, thought processes, and education into hyper speed.

Doing analysis on a company. Writing it down. Showing it to someone who can give you feedback. Implementing that feedback into future analysis. And then repeating over and over. This is a great way to learn value investing.

But it's still not the best.

Study after study shows that teaching is the best way to learn any skill and value investing is no different.

This is also another reason you should start a value investing blog so you can teach others.

The below learning pyramid graphic is from the National Training Laboratories showing the best way to learn things.

Now to get back to your original question you see reading at the top showing you only retain ~10% of the information you read and why I struggled before writing things down.

This is how my value investment education jumped into hyper speed by combining practice by doing and teaching.

Anyone asking me how to learn any skill I always tell them to do the same thing that worked best for me.

Doing analysis on a company. Writing it down. Showing it to someone who can give you feedback. Implementing that feedback into future analysis. And then repeating over and over. Then start teaching others as soon as you can to help retain even more information.

If you are looking for book recommendations to learn value investing I recommend going to this post I wrote the other day on Quora What advanced books would you recommend for an aspiring self taught value investor? And this post for more information on How do you learn value investing?

Within the last post is a post on my blog titled 10 Tips To Becoming A World Class Investment Analyst.

I hope this all helps and if you have any further questions please reach out to me at jmriv1986@gmail.com

***

In the comments below please let me know your method and processes for learning and retaining information.

Book Giveaway Update

Book Giveaway Update

Well that didn't go as planned...

In the post at the end of March The Winner of The Book Giveaway Is... I announced a subscriber as the winner of more than $300 worth of books.  The books were supposed to go to David at my cost.  Key word being supposed.

At this point I've tried multiple times to get a hold of David with no response so another subscriber is getting these books sent to them at my cost anywhere in the world.

I'm a huge believe in Charlie Munger's Mental Models and Worldy Wisdom philosophies that the more we read about a wide range of things 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 today a lucky subscriber is getting a step closer to their goals by winning the following 20 books valued at more than $300.

And the new winner of more than $300 worth of books is now Andrealiz.  Your email starts with reyesa.  I will get a hold of you today to get your contact information so I can send you more than $300 worth of books at my cost.

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.

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