Capital Insights

Machines of Loving Grace

Headlines during the current market decline have been nothing if not dependable — “plunge,” “meltdown,” “tumble,” “fear grips market,” “panic selling,” — we know all the catchphrases by now. The typical narrative on the evening news or in the paper next day leads with some form of “Fear gripped investors Thursday…”. But are individual investors actually driving markets by making trades on these emotions?

The Unusual Mistake

The financial world gave scant attention to the passing of Murray Gell-Mann last week at the age of 89.

Gell-Mann was a Nobel Prize winning physicist known for, among other things, discovering and naming the quark. While the quark has little to tell us about financial markets, some of Gell-Mann’s later work with the Santa Fe Institute has more to say.

All Of It

Problem solvers, it would seem, have the greatest impact on our lives. But Dr. Atul Gawande, nationally renowned surgeon and writer, thinks we have it backwards.

Future Shock

We like to think we take things at face value. But it seems that our emotions are not so much reactions to the present as they are guides to the future.

The Survival of the Modern Portfolio

By the time he was 25 years old, Henri Vaillancourt of Greenville, New Hampshire had been on four canoe trips. Four trips isn’t that many, though it’s almost certainly more than the average person. It’s enough to know what one feels like, but not so many that he’d be considered an expert.

When Information Is Cheap, Attention Becomes Expensive

In the introduction to his 2016 book “The Attention Merchants,” Tim Wu writes:

As William James observed, we must reflect that, when we reach the end of our days, our life experience will equal what we have paid attention to, whether by choice or default. We are at risk, without quite fully realizing it, of living lives that are less our own than we imagine.

Although James made his statement in the late 19th century, it’s not hard to see how it applies to the digital age. Writer David Perell has referred to it as the “Never-Ending Now,” with social media and 24-hour cable news feeds that push us to focus on what just happened, search for what’s next, and encourage us to lose site of the forest for the trees.