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Read ‘Em and Reap: Smart People for Investors to Follow

Read ‘Em and Reap: Smart People for Investors to Follow

Posted by on Sep 8, 2014 in Blog, Posts |

Image credit: Vincent van Gogh, “The Reaper” (after Jean-Baptiste Millet), 1889, Wikimedia Commons

By Jason Zweig

7:00 am ET  Sept. 6, 2014


My “Intelligent Investor” column this weekend discusses new research on what psychologists call “shared attention”—the state of paying heed to an object or event at the same time your peers are also focusing on it. Believing that other people like you are paying attention to the same thing you are can make you more likely to remember it, to take action on it and to experience more intense emotions about it, the research finds.

As a result, I advised, the investors you follow may be as important to your financial results as the investments you own. If the people you pay attention to are excitable and impulsive, they may overreact to market moves—and you may follow suit, under the spell of shared attention. No wonder Warren Buffett so often urges that you should “hang out with people who are better than you are.”

In my column, I encouraged investors to socialize “only with investors who are calm and methodical.” Here’s a small selection of websites, blogs and Twitter feeds that I think pass that test. It is far from complete; there are other sites I like for other reasons, but the sources I’ve listed here all encourage investors to ignore the markets’ momentary twitches and spasms and, instead, to focus on the long term.  I’ve listed them alphabetically.  Please suggest your own favorites in the comments.

Abnormal Returns and @abnormalreturns

Edited by the indefatigable Tadas Viskanta, this “forecast-free” blog and Twitter feed is one of the best ways to put short-term events in long-term perspective. The site links each day to a carefully curated selection of the best and most analytical posts anywhere online about investing.

Above the Market and @RPSeawright

Bob Seawright, chief investment officer for the brokerage and advisory firm Madison Avenue Securities, specializes in exposing the foibles of the investing mind and the pitfalls of market analysis.

Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letters

The online repository of Warren Buffett’s annual letters to shareholders is mandatory reading for any investor who wants to think clearly about what matters in the long run. This site archives all the Buffett letters from 1977 onward.  (You can read earlier Buffett letters here and here.)


This collectively run, nonprofit site, which began as a quirky chatroom and fan club for investors in Vanguard Group funds, has become a kind of mini-Wikipedia of investing knowledge. Although it caters largely to investors who favor index funds, anyone can benefit from the solid, sober wisdom dispensed here.

Efficient Frontier

Run by retired neurologist William Bernstein and his business partner, Susan Sharin, this site rarely posts new blog material but features a wealth of earlier publications by Bernstein, one of the most astute experts on investing anywhere.

Enterprising Investor and @CFAInstitute

This site, hosted by the CFA Institute, features wide-ranging blogposts by investing experts who have earned the rigorous Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Farnam Street and @farnamstreet

Shane Parrish, a money manager in Ottawa, maintains this blog about decision making, critical thinking and lifelong learning. He reads encyclopedically and thinks deeply about how investors—and human beings—can become more thoughtful, patient and creative.

Graham And Doddsville and @GnDsville

This site offers a compendium of resources on value investing for anyone interested in buying cheap stocks, using the methods formulated by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd in their classic 1934 text, Security Analysis.

Investor Home

This site, maintained by financial analyst Gary Karz, offers a vast trove of reference material, including countless links to original research. Investors who want to educate themselves deeply using primary sources can start here.

Margin of Safety

Financial analyst and hedge-fund manager Ray Galkowski casts a skeptical eye on the markets, trying to put recent events in long-term perspective.

Memos from Howard Marks

Mr. Marks, the chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, the Los Angeles-based investment firm, writes about a half-dozen essays a year on the nature of risk, the outlook for financial assets, how to analyze investment performance, and other topics of permanent importance.

Psy-Fi and @psyfitec

You can’t be a patient long-term investor unless you understand all the flaws in your brain’s wiring that you must overcome. British blogger Tim Marr writes prolifically and entertainingly about the psychology of financial decision-making.

The Research Puzzle and @researchpuzzler

Using basic logic, financial analyst and consultant Tom Brakke tunes out the noise and gets to the bottom of the latest investing fads. His blog posts often include elegantly simple infographics that bolster his points.

SimoleonSense and @SimoleonSense

Investor and blogger Miguel Barbosa, like Shane Parrish of Farnam Street, pulls together ideas from everywhere in an attempt to make his readers wiser and more patient.

Value Investing World and @VInvestingWorld

Investor Joe Koster closely follows leading long-term investors and tries to aggregate just about everything they say or write about how to buy and hold cheap assets.


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