Last year I just wrote 6 posts. Throughout the year I did not find ideas to invest in. The returns have increased on older ideas. New ideas giving phenomenal returns was difficult and tedious. As Buffett says, finding a needle in a haystack. A lot of people ask me you don’t advise anything with an investment time horizon of less than 8-10 years but we do not have that kind of time. My advise to all such friends is then stay away from equity and invest in a bank term deposit or a bond. Equity by nature is a business deal or investment in a business. And businesses are organisms which grow slowly. So, have patience. Also, PPF which is one of the best risk free returns gives 7.6% today. So your money doubles in roughly 9 years+. And I am confident, with 95% certainty level that you would be able to double your money in a good business investment/good mutual fund on the exchange in a timeframe lesser than that.
I read a few great books in 2017. Especially on human nature and philosophy. Some of my recommendations would be:-
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. This book is about Ethics and character building,it was written by Marcus Aurelius who was the Roman Emperor from 161 to 180AD. Marcus Aurelius was the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors. He was a practitioner of Stoicism and his Meditations, is the most significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. It emphasises living a frugal life and the transitory nature of human life.
- Letters from a Stoic by Seneca Again this book is by the teacher of Emperor Nero, another Stoic. Sometimes to even live is an act of courage. The book highlights the reason for existence for human beings, and teaches the futility of a material life. And how happiness in life has little to do with promotions, goodies and achievements.
- On Shortness of Life by Seneca This book was written as a moral essay to his friend Pauline. Seneca’s biting words still pack a powerful punch two thousand years later. With its brash rejection of materialism, conventional lifestyles and group-think. Seneca anticipates the modern world. It’s a unique expose of how people get caught up in the rat race and how for those stuck in this mindset, enough is never enough. The ‘busy’ individuals of Rome Seneca makes reference to, those people who are too preoccupied with their careers and maintaining social relationships to fully examine the quality of their lives, sounds a lot like modern life and ourselves. The message is simple: Life is long if you live it wisely. Don’t waste time worrying about how you look. Don’t be lazy. Don’t over indulge in entertainment and vice. Everything in moderation.
- Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday The name is self explanatory. The book helped me developing a more humble attitude towards life and all others. Ryan Holiday is also a believer in Stoicism.
- The Winners Curse by Richard Thaler The book narrates how a winner in an auction is cursed by the bid price itself. And when read in conjunction with Ego is the enemy one realises that it is the human ego which makes one overbid in an auction or purchase of an asset and that results in deals like Sunil Bharti Mittal overbidding for Zain assets in Africa and running a loss, Ratan Tata overbidding for Corus and making Tata Steel bleed in losses, Vijay Mallya overpaying for Air Deccan and then becoming a fugitive etc. It teaches you to be rational rather than emotional in your financial deals.
I read a number of other books like HomoDeus, Sex at Dawn, The Mating Mind etc but these stood out and my reduced number of posts were also a result of my questioning the reason of my existence and life after reading those books. I would rather be more with myself and my maker than try to earn a name or following because all of it is ethereal and “nashwar” in nature as the Bhagvad Gita says. THE BEST BOOK OF LIFE STILL FOR ME IS THE BHAGVAD GITA…. Aurelius and Seneca and all other writers seem to be just saying in other words what Lord Krishna expounded in 18 chapters of verse in the Battle of Mahabharata. So if you wish to invest Rs 200 in 2018, go order this book or buy from a railway station or from Geeta Press Gorakhpur. Invest some free time reading it and it will improve your life. Reduce your worries. Increase your happiness. And make you richer.
MAY THE LORD BE WITH YOU….Happy 2018