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The most important investment book

I own too little Gilead and too much Google. Maybe.

Gilead just reported earnings way beyond Wall Street’s expectations.

Meantime, from PR NewsWire:

 FRAMINGHAM, Mass., April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – HeartWare International, Inc. HTWR +0.01% has scheduled a conference call to discuss its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2014, at 8:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, May 1, 2014.  The Company plans to release the financial results prior to the conference call.

The conference call with management will discuss the Company’s financial results, highlights from the first quarter and business outlook.  The call may be accessed by dialing 1-877-407-0789 five minutes prior to the scheduled start time and referencing “HeartWare.”  For callers outside the U.S., please dial +1-201-689-8562.

Explanation: HeartWare has been a big winner for me. It came from Australia, listed here, and is now aggressively pursuing an international business strategy with its neat medical device products. The stock is volatile. I remain optimistic:


15 Apps For Your iPhone That Are Better Than The Ones Apple Made. List courtesy BusinessInsider. Apps include (and I agree with these recommendations):

+ Gmail, not Apple mail.
+ WhatsApp instead of Messages. (I love WhatsApp).
+ Google Maps instead of Apple Maps. But the best travel maps is Waze, which alerts you to police speed traps. I won’t drive anywhere without Waze.
+ Evernote instead of Notes. I haven’t yet figured Evernote out, but all my friends rave about it.
+ Dark Sky instead of the regular weather app.
+ Fantastical 2 instead of Calendar.
+ Rise instead of Clock, which is cumbersome.
+ Chrome instead of Safari.
+ Prey instead of Find My iPhone.

You can find the full list here.

Recommended reading:


I’ve heard good things about this book. Here’s today’s news:

This morning Canadian pharmaceutical company Valeant announced it is attempting to buy Botox-maker Allergan. Activist investor Bill Ackman’s hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management is supporting the deal by buying 9.6% of Allergan. (Here’s a good explainer of the very unusual partnership between a hostile corporate acquirer and an activist.)

Today, Ackman revealed his rationale for supporting the deal and getting involved with Valeant in a presentation which draws heavily from The Outsiders, a 2012 business book by William N. Thorndike. (Not to be confused with the coming-of-age novel with the same title by S.E. Hinton.)

The book is a favorite of activist investors (paywall) and was recommended by Warren Buffett in his 2012 shareholder letter.

It profiles eight CEOs whose companies massively outperformed the market (including Buffett) and who all exhibit similar behaviors, which Ackman listed in a slide in his presentation:


Ackman calls it “one of the most important investment books I’ve ever read,” and says that the book perfectly fits the way Valeant CEO Mike Pearson has run the company. “The only problem with the book is that Mike’s missing,” Ackman said.

He used it to illustrate why he’s making the biggest investment in his firm’s history (at around $4 billion, making up 30% of his firm’s capital) and why he thinks putting Allergan under Valeant’s control would create so much value.

There’s more of this article here. If you can’t read all this chart on your iPhone or iPad, tap it once. To buy the book from Amazon, click here.

From today’s CNBC interview with Ackman:


New finances.
A Rabbi approaches a guest in Shul and says, “I’d like to give you an Aliyah. What is your name?

“The man answers, “Esther ben Moshe.”

The Rabbi says, “No, I need YOUR name.”

“It’s Esther ben Moshe,” the man says.

“How can that be your name?” asks the Rabbi.

The man answers, “I’ve been having financial problems, so now everything is in my wife’s name.”

The joys of Summer travel. I read this somewhere:

Out of 43 industries, airlines rank 40th in terms of satisfaction (the only industries consumers hate more are Internet service providers, Internet social media companies, and subscription TV services), according to data released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. And ask people what part of the already-unpleasant flying experience they hate most, and they’ll tell you this: the seats. The study reveals that seat comfort is “poor” and is the item consumers say is the most unsatisfying aspect of flying.

Which reminded me of an old story:

Shortly after a British Airways flight had reached its cruising altitude, the captain announced: “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain. Welcome to Flight 293, non-stop from London Heathrow to New York. The weather ahead is good, so we should have a smooth uneventful flight. So, sit back, relax, and………OH… MY GOD!”

Silence followed.

Some moments later, the captain came back on the intercom. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Im sorry if I scared you. While I was talking to you, a flight attendant accidentally spilled coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!”

From the back of the plane, an Irish passenger yelled…….”For the luvva Jaysus……you should see the back of mine!”

Harry Newton who’s increasingly impressed with the “Alternative TV” industry. Soon I’ll become what they’re now calling a “cord cutter” — someone who cancels his pricey cable TV service and exclusively uses services over the Internet like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, HBO GO. Showtime Anywhere, History, A&E, Disney, PBS, etc. My favorite products are Slingbox and Roku. Slingbox is here. Roku is here. Even if you own one of these devices, it’s worth checking their websites occasionally. They’re constantly improving — much faster than cable or satellite TV boxes, or Verizon FiOS, which give sleepiness a whole new meaning. I turned a friend onto Aereo yesterday. He was blown away by the quality of the Aereo video he could view on his laptop.

Don’t forget to change your passwords for your bank and brokerage accounts.