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So I finished reading Manton's book The Suit. Loaned to me by terror.

 

It has been said the language in the King James version of The Holy Bible was archaic even when it came out, and that this was deliberate because it allows for more melody and because an ecclesiastical work should not sound like the writing in the newspapers of the day.

 

Manton chose to wrought his work to the framework of The Prince. The language is archaic. The Prince was originally written for an Italian prince as a manual to the intricacies of mediaeval politics -- Manton chose to address his book to Lapo Elkann. Laughed my head off.

 

It's a very good book I can recommend to anyone who likes to know more about classic clothes for men. The work isn't superficial -- Manton gives advice even about the tiniest of details. It's lovingly written by an enthusiast, not just another job to pay the rent with by a style writer.

 

The Prince, as in Machiavelli's The Prince?

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The Prince, as in Machiavelli's The Prince?

Yup! Unusual inspiration but it works.

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steve-jobs-biography-by-walter-isaacson.jpg

 

I'm reading Steve Jobs by Walther Isaacson, his official biography. It gives the best insight ever into Jobs. He is a man obsessed with perfection, a tyrant, and the worst sufferer of fools you will ever meet, worse even than me.

I inadvertantly read about psychopaths, and have come to the conclusion that Jobs is one.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy

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I am currently reading Hedge Fund Market Wizards by Jack Schwager. If you are totally new to the area of trading, finance and investments, you should start with Market Wizards, then New Market Wizards, and then this book.

 

I am also an investment manager, so I read blogs of friends such as John Hempton of Bronte Capital. I am actually going to be very intrigued by reactions of forum members to the following articles by John.

 

http://brontecapital.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/richemont-waiting-for-bullet.html

 

http://brontecapital.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/something-is-happening-here-and-you.html

 

More on Richemont here:

 

http://www.richemont.com/

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Reading Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. An amazing book. It should be mandatory reading for all human beings since cancer is likely going to be part of your life, one way or another. Oncologists and other 'specialists' in the medical profession here are not very good at explainin this disease.

 

(null)

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I am currently reading Hedge Fund Market Wizards by Jack Schwager. If you are totally new to the area of trading, finance and investments, you should start with Market Wizards, then New Market Wizards, and then this book.

 

I am also an investment manager, so I read blogs of friends such as John Hempton of Bronte Capital. I am actually going to be very intrigued by reactions of forum members to the following articles by John.

 

http://brontecapital...for-bullet.html

 

http://brontecapital...re-and-you.html

 

More on Richemont here:

 

http://www.richemont.com/

Very interesting blog posts. The only useful bit of information is the discrepancy between exports to HK and sales tax receipts. This discrepancy -- constant, high import levels in the face of dropping sales revenues may probably be explained by the quota agreements the retailers have with Richemont. Each year, one side commits to supply a certain amount, the other side commits to buying up same amount regardless of economic climate. So even as sales breaks off the retailers have to keep buying from Richemont. Bronte should have shorted the retailers, not Richemont.

 

I do not see the relevance of capital punishment in the blog post. In what way is that related to spending on luxury? Kidnappings in Sao Paolo? That's just one city. For every Sao Paolo there is a hundred Singapores/KLs where the trend towards luxury is unstoppable.

 

Bronte also suffers from headline malady. You cannot know a country or its people through newspaper headlines.

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Bronte is a hedge fund. They are sure not going to reveal all their thinking and processes behind a trade. What you see in the blog posts are only snippets thrown out to generate some feedback. Their due diligence is way more than just reading newspapers. I have known JH for over a decade now, and this is a bloke that spends money on lawyers and investigators in China to snoop around dodgy Chinese companies.

 

The reference to capital punishment is trading slang, for saying when Richemont's financial results will be shot down. An increasing trend towards luxury is indisputable. This is a logical consequence of people and nations getting wealthier as time goes by. Bronte's play is not a long term play, it is a trading play based on short term price dislocation caused by an expected decline in sales. Well, that did not happen, but I do think it is inevitable. You cannot expect retailers to keep committing to historical volumes with old inventory coming out their rears.

 

Having said all that, not really my play, I trade on the long side in very small unknown companies.

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Misfit bought a Cartier Santos recently for what he said was a very good discount. So we know the retailers are discounting heavily to move the inventory they are obliged to take up.

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Surprisingly muted reaction to baiting comments such as below:

 

"I find watches strangely redundant (a smart phone is both more accurate and more useful and you probably carry one anyway). However they have become the only really acceptable piece of male jewellery by which the elite can show their status. In these days of business casual (and the studied casual of Ralph Lauren) an Italian tailored suit does not do it.

 

An iPhone or a Galaxy IIIs shows status amongst the middle and upper middle income. A ten thousand dollar or five hundred thousand dollar watch will do a (far) worse job of telling the time - but screams in only the way stupid-money can."

 

Kerbau members are either a self-confident lot, or don't like to argue.

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I do not wear a watch. There are all sorts of reasons why I do not.

 

1. Watches have become fetish objects of our society. Sometime in the far future, say 200 years from now, people will come to see our age as one that was obsessed with little redundant pieces of machinery on their wrists, and how the model you wear signal your position on the totem pole. Like Chinese jade snuff bottles, which was once an arena of intense social competition.

 

2. The watches of today are very different from those of even just six decades ago. I once worked in the European HQ of a Japanese manufacturer of CNC milling and grinding machines. That completely killed whatever romantic feelings I had for the exquisite movements of watches. They're made by affixing a piece of brass in the machine and loading a program. The 5 axis machine then produces the movement plate in maybe 20 seconds. Once upon a time producing watches was a time consuming affair requiring much skill. The watch production of today is organised like any other factory out there. They're made by machine operators. There's a vast global supply chain. Frame contracts. Key performance indicators. Kanban. Scrap data and quality statistics are compiled regularly. Too much like what I do.

 

3. RM4K will buy you a watch that will signal your lack of funds. The same money will buy you a fabulous pair of shoes, or a bag that cannot be exceeded.

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^^^ Don't wish to sound like a cynical old fart- just a small comment, "I was afraid to pursue my passion because I do not want to go to jail."

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After Tuesdays With Morrie, I went on to read two of Mitch Albom's other books. For Another Day changed my life. It's about what I now realise is a person's most important relationship -- that with his mother (mine is much neglected by me). The Five People You Meet In Heaven is a very imaginative book about one of the most difficult topics to write about -- the meaning of life. I am grateful to have read all three.

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