The Learning Never Stops

The Learning Never Stops

One of your all-time favorite cover stories dealt with the combination of well-placed skepticism and the conscious decision to “leave the couch” as a long-term investor. In a nutshell, we asked, “Can investing really be this simple?” The answer is wrapped in over seven decades of experience and deployed regularly with measured courage. At the same time, we recognize that the learning quest is a never-ending road. We believe in Occam’s Razor. You could say that our cornerstone is trend reversion centered on imagination and long-term time horizons. This month we visit some letters, questions and commentary … celebrating your curiosity and achievements. Can old dogs learn new tricks? What about young dogs?

We share the following blog post and some subscriber correspondence. Names are withheld, but you know who you are out there … and some have been paraphrased to combine multiple letters and comments into digest form.

As a kid, they were among the moments I dreaded most. The “choosing of sides” on the playground or the sandlot were gut-wrenching moments because I often didn’t merit selection as a draft choice. “What about him?” “Oh yeah … he can be on your team if you want.”

Things are not always what they seem.

I had pretty good hands and was pretty good at catching a football. When it came to basketball, there were times when I heard, “Wow, the ‘fat kid’ can really shoot.” Funny, but if I close my eyes and listen, I can still hear those words.

Fast forward a few decades. We were on a mission trip in West Virginia taking up residence in a Scout camp in the mountains. We decided to play a pickup game of basketball. My friend Don and I smiled at each other as the muscle-bound high school seniors and college freshman in the group loaded up their rosters with their colleagues. We were left standing on the sidelines. Make no mistake. It’s still pretty gut-wrenching to endure this rite of passage as an “old man” but we suspected that we had the unknowing youngsters in our crosshairs. Don and I ended up on the same team. Amusement transformed into amazement as the “old men” taught the punks a thing or two. I think Don made about ten closely guarded shots in a row. Me too.

Our message is simple. Whether you’re talking about old books or old dogs, be careful about the judgments you make based on the cover. In some cases, maturity is just what you need and it can prevail over youthful exuberance.

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