Studies of Life

Learning by doing.

Category Archives for: Uncategorized

Don’t Panic! On Trump, Le Pen, and Brexit.

02 March 2017 by Jim

Stormy. Photo by Luke Gray.

Someone recently said to me over dinner: ‘Why are people so racist and voting for Trump or Le Pen?’ A lively discussion ensued, which made some ideas clearer to me and highlighted some common views of the world that I think are not accurate. For that reason, I want to talk about them here.

To the liberal metropolitan people that I and most of my friends feel like we belong, what’s been going on in terms of Trump’s election, Brexit and Le Pen’s good poll numbers is frightening and mysterious. Why do people make such obviously wrong decisions? (more…)

Recalibrating to an evidence-based investment strategy

16 January 2016 by Jim

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a few months know that I love experimenting with stock investing strategies. While I was using the Trending Value strategy in my own portfolio, and constantly looking for a way to improve it further, I’ve begun to think that maybe the best way to improve my portfolio was not to be found in another stock selection factor, but instead in another direction.

According to many people, including the founder of Vanguard, a portfolio of passive index ETFs is the best approach for most people. I have more reason to believe Vanguard than other fund providers, because Vanguard asks significantly less for its service, which tells me it’s not in it to make a quick buck. I think Bogle really wants to educate investors. (more…)

Strategy Test 2015 – 5: April 30

04 May 2015 by Jim

This is the 4th completed month of testing a few different portfolio strategies as explained in this post. Time for a new update! 

 The beginning of the year looks very good so far. One interesting aspect is that the different portfolio strategies do not diverge by a lot from each other, which is surprising to me. There is no big loser here, and no crystal clear winner.

What does that mean? As they say, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’, and if stocks in general are booming it’s hard to find a stock strategy that doesn’t work well. The devil is in the details. (more…)

Selling Loans with a Discount on Bondora

16 November 2014 by Jim

Loan discount levels and their effect on sale probabilityWhen Bondora first introduced the secondary market, discounts and mark-ups were limited to + or – 5%. Over time, people complained that this did not give them enough freedom to further discount a loan that they really wanted to get rid of, albeit at a large loss. So they lifted the limitation and loans may now be sold with any kind of markup or discount.

The current range is between -90% to +40%, which is astonishing. A 90% loss is certainly a big deal, but it is still better than a 100% loss if the loan is not paid back. (more…)

Exam Week

20 April 2012 by Jim

So this week is going to be pretty badass, I feel it already.

  • It’s Monday, and I’ve survived the first exam with amazing ease. There was a mixup of schedules so that I initially thought I had to show up for 16.00 even though I had to show up at 14.00 already, so I effectively had to dash into the city and I was too late by 20 minutes, which I got afterwards, so I wrote until 18.20, which were 4 hours that I indeed needed, even though I at first thought that I would not be needing them… Construction of the plan took about 45 minutes, the rest was writing it all down and rereading, of course. The subject was quite easy, it was a simple commentaire composé of tableau 38 of Wajdi Mouawad’s Incendies. Afterwards I asked whether I could take a photo of my work and the very nice lady that waited for me to finish barked at me that that was impossible and made me understand that I was an idiot for asking. Tuesday is going to be brutish, with Latin up at 8.00 (good, so I get that off my mind) and then French Literature, which won’t be that bad, I hope. A simple poem would be nice. And in Latin, I’d like an easy grammar part. The translation should be possible without too many problems if it’s not too complex. Gotta review now, it’s 20.10. See you tomorrow…

  • (more…)

The Exams are knocking at my door…

14 April 2012 by Jim

On scheduling studying work


I am two days before my exams, and I take it pretty well right now, because I’ve worked a lot today, and I am proud of myself, even if there’s still stuff left to do. I found out that I now do not need the daily plan anymore because I do enough work without tracking my time meticulously. It seems as though the daily scheduling is needed as long as no urgency is felt on my side. As soon as urgency kicks in, though, scheduling is moot. So my ideal working method would be to work in scheduled bits throughout the year and then let go off the schedule in approach of the exams. A task list is useful, too, if it is reachable.

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Life is good, even before exams

09 April 2012 by Jim

What is up this week? I am 2 days late with this post, I know, but, you guessed right, I’ve been busy, or so I like to think. But, really, I have been busy, and it turns out that I did get some stuff done, and I’m progressing faster through my PDF courses than I initially thought, which is a great thing. I’ve logged over 4 hours of pure studying today, which is very good, and I didn’t have to do any translations. Willpower definitely is limited. The more I translate, the less I study, even though I have far more than only enough time for it.

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Talent is Overrated

31 March 2012 by Jim

I finished reading the book Talent is Overrated. Here are a few good quotes from the book:

  • Contemporary athletes are superior not because they’re somehow different but because they train themselves more effectively.
  • Low IQ experts always used more complex models than high IQ non-experts
  • IQ is a decent predictor of performance on an unfamiliar task, but once a person has been at a job for a few years, IQ predicts little or nothing about performance
  • It isn’t experience. Not only are we surrounded by highly experienced people who are nowhere near great at what they do, but we have also seen evidence that some people in a wide range of fields actually get worse after years of doing something
  • (more…)

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