What are we reading?

  1. You got a free internet upgrade and then your bill went up (here)
  2. Interesting q2 investment commentary from horizon kinetics (here)
  3. Interview with Liberty Media founder and John Malone partner, Peter Burton (here)
  4. A dozen things I have learnt from John Malone (here)
  5. PershingSquare Holdings buys Berkshire Hathaway – Page 10 (here)
  6. Netflix’s content budget seems greater than it seems (here) (Worthwhile to read the entire series)
  7. How I spotted a fraud before it was too late (here)

Book Review – Cal Newport’s Three Books

I recently finished reading Cal Newport’s three books : 1. Deep Work 2. Digital Minimalism 3. So good they can’t ignore you. The three books are subtly different but have common threads that link them back together. The desire to find ways to do work that is deep and inspirational, controlling technology in a way that is effective and additive but not distracting and the art of deliberate practice to gain mastery are threads that repeat themselves over the course of the three books.

So good they can’t ignore you:  In the field of knowledge work that most of us are engaged in, one can vastly understate the importance of a deliberate training plan that is long term, continuous and effective. The craftsman element of work in churning out something special is largely lost in our daily, multi-tasked, attention deprived work environment. Cal Newport makes the case for a craftsman mindset and hence forming a passion for one’s work rather than chasing one’s passion at the outset.  The author introduces a framework for developing career capital that comes from acquiring rare, valuable skills and using them to get greater control over things you work on and the traps associated with them. The author echoes similar principles to Malcom Gladwell’s outliers such as the 10K hour rule and deliberate practice that have taken center stage in the art of gaining mastery.

Deep work: In the midst of today’s digital world that emphasizes on multi-tasking, the art of digging in and doing deep work that is effective and meaningful has been lost. Cal differentiates between the deep work that require intense focus, uninterrupted work with results that are hard to replicate with shallow work that is unfocused and easy to replicate. The author outlines the art of mastering hard things and using the ability to transform the output into something that people value through frameworks and examples on how to implement them. Newport lays out rules for having an environment that is conducive to deep work, the ability to embrace boredom and draining out the shallow work as key to getting good deep work done. The author outlines ways to use technology more effectively and not assume that all technology is good and lays out principles to use them to get more effective, deep work done.

Digital Minimalism: And lastly, the distractions of the digital world where the technologies that were supposed to aid us have started to distract us and heavily so. Newport uses various examples and stories to convince that clutter is costly and the way to a brighter future is through intentional use of technology through optimization of tools that we value. Newport advocates a break from all social media (where avoidable) for a period of 30 days and then to intentionally allow back in selective technologies and platforms that we value in our lives. The key to break existing habits is to have alternate leisure activities that we can spend our time on without falling back to the digital distractions.

The three themes that Cal Newport picks could not have more apt and more relevant in any other time in the last 30 years than it is at this point in time. There are aspects in each one of the three books that provide additional tools that one can add to the arsenal to be more effective in everyday.


What are we reading?

  1. Warren Buffett’s Kraft Heinz deal was unlike any Berkshire has done. He may not want to repeat it (here)
  2. Charlie Munger — An idiot could diversify his portfolio (here)
  3. Kraft Heinz books more than $1B in charge. Profit slumps (here)
  4. Inflated bond ratings helped spur the financial crisis. They’re back (here)
  5. The rot within India’s credit agencies (here)

What are we reading?

  1. Bottle of Lies — Review (here)
  2. Americans needs generic drugs but can they trust them? (here)
  3. Dirty Medicine (here)
  4. Top kidney charity directed aid to patients at DaVita and Fresenius (here)
  5. Trump proposes ways to improve care for kidney disease and increase transplants (here)


I recently finished reading Bottle of Lies. It is an absolutely fascinating account of fraud at Ranbaxy and findings at other pharma companies in India. It will do the Indian pharma industry a whole world of good in the future to heed to the underlying lessons and implications from the book.

Also, Davita evokes very mixed emotions. I exited a small position I had in the last year and but continue to be uncomfortable with the position that Berkshire has in DaVita. Of course, this is a Ted Weschler pick and he has long been associated with this.

What books are we reading?

We are reading an interesting set of books on the American military and technological progress post world war II.

  1. Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen (amazon link here)
  2. Operation paperclip by Annie Jacobsen (amazon link here)
  3. American Moonshoot by Douglous Brinkley (amazon link here)

Very interesting set of reads. The connection among all the three books is the use of the German Nazi scientists who were allowed to settle in the USA after world war II that allowed America to hold and extend the technological advantage over the world.