Required reading for the budding investor

Tip: this post is really just a long [50-ish items] book list for the aspiring investor

SpreZZaturian’s guide to becoming an investor

You want to work in finance, become a finance mogul?! You want to know the truth? You think you’re entitled to? 

required reading for the budding investor

You can’t handle the truth!

You will not get rich working in finance

Unless you went to the right school, hardly any firm will look twice at your application (more on how to write one here)

Job opportunities in finance are shrinking, and it will get much worse. If hired at all, prepare to be fired soon.

Before being fired, expect long and meaningless hours as a general “resource” (at best collecting data and preparing power point presentations, at worst working as a caterer).

The skill set for getting in has hardly anything to do with the skill set needed to invest. Consequently, if hired at all, you will waste a lot of time collecting and serving instead of learning, understanding and practicing.

You won’t learn much useful on the sell-side (analyst) either. And it will take forever before you make any money on the buy-side (founding partners and seniors will take it all, and you, my friend, are replaceable). Joining a new fund won’t make much difference, since any outfit that would consider you will be sub-scale, potentially forever.

 

DIY investing is a better way

But if you really want to be an investor anyway, do it yourself.

Apart from HFT/algo and bonds, you won’t need any fancy math, high up-front investments in infrastructure or complicated strategies. Investing in stocks (and some other asset classes) is mostly about psychology (not least patience).

You don’t need to get coffee for bosses to learn about investing. You don’t need to prepare giant spreadsheets or power points during the weekends to understand the basics. You need to read good books, and take risk with your own money.

If you are good enough and can prove your results, who knows, maybe after a little while, some hotshot will hire you or buy your operation. If you still want to by then.

You’ll get all the fun of investing, of being your own man, and at least the potential of making serious money sooner or later.

If you are not good enough, how did you ever expect to make money in the finance industry?

Do you want some reading tips for becoming a better investor? Can you handle the required reading list? Here goes…

 

Required reading

To become an investor you need a little bit of money, some basic accounting skills (being able to read an annual report), patience and a bit of luck. And most important of all, you need the right frame of mind, stability and being aware that investing is mostly about psychology, not math and accounting.

Not least you need a frame of reference and perspective.

The following are my best book recommendations for reading up on (mainly the psychology of) investing. And some for historical references and perspective in case you just started investing (less than 15 years ago) and don’t have good sources of long term financial records.

Plus some books to avoid.

First, the ten truly required reads:

 

Margin Of Safety – Seth Klarman (great summary for free here)

It’s really all you need to become aware of the most important pitfalls and opportunities in investing. This one is truly required reading; many times over.

Reminiscences of a stock operator – Edwin Lefevre

This book covers one of the greatest traders/investors ever, from his humble beginnings as a quotation boy to becoming one of the richest people in the world and a stand off against the U.S. government. His mistakes, luck and success imprint the reader with the foundations of investing psychology, technical analysis, macro/micro and sound, productive, investment.

Remember that “technical analysis” isn’t all about drawing arbitrary patterns in a stock chart, it’s about trying to infer the psychology that drives human herd behavior and stock prices.

Technical analysis has been a dirty word since my first finance classes in college, but prices still do hold some information.

Exactly what and how to use it is another story. I don’t think it’s black or white but a lot of shades of grey between macro, micro and technicals.

The Most Important Thing – Howard Marks

Everything you need to know about risk. Marks is a master of breaking down “risk” in components of risk, which clarifies the concept, and educates the reader on how to manage risk. You might think risk is just (historical) price volatility, or earnings volatility, VaR or something similar.

Nope. Marks will teach you about dozens of different risks that will make you see investing in a whole different light. 

Hedgehogging – Barton Biggs

Biggs’ story of how he started a hedge fund, managed setbacks in funding as well as investing (not least in oil). It’s entertaining and very useful. I learned more reading that book, than in my previous 10+ years in the market (I said something similar in an Amazon review way back).

You will literally feel Barton’s angst as he struggles with whether to cut his losses, or hold on to sinking assets that might be about to bounce or turn around. Better him than you.

Fooling some of the people all of the time – Einhorn

The perils of shorting, of being right but early and alone – and drawing fire from the authorities. If you are at all enticed by the dark side of shorting, you need to read this.

The Black Swan – Taleb

More about hidden risks and how to take them into account. Taleb’s epic book about the unknown unknowns that risk undoing everything unless you manage the fat tails of (im)probable outcomes.

BULL! – Maggie Mahar

The breathtaking story of the worst stock market mania ever in the late 1990s. Read and compare the IT bubble 1995-2000 with the central bank bubble of 2010-2015.

The great crash – Galbraith

The only objective recount of the markets and the economy in the early 1930’s. Did investors actually commit suicide? Didn’t anybody warn before. What responsibility did the Federal reserve have? Back then, the world’s greatest economist right before the crash claimed stock prices had reached a permanently high plateau. Should celebrity pundits like that be trusted?

How an economy grows and why it crashes – Peter Schiff

It’s about macro, I know, but it’s also about the foundations of entrepreneurship, investment, productivity and wealth creation. It’s the best book on economics ever written. It’s required reading on every book list. Here, it might just keep you a little more level headed when feeling the urge to buy into the Snapchat or Uber IPOs.

The death of money – James Rickards

What might happen to fiat money when the current money printing era draws to an end. Also, why you might want to buy gold instead of most stocks. Perhaps a bit dystopian and scary for a young investor, but nevertheless a good reminder that stocks are not all about stocks…

The Retarded Hedge Fund manager – Karl-Mikael Syding

My own honest tale about taking risk, and the importance of realizing the difference between luck and skill and avoiding hubris.

 

Very useful and readable, but perhaps not required per se

Thinking Fast And Slow – Kahneman (About the limitations of the human mind. Economic psychology and behavioral finance 101. You’ve already read it all if you have a masters degree in finance, but it’s a good summary nevertheless)

The user illusion – Norretranders (insightful and important regarding the interplay between the conscious and the subconscious; the real self and the narrating I). Learn to trust your intuition (which is the 1m times faster subconscious way of trying to communicate important things to your slow I) and be fascinated to learn that your “I” actually live half a second in the past, which is how long it takes the self to filter and sort and communicate the info (as well as make a fake time stamp -0.5s).

The Logic of Life – Tim Harford (a new slant on homo economicus, how superficially illogical decisions actually are super rational. It can help explain why some unlikely companies prosper and some ‘sure things’ fail)

Abundance – Diamandis & Kotler (about the wonderful future of technology and mankind [not sci fi; very concrete actual technologies]. Great for insulating yourself against doomsayers and perhaps understanding which new new things are more likely than others, and what kind of competition they will soon face)

Tomorrow’s gold – Marc Faber (Macro. Power centers and currencies you thought would last forever didn’t. None. The dollar and the U.S. won’t either, and definitely not the euro. Please note though that the time scale is in the hundreds or thousands of years, not next Monday)

Lords of finance – Ahamed (important lessons from central banking’s early days, not least the quick-step dance between currencies, real estate, stocks and bonds required to protect your savings during the Weimar hyperinflation)

Manias, panics and crashes – Kindleberger (everything you ever needed to know about the history and dynamics of manias and panics. The book is unfortunately a bit of a slow read, but the information is important and useful to gain perspective on what a bubble is, how it forms, the psychology behind its build-up and its bursting, what parts are fundamental and what parts are irrational feed back loops, how long to ride a bubble and how to trust a strong advance actually isn’t a bubble at all)

Endgame – Mauldin (not as good as I had hoped, but interesting macro take on the future for various [all] geographies. China, Japan, Russia… here is a prescient look into the future of geopolitical risk)

Irrational exuberance – Shiller (bubble theory from the man behind the Shiller cyclically adjusted price earnings ratio: CAPE)

Holy grail of macroeconomics – Koo (what really happened in Japan, and what was done about it, albeit not updated for the last few years’ insanity)

Animal Spirits – Akerlof/Shiller (the micro behind the macro of recoveries and bubbles)

The return of depression economics – Krugman (believe it or not, it was actually quite good – I read it in 2001 but he’s released an update including both crashes since then)

The great reflation – Boeckh (perhaps it’s over now, but here Boeckh shows the opportunities created by reflating the world after a trough. For next time, perhaps.)

 

Esoteric

Gödel Escher Bach – Hofstadter (A heavy and dificult tome about recursivity, reflexivity, self reference and feed back loops. No market talk at all, but a very important book about the limitations of math, where consciousness comes from, and related to the circular issue of central banks basing their decisions on variables that are affected by earlier CB decisions).

 

 

More fun than important, but still offer some psychological insights into markets and its participants

Cityboy – the ugly truth about financial analysts (you’ll never trust a recommendation again)

Wall Street Meat – A great book for understanding the immoral machinations that underpinned the IT mania (good IPOs go to insiders, bad go to you)

Liar’s Poker – Early days of the stock market’s comeback from the dead in the 1980’s. My guess is we could very well end up in a “death of markets” situation again in a few years; the early 2020’s?

The new new thing – Lewis’ story about the IT mania in the end of the 1990’s

Trading with the enemy – Jim Cramer’s colleague recounts Cramer’s borderline illegal antics at his hedge fund’s office and in the stock market

 

These you can do without:

The Intelligent Investor – Graham (Boring, dated, methods still works though but it’s way too long for saying keep stocks and bonds in your portfolio, buy more of whatever falls in proportion to the other)

Market Wizards – Schwager (Wtf?! Utter junk. Some fun stories, but nothing actionable – just hundreds of recounts of gut feeling and luck)

Wealth, War and Wisdom – Barton Biggs (I learned a few things about WWII, but the market stuff is borderline ridiculous – almost religious)

 

I haven’t read the following myself but they are probably worthwhile:

Antifragile (what is actually new here vs. The Black Swan?)

The little book of sideways markets (expect sideways markets for decades, with huge swings… this book might come in handy) 

Flash boys (Lewis is always entertaining and educational, here in a scary tale about HFT front running and rigging. Do you really want to invest in that environment?)

When genius failed (interesting tale about the Nobel prize winners that almost broke the financial system, by miscalculating the thickness of financial tails)

The big short (Lewis’ narrative of the house price boom and bust, its main characters and companies)

 

School text books I’ve kept but you easily can do without

Statistics – Newbold (way too much formulas for most, albeit some important lessons on which statistics to trust and which not to) 

Basic Econometrics – Gujarati (some regression analysis techniques can be useful, but mechanistic investing on this level is useless anyway)

Futures and Options – Hull (skip this one and take market prices for granted. You won’t be doing any option arbitrages anytime soon, or ever)

Principles of Corporate Finance – Brealey & Myers (here’s what you’ll learn: companies take on debt, and issue equity. Some proportions are expensive and/or risky. Sometimes companies acquire each other. Sometimes too dearly)

Valuation – Copeland (not completely useless, but do you seriously think you’ll forecast cash flows 20-50 years out and discount them with some arbitrary factor? And then invest your own money based on what comes out of the model? I don’t think so)

Macroeconomics -Dornbusch and Fischer (among all the laughable [EMH] charts and graphs there are some insights into economics, but you’ll learn so much more in Schiff’s book)

 

Online resources

Memos from Howard Marks (quarterly write-ups from the master of risk)

Ray Dalio’s principles (a very long list of guiding principles in life as well as on the markets)

Hussman weekly (weekly updates on market risk tolerance/aversion and valuation)

Contrarian edge (Vitaliy Katsenelson’s somewhat philosophical musings on the market, companies and products)

Wall Street Week (interviews with financial moguls)

Financial Orbit (Chris Bailey’s market updates)

HORAN (useful market charts -and thoughts)

Zerohedge (fast, frequent, news comments – unfortunately with a paranoid and bearish bias that seldom has any bearing on current events, even if it might hold true in the long run)

GMO (Legendary investor Jeremy Grantham has researched bubbles, all bubbles, defined them and followed their conclusion (all crash). Register for free and read his quarterly letters, including his past ones). Please note that he doesn’t quite think that we’re in a stock market bubble (yet).

Gloom Boom Doom by Marc Faber (“there is always an opportunity somewhere, perhaps in Vietnam”)

The high tech strategist monthly newsletter by Fred Hickey (originally a letter about high tech companies, sales and earnings developments and investment opportunities, but lately more and more about central bank shenanigans and opportunities in gold)

 

Other

You probably should read up on marketing and accounting too, even if I think it’s a bit overkill. I suck at marketing, always have, and it didn’t hurt my investing.

I’m not particularly good at accounting either, but you won’t learn the necessary skills in school anyway – just some shallow mechanics.

Actually, accounting is one of few areas where sell side analysts are good to have around. They know a lot about accounting tricks and valuable key ratios.

Anyway, you’ll get pretty far by following, albeit somewhat blindly, my 50-step formula presented in an earlier post (called The magical 2-step formula).

And here is more on how to screen for stocks to invest in.

In a future post, I’ll add a beginner’s guide to stock screening (i.e., how to go from thousands of available stocks to just a few dozen relevant to choose from).

 

Summary

Start investing. If you can’t get a boss (a job) in finance, do it yourself. 

Read, read a lot, re-read. Start with Margin Of Safety, at least two times. Then the other 9 required reads.

Sign up for newsletters and updates from Grantham (GMO), Howard Marks, Contrarian Edge (Katsenelson) and check in on Hussman Weekly every Monday. Read their historical production as well. Just keep reading backwards in time.

Trade/invest with real money. Start with a little. Increase your stakes slowly.

Make a check list of what to consider before pouncing, and what you need to cut a holding. Follow that plan. When in doubt get out. Then restart. That goes for the upside as well; don’t be afraid to take a profit and a pause.

Keep a log of exactly what you do and why – in particular your feelings. You’ll want to get back to those notes when in trouble.

Read more; read Hedgehogging by Biggs… and my book The Retarded Hedge Fund Manager (subscribe to get it for free)

Most important of all: There is no rush whatsoever to invest. Markets will be there tomorrow too. Do not make an investment or hold on to it unless you know what you are doing. Keep a margin of safety.

Study, Wait, Pounce.

Margin of Safety

The Retard’s Guide To Becoming a Finance Mogul

So, you want to work in finance?

so you want to work in finance retarded hedge fund manager

Good luck.

No, seriously. You’ll need it:

work in finance retarded hedge fund manager

No contacts, not the right schools, no money? Aiming to become so good they can’t ignore you anyway? You want to become one of the best (and richest) portfolio managers (ever), starting from scratch? There you go again…

how to land a good job in finance

Okay, so I did it that way. That only makes me a sigma-something anomaly and nothing to try to copy – just as most top performers in all areas, including ball players, athletes, musicians, models, fund managers and so on.

However, without hard work and at least trying, you are certain to go nowhere at all. The ones whose strategies you should try to emulate are among the hard working and excellent top one per cent, rather than the stellar, and lucky or gifted, top basis point (1/100 per cent).

Finance Cloud 9

investors

 

Caveats aside, here is the Retard’s Path To Finance Cloud 8 (too many sigmas at 9, and Buffett):

How To Become Someone In Finance

Apart from money, luck and doing whatever Wall Street Playboys say, here is my way.

First, make sure you understand what you are talking about:

  • Do you want to work on the Buy side or Sell side?
  • Do you want to be a broker, an analyst, a PM or a corp guy?
  • Are you into equities, bonds, commodities, macro economy (or real estate – though not quite finance)?
  • Do you prefer sales or number crunching?
  • Are you interested in business models and the economy,
  • or more into group psychology and trend analysis?

market retarded hedge fund manager

It’s okay, you actually don’t have to decide right now. Many, including me, have profitably gone from one area to the other, back and forth, up and down.

Some paths are more lucrative than others, but most work – as long as you don’t stay too long in sales, i.e., unless you plan to stay there (-the only way to get rich unless you own your business, according to the WSP sages).

I personally went from broker assistant, to licensed broker, to sell side analyst, to certified analyst, to buy side analyst, to portfolio manager and partner (owner).

The first few steps (up until and including certified analyst) were done in around a year. I then worked as a certified sell side analyst for 5 years, before joining a hedge fund, where I became Partner, Portfolio Manager and the Managing Director after respectively 4-5 years. I worked in that (those!) capacity for the remaining 10 years, hiring a handful of analysts and dismissing many more applications over the years.

Then I couldn’t wait to quit, and you ask me for advice on how to get in…!?

 

Show me the money!

You don’t care what side of the money you are, you just want it. Fuck the job, just tell me how to make enough para to get the hell out before becoming ancient.

That’s the spirit. No, really. If you are going to work in this soul sucking industry anyway, make sure you get the green for it.

The dough is in sales (ref WSP) and in PM (portfolio management – if you have a stake in the firm, i.e., if you are a partner).

Sales can mean many things, but you’d want to be an institutional broker, an analyst or work in corporate finance as key account manager or possibly research. In short, you need to own the firm or you need to be a specialist with a direct client relationship (some kind of sales).

Please note, though, that new rules mean clients will pay less and less for research and brokerage services. In addition, the coming normalization (crash in prices and volumes) of markets most likely means the sell side industry (brokers and research boutiques) will be decimated, leaving a selct few making big bucks and the masses forced to cut down on their current too lavish lifestyles. New guys, like you, will be at the bottom of this food chain.

I would recommend aiming for the buy side (the money side, the client side), possibly via a short stint as an analyst on the sell side just to make yourself a name. If you are good or lucky enough, and work until your behind becomes unstuck, you’ll be noticed and just might get bought over to the money side by a greedy PM that has grown tired of doing the work himself.

Hmmm, who am I really talking about here..?

 

The path in practice

1. Start trading and make money. Get the skills online. Make yourself rich enough to not be ignored (only then will your track record be taken seriously). Then start your own hedge fund and accept outside money.

-Good luck! This would typically take forever, or end like the Challenger in 1986 (too soon?). Get rich quick schemes on the stock market are all but a sure way to ruin. In addition, why would you need or want outside money or employment if your formula works and you’re already rich?

finance full retard

2. Get the skills online (math, statistics, programming, economics, accounting, cash flow analysis, business model assessment).

Cold call existing mutual and hedge funds and sell yourself cheap enough (for free?) to get the chance to fetch lunch for the real money managers and analysts. Then prove yourself (build models, provide creative input, make your bosses look good) and hope that somebody dares take a chance on you for some real responsibility, despite lacking the right degrees and pedigree.

gene wilder

“Tell me more how you plan to get into high finance by yourself”

Unfortunately, no matter what I usually say about institutional education, when it comes to a traditional career in finance, you still have to take the…, well, traditional route. With a twist:

 

The straight and narrow

3. Get a degree from as prestigious a university you can get in to. Combine finance studies with math, statistics and programming, or perhaps engineering and/or law to stand out from the faceless crowd of “but, but, I have a master in finance” puppies. Any real world experience, such as running a start-up or working in technical industries (pharma, med tech, technology, software etc.) is a plus.

Do not take a back office job, “to get close to the real action and hope to transition from there”. It can happen. It has happened. I have actually personally interviewed and hired a three years straight back office summer intern and hired him. Just don’t count on it to happen. Both Futuris and I were outliers.

Instead, start as a front office assistant (or as high up as you manage to land a job, e.g., junior broker or analyst) on the buy side (much easier) or sell side (not that many slots available, so much harder to accomplish right out of the box).

Work your ass off. Be the light switch. Turn it on when you come to the office and off when you leave. Last. Make sure you get just about enough sleep to function (probably on average 5 hours a night, plus whatever naps you can get during transports etc.). Note, that this runs completely contrary to my advice for individual long term success and happiness. This is only for making it as a finance slut – something I usually advice against.

Whether you are an assistant, a broker assistant, an analyst assistant, a junior broker, a junior analyst or PM’s assistant, expand your skills as much as possible. Ask questions (not too many at a time though, and never the same question twice unless you couldn’t actually hear the answer). Read up on whatever is discussed and if the same topic surfaces again, respectfully and humbly provide your input. If possible, make it seem as if it was your closest superior that came up with the idea/solution.

Never be idle. The density of your tasks will be low in the beginning. Take advantage of that for both acquiring skills, getting contacts and not least taking initiative, aiming just low enough to be able to present real and  unambiguous results in a short time. And again, and again.

E.g., back in 1994, on my first job as a broker assistant, my boss mentioned Warren Buffett’s model for selecting investments. The model’s criteria had recently been featured in Sweden’s largest financial magazine. My boss proposed perhaps screening some of our best buy recommendations according to that criteria.

A little proud, albeit still with my peculiar spectrum disorder detachment (not realizing the pivotal importance of the moment), I could tell him I had already built an Excel model doing just that, as well as tried it on our top cases. I showed him the model and the result (screaming buy for Scribona, among other companies). I had more “secret” projects lined up, so it wasn’t that much of a coincidence I hit that home run.

How to land a job in finance

I like to think that specific moment was crucial to my keeping the job after the initial 6 trial months, despite being “kind of like a round peg in a square hole”.

4. Be a quant. If you love math, statistics and programming, prove yourself in some way – preferably with a finance related thesis or a PhD – and sell yourself to a quant/HFT/trend following fund and constantly blackmail the owners for a share of the company.

quant

5. If you simply fail to land a job in finance, do not settle for back office, try management consulting instead, or a job in a real and technical industry (pharma, med tech, technology, software, gaming) where you can acquire a deep understanding, that later can be leveraged as an analyst or portfolio manager.

Use your spare time to study finance and apply for finance jobs. You’ll get in sooner or later.

 

Summary and conclusions

  • If you are into DIY, I suggest trying a different career

Here is how to do the finance tango properly:

  • Document and show interest in investing/finance/markets. Invest and trade.
  • Get a degree. Get two, but don’t take your sweet time – do it in parallel
  • Kiss ass, work ass off. No real skills needed to land or keep a job in finance
  • Acquire real skills (for the future as a portfolio manager or sales)
  • Finally, use the skills to produce value, and make sure you get your share (as owner or through blackmail [employer jumping, silly season pro])

 

It’s not easy. It’s not fun, but you can get rich

It’s not easy to get in, not to mention up, in finance, but if you really, really want to whore out in this business, I think almost anybody can make it quite high:

Just pay attention to what your bosses want, what your clients like to hear, and always be working, always improving, always acquiring skills (mostly cheap, easy to communicate skills, parlour tricks almost). Read my review of Carnegie’s “How to make friends” to get some cynical tips on how to approach and use people with power.

Here are some other useful books to read before your first interview: Liars’s Poker, Reminiscences of a stock operator, Bull!, Wall Street Meat, The Great Crash and City Boy. If you just want to impress you can claim you read Intelligent Investor (but don’t actually do it).

 

Always be investing

Do I have to add that it’s mandatory to have traded with your own money before applying? Unless you have a documented interest in the market you’ll be dismissed in a minute.

Please note, that:

the skill set for landing and keeping your first position is quite different from the skill set and habits needed for adding value

…and performing once you get some real responsibility.

Should you eventually find yourself in a position with actual responsibilities as a portfolio manager (or just managing your own money), then cut back on the hours, the parlour tricks, the kissing ass, the working extremities off, and focus on understanding, on strategy,…, well on all the things I laid out in my book The Retarded Hedge Fund Manager.

Some useful books for once you handle real money are: The Most Important Thing (risk), Margin Of Safety (investing), Lords Of Finance (central banks and their failure), Tomorrow’s Gold (power shifts), How An Economy Grows And Why It Crashes (macro economy and real investments) and The Black Swan (risk)

If you never read my book, do. If you haven’t subscribed yet, do it now and get the book for free. I hear it’s amateurish, but a page turner, a little fun and highly recommended.

I promise to never spam your e-mail address, or allow any third parties to get near you.

From n00b to master of the universe in 16 years. Are you up next?

cropped-skandia-annual-report-1994.jpgThe Retarded Hedge Fund Manager

Learn how to code and be change resistant, or prepare to be automated

Do you know how to code?

-Good, keep at it! As you were, soldier.

 

No?

-then read on. Your life depends on it:

code for your life

Skills, it’s all about skills these days. Forget about education and get yourself a few useful skills, preferably an unusual combination of skills

These are some of the skills you’ll acquire while actually doing something quite stimulating (i.e. learning to program, both low level and high level):

  • math, algebra
  • logical thinking
  • focus
  • combining big picture strategic thinking with focus on details
  • patience, being thorough (debugging, or avoiding having to debug [super human])
  • for a young Swedish person: learning English

All these skills are of course useful and valuable even if you don’t actually code.

 

However…

 

…as if that wasn’t enough, you’ll learn a trade too:

enabling you to be your own one-man construction company, plumber, electrician, alchemist, magician, money printer and God in the digital era. Make your own apps, use them or sell them – perhaps trade them as a currency for other apps or knowledge. You might stop at making simple games for your children or just polishing your web site, or you just might go all the way to unlocking more horse powers in your car or optimizing your energy bill or fooling burglars with a smart lighting schedule when you’re away. Why not construct and sell virtual stuff for money in the many game worlds?

Oh, did I say the IT industry is screaming for skilled coders? Knowing how to code or program isn’t just change resistant, it’s here and now as well. Modern people are too lazy to focus, too lazy to learn real skills. Don’t be one of them. Don’t be the “I want to be on TV” person. Be the one editing TV, programming special effects, integrating media systems, inventing smarter information flows. Be important and change resistant, not just another replaceable warm body.

 

You want to be in control of the robot overlords as long as possible

Which skills do you think will be the most change resistant, the coming 10-25 years, as our robot overlords start to take over? I’d bet on programming, coding, controlling the first primitive software and hardware robots. I also think apps, or coding hours or something similar might partly replace fiat currencies. Okay, that might be taking it a step to far. Might.

One thing is for certain though, almost everything will be automated sooner or later, and you would want to be than one doing the automation. (This guy says no to coding, and actually expresses a couple of valid points. In my opinion, however, he misses all the skills you acquire while learning programming. He also implicitly assumes we should all be either top level management or blue collar workers. In practice most of us are in between; at risk of being automated but capable of becoming self-sufficient through coding)

 

Your choice

-to hide and pretend until all is lost, or take action? Which is it going to be?

choice

 

The bitter red pill of enlightenment, truth and discipline (as well as subscribing to my newsletter)

Or the sweet blue pill, leading to continued blissful ignorance – but also eventual enslavement and doom

 

WHAT kind of code?

It depends of what you want to do with it. If you have a tangible goal, research what code others are using in that area, be it java, javascript, perl, ruby rails, python one of the C’s etc. If you’re looking for a job, check out ads and ask friends or prospective employers what skills they are looking for. If you simply want the challenge, see what your favorite online resource has to offer, e.g., Codecademy or Khan).

 

10 Print “I won’t give in to ”

20 Print “our robot overlords. ”

30 GOTO 20