- History Investor
- ButWhatFor? Four for Friday | No. 036
ButWhatFor? Four for Friday | No. 036
Good with hard work, Baupost, how to grow old, & people who write books
Welcome to all our new subscribers! ButWhatFor? covers anything, as long as it’s interesting. Thanks for joining!
A new long read is shared at the end of every month. The Friday email is about sharing and discussing works from others. If you enjoy the newsletter, please forward it to a few friends/colleagues or click here to share on Twitter to help us grow!
ButWhatFor? Four for Friday
Another way to read this, for me is, “If you do something worth doing, you won’t regret the effort it took to accomplish it, or even fail to accomplish it. However, if you choose not to do something you know should be done, you will regret your lack of effort.”
Hard to remember. Hard to put into practice. But easy to feel the pain of inaction when looking backward at what you didn’t try to accomplish.
The Baupost Group is a well-known and, depending on your style of investing, a well-regarded hedge fund / asset manager founded in 1982. Today, the group is run by Seth Klarman, and, at least as of 2012, Bloomberg suggested that Baupost was the 4th most successful hedge fund since it was formed. Baupost currently manages ~$30 billion of client’s assets.
One thing Baupost is famous for is highlighted in the above quote from their 2021 year-end investor letter — namely, crowdsourcing ideas from their entire organization, forming opinions, and then attempting to tear them apart. It is interesting to hear the long-term leader of the group explain the process.
Last weekend, I went snowboarding for the second time in my life. The first time was long enough ago that, more or less, I was starting at square one.
The first time I tried snowboarding, I hated it. It was hard. I fell so often that before the end of the day, I had enough bruises and painful joints that I switched back to skis. The rest of the trip was much easier.
The second time I tried snowboarding, I hated it. It was hard. I fell so often that before the end of the day, I had enough bruises and painful joints to… take a break. And try again the next day.
I am a terrible snowboarder, for sure, but I am going to try to learn it this year. However, falling hurts a lot, which made me think about how much more it hurts to fall today than it did 20 years ago… and how I am getting older.
One of the first articles I wrote that got widely shared is this Cicero article on old age, so I am bringing it back up given we have 1,500+ subscribers more than when I wrote it. Cicero doesn’t talk about snowboarding, but he does cover some topics related to building a life that makes your life in old age more fulfilling.
Back to snowboarding — on the second day, I was sitting at the bottom of the bunny slope completely defeated. I had just completely wiped out at the bottom of the hill because the only way I have figured out how to stop is to fall. I was ready to be done for the day, I took off my snowboot bindings, stood up, grabbed my board to start walking off the slopes, and then I saw him.
A grey-haired guy with amazing sunglasses and a brown, overly puffy jacket. He came sliding down the bunny slope. He wobbled. He nearly fell. He kept going. Some more wobble — and then like magic, he stopped… believe it or not, without falling. He looked at me and laughed, “Damn, this is harder than I thought it would be.”
Ok, Mr. Grey-Haired “I Recklessless Don’t Wear Helmets,” if you can learn this, so can I. Age is just a factor, not the entire picture. I’ll figure it out.
So, I put my snowboard boots back on, took the magic carpet back up the bunny slope, and then proceeded to fall strategically down that hill for a few more hours.
Over time, I have found that one of the surest ways pigeonhole yourself into only having the skills you have today is to put those that are good at something you wish to learn on a pedestal above yourself as always having been that way.
When you think “guitarists play guitar, I wish I could, too” or “entrepreneurs make good money, I wish I could, too” or, in this tweeter’s case, “authors write books, I wish I could, too” you are forgetting that even the prodigies that picked up that guitar for the first time never found it produced music in their hands without effort.
Anyone that is good at something today, at one point in the past, previously decided that they were going to do that thing despite not being able to do it.
Don’t prevent yourself from doing what you want just because you can’t do it today.
I used to work at Barnes & Noble. I got a job there to be closer to books. It never dawned on me that one of those books would someday be mine. To me, books were written by authors, poets, journalists, scholars, etc. Turns out, books are just written by people who write books. httptwitter.com/derek_del/stat…
— Derek DelGaudio (@derek_del)
Feb 2, 2022
If you made it all the way down here, please take a moment to share it with someone that might find it interesting — I appreciate your support greatly!
Have a great weekend,
See here for a full archive of ButWhatFor? articles
But What For? Writing about anything, as long as it’s interesting