Become a Better Investor by Listening to Podcasts
Learning is a critical part of becoming a successful investor. While reading is probably the primary way most of us increase our circle of competence, I find high quality investing podcasts to be a great supplement to my reading. In this blog post I will discuss what I look for in podcasts and suggest a few investing podcasts.
Elements of a Great Investing Podcast
The signal to noise ratio for finance and investing podcasts is not good. There are a ton of finance and investing podcasts vying for your attention. I subscribe to very few of the investing podcasts I sample because I don’t find them engaging. The best time for me to listen to podcasts is when I am alone in the car or walking my dog. I like listening in these situations because I can’t do other things like read so I feel I am maximizing my time. If I like a podcast I will stay engaged and listening intently. However if I find my mind wandering off and not paying attention to the podcast it is usually because the podcast is missing some key elements. Your tastes may vary but I have observed that the above all the following elements are most important to me.
The bar for podcast production is high. If your audio quality is poor, the volume not balanced between all participants I am not going to stay focused on what you are saying. Multi person episodes that include choppy and static filled Skype sessions are very hard to follow. There have been a few podcast episodes with poor quality that I endured but only because the content or interviewee was extremely compelling.
I am huge fan of the long form interview format. Most of the podcasts I listen to follow this format. I am a fan of biographies and find I learn best from other people’s real world experiences and lessons. The success of this format is dependent on the next point…
To do a high quality interview you need to have a large amount of context about the subject. Preparation is so critical. One common thread I have seen across the podcasts I like is that the hosts do their research and due diligence before the interview.
I love podcasts that teach me something or really challenge me to think differently. Walking away from a podcast episode thinking “I never considered that or Maybe I was looking at this the wrong way” is an incredibly rewarding payback for the time invested in listening.
A big part of this is high quality guests with unique ideas. Some of the characteristics of podcast guests I like are:
- Skilled at explaining complex ideas to lay people.
- Unconventional or contrarian viewpoints that are backed up with research.
- Good story tellers.
My Favorite Investing Podcasts
Invest Like the Best
Patrick O’Shaughnessy is CEO of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management. OSAM is a well known quant/factor shop started by Patrick’s father James O’Shaughnessy. James O’Shaughnessy is a pioneer in quantitative investing and author of many books including What works on Wall Street.
Patrick O’Shaughnessy’s podcast Invest Like the Best is a long form interview and discussion format podcast. Patrick finds some of the most interesting people inside and outside of finance to discuss investing and life. The guests are wide ranging and sometimes the episodes may appear to drift away from investing and finance. But that is actually one of the great things about this podcast and its mission. Life, investing and the world around us are so intertwined. Patrick really goes out of his way to try explore how becoming better at life makes us better investors and how becoming better investors makes us better humans.
Suggested episode: Pat Dorsey – Buying Companies with Economic Moats
The Meb Faber Show
Meb Faber is co-founder, CEO and CIO of Cambria Investments and Cambria Funds. Among other things Cambria offers ETFs based on their quant strategies. Meb’s format is also long form interview with some question and answer and one off episodes on a topic. I really like the laid back vibe Meb has, it makes you feel like you are in the room with him and his guests.
Superinvestors and the Art of Worldly Wisdom
Superinvestors and the Art of Worldly Wisdom comes from Jesse Felder of the of The Felder Report. This is another long from interview format podcast. I just started listening to it and I have been impressed with all the episodes so far. As someone who has been a value investor for over 10 years it is refreshing to hear interviews with people I have never heard of before. So far I have listened to 5 episodes and the production quality is decent but not as good as other podcasts I listen to regularly. But it has not detracted as much because the quality and uniqueness of the guests so far has been great.
Suggested episode: Fred Hickey On Trusting in Your Own Research and Experience
Business Wars by Wonderly is a departure from my preferred podcast format. It is a podcast that tells the stories of the greatest business battles of our lifetime. Nike vs Adidas, Coke vs Pepsi and Paypal vs Ebay are a few of the stories I have listened to so far and I have enjoyed them all. Each battle is a multi episode series. Unlike previous podcasts I suggested Business Wars keeps each episode fairly short which it makes it nice for short trips and walks.
Suggested episodes: Ebay vs Paypal
In conclusion I hope you find some of these podcasts valuable. I will be keeping a list of investing podcasts I discover on my site at this page.