Matthew Lekushoff |


It's been a stellar start to 2019 with virtually every major international stock market up at least 6% on the year. Of course, this rate of increase won't continue throughout the entire year, but investors seem to be in a buying mood and, as long as they are, the markets will keep running.

With last year's correction, valuations have returned to reasonable levels relative to historical norms, particularly in Canada and the emerging markets. Yet, the U.S.'s debt (and Canada's to a lesser extent) is growing much faster than its GDP. This isn't an urgent concern, but will likely be an issue that requires a close eye in the future.

A more immediate threat to the global economy and stock market, however, is the current geopolitical climate. It remains complicated, and I think it reasonable to expect the unexpected in 2019.

How time flies! The RRSP deadline (March 1) is only three weeks from tomorrow. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about whether you should contribute to an RRSP, or if you might require a top-up on the contribution you have already made.


Napoleon  by Vincent Cronin: Before reading Napoleon, my knowledge of the man was limited: he was short, he tucked his hand into his pants, and he was a great general. As it turns out, two of those descriptors were wrong. But, he was a great general. I now have a greater appreciation for why he is considered such an impressive historical figure.
Aside from his military victories, which were numerous, Napoleon can largely be credited with the revitalization of France after the revolution. The country was heavily indebted and inefficient. Through a tireless work ethic, which focused on making life better for all citizens, he not only won over the hearts and minds of the people, but led France to become one of the great powers of its time. We could use more leaders like that today!
How Not to Be Stupid  by Farnam Street: One of the easiest paths to success in life is to not be stupid. But, how do you define stupid? In a follow-up from his four-hour conversation ( part 1 and part 2 ) with Shane Parish, Adam Robinson shares his definition of stupid (see below) and the seven factors that trigger it.
Yuval Noah Harari: Why We Dominate the Earth  by Farnam Street: In hindsight, it seems inevitable that Homo sapiens would dominate the planet. But prior to the cognitive revolution (about 70,000 years ago), we were just another animal without distinct advantages, never mind ones who would rule the animal kingdom. This article focuses on the importance of that cognitive revolution, as well the strategy we used, and continue to use, in order to dominate our environment. It's also a great summary of the big ideas from Yuval Noah Harari's important book,  Sapiens .
Supernova in the East Part 2  by Hardcore History:  Another great episode of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History. This segment, at just over four hours, explores the complicated landscape behind Japan's entry into the Second World War, and finishes with a gripping description of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Although you can start "Supernova in the East" with part 2, I recommend beginning with part 1 . It provides an important perspective into the Japanese mindset, which also helps to explain the culture of modern-day Japan.
2018 Predictions: Calibration Results  by Scott Alexander: An effective and honest way to evaluate your ability to accurately predict an outcome is to incorporate your confidence level when making the prediction. For example, rather than simply predict the New England Patriots would win the Super Bowl, you might only be 55% sure of this. The important part is going back to see how often your predictions were correct in relation to your level of confidence. Scott Alexander did just this with 100 predictions he made at the beginning of 2018. It's the first time I've seen someone share both their predictions and their confidence levels, painting a more nuanced picture beyond simply being right or wrong.
If you'd like to learn more about decision-making and predictions, I'd recommend reading Superforecasting and listening to  an interview   with former professional poker player Annie Duke. 
A Unified Theory of Self Improvement  by Nat Eliason: A thoughtful exploration of how ideas and ideologies can take hold and cripple our sense of objectiveness-----  and a suggestion for how to prevent it from happening.
Digital Consumers, Emerging Markets, and the $4 Trillion Future  by BCG: Although trailing behind the developed world, many emerging-market countries are rapidly integrating the Internet into their consumption patterns. This shouldn't be a surprise. But learning that China's percentage of digital consumption leads all developed countries just might be.
Pendulum dance : I find simple things like this pendulum dance mesmerizing and beautiful.


"...people think stupidity is the opposite of intelligence. In fact, stupidity is the cost of intelligence operating in a complex environment. It's almost inevitable...I defined stupidity as overlooking or dismissing conspicuously crucial information...It's conspicuous, like it's right in front of your nose and yet you either overlook it or you dismiss it."
- Adam Robinson
"In the United States every year, there are roughly 30,000 fatalities from automobile accidents. That is a benchmark. How many deaths accidentally occur, accidentally, in hospitals every year? In other words, you go in with a broken arm and you don't come out. Not, you died as a result of what you went in for. You died because of error, human error. I would tell you the current best estimate - this is deaths, mind you, not injuries - is 210 to 440 thousand people die every year in the United States from hospital error. It's the third leading cause of death in the United States, right behind cancer and heart disease." 
- Adam Robinson
"I am better off than he is, for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." 
- Socrates
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." 
- usually attributed to Mark Twain

  • In case you didn't watch the big game, or just wanted to see some of the commercials again, here are all the Super Bowl commercials in the order they were played in.

Matthew Lekushoff

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