I am writing to notify you about two big Read With Me announcements.
The first is that the app is now available free of charge, to eliminate the financial barrier in front of anyone who can’t afford it or doesn’t understand its value. If you go to the web app, or download the app for iPhone or Android, you will have immediate access to the full library of works, including Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris and Ninety Three, Sinclair Lewis’s Arrowsmith, Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata, and more.
The second is that on December 2nd, a week from Sunday, I will begin leading readers through Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. If you’d like to join me and other members on this literary journey, now is the perfect time to download the app.
Dostoevsky said of his faith, “My hosanna has passed through a great crucible of doubt.” I believe it is that crucible – that fathomless depth and merciless rigor of thought, that unyielding determination to leave no psychological stone unturned, that intensity of moral ambition – that makes Dostoevsky required reading for everyone, believers and non-believers alike.
Too often, we adopt our own convictions with unthinking ease, rather than subjecting them to a crucible. My goal in starting Read With Me was to create a community of readers and accompany them on a journey through great works of literature that will challenge, deepen, and expand our outlook on life. Dostoevsky will.
As I said, anyone and everyone can now try Read With Me, because there is no longer a required subscription fee. I am a zealot on a literary mission, determined to show people what they stand to gain when they crack the pages of musty, old, beautiful, timeless books. Those who enjoy, and can afford, and want to support the existence of this program can become voluntary $10/month subscribers through Patreon.
I am not a professional actor. I am not a literary scholar. What I am is a sincere reader and a passionate lover of literature. You can think of the Read With Me app as providing you a book-loving friend in your pocket, always happy to read to you from my heart and to share with you what fascinates me about what we are reading.
Try Read With Me. Share it with the would-be readers in your life. Make literature part of your life.
Richard Salsman exposes the falsehoods behind the active vs passive false alternative in The Daily Capitalist.
Writes Salsman in “Buffett Won the Bet – and Missed the Point”:
Mr. Buffett writes, “Investors, on average and over time, will do better with a low-cost index fund than with a group of funds of funds.” Well, that’s surely true for capital whose owners are willing to forgo potentially higher returns in exchange for lower risk and the guaranteed mediocrity of average gains and losses. For all other capital, however, the opposite is true. It takes outsized gains like Mr. Buffett’s to inspire and arm us to make progress. Similarly it can take outsized gains and losses to expose the truth, promote the outperformers, and keep yesterday’s under-performing strategies and managers from interfering with a better tomorrow.
Active-passive is thus a false choice. All investing success depends on active thinking, buying and selling.
Still, Buffett concludes with cynicism:
“Human behavior won’t change. Wealthy individuals, pension funds, endowments and the like will continue to feel they deserve something ‘extra’ in investment advice. Those advisors who cleverly play to this expectation will get very rich. This year the magic potion may be hedge funds, next year something else. The likely result from this parade of promises is predicted in an adage: ‘When a person with money meets a person with experience, the one with experience ends up with the money and the one with money leaves with experience.’”
It’s true that human nature is constant, but our natural capacity for reason and infinite progress is precisely what makes such cynicism naïve. In all cases, better inputs make consistent outperformance possible. Berkshire Hathaway’s track record proves this for stock picking and allocating. Our track record proves this for using price relationships to forecast headwinds, tailwinds and inflection points, and to profitably allocate within one or more of the 5 major asset classes and subclasses.
“…socialists don’t expect their system to work in the sense of creating liberty, prosperity, and peace. First and foremost, they expect it to work to seize the means of production, human capital included. Then they expect it to entail, in their own words, a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” They expect it’ll destroy liberty and prosperity. In this sense, history demonstrates unequivocally that socialism works wonderfully.”
“In 1961, Ayn Rand received a speaking invitation from the Ford Hall Forum, an organization that sponsors free public lectures on social and political issues. She spoke there almost every year until her death. From 1982 to 2003, philosopher Leonard Peikoff continued that tradition. During this period, Peikoff gave over a dozen talks in which he applied Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, to a wide range of topics. Peikoff’s talks are now available on ARI Campus and ARI’s YouTube channel. There are fourteen lectures for you to explore, including lesson 1: “The Sanction of the Victims.” This talk, written by Ayn Rand and presented movingly after Rand’s death by Peikoff, also includes his recollections of Ayn Rand’s final weeks, and his views on Objectivism’s future. Listen to Peikoff—Ayn Rand’s foremost student and today’s leading expert on Objectivism—deliver these landmark talks and apply Objectivism to such topics as education, medicine, the religious right, the fall of communism, art, crime, the O.J. verdict, America’s response to 9/11 and others.” — ARI