Lessons from Warren Buffett, Bobby Fischer, and Other Outliers

Source: http://tim.blog/2017/02/02/lessons-from-warren-buffett-bobby-fischer-and-other-outliers/

Adam Robinson and Warren Buffet

“Geniuses have very limited toolsets — they have a hammer, and their genius is in looking for nails.”
– Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson (@IAmAdamRobinson) first appeared on this podcast in the “Becoming the Best Version of You” episode (#210) alongside Josh Waitzkin (chess, jiu-jitsu, investing) and Ramit Sethi (personal finance, entrepreneurship).

By popular demand, this is a dedicated episode of Adam’s stories and life lessons.

Adam Robinson has made a lifelong study of outflanking and outsmarting the competition. He is a rated chess master who was awarded a Life Title by the United States Chess Federation. As a teenager, he was personally mentored by Bobby Fischer in the 18 months leading up to his winning the world championship.

Then, in his first career, he developed a revolutionary approach to taking standardized tests as one of the two original co-founders of The Princeton Review. His paradigm-breaking — or “category killing,” as they say in publishing — test-prep book, The SAT: Cracking the System, is the only test-prep book ever to have become a New York Times bestseller. After selling his interest in The Princeton Review, Adam turned his attention in the early ’90s to the then-emerging field of artificial intelligence, developing a program that could analyze text and provide human-like commentary. He was later invited to join a well-known quant fund to develop statistical trading models, and since, he has established himself as an independent global macro advisor to the chief investment officers of a select group of the world’s most successful hedge funds and family offices.

In his spare time, he’s also become pen pals with Warren Buffett.

This is a wide-ranging conversation (aka conversational parkour) with lots of takeaways. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed recording it!

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Listen to it on iTunes.
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Want to hear another podcast with Adam Robinson? — In this episode, we discuss a variety of topics on business, wealth, and happiness, and are joined by Ramit Sethi and Josh Waitzkin (stream below or right-click here to download):

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Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you — for free — exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it.  Well worth a few minutes: wealthfront.com/tim.

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Connect with Adam:

Website | Twitter

Becoming the Best Version of You (Adam’s first appearance on this show)
What Smart Students Know: Maximum Grades. Optimum Learning. Minimum Time. by Adam Robinson
You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits by Joel Greenblatt
Regulation Fair Disclosure
Blythedale Children’s Hospital
My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer
Abandoned NY: Inside Grossinger’s Crumbling Catskill Resort Hotel by Pablo Iglesias Maurer, Gothamist
Iocane powder is noted as being one of the deadliest poisons known to man.
The Karate Kid
Granny Smith apples
Laurence Olivier’s To Be Or Not To Be soliloquy from Hamlet
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
The 3Bs of Creativity: Bed, Bath, and Bus by Jim Briggs
Are Psychedelic Drugs the Next Medical Breakthrough?
The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide — Risks, Micro-Dosing, Ibogaine, and More
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu
More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby
What is a hedge fund?
Stoicism Resources and Recommendations
What is Hedonism?
The Tao of Seneca: Letters from a Stoic Master
What is Epicureanism?
The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Edition by Jalal al-Din Rumi
Beeman’s Gum
Laird Hamilton, The King of Big Wave Surfing (Plus: Gabrielle Reece and Brian MacKenzie)

Show Notes

An anecdote about Warren Buffett’s day planner and thoughts on what Warren Buffett actually does. [06:51]
Can you be a stock market gladiator? [08:36]
Planning on investing? What is your edge? [10:48]
Warren Buffett’s one-sentence secret to being a great investor. [12:52]
How Adam turned a chance encounter on the street with his hero — the reclusive chess champion Bobby Fischer — into a lasting friendship. [14:51]
On informed simplicity via Bobby Fischer, Picasso, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. [28:14]
The limited toolset of genius. [30:47]
The “read far and wide” genius of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. [32:24]
Looking for patterns and things that don’t make sense. [34:05]
Adam’s decision-making process for choosing opportunities. [38:15]
The last thing Adam’s father said to him before passing. [41:30]
Adam’s nutritional odyssey: Granny Smith apples for optimizing function (and avoiding English institutional food). [44:31]
The three rules for success. [53:03]
On coping with depression and learning to focus on needs of others over needs of the self. [56:14]
If you suffer from bouts of depression, become aware of the biochemical markers that forewarn of its onset. [1:01:12]
The three Bs of creativity. [1:02:57]
On hearing and paying attention to what the unconscious mind is trying to tell you. [1:06:00]
Does Adam view himself as a risk-taker? [1:15:20]
On hedge funds that don’t hedge. [1:17:22]
Stoicism vs. Hedonism [1:21:13]
Philosophers or thinkers Adam recommends. [1:27:03]
How is the next day different when deciding to break from the past? [1:30:39]
A gambler walks into a bar… [1:36:00]
An example of magic and being one-upped as the world’s best gift-giver. [1:42:10]
The fulcrum moment: “Now is the time to act.” [1:48:15]
Accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative. Create delight. [1:49:45]

People Mentioned

Josh Waitzkin
Ramit Sethi
Warren Buffett
Bobby Fischer
Molly
Joel Greenblatt
Charlie Munger
Eleanor Roosevelt
Forrest Gump
Ferris Bueller
Magnus Carlsen
Samuel Reshevsky
Kobe Bryant
Stephen Curry
Boris Spassky
Muhammad Ali
Dread Pirate Roberts
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Pablo Picasso
Rembrandt
Abraham Maslow
Sam Zell
Tony Robbins
Elizabeth Taylor
Martin Polanco
Dan Engle
James Fadiman
Woody Allen
Marcus Aurelius
Seneca
Charles Darwin
Lucilius Junior
Epicurus
Jalal al-Din Rumi
Plato
Gabrielle Reece

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