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The book is well-timed. Investors are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of tail-risk protection and the March 2020 crash has been a good reminder of that. However, the noble intent of the book lacked substance and practical insight. Some readers will appreciate the historical references to Greek mythology and Bernoulli, but many others will feel underwhelmed by the absence of practical insight. I generally appreciate attempts to build up investment frameworks from first principles, but the book is too much focused on destroying others' people and not enough on adding value.
They say book reviews reveal more about the reviewer than the book. That’s probably true here. I was hoping for something practical. This is not practical.
I’ll quote p. 4-5 of the book, because this is what I would have wanted to know up front before buying…
“This is not a ‘how-to’ book, but it is a ‘why-to’ book as well as a ‘why-not-to’ book. Let’s be clear: what I do specifically as a safe haven investor is not to be a attempted by non-professionals….”
“So, I will not be holding your hand and teaching you how to do it.”
So it’s a book explaining all the benefits of risk mitigation… why it’s absolutely critical... lets you know how awesome Universa has done because of its implementation… and then it gives toy examples using dice.
Maybe if this book didn’t include “Investing for Financial Storms” in the title… I would have had different expectations and simply enjoyed the history Bernoulli & Nietzsche and how neatly logarithms create intuition about geometric averages.
But since I was expecting a book that actually helps one to invest “for financial storms”, I’m greatly disappointed.
Raises some important points (e.g. Kelly Criterion) but is long-winded and leaves out what would have been the most valuable content: how to a define and construct “insurance” for your portfolio, especially if you’re not an institution. You can learn the same core concepts, for free, *plus how to actually implement them* from sources like Artemis Capital, Seth Klarman, Twitter, Reddit (not wsb), and many others.