Some things and ideas: November 2023
My monthly post with random thoughts on articles or market stuff that caught my attention in the last month (as well as some fantasy book recommendations and some other monthly recurring reminders!).
My monthly overview (Monthly recurring piece)
I consider YAVB my “empire” with four core pieces: this blog / substack (the free side), the premium side of this blog, my podcast (also on Spotify, iTunes, or YouTube), and my twitter account. You can see my 2022 vision and goals for the empire here. If you like the blog / free site, I'd encourage you to check out the pod, follow me on twitter, and maybe even subscribe to the premium site!
A bonus note: I get asked from lots of people about how to break into the finance industry. I detailed it more here, but my top advice would be to go out and start a substack (substack recently gave me a referral code if you start one; if you use that, awesome! But I’ve been recommending starting a substack long before they offered referrals!). If you do launch a substack, please let me know so I can try to be helpful.
New Analyst / Spin off update
I announced earlier this month I had my first spin-off (baby). Happy to announce she’s happy, healthy, and eating up a storm (and by eating, I of course mean pooping)! Here’s the obligatory cute baby photo (notice they’re wearing some YAVP swag!).
Subscription / Premium price increase
I try not to market the subscription / premium side of the blog too much; it’s meant for sophisticated investors looking for my best stock pitches (I rarely put up public individual ideas anymore). If it’s for you, then it’s for you! If not, there’s plenty of other content on the blog! But I’m proud of the work and recommendations on the premium side, and given that pride (plus with podcast transcripts now exclusive to the premium side!), I think the premium side is a huge value. I haven’t increased prices on it in some time, so I’ll be increasing prices on it in the new year. If you’d like to sign up ahead of the increase to get in at the old rate, I’d encourage you to!
State of the markets (Monthly recurring piece)
It is wild how many times I’ve said it this year…. but what a difference a month makes! Things felt bleak last month. The “fear and greed” index was tilting into extreme fear, stocks had sold off ~10% in the blink of an eye, and you had people saying you couldn’t get long stocks because we were on the verge of WW3 and interest rates were going to the double digits.
With the Russell and S&P both up a casual ~9% in November, that’s certainly changed this month!
How am I feeling about markets? Last month, I thought things were cheap (and I think I was a bit greedy buying but not enough with the benefit of hindsight!). Today, I’d say things feel about right. There are definitely pockets of value (I think 2024 is set for a really nice small cap run, though I realize people have been feeling that way for ages, and I can still see lots of value in select energy companies, telecom, and even banks), but overall things feel about right and I’d guess there’s not an overabundance of opportunities on the long or short side (and I realize that sounds a little bit like a fortune cookie!).
Anyway, one thing I’m trying to get better about: when things are ~neutral (like I feel they are right now), just being better about selling “bleh” opportunities to really focus on my favorite stuff and have some cash for when things get “bad” again (because, as we’ve seen, they can get bad in a hurry!).
Nerd Corner (Monthly recurring piece)
There’s no hiding it; I’m a massive nerd. I read 3-4 fantasy books a month, my favorite pastime is playing board games with my wife and friends, and I religiously watch every new entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and listen to fantasy show recaps on Binge Mode (so much so that I even did a Twitter Space talking about the MCU!). Plus, I was an eager supporter of the Brandon Sanderson Kickstarter (yes, I splurged and went for the hardcover books).
Anyway, I figured a few of you are nerds like me, so I’m starting this segment to give recs of what I’m nerding out over currently, with the hope that you’ll either try it and enjoy it or recommend me similarly nerdy things that I’ll enjoy. This month’s recs:
Reading time has been a little limited with the little one, but (on the advice of a reader) I’m about halfway through the first book of the Malazan Series. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet; it’s a really interesting world, but they throw you into it really fast without any explanation, so I’ve found myself really grasping at what’s going on and the rules of the world. Will report back next month!
PS- outside of my monthly recs, I constantly get asked what my favorite fantasy books are. So I’m just going to throw this list out monthly:
Anything Brandon Sanderson writes; he’s by far the best fantasy author out there. I’d probably start with Mistborn, though Tess and the Emerald Sea is basically a standalone book and might be my favorite book he’s written. The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England is also a standalone book and a very fun and fast read.
Kingkiller is probably the best series I’ve ever read; waiting for the third is agony.
Gentleman Bastards is right up there with Kingkiller; the mix of fun and world building is outstanding.
Red Rising series is more sci-fi, but my god is it good. I would literally stay up all night to read every book the day they came out (note: I’ve only read the first trilogy; I’m going to read the second when the last book comes out later this year).
If you’re looking for something a little more under the radar (most of the books above are widely regarded as some of the best fantasy books / series ever), the Licanius Trilogy was fantastic.
First Law trilogy is excellent. It can get a little brutal / graphic though; there are a bunch of sequels and spins, but I’ve never been able to finish them because one of them got so brutal I just put the book down and never picked it up again. But the first trilogy is really, really great.
The Cradle series probably isn’t as “good” as the books above, but I binged them and every fantasy fan I’ve recommended them to has said something along the line of “I read all ten books in two months after I opened the first one.”
I’ve also really enjoyed that author’s newest series, Last Horizon!
The Wandering Inn series isn’t for everyone, and the first ~150 pages of the first book need to get powered through…. but, if you can power through them, the world building here is incredible, and I’ve had so many friends get hooked by this series. If you like hard fantasy, I can near guarantee you’ll like it….. plus, you’ll understand how sweet my new WeWork set up is!
Other things that caught my eye / links (Monthly recurring piece)
Having given very little thought to it, this does seem like a pretty great tax structure
I’m a little tempted as the “dragons, magic and steamy sex” are three of my favorite things…..
Don’t be scared to share (Monthly recurring piece)
PS- it’s recently come to my attention that the intensity of opening rates for this blog’s emails are quite good (meaning people who read / subscribe really like the blog and the output!), but I’ve done a poor job of asking for it to be shared around to help the blog grow. So if you like this post / blog, please don’t be scared to press the “share” button below to share it with a friend!