We filter through dozens of investing podcasts for our blog each week to identify the best episodes. Below are our favorites.
Podcasts are reviewed by Validea co-founder Jack Forehand. If you want updates when we add new podcasts, follow us on twitter at @practicalquant.
Masters in Business - Joel Greenblatt
There is no one I am aware of who is better and taking the complicated process of selecting stocks and making it simple for your average investor than Joel Greenblatt. His book The Little Book That Beats the Market took the concept of buying cheap stocks like Ben Graham and good businesses like Warren Buffett and combined them into a simple formula that was easy to understand and had the added benefit of trouncing the market over time. This interview takes an in depth look at Greenblatt's approach to picking stocks and offers detail that go well beyond that simple formula. He offers his thoughts on why he uses a value approach as opposed to momentum, why he thinks value investing is much more than just using factors, and why he looks at diversification for public stocks in a way commonly used for private companies. Greenblatt's long-term returns put him in the upper echelon of the greatest investors ever and this interview offers some great insights into how he got there.
Invest Like the Best - Thatcher Bell and Taylor Greene
Having never sought Venture Capital myself, I have always wondered what goes on in the pitch meetings where investors try to sell their concepts to venture capitalists. This podcast was a cool change of pace for Invest Like the Best that allows us to find out. It features Thatcher Bell of CoVenture and Taylor Greene of Collaborative Fund. The startup company Ladder pitches its fitness-based app and business model to them and they analyze and critique the pitch. They get into detail about the business model, the long-term opportunity and the risks. Learning about this business is very interesting, but the bigger lessons are in the process the investors go through to analyze it. If you are curious about the inner workings of Venture Capital, you will find this episode very interesting.
EconTalk - Jerry Muller
With our lives becoming more and more driven by data, metrics are becoming a much bigger part of society. As humans, we have a tendency to want to boil things down to simple numbers and then use those numbers to judge outcomes. That can be very dangerous. This podcast talks about why that is with Jerry Muller of Catholic University. They discuss how metrics have caused us to get away from using our own judgement, and the many negatives that come along with using incentives based on metrics. For example, if you incentivize hospitals based on waiting times, they can intentionally take longer to transport patients to the hospital. Or if you incentivize law enforcement based on reducing crime rates, they have an incentive to not report crime or change felonies to misdemeanors. Those are just a couple of examples and the podcast gets into the topic in much greater depth. All of us are guilty of using metrics in ways that are counterproductive and this podcast provides help identifying the problem and finding the solution.
Invest Like the Best - Nikhil Kalghatgi
This podcast is a difficult one to summarize because it had so much depth to it and it was so wide ranging. Maybe the best compliment you can give to a podcast is that it caused you to take a look at how you do things personally and provided ideas for how to do them better. This was one of those podcasts. It features Nikhil Kalghatgi, who is the third partner of the venture capital firm CoVenture to appear on the podcast (the other two were excellent interviews as well). They discuss too many things to summarize here, but the discussions on the factors that lead to happiness, the concept of manufactured serendipity and the lessons from working in the innovative culture of SoftBank are all highlights. Nikhil also offers a very balanced take of cryptocurrencies, which is refreshing given how many discussions of crypto tend to be very one sided. This is a podcast you will probably want to listen to twice because of all the depth within it.
Odd Lots - Brad Setser
There has been a lot of media coverage recently about a potential trade war with China. But much of it has been more focused on scaring people than covering the actual facts. This podcast is a good antidote to that. It takes a step back and looks at what a trade war actually is and what might happen if we were to be involved in one with Brad Setser, the Steven A. Tananbaum senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. They start with the basics and discuss the definition of a trade war and why we are not currently in one, the different types of trade disputes, and the various steps of escalation we might see if a trade war erupts. They also cover whether China might stop buying our bonds as a retaliatory measure and what the impact of that might be. As you analyze all the news reports about a potential trade war, it is important to have the facts. This podcast will give them to you.
The Investors Podcast - Tuur Demeester & Erik Townsend
There is probably no more polarizing area of investing right now than BitCoin and cryptocurrencies. One side thinks that cryptocurrencies will change the world and are dramatically undervalued at current levels. The other thinks they are likely worthless. What has been missing from much of the dialogue is a thoughtful evidence-based debate that allows investors to see the middle ground, which is likely where the answer lies. This podcast offers one of the more thoughtful debates I have seen on the issue. It features hedge fund manager Eric Townsend and cryptocurrency expert Tuur Demeester. They look at the space from the ground up, starting with the pros and cons of the BlockChain technology that underlies cryptocurrencies, the tradeoff between centralization and efficiency, and the differences between proof of work and proof of stake. They also look at the role government regulation will play in cryptocurrencies and whether government issued cryptocurrencies may eventually be the winners in the space. If you are tired of the binary nature of many cryptocurrency debates and want to hear a balanced, respectful discussion on the topic, this podcast provides it.
Masters in Business - Matthew Kadnar
GMO is one of the most successful firms in investing. The firm currently manages over $70 billion, but more importantly they have produced outstanding long-term returns for their clients. They have done that by sticking to their convictions and to their models even when the market hasn't agreed with them in the short-term. This podcast was a great opportunity to get an inside look at how they look at markets and how they make investment decisions. It features Matthew Kadnar, who is a member of their asset allocation team. They discuss GMO's current view of the major asset classes, but more importantly they focus on the process behind those views and how they go about analyzing markets. This is a rare opportunity to get a look inside the thought processes of one of the best investing firms out there.
EconTalk - Michael Munger
Having lived most of my life is Southern Connecticut, I have become used to traffic. The I-95 corridor that runs through that area is one of the worst traffic areas in the country. And with no room to expand the road, there is no simple solution. Traffic congestion is becoming a bigger issue across the country, and many areas (like CT) are attempting to deal with the problem via tolls and congestion taxes. But is there an economic solution to this? This podcast seeks to answer that question. It features Michael Munger of Duke University, who has looked at this issue extensively. The simple solution economically might be to charge a fee that would allow the users who need the road most to compensate those who do not during peak times, but that is impossible from a practical standpoint. What ends up happening in reality, though, is that things like congestion taxes make all users of the road worse off, while benefiting others (those that the state spends the money from the tax on). That is just the high-level summary of the discussion, though, and there is so much more to it. If you are one of the many people affected by traffic and are wondering if there is a solution, this podcast will make you look at the potential solutions in a whole new way.
Behind the Markets - Alex Sadowski and Dave Babulak
High frequency traders tend to get a bad rap. Many investors see them as profiting off the little guy in order to line their pockets. But the reality is much more complex than that. This podcast is a great resource for learning more about high frequency trading and market making and the misconceptions about them. If features Alex Sadowski and Dave Babulak, both of whom have extensive experience in the field. They discuss why HFT has actually been a strong positive for retail investors, the pros and cons of the current maker/taker system, and their thoughts on cryptocurrency trading. Market making is one of the least understood aspects of investing, and this podcast is a great resource for learning the facts.
Masters in Business - David Enrich
LIBOR has been referred to by many as the "world's most important number". But few people understand what it is. At its core, LIBOR is simply a measure of the borrowing costs of banks that is used to set many interest rates throughout the world. Rates for products like adjustable rate mortgages and student loans are typically set using LIBOR. Given its importance to the world economy, you might assume that LIBOR is set using a complicated financial formula to ensure its accuracy. That assumption would be wrong. The process of how LIBOR has been set historically and the ease with which it was manipulated will likely surprise you. This podcast tells the very interesting story of the LIBOR fixing scandal through the eyes of New York Times journalist David Enrich, who has written a great book on the subject. Sometimes the financial world doesn't work the way it should and this podcast is a lesson in how wrong things can go.
Invest Like the Best - Peter Attia
So much of what we have been taught about health and longevity is completely wrong. One of the people leading the effort to change that is Dr. Peter Attia. He uses a completely evidence-based approach to examine the factors that lead us to live longer and be healthier. Because the types of human tests that would be required to draw definitive conclusions on these issues are impossible, the best we can do is examine the evidence that does exist and use a fact-based approach to draw well-reasoned conclusions. In this podcast, Dr. Attia does exactly that. They cover topics like why weight training is so important, how limiting carbohydrates may help to prevent the diseases that are most likely to kill you, and why your genetics may be the most important factor in longevity. If you subscribe to conventional beliefs when it comes to health and wellness, this podcast may change your mind.
All About Your Benjamins - Nathan Faber
There are few concepts in finance that are as bulletproof when it comes to perception as dollar cost averaging. Investors typically assume that dollar cost averaging is good and everyone should do it. The reality isn't so simple, though. The type of dollar cost averaging where investors take money from their paycheck and invest it when it comes in is universally good, but the type where investors take a lump sum of money they already have and invest it over time ends up hurting returns 70% of the time. The simple answer as to why is that the market goes up more than it goes down, but there is much more to it than that. This podcast with Nathan Faber from Newfound Research gets into those details and discusses the pros and cons of dollar cost averaging, and how investor behavior plays a role in its effectiveness over time. If you utilize dollar cost averaging as part of your investment strategy, this discussion will allow you to better understand how to use it optimally.
Behind the Markets - Janet Yellen
There has been a lot of coverage in the press about the Fed's policies since the Financial Crisis, both on the positive and negative side. But much of it has lacked a basic understanding of how monetary policy works, and its impact on the economy. So it is important to take a step back and examine the theory of that policy before you evaluate it. Who better to do that with than Janet Yellen, who chaired the Federal Reserve during this period. This podcast features an excellent interview with her conducted by Jeremy Siegel. They cover a lot of ground including the role of monetary policy, the reasoning behind the Fed's policies since the financial crisis, and the potential impact of trade restrictions. This podcast is a master class in economics taught by the person who led us through one of the more difficult periods in history. If you want to understand how monetary policy works, this is a great place to start.
The James Altucher Show - Ryan Holliday
This podcast is outside our usual investing theme, but it is an extremely interesting business story that involves all the plot twists of a good fiction book. It features Ryan Holliday, whose latest book provides a behind the scenes look at the story of how Peter Thiel secretly funded Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker Media. Ultimately Hogan won a huge judgement that bankrupted both Gawker and its founder, but that isn't the most interesting part. The most interesting part is the back story of how a billionaire was upset over an inappropriate news story about him and plotted for years to get his revenge, and then secretly funded someone else's legal battle to get it. I won't give away all the details since the podcast does a much better job covering it than I can, but it is well worth listening to.
Behind the Markets - Eric Balchunas
ETFs are the hottest products in the market and for good reason. They have helped to lower fees for investors, and they have allowed access to asset classes and specific areas of the market that individual investors couldn't access before. With that asset growth however, has come a large increase of the number of available ETF products, which makes it difficult for investors to distinguish the good from the bad. One of the best resources to help with that process is Eric Balchunas of Bloomberg. He knows more about ETFs than anyone I have seen and his insights are something all investors should pay attention to. This podcast is a good example of that. They cover many different aspects of the ETF landscape, from the uphill battle smaller providers have in the ETF space, to the spectrum of value ETF offerings, to why ETFs are often unfairly criticized. As more and more investors use ETFs in their portfolios, it is important to better understand them and what they can offer. This podcast will help you do that.
Macro Voices - John Mauldin
Although we are big believers that trying to predict the market and the economy are losing propositions, it still can be very beneficial to understand what is going on from a macro perspective, and the potential implications of it. When you want to get a clear and concise macro outlook, John Mauldin is a great person to turn to. This podcast covers a range of topics, including the outlook for inflation, the future of interest rates, and reasons why we are experiencing a very different macroeconomic environment than we ever have before. They also discuss why tariffs could present a big risk to the markets and the one indicator that best predicts recessions. The fact that is very difficult to predict our macroeconomic future doesn't mean that you shouldn't seek to understand it. This podcast is very helpful in providing the information you need to do that.
The Meb Faber Show - Phil Nadel
Angel investing has been growing rapidly in recent years. Stories of massive returns in the space have attracted large numbers of investors, and huge amounts of capital. But like any form of investing, putting your money at risk without the required skills and knowledge can be a big mistake, and going it on your own is not likely to lead to success. Sites like Angel List have offered a solution to that problem by allowing investors to invest via syndicates led by seasoned professional investors. Phil Nadel is one of those investors and runs one of the most successful syndicates on Angel List. This podcast is one of the best all-encompassing discussions I have seen on the topic. It covers what to look for in companies and their founders, the importance of building a diversified portfolio, and the key metrics that should be used to evaluate companies. If you are considering angel investing or are already involved in it, this podcast will offer you the information you need to increase your potential for success.
Invest Like the Best - Albert Wenger
Seeing future trends that are outside the realm of conventional wisdom is one of the most difficult things to do in life. We all get tied to what is going on at the current time and can miss major shifts that are happening right under our noses. This podcast offers an opportunity to fix that. The guest is Albert Wenger, who is a partner at Venture Capital firm Union Square Ventures and author of the book World After Capital, which you can download for free from his website. He makes a very strong case that our world is transitioning from an industrial age, where capital is the scarce resource, to a knowledge age, where attention is the scarce resource. That paradigm shift would have a profound impact on just about everything we do. They also discuss cryptocurrencies and how they may help to further the concept of universal basic income, and how difficult it will be to identify the future winners in the space. In the rapidly changing world we are living in, it is very important to pay attention to where we are going, not just where we are. This podcast will help you do that.
i3 Institute Podcast - Jeremy Grantham
It is very rare for Jeremy Grantham to do a long form interview, so when he does, all investors should listen. And this conversation doesn't dissapoint. He discusses his views on the current market environment, including why he thinks Emerging Markets are cheap and why he thinks a melt up in US stocks is very possible. But the best part of the interview is the discussion of the theory behind his decisions. He discusses how destructive the belief that "this time is never different" can be for investment returns, the pitfalls of group think, and why career risk leads to suboptimal investment decisions. If you want a master class in value investing, and investing in general, this podcast will provide it.
EconTalk - Nassim Taleb
This is one of the most interesting podcasts I have heard on the topic of risk. Nassim Taleb is one of the world's leading scholars on the subject and this episode presents it in an outside the box way that will make you see it in a different light. They spend much of the discussion focusing on the concept of "skin in the game", which is the topic of Taleb's new book. The essence of the idea of skin in the game is that you should focus on what people do rather than what they say or think and people who align their interests with the interests of those they represent. That is just a small portion of what they discuss and they cover so many other interesting topics ranging from why you should increase your bets when you make money and decrease them when you lose to why living to fight another day is so important in business. Many people claim to understand risk, but Taleb is one of the few who backs it up. This podcast is a masterclass on the subject.
The Investors Podcast - Bill Miller
Bill Miller is one of the most insightful investors out there. His outside the box approach often leads him to identify trends and opportunities before others do. For example, his unconventional definition of value has allowed him to invest in companies within the technology space that traditional value investors have avoided, and his investors have benefitted. This podcast covers many areas of investing, including his current opinions on the bond market and how it might affect stocks, his thoughts on commodities, and why he continues to believe in cryptocurrencies long-term. There is also a great discussion of the cognitive biases that are the most destructive for investment returns. If you want to take a different look at markets and the opportunities within them, this podcast offers a unique perspective.
Invest Like the Best - Dan Rasmussen
We featured Dan Rasmussen's previous podcast interview with Meb Faber, which was one of the best podcast interviews this year, but this one adds even more depth to the interesting story Dan has to tell about the world of Private Equity. Private Equity is a space where the hype regarding investment returns has reached a point where it far exceeds reality and Dan uses an evidence based approach to show why Private Equity returns are likely to be much lower going forward. He also gets into much more detail regarding his approach of trying to mirror Private Equity returns using public markets. In this interview, he takes things a step further than the Faber interview and talks about more detailed aspects of the strategy like how to eliminate low quality companies from the results and whether human intervention can enhance the quantitative screen. They also have a great discussion of competitive advantage and why the research behind Porter's Five Forces doesn't hold up in the real world. The level of knowledge of both Dan and Patrick is incredible and this podcast is a great exploration of both business and investing theory.
Capital Allocators - Rick Selvala
With the recent blow up of the short volatility trade and the resulting market correction, volatility has been all over the financial news. The coverage of the issue has painted a very negative picture of the volatility space and the risks involved it. When it comes to individual investors, that is mostly correct because volatility is both complicated and risky. But a true understanding of volatility leads to the conclusion that it also serves many positive purposes when utilized properly. This podcast is the best I have heard for those who want to truly understand volatility and the appropriate uses of it. It is very technical and isn't appropriate for beginning investors, but for those who really want to know how volatility works, it offers a detailed breakdown of both its benefits and risks.
All About Your Benjamins - Corey Hoffstein
Factor Investing has become incredibly popular in recent years. But it is also often misunderstood. Most podcasts that discuss factor investing end up very quickly getting into intricate details and technical jargon that your average person has very little chance of understanding. This podcast was different in that it tackles factor investing from the ground up in terms that an average investor can understand. The guest is Corey Hoffstein from Newfound Research, who is great at breaking down complex topics into simple, understandable terms. They cover many aspects of factor investing, including why it works, which factors work in the real world, and trend following, which is a concept that would benefit many investors. Whether you are a newcomer to factor investing and want the basics or are more advanced and want to continue your learning process, I think you will find this podcast beneficial.
Trillions - Michael Venuto
With stock market valuations extremely high, many investors are thinking about ways to hedge their portfolios. But hedging is much more complicated in practice than it seems in theory. Hedging requires an element of timing because bull markets can go on much longer than investors think, and getting that timing right is very hard. In addition, many of the products investors use to hedge are not optimal and involve much higher levels of risk than they understand. This podcast does a great job looking at all the hedging alternatives out there and the positive and negatives of each with Michael Venuto of Toroso Investments. They cover everything from volatility ETFs to short ETFs to direct option strategies and lay out why many of them have negatives that exceed their positives. If you plan to use hedging strategies, it is essential to have the facts first, and this podcast presents them in a clear and easy to understand manner.