We filter through dozens of episodes each week to identify the best investing podcasts. 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.
Capital Allocators - Brian Portnoy
Many people define wealth by how much money they have in their bank account or the value of their material possessions. But study after study has shown that those things are not all that correlated with happiness. Brian Portnoy's new book The Geometry of Wealth deals with this issue and looks at the true definition of wealth. In this podcast, they cover the details of the book as well as his previous book and look at what makes people truly wealthy. They talk about how to get off the never-ending treadmill of trying to get more and focus on the things that lead to a happier more successful life. They also analyze a variety of concepts related to money and investments, including volatility as a measure of risk, liquidity as an option to change your mind, and why behavior is so important in driving good financial outcomes. All of us can get caught up in the rat race to get more and more. This podcast offers a far superior alternative.
Bespokecast - Jim O'Shaughnessy
When you listen to Jim O'Shaughnessy being interviewed on a podcast, the conversation typically centers around factor investing. And that makes sense because there is probably no one who knows more about the topic. This podcast was very interesting, though, in that it took a different approach and covered a variety of topics outside that area. They discussed rational expectations theory and its role in changing Economics, how venture capital has evolved throughout Jim's career, and his thoughts on succession in business as they relate to the recent successsion within his own firm. Factor investing is certainly covered as well, but the best part of the interview was the diversity of topics they were able to spend time on. If you want to hear some insights from Jim on areas you typically don't, this is a great interview to listen to.
Trend Following - Aaron Brown
Whenever someone is able to achieve the title of Chief Risk Manager at AQR, they are worth listening to. AQR is one of the best quantitative firms out there, and quantitative firms have to be very good at risk management to be successful. Aaron Brown is the former Chief Risk Manager at AQR and an expert on the topic. In this interview, they talk about risk in depth, but also cover many other areas of investing, including why it can be helpful to look at everything in terms of probabilities, why we always overestimate the risk that the next Black Swan event will be like the most recent one, and whether the efficient market hypothesis holds up in the real world. Understanding risk is key to success with any investing strategy. This interview offers some great lessons in that area.
Valuewalk - Aswath Damodaran
With all the data and computer systems available today, valuing stocks has become a very mechanical process. There are risks to that, though. When everyone is using the same data and doing the same calculations assuming the future will be the same as the past, the odds of that type of approach working going forward are reduced. The stories behind the numbers also get lost in the process. This interview with Aswath Damadoran, one of the world's leading experts looks at the implications of the changing world for investors. While many investors who value stocks are very rigid in how they implement their models, he has shown a willingness to update his process as times have changed, which has allowed him to value companies like Netflix based on their future potential and not just their current earnings or assets. The podcast also covers his views on valuation in detail and a lot of other ground, including the difference between value and price, why what you don't know is much more important than what you do, and why luck plays a much bigger role in investing than most investors care to admit. We live in a rapidly changing world and what has worked historically may not going forward. This podcast drives home that point.
Invest Like the Best - Ash Fontana
It is a given that artificial intelligence is going to change the world, and that it will have a profound effect on investing. But like any new technology, that fact alone isn't enough to profit from it. A much deeper understanding is needed. This podcast covers the topic in the most comprehensive format I have seen on any podcast. It features Ash Fontana, who is a partner at Venture Capital firm Zetta. They discuss all facets of investing in AI, including finding unique datasets, determining the functions that AI performs better than humans, and the concept of virtuous loops. Even if you already are convinced of the power of AI, you are likely to see even greater potential for it after this interview.
The James Altucher Show - Jesse Itzler
There are so many podcasts that talk about conventional approaches to success in business and in life. After a while of listening to them, you begin to hear the same lessons over and over again. Not that they are bad, but the best interviews stray from that path and talk to people who have achieved unconventional success. This interview was a great example of that. Jesse Itzler was the founder of Marquis Jet, which was sold to Berkshire Hathaway, and is part owner of the Atlanta Hawks. They talk about his unique approach to business and life, including why it is important to go where it is least crowded, why mono-tasking can be much better than multi-tasking, and lessons from his time living with monks. An outside the box approach can often yield the best results. This podcast provides a great framework.
Invest Like the Best - Mike Zapata
Battle and value investing are obviously two very different things. One involves life and death and the other seems trivial in comparison. But the principles that apply to battle can teach us a lot about the challenging process of successfully investing in value stocks. This podcast covers that idea in detail with Mike Zapata of Sententia Capital, who also was in the elite development group of the Navy Seals. Value investing takes a tremendous amount of grit and ability to stay the course when others cannot. The willingness to persevere during the darkest times is a trademark of Seals and also of good value investors. This discussion offers some great insights about that and the many other ways the principles used by the Seals can be applied to the investing world. The Seals are one of the most elite groups that exists and what they learn can teach us all a lot. This podcast is a great way to benefit from that.
Capital Allocators - John Pfeffer
One of the biggest arguments many make for cryptocurrencies is that eventually the institutional money will come in, and when it does, it will be very bullish for prices. When futures launched, that argument didn't hold up and it is very possible that the ability to short they brought actually caused a negative effect on asset values. Understanding what the eventual role will be for institutions requires understanding their thought process. This podcast offers an in depth look into that. It features John Pfeffer of Pfeffer Capital, who is the author of "An (Institutional) Investor's Take on Cryptoassets." They cover the long-term outlook for the crypto space from the ground up and look at things like how to use the equation of exchange (MV=PQ) to value cryptoassets and why that analysis may heavily favor BitCoin over the others, and why diversification may actually increase risk in the space. They also discuss some general principles that apply to investing in general like why understanding your edge is so important, and the benefits of asymmetric return profiles. Cryptocurrencies stir very strong opinions on both sides, which makes this balanced look at them very refreshing.
The Knowledge Project - Dan Ariely
Regardless of what you do in your career or your life, proper decision making is key to success. Biases and emotions can wreak havoc with the decision-making process, though, and lead to less than optimal outcomes. The biases we don't even recognize exist are often the toughest ones to combat and the most destructive. This podcast tackles the issue of decision making with Dan Ariely of Duke Univerisity. It explores the topics from many different angles and looks at topics like how small decisions can make a huge impact, why we are all more dishonest than we think, and the difference between habits and rules. None of us will ever conquer all our biases and make all the right decisions, but those who commit to a process of improvement will likely achieve the best results. This podcast offers a set of tools to do that.
The Meb Faber Show - James Montier
If you are looking for some sugar coating for the outlook for equities going forward, this podcast isn't going to provide it. And that is a good thing. Despite the overwhelming evidence that long-term returns from here are likely to be below average at the very least, surveys show that many investors continue to project above average returns. If you are one of those people, the well-reasoned arguments presented by James Montier of GMO in this podcast are worth considering. It also covers some less often discussed topics like why doing nothing can often be the best choice I investing, and why government debt should be treated very differently than private debt. GMO is one of the best investing firms out there and anyone who operates with a long-term time horizon will benefit from their insights, which are very well presented in this podcast.
Invest Like the Best - Sam Hinkie
One of the hardest things to do in investing is to filter out short-term noise and take the long-term view. One place that approach may be even harder is in the world of sports. Sports teams have enormous pressure to win now to put fans in the seats and boost TV ratings. But just like in investing, giving in to that pressure typically leads to less than optimal results. Sam Hinkie is the former General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. His focus on the long-term allowed him to build much of the team's current roster, which has some of the best young talent in the NBA. It also cost him his job before the turnaround was complete. This podcast covers his unconventional approach to basketball, and what it can teach us about investing. Topics include the importance of patience, finding players who can outperform expectations, and why defense and three point shooting are the value and momentum of basketball. It turns out basketball can teach us a lot about investing. This podcast offers many of those lessons.
EconTalk - Glen Weyl
There are so many things in life that we just accept as they are because they have always been done in a specific way. It is helpful sometimes, however, to look at things using a blank slate and challenge our current systems. This podcast is a great example of that. It features Glen Weyl who is a senior research scholar at Yale and author of Radical Markets. The way we buy and sell and tax Real Estate and land has been in place for a very long time. This discussion presents a completely different system in which all property is always for sale, with the owner setting the price they are willing to take but having to pay tax on that amount. They cover that plan and the pros and cons of it, as well as the potential to implement radical changes to things like voting and immigration. Whether you agree with the approach or not, taking a fresh and unconventional look at these issues is a thought provoking exercise.
a16z - W. Brian Arthur
Network effects are one of the most powerful forces in business. Businesses that have been able to harness network effects have been able to achieve huge growth rates with very small costs of user acquisition. This podcast explores network effects with economist W. Brian Arthur, who was one of the first to identify them and the increased returns with scale that they provide. The discussion is a master class in network effects. Topics range from the ideal network size to whether it is better to invest in a company with a better founder or one who is ahead on the development side, among many others. Technology companies that have learned to harness network effects have produced huge returns for investors and this podcast offers some insights into how they work and why they are so powerful.
i3 Institute Podcast - Jason Zweig
There might not be anyone who has done more to educate investors about the damaging impact on returns of their own behavior than Jason Zweig. Throughout his career, he has worked to teach us all about the biases and emotional reactions that lead us to underperform the funds we invest in. This interview covers that issue in depth, but also gets into many other areas such as why Benjamin Graham's investment strategy was more about a philosophy than any specific metrics, and whether the reversion to the mean that is fundamental to many investment strategies still holds true today. It is always helpful in investing to take a step back and challenge the things you think are true. This interview will help you do that.
Masters in Business - Jim Chanos
Being successful as a long-term short seller is one of the most difficult things in the stock market. They say a rising tide lifts all boats and shorting is like trying to predict which boats will sink against the overall force of the market that will lift the vast majority of them. Jim Chanos is an extremely rare breed of investor because he has been able to be successful as a short seller for decades when almost no one else has. In this podcast, they get into detail about how he has been able to do that. They discuss the lessons he has learned from shorting and the reasoning behind some of his most significant short positions both past and present. The best podcasts allow you to get into the mind of someone who is better at what they do than anyone else and learn from their skill. This podcast certainly fits the bill.
Big data and artificial intelligence have certainly changed investing in many ways. They have had equally major impacts on many other areas of life and business. One of the most interesting uses of data and AI is in sports. Many sports decisions that used to be made by people are now made by machines, and the results have been very positive for the teams that have adopted the technology. This podcast features Philip Maymin, who is an analytics consultant for NBA teams. They look at how drastically data has changed the NBA, including how data can help teams optimize player efficiencies and how each team seeks to obtain an analytical edge by utilizing detailed player data. They also discuss how artificial intelligence can predict the impact of adding a player to a particular team through analyzing not only that player's impact, but also how they would affect the other players on the court. Teams that are using analytics properly like the Celtics are seeing big results and this podcast is a great look at how they do it.
Invest Like the Best - Jason Karp
Buying deep value stocks is a strategy that has proven itself over long periods of time. But with data becoming more and more accessible, and quantitative strategies becoming more and more prevalent, a major problem for this strategy has been introduced - most companies are cheap because they deserve to be. When the data to identify cheap companies was hard to obtain, investors could get an edge using simple value models. Today, those types of screens are full of companies with major issues. That reality is the basis for this great interview. They discuss why investment strategies must evolve to stay relevant in addition to many other interesting topics, including differences between public and private markets, the impact of passive investing, and future potential of the cannabis industry. Having long-term conviction with investment strategies is certainly a good thing, but we all need to keep in mind that markets change, and we need to evolve with them. This podcast offers an opportunity to rethink the things we believe to be true to make sure they still hold up to scrutiny.
Capital Allocators - Paul Black
It is very rare to find an advisor who manages $25 billion who very few people have heard of. If you could find a firm off the radar like that, it would be very likely that they would be managing money in an unconventional way. Both of those are true of Paul Black and WCM Investment Management. Studies show that growth stocks in aggregate underperform value stocks over the long-term. So quantitative models tend to be less successful in growth investing and the best managers tend to use qualitative criteria. WCM's approach fits that bill, but the way they go about it is very different from other managers. Many growth managers tend to look at things like EPS growth, competitive advantages and the size of a company's moat. As a result, these types of things tend to be priced into stocks already. WCM is unique in that is looks primarily for a positive trend in competitive advantage rather than its current state and focuses heavily on a firm's culture. This podcast offers many excellent lessons in growth investing and how thinking outside the box can often yield the best results.
For many people, the Financial Crisis is now in the rearview mirror. As has always been the case in history, investors slowly forget what happened and begin to engage in the same types of behaviors that led to bad historical outcomes. This podcast is a great way to avoid that. It features Jim Millstein, who teaches a course on the financial crisis at Georgetown and was the US Chief Restructuring Officer in the aftermath of the crisis. The interview offers an in depth look at the causes of the crisis and an evaluation of the reactions of policy makers to it. They discuss why deregulation in the 80s was a contributing factor, whether Lehman should have been saved, and the differences between the Financial Crisis and the Great Depression. They also review the biggest mistakes made in response to the crisis. As we all focus on the future, it is important to keep in mind what we can learn from the past. This podcast will help you do that.
i3 Institute Podcast - James O'Shaughnessy
If you want to learn how factor investing works, there is probably no better person to turn to than James O'Shaughnessy. His book "What Works on Wall Street" introduced factor investing before we even had the term, and subsequent editions of the book have continued to build on that research. This conversation covers all the major areas of using factors, including why factors work better as composites rather than on their own, the limitations of the price/book ratio, the requirements for a successful back test, and whether it is possible to time factors. Whether you are new to factor investing or are a seasoned pro, you will learn something you didn't know before from this conversation.
Invest Like the Best - Chris Douvos
Value investing and Venture Capital don't seem like concepts that go hand in hand. But being a contrarian in any business can often lead to success. Chris Douvos is an example of that. His firm Venture Investment Associates manages $1.6 billion using a value-based approach. This podcast covers a wide range of venture capital related topics including why a long-term time horizon may be the biggest edge in venture capital, the details behind the process of portfolio construction, and why cryptocurrencies may be a negative for founder accountability. Unconventional approaches are often the most successful and interesting ones and this interview outlines a different take on venture investing that is both sensible and challenges conventional beliefs.
There is no market that seems riper for disruption by technology than Real Estate. The problem is that the potential for disruption hasn't yet translated into reality. Zillow and others have certainly made access to information about Real Estate much better, but the standard process of engaging a realtor and paying a 6% fee still persists. Zillow's recent decision to begin buying and selling homes may be a step on the path to changing that, though. This podcast looks at Zillow's new direction and how it may impact the company and the industry. In the process of analyzing that they take a look at aggregators in general and why they have a much better chance for success if they get involved in the transaction of the underlying product. The strategy behind moves like this is typically the most interesting part and this discussion offers some great insights into that.
Masters in Business - Patty McCord
Corporate culture has always been an incredibly difficult challenge to solve. When you see a good corporate culture, you know it, but what goes into developing it is often difficult to understand. This interview with Patty McCord, who was the chief talent officer at Netflix for over a decade offers a great guide to developing a great corporate culture from someone who actually did it. Netflix is renowned for its culture and this podcast offers a behind the scenes look at the principles they used to create it. We all play a role in setting the culture of the places we work and this interview offers some great lessons in the things that go into creating a successful one.
Conversations with Tyler - Balaji Srinivasan
This is a great discussion on a wide range of issues related to technology, its future potential, and its effect on our lives. It features Balaji Srinivasan who is the CTO of CoinBase. This podcast is unique among the technology related podcasts I have listened to in its tremendous depth and the balanced take they provide on how technology will impact our lives and our world. They talk about the centralizing effects of artificial intelligence vs the decentralizing effects of AI, the future of personal identity. and the pros and cons of bundling the roles of teaching and research in our society. They also have one of the better discussions I have heard related to Blockchain and how tokens may be a regular part of company capital structures going forward just like equity and debt. All of us will be profoundly affected by technology change going forward and this discussion provokes a lot of thought about what that might mean.
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.