The Rational Walk was created in February 2009.

Over 900 articles have been published on a wide variety of topics, including many book reviews.

Rational Reflections is a free newsletter covering current events, investing, personal finance, book reviews, and other topics of general interest.  

Please note that any use of the material on this website is subject to the copyright and disclaimer policy.

New readers might want to start by browsing some of the articles below.

Investment Topics
Berkshire Hathaway
Worldly Wisdom
Personal Finance

Investment Topics

My $2 Million Apple Mistake — A true story regarding trading Apple for a small profit two decades ago.

How to Read a 10-K Annual Report Efficiently — A step-by-step guide to reading a 10-K report.

Coping With Market Meltdowns — Written in early March 2009 very close to the bear market bottom, this article contains personal reflections on dealing with market declines.

Getting in on the 50th Floor — Everyone wants to invest with the next Warren Buffett just as he or she is starting out but it might be more realistic to invest with proven winners at a later stage of development.

The Individual Investor’s Edge — Timeframe arbitrage is among the most powerful edges an individual has over professional investors who are accountable to clients.

The Pitfalls of Early Success – A Personal History — Sometimes, early success achieved for the wrong reasons or due to luck can have unintended long term consequences.

The Problem of Rational Capital Allocation — An essay on the perils and opportunities of capital allocation.

Munger’s Prescription for Corporate Governance — Corporate governance, Munger style.

The Value Investor’s Guide to Value Line Investment Survey — A brief tutorial on how to best utilize Value Line.

Graham’s Advice on Relatively Unpopular Companies — Applying Benjamin Graham’s teachings to the investment environment of mid-2010.

The Dangers of Commitment Bias — Commitment bias can plague decision making far beyond investing.

Investors Must Take Responsibility for Executive Compensation — Investors must take responsibility for exerting their rights as owners and setting executive compensation appropriately.  Pair with Exposing the Compensation Consultant Smokescreen, Motives Behind Value Destroying Mergers, and Kraft’s Executive Compensation Policies Reward Value Destruction.

The Value Investor’s Technology Dilemma — Personal reminiscences of the eBay IPO in September 1998 from an employee of another software company operating down the hall.

Strategies for Achieving Economic Moats — This is a general discussion of economic moats influenced by Charlie Munger, Philip Fisher, and Michael Porter.

The Virtue of Pessimism for Investors — Bruce Berkowitz refers to his research process as, in part, an effort to “kill the company” which essentially inverts the typical process employed by most investors.  We explore some of the ramifications of this approach.

Net Current Asset Value Stocks — A brief overview of the cigar-butt method of security selection pioneered by Benjamin Graham.

Berkshire Hathaway

In addition to the articles listed below, please see the publications page for archived research reports covering Berkshire Hathaway. You can also browse the Berkshire Hathaway archive.

Warren Buffett Moves the Goalposts! — In 2019, Warren Buffett advised shareholders to no longer focus on book value per share and changed the company’s criteria for share repurchases.

Berkshire Hathaway in 2026 — A forward looking assessment of Berkshire’s prospects over the next ten years from the perspective of April 2016.

Revisiting Berkshire Hathaway’s Acquisition of BNSF — Looking back at the BNSF acquisition from the perspective of late 2013.

Assessing the Past Decade at Berkshire Hathaway — A view of Berkshire Hathaway’s ten year history as of early 2012.

Video Interview with Ajit Jain — A rare interview with Ajit Jain from early 2011.

Buffett Seizes Opportunities During Financial Crisis — An essay describing Warren Buffett’s opportunistic side during the financial crisis.

Berkshire Likely to Pay Dividends Eventually – But Not This Year — The perpetual dividend discussion from the perspective of early 2011.

What We Known (And Don’t Know) About Berkshire’s Succession Planning — The known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns of Berkshire Hathaway’s succession planning as of late 2010.

The Collector:  1977 WSJ Article on Buffett Strikes Familiar Themes — A discussion of one the first major articles on Warren Buffett published in the Wall Street Journal.

Highlights From Buffett’s Partnership Letters — Berkshire shareholder Frank Gifford provided The Rational Walk with detailed notes on Warren Buffett’s partnership letters at a time when little information regarding the letters was available to the public.  Pair with our subsequent review of Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules.

Charlie Munger’s Latest Parable:  Basically It’s Over — An optimistic account of the future beneath the gloomy surface.

From Cigar Butts to Business Supermodels — An account of the evolution of Warren Buffett’s early investment style.

Berkshire’s Misunderstood Derivatives — Written in early 2009, this article explores common misconceptions regarding Berkshire Hathaway’s derivatives exposure.  Although derivatives have become less important to Berkshire over time, some exposure will remain for several more years.

Worldly Wisdom

Munger’s Psychology of Human Misjudgment — A study of 25 psychological tendencies discussed by Charlie Munger.

Marcus Aurelius on Business, Investing, and Modern Life — Timeless wisdom from the perspective of a Roman Emperor. 

Via Negativa – Wisdom Through Subtraction — Sometimes, less is more.

Cultivating the State of Flow — Achieving a “flow state” is critical for productivity. However, the modern world provides numerous distractions and constant interruptions. How can we minimize distractions in today’s world?

Personal Finance

How I Escaped the Car Clown Habit — How to reduce the need to own and operate expensive vehicles.

Escaping the Ratcheting Lifestyle Trap — As an individual’s income rises, spending often rises just as quickly. This article discusses ways to avoid ratcheting spending upward as income rises.

Fifteen Years to Financial Independence — It is simple, but not easy, for individuals earning a good income to reach financial independence much sooner than traditional retirement age. This article discusses some ideas for reaching financial independence sooner rather than later.

The Financial Flu Shot – Using Bond Ladders — How to structure a bond ladder to meet cash flow needs.

Reaching Financial Independence — How do you know when you have achieved financial independence and no longer need to generate income by working for others? What is a “safe” withdrawal level that can be taken from a portfolio without risking depletion?

The Financial Illiteracy Epidemic — Young people should be trained in basic personal finance prior to graduating from high school.


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