The Digest #173

Published on November 7, 2023

Berkshire Hathaway’s Q3 2023 Results

Berkshire Hathaway reported third quarter results on November 4. I wrote an overview article on November 5 for all readers. This was followed by two articles for paid subscribers which have brief free previews. The articles are listed below:

Paid subscribers will receive one additional article related to third quarter results in the near future. If you are interested in Berkshire Hathaway, I think that the value proposition of a paid subscription is compelling just for the quarterly coverage of the company.


Berkshire loses first round in billion-dollar battle over truck stop deal by Alex Crippen, November 3, 2023. The judge hearing the lawsuit between Berkshire Hathaway and the Haslam family set the date for a trial early next year. Berkshire had submitted a request for a trial date in November 2024. (CNBC)

Munger Podcast Thoughts, Retail Stocks, and Munger the Bargain Hunter? by John Huber, November 3, 2023. Thoughts on Charlie Munger’s recent comments on the challenges of retailing and why Costco has a lasting moat. (Base Hit Investing)

Why I Ran Away from Philosophy Because of Sam Bankman-Fried by Ted Gioia, November 4, 2023. On the pitfalls of the “effective altruism” movement which dates back far before SBF popularized this morally bankrupt ideology. (The Honest Broker)

The Paradox of Happiness by Frederik Gieschen, November 4, 2023. “Enduring happiness exists — as a potential. It is not waiting neatly packaged to be shipped from Amazon. You have to manufacture it yourself.” (The Alchemy of Money)

How I Read by Rob Henderson, November 5, 2023. “Years ago, I read How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler. He described reading a book as being ‘in conversation’ with the author. But reading has the added benefit of allowing you to concentrate deeply, move as fast or as slowly through an argument or idea as you want, and formulate and reformulate your thoughts as you move through the text.” (Rob Henderson’s Newsletter)

Confused About Health-Savings Accounts? Here’s What to Know by Cheryl Winokur Munk, November 2, 2023. With ACA open enrollment in progress, selecting a HSA-eligible plan could be a good decision. I’ve contributed to a HSA since 2009 with the goal of accumulating funds sufficient for out-of-pocket costs in old age. (WSJ)

Understanding the Relationship Between Body Composition and Mortality Using Artificial Intelligence by Peter Attia, November 4, 2023. DEXA scans are cheap way to track body composition as we age. With the risk of decline due to loss of muscle mass in old age, tracking changes over time makes sense. (

Disciplined in the Little Things, November 2, 2023. The story behind why Warren Buffett once declined to risk a trivial $10 on a bet that would pay out $10,000 if he made a hole in one playing golf. (Novel Investor)


Full Return World, November 2, 2023. 31 minutes. Howard Marks provides additional insights regarding his recent memo, Further Thoughts on Sea Change(Oaktree)

The Bond Market from a Value Investor’s Perspective, November 7, 2023. 43 minutes. With bond yields finally rising from microscopic levels, is it time to go out further on the yield curve or stick to t-bills? (This Week in Intelligent Investing)

Morgan Housel on Writing that Sells, November 6, 2023. 2 hours, 3 minutes. Video. David Perell interviews Morgan Housel in a wide-ranging discussion about strategies for great writing that will resonate with readers. Morgan Housel’s latest book, Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changeswas released today. His previous book, The Psychology of Money, was a bestseller that I highly recommend. (How I Write)

Zach Weinersmith on Space Settlement and A City on Mars, November 6, 2023. 1 hour, 3 minutes. TranscriptVideo. There are numerous practical problems that will confront humans who attempt to colonize Mars, but it could be possible. (Econ Talk)

Ben Franklin and George Washington: The Founding Partnership, June 2022. 58 minutes. We tend to think of Franklin and Washington as old men, but their long collaboration started when they were much younger. (Founders Podcast)

A High Bar for Acquisitions

It’s a perennial question asked by shareholders and the financial media: What will Berkshire Hathaway do with its massive pile of cash which now exceeds $150 billion? Everyone seems to have an opinion.

Greggory Warren has been covering Berkshire Hathaway for Morningstar for many years. He was invited by Warren Buffett to ask questions at several Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings. Far from burning a hole in Mr. Buffett’s pockets, Mr. Warren thinks that the bar for proceeding with a major acquisition is very high given that it might be one of the last deals made under Mr. Buffett’s watch. A bad deal could tarnish an otherwise stellar reputation. 

This makes sense. Warren Buffett’s primary motivation is to deploy capital in a way that benefits Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, as he has done for decades with very few errors. No one wants to end a great run with anything resembling a failure.

The Rokeby Venus

Diego Velázquez painted The Rokeby Venus between 1647 and 1651. The painting was attacked by “climate activists” wielding hammers at the National Gallery in London yesterday. It is not clear whether the painting sustained any permanent damage or how vandalizing priceless works of art will further the goals of these activists idiots.

The Rokeby Venus by Diego Velázquez (National Gallery, London)

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The Digest #173