33 episodes

Conversations about life in a world shaped by money.

The Alchemy of Money Frederik Gieschen

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

Conversations about life in a world shaped by money.

    Lyn Alden: Studying the Financial System

    Lyn Alden: Studying the Financial System

    My conversation with Lyn Alden, author of Broken Money.

    Twitter: @LynAldenContact

    Disclaimer: I write and podcast for entertainment purposes only. This is not investment advice.

    • 57 min
    Nervous System Mastery with Jonny Miller

    Nervous System Mastery with Jonny Miller

    I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jonny Miller, writer, podcaster, and breathwork facilitator. Jonny wrote some of my favorite recent pieces, including the amazing operating manual for the nervous system and How to Pay Off Your Emotional Debt. Jonny also puts together terrific small wikis like this one on emotional resilience, the ‘spiritual MBA’ and Somalist (‘a global directory of somatic practitioners + trauma-aware bodyworkers’).

    We talked about breathwork and its benefits and risks (including Wim Hof), ‘state over story’ and the ability to change the state of your own nervous system, Jonny’s own journey, the $55,000 he spent exploring various modalities and experiences to find the most impactful ideas (including super interesting stuff like darkness meditation), emotional debt, repressed anger, and men’s work.

    In the context of a breathwork journey, incomplete reflexes will rise to the surface and they will be felt. The body will move in a certain way, and then there'll be relaxation. It's almost like layers of an onion that keep on unpeeling. The more we become comfortable with feeling the full spectrum of emotions, the more that these deeper pieces start to arise.

    We tend to focus on the outer journey, the how of success. How to spot opportunities, how to invest, how to build a business. Mastering the inner journey is equally important: both understanding your why and having the tools and practices to master the stress and setbacks along the way. That’s one of the lessons of the maze. Remember: great investors are survivors and experts at cultivating resilience.

    We have what I think of as this Cartesian hangover, almost going back to Descartes, of this mind-body dualism. I think the rational brain, the intellect, the kind of left-hemispheric way of perceiving the world has been very prioritized and almost worshiped in our culture.

    Controlling your mind, mastering your mind, mindfulness, all of these things have been really, really emphasized. I think what is starting to happen is the pendulum swinging back to, ‘oh no, there is no actual distinction between the brain and the nervous system.’

    • 44 min
    Cultivating the Creative Seventh Sense with William Duggan

    Cultivating the Creative Seventh Sense with William Duggan

    I had a chance to interview William Duggan, professor at Columbia Business School and author of Strategic Intuition. He explained how Kendo led him to his big idea, the difference between creative/strategic intuition and expert intuition (with examples including Howard Schultz, Henry Ford, and Elizabeth Holmes), and the roles of memory, passion, and presence of mind.

    Quotes that stuck with me:

    There is no now. Everything is history. … There is no other guide to the future.

    You don't have to have the passion before you have the idea. The idea gives you the passion. Oh great, this is what I'm gonna do.

    How do you judge an idea when you have it? Is it based on real knowledge and experience? Real pieces of the puzzle. That's how you judge.

    The moment you step into the battle, you forget everything. Meaning that you let your brain make the correct connections. That's the presence of mind, where your mind is clear. In martial arts, it's very fast, but it's really the same idea. It's to clear your mind and let your brain make its own connections, according to the situation and the circumstances.

    A lot of people think Henry Ford invented the assembly line. He did not. The assembly line was invented a hundred years before, at the start of the Industrial Revolution. He invented a certain kind of assembly line, meaning he put together the old assembly line with something new.

    I like to distinguish the natural flash of insight … Steve Jobs was good at it. He'd search and search and search and then something would strike him. I don't know if you know about the origin of Starbucks. Howard Schultz was working for a coffee company, high quality coffee, where you fill up your bag and take the coffee beans home. He goes to Milan for the first time in his life and he sees the coffee bar and he says, oh, okay, well we should clearly convert all our stores into that.

    • 51 min
    Escaping the Caterpillar Pillar with Jared Dillian

    Escaping the Caterpillar Pillar with Jared Dillian

    Hello everyone,

    I had the pleasure of chatting with Jared Dillian, author of The Daily Dirtnap and We're Gonna Get Those Bastards, about his new book Those Bastards. Years ago, I read his book Street Freak and I fondly remembered his wit, candor, depth of introspection, and keen eye for the antics of markets.

    Those Bastards is a collection of Jared’s essays on life, death, meaning, friendship, marriage, luck, ambition, suicide, and much in between (including a few great bits on markets and finance). It’s refreshingly honest and fun and led to a lot of reflection.

    In our conversation we touched on writing and finding your voice, escaping the caterpillar pillar, how markets are ruled by fear, being the guy who knows a guy, mental health and the power of writing, making meaningful memories, the right temperament for markets, why people don’t change, and why you should ask people if they are lucky.

    A few highlights from the conversation:

    A lot of people think that markets sort of oscillate between fear and greed, right? But it really isn't fear and greed. It's fear and fear. It's all fear, right? Greed is fear of not getting something that you want. So working in the markets is, if you have any background in psychology, it's a very depressing place because the markets are filled with fearful people, like acting based on fear. But the thing is that it's very predictable. People behave in very predictable ways. So that's been my thesis about markets all along.

    I like to know lots and lots of people. Now, having a newsletter has been the perfect way to do that because a lot of times if I have a question about like air conditioning, I can put it in my newsletter and I get 20 responses. I know somebody who owns an HVAC company. I know people in all different kinds of industries and if I ever need help, I can reach out to them. I like to call that having a big world. I like to have a big world. I like to know lots of people. That's just my personal philosophy.

    I learned that people had similar experiences, they just would never talk about it. There are things you cannot talk about in polite conversation, but you can do it with words, you can do it on the page and you can bring people into this world. And that's the magic of it. My Substack is like a safe space for people to read this stuff and think about these issues, really the only place you can talk about 'em is with a therapist or something like that.

    The top five memories piece came from the show Lost. There's a character named Charlie and he has a premonition that he's going to die. He knows exactly when it's going to happen. And so he sits down and he starts thinking of his top five memories of all time.

    And it got me thinking like, that's actually a really good exercise. Like what are your top five memories of all time? I think one of mine was marching band in high school. One of mine was DJing. Really your goal in life should be to make more of those top five memories and keep doing that over and over again.

    I had a trade that made 15 million bucks. That was a great trade. But it doesn't make my list of top five memories, because top five memories are about relationships and achievement and things like that. Lehman was a great place to work, but ultimately that's not what we're here on earth for.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    So Far, So Good: Roy Neuberger's Long Walk Down Wall Street

    So Far, So Good: Roy Neuberger's Long Walk Down Wall Street

    "What first led me to Wall Street was a desire to make money so I could buy great art and support artists. What I didn't know when I started is that working on Wall Street can be a fascinating art in itself and one for which I was almost immediately suited." — Roy Neuberger

    DISCLAIMER. I write and podcast for entertainment purposes only. None of this is investment advice and any information contained in my work should not be relied on to make investment decisions. Do your own work and seek your own financial, tax, and legal advice before making any investment decisions.

    • 28 min
    Drew Cohen of Speedwell Research: Deep Research and Business Counterfactuals

    Drew Cohen of Speedwell Research: Deep Research and Business Counterfactuals

    Disclaimer: None of this is investment advice. I write and podcast for entertainment purposes only and this conversation reflects our personal opinions. It should not be relied on to make investment decisions. Do your own work and seek your own financial, tax, and legal advice before making any investment decisions. Also see Speedwell’s Disclaimer.

    Drew and I talked about Meta, Constellation, Floor & Decor, Restoration Hardware, and his research and writing process. I will share excerpts from the conversation and Drew's work on the substack.

    Drew Cohen writes at Speedwell Research and is a Portfolio Manager at Davidson Kahn Capital Management. Prior to Davidson Kahn, Drew was at Capital Group, where he helped managed $5B+ of AUM. Prior to his role at Capital Group, he worked at Goldman Sachs in New York in their Global Investment Research division.

    • 56 min

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