I’m very excited to share my conversation with William Green (@williamgreen72), the author of RICHER, WISER, HAPPIER: How the World's Greatest Investors Win in Markets and Life. It’s one of my favorite investment books this year because it is so much more. William called it a “stealth spiritual book” and I put a sticker on my copy: “This is not a book about investing.”
This conversation was a about William’s own journey, his search for worldly wisdom in everything from Zen Buddhism to Stoicism to the Kabbalah, and the many lessons he learned from great investors. You can find the full highlights and a full transcript on my substack.
2.00: Introduction, William’s journey to the book.
7.00: William’s study of everything from Zen Buddhism to the Stoics to the Kabbalah. “Tell me about what you're reading and why and how it's influenced your life?”
"I dip into the Zohar almost every day"
24.00: Sometimes life has to burn down?
“We can get subtly misaligned and feel that we're going in the wrong direction, but you keep going. Sometimes you need it all to fall apart in a fairly dramatic way, whether it's a marriage or a job health, a career or reputation, you kinda need it to collapse.”
William’s own setback and dealing with being laid off during the financial crisis.
31.00: How did he pick the subjects and ideas of the book?
"One idiosyncrasy of this book is that I’ve focused almost exclusively on investors whom I like and admire."
43.00: “I write at some point in that epilogue, I say there is as great honor in the simple virtue of perseverance. And I don't say that lightly. I think that really deeply, I mean, there's something, one of the things about writing is that when, when you really simplify and distill things, you're always worried that people will see how banal your mind is and how trivial you are.
But, actually truth is pretty simple, I think. And so for me, when I'm condensing it down to that, I mean, I said there are two great lessons for me from Miller's Miller's downfall and recovery, because his recovery has been equally spectacular. One of them is about the simple virtue of perseverance and [00:44:00] one of them is everyone suffers.”
48.00: How do I regain sort of control or semblance of control of, of the inner game or if my mind? Is reading enough?
58.00: “And, and so I'm not super impressed just with the ability to make money and not live a more thoughtful life. I think I was more impressed with that when I was younger. I liked that aspect of the [00:58:00] game of just being able to outwit the crowd. There's something about that, that I found very, very appealing.”
59.00: What is it like to write about people who are very successful financially? Is there a downside (envy)?
“Why their lives resonated with me, whether it was a Bill Miller or a Nick Sleep, or a Monish Pabrai or Charlie Munger, in some ways they were all outsiders who had diverged from the crowd. And they were thinking in a very, in a very free way, they were questioning conventional opinion and they had constructed their lives in a way that was very true to who they are. So that resonated deeply with me because I could see that I was also an outsider who at least in my own mind who didn't naturally want to go with the crowd.”
1.11.00: Self awareness and lessons for non-professional investors. “Stumbling” into the right strategy.
1.20.00: Writing a substack vs. a book.