With only a few weeks left in the year, we thought it would be a good time to look back at 2019 by sharing some of the best articles we’ve read. The Canadian economy, private equity trends, emerging technologies, and work habits are all covered. We hope you find the following collection as informative as we did.

  • This is how Canada’s housing correction begins
    • Homeowners will go to extreme lengths to avoid missing mortgage payments. In the past, that meant borrowing more. As that avenue closes, many will have to dramatically cut costs. A sudden pullback in consumer spending would lead to higher unemployment, which in turn takes what might be a managed soft landing for the housing market and turns it into a deeper correction or crash.
  • How Canada’s suburban dream became a debt-filled nightmare
    • “We have a saying in my office. It’s ‘Drive till you qualify.’ So you can’t buy in Toronto, you can’t buy in Brampton, you have to go to Hamilton, you have to go to Kitchener, you have to go to Durham.”
  • Oil drillers sound alarm as demand hits ‘all-time lows’
    • “You know, it’s really hard to operate a business from the location where there are no customers and where there is no business.”
  • Penny Stocks Foray Into Cannabis Fails to Catch Investor Fever
    • Prior to the name change, more than half of these penny stocks were involved in the precious metals business. For example, SpeakEasy Cannabis Club used to be called Hadley Mining and Integrated Cannabis Co. bore the name CNRP Mining Inc.
    • Related: Yesterday, in efficient markets
  • Toronto tech: why Canada is attracting the ‘best’ people
    • “It really struck us how Canada saw that they were in a global talent competition, and how they intended to win. Canada I think recognises that they are a country of immigrants, that their strength is because of their diversity and that to grow and expand they have to bring in the best and brightest around the world.”
  • The Seven-Year Auto Loan: America’s Middle Class Can’t Afford Its Cars
    • A third of new-car buyers who trade in their cars roll debt from old vehicles into their new loans, according to car-shopping site Edmunds. That is up from about a quarter before the financial crisis.
  • Yellen Says Trump Doesn’t Understand Economic Policy
    • “I doubt that [Mr. Trump] would even be able to say that the Fed’s goals are maximum employment and price stability.”
  • Everything Is Private Equity Now
    • The basic idea is a little like house flipping: Take over a company that’s relatively cheap and spruce it up to make it more attractive to other buyers so you can sell it at a profit in a few years.
  • At What Point Does Malfeasance Become Fraud?’: NYU Biz-School Professor Scott Galloway on WeWork
    • “It’s frothy, and there’s more capital than operators. Any operator who has a vision and can promise the potential and convince people they can be the next Google or Facebook can attract billions of dollars right now.”
  • The Internet Saved the Record Labels
    • “The notion that recorded music has value was one that as recently as a decade ago was still in question.”
  • Driverless Cars Are Taking Longer Than We Expected. Here’s Why.
    • “I have to confess, I’m actually really torn,” said John Leonard, a robotics expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Part of me feels that self-driving is impossible,” he continued, “but things that I think are impossible are happening today.”
  • Americans Are No Longer Gluttons for Electricity—Thank the LED Bulb
    • Between 1950 and 2010, average residential electricity consumption increased 10-fold. But after that, in a shift that captured the attention of economists, government agencies and others who monitor the energy market, consumption began to decline.
  • Machado and Harper haven’t signed because baseball teams are now run like Wall Street ‘quant funds’
    • “The core question is whether it’s better to have a roster where player salaries are all kept within a certain range (low dispersion) or if teams are better off concentrating salary on one, or a handful, of star players atop the roster (high dispersion — the ‘stars-and-scrubs’ approach). Pretty much all of those kinds of studies I have seen suggest that low-dispersion teams tend to outperform high-dispersion teams.”
  • Charlie Munger, Unplugged
    • “Well, I have always sought, since I quit law practice [in 1965], to have a lot of time in every day to read and think. And talk to a few friends about this or that. And I don’t do that because it will make me more money, I do it because it’s my nature. And I had to use that nature because I needed a living for a big family. But it’s just my nature.”
  • ‘The board man gets paid’: An oral history of Kawhi Leonard’s college days
    • “What stood out to me about Kawhi was everyone else wanted to score or shoot threes, but he wanted to get every rebound. If you think about it, defense and rebounding, those are the two things you might not want to do. That’s not the pretty stuff. But he took pride in that. He cared.”
  • The State of Being Stuck
    • When it comes to math, Wiles said, people tend to believe “that there is something you’re born with, and either you have it or you don’t. But that’s not really the experience of mathematicians. We all find it difficult. It’s not that we’re any different from someone who struggles with maths problems in third grade…. We’re just prepared to handle that struggle on a much larger scale. We’ve built up resistance to those setbacks.”
  • Daniel Kahneman: Your Intuition Is Wrong, Unless These 3 Conditions Are Met
    • The mere fact that you have an idea and nothing else comes to mind and you feel a great deal of confidence — absolutely does not guarantee accuracy.
  • The Peculiar Blindness of Experts
    • In business, esteemed (and lavishly compensated) forecasters routinely are wildly wrong in their predictions of everything from the next stock-market correction to the next housing boom. Reliable insight into the future is possible, however. It just requires a style of thinking that’s uncommon among experts who are certain that their deep knowledge has granted them a special grasp of what is to come.