8 Fascinating Reads

Here are 8 great things I read this week. 

Psychology


Why don't economic booms make us happier?

When GDP grew 50 percent from 1981 to 2008, happiness went up 5 to 10 percent. When the recession hit, well-being in Greece not only reversed all previous gains, but dropped to the lowest on historical record.

Why you're here

Josh Brown writes why stocks earn the returns they do:

In life, earning stuff is sometimes preferable to having everything handed to you. It feels better on the other side of whatever ordeal you've gone through and it builds character. Pat yourself on the back for not panicking.

This is why stock investors get paid.

Technology

Elon Musk talks about the future of cars:

"Maybe five or six years from now I think we'll be able to achieve true autonomous driving where you could literally get in the car, go to sleep and wake up at your destination," Musk told Bloomberg Television.

Tough odds

Currency trading is kind of a joke:

  • In four years, the percent of clients losing money for all providers combined is nearly 89%.
  • The average loss per client was nearly €10,900 between 2009 and 2012.
  • Over the four years, 13,224 clients together lost nearly €175 million, while the remaining 1,575 clients earned a total of €13.8 million.
  • In addition to the great majority of losing clients and the losses suffered, the study shed light on a behavioural phenomenon: individual investors learn little over time. Indeed, it appears that the most active and regular investors see their losses mount over time.

Concentration

It's not really the top 1% of households that are getting richer. It's almost all the top 1% of the top 1%:

Income

The Container Storepays its line workers great wages:

Amid a debate over the U.S. minimum wage, the home-organization retailer is working equally hard to sell investors on the idea that paying front-line workers well — nearly $50,000 annually — is good for business.

Outperformance

Berkshire Hathaway's two new star stock-pickers, who will likely replace Buffett, are crushing it:

So how have the Oracle's disciples done? Quite impressively, according to our estimates. Both have outpaced the S&P 500 in their time at Berkshire (their compensation is determined by how much they beat that index over three years). Combs has done the better of the two, generating a cumulative return of 116% over the past nearly four years — more than double the S&P's 55% over the same period. Weschler's portfolio is up 81%, but he's had only three years to prove himself. Combs' picks increased an incredible 51% last year alone. And Weschler is well ahead of the market this year.

Competition

James Surowiecki writes about Netflix :

Netflix became a victim of its own success. Once content providers saw how popular streaming was becoming, they jacked up the price of their content. Netflix's success also attracted new competitors to the market (like Amazon), and encouraged existing competitors (like HBO) to invest more in streaming. "The calculus here is simple," Ulin told me. "There's lots more competition for viewers. That means it's harder to get content. And the content you do get costs more." In the past few years, Netflix has lost thousands of movies as licensing deals expired, and this year it will pay at least three billion dollars for content (much of it on children's programming and television shows). Though Netflix still streams plenty of great films, no one really thinks of it as a dream video store in the sky anymore. "Netflix used to really emphasize the breadth and depth of its catalogue," Dan Rayburn, a principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, told me. "Now it puts a lot more emphasis on its original content."

Have a good weekend. 

More from The Motley Fool: Warren Buffett Tells You How to Turn $40 into $10 Million

The article 8 Fascinating Reads originally appeared on Fool.com.

Morgan Housel owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway.The Motley Fool recommends Berkshire Hathaway, Netflix, and The Container Store Group. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Netflix, and The Container Store Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2014 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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