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Trend Following with Michael Covel

Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 5 million listens. Investments, economics, decision-making, human behavior & entrepreneurship--all passionately explored. Guests include Nobel Prize winners Robert Aumann, Angus Deaton, Daniel Kahneman, Harry Markowitz & Vernon Smith. Also: James Altucher, Dan Ariely, Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Kathleen Eisenhardt, Marc Faber, Tim Ferriss, Jason Fried, Gerd Gigerenzer, Larry Hite, Sally Hogshead, Ryan Holiday, Jack Horner, Ewan Kirk, Steven Kotler, Michael Mauboussin, Tucker Max, Barry Ritholtz, Jim Rogers, Jack Schwager, Ed Seykota, Philip Tetlock & Walter Williams. All 500+ eps at www.trendfollowingradio.com/rss.
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Now displaying: December, 2016

Bestselling author Michael Covel is the host of Trend Following Radio with 5 million listens. Investments, economics, decision-making, human behavior & entrepreneurship--all passionately explored. Guests include Nobel Prize winners Robert Aumann, Angus Deaton, Daniel Kahneman, Harry Markowitz & Vernon Smith. Also: James Altucher, Dan Ariely, Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Kathleen Eisenhardt, Marc Faber, Tim Ferriss, Jason Fried, Gerd Gigerenzer, Larry Hite, Sally Hogshead, Ryan Holiday, Jack Horner, Ewan Kirk, Steven Kotler, Michael Mauboussin, Tucker Max, Barry Ritholtz, Jim Rogers, Jack Schwager, Ed Seykota, Philip Tetlock & Walter Williams. All 500+ eps at www.trendfollowingradio.com/rss.

Dec 30, 2016

Episode 515 is another “Mega episode.” It is a culmination of interviews comprised of four of the most successful trend following traders alive today: Ewan Kirk, Jean-Philippe Bouchaud, Martin Lueck and Christopher Cruden.

Ewan Kirk is the head of Cantab Capital and has brought his firm from $30M AUM in 2006 to over $5B today. Kirk employs several strategies but clearly uses a trend following foundation.

Jean-Philippe Bouchaud is founder and Chairman of Capital Fund Management (CFM) and professor of physics at École polytechnique.

Martin Lueck holds an M.A. in Physics from Oxford University and currently is the Research Director and President of Aspect Capital. Lueck was originally with Adam, Harding and Lueck Limited (AHL), which he co-founded with Michael Adam and David Harding.

Christopher Cruden has been in the trend following space for over 25 years. In 1988 he became a Director of Adam, Harding and Lueck Asset Management Ltd (AHL). He is currently the head of Insch Capital Management.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Importance of consistent marginal improvements
  • Understanding a client’s drivers
  • Benefits the economy, society, and the world
  • Randomness is everything
  • Discretionary traders
  • Losses are statistically inevitable
  • Holy grails in trading
  • Behavioral biases
  • Volatility as measuring risk
  • Exploiting vs. Exploring
  • Tail risk premia vs. Pure alpha
  • Behavioral economics
  • Systematic trading
  • Price action
  • Benchmark selection
  • Time period selection
  • Markets teach humility
        Time management
Dec 26, 2016

Michael has put together a compilation of past appearances aggregated into a four hour episode. Guests today include: Daniel Kahneman, Laurie Santos, Steven Kotler, Anders Ericsson, Philip Tetlock, and Colin Camerer.

Daniel Kahneman has been called the most important psychologist alive today. He is the 2002 winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, and is the guy behind the theories of behavioral economics and behavioral finance.

Laurie Santos is a professor of psychology and cognitive sciences at Yale University. Her research explores the evolutionary origins of the human mind by comparing the cognitive abilities of human and non-human primates. Santos is able to look at monkeys and their behavior in markets and money, and see the similarities with humans.

Kotler is an American bestselling author, journalist, and entrepreneur. His articles have appeared in over 70 publications, including The New York Times Magazine, LA Times, etc.

Anders Ericsson is a Swedish psychologist and Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. He is internationally recognized as a researcher in the psychological nature of expertise and human performance. His new book is “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.”

Philip Tetlock is a Canadian American political science writer currently at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is right at the intersection of psychology, political science and organizational behavior. His book, “Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction,” is about probabilistic thinking defined.

Colin Camerer is an American behavioral economist and a Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Finance and Economics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Camerer’s research is the interface between cognitive psychology and economics.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Remembering self vs. Experiencing self
  • How the measures of happiness are being implemented into public policy
  • How failure to accept one’s losses can lead to risk-taking in trading
  • Crowd behavior relating economic bubbles
  • Why capitalism is largely driven by optimism
  • Behavioral economics affecting the trading world
  • Monkeys and humans
  • The monkey economy
  • The endowment effect
  • G.I. Joe fallacy
  • Discipline and practice
  • Solo and group practice
  • Flow state
  • Social motivation
  • The late birthday rule
  • 10,000 hours of practice
  • Nature vs. nurture
  • Brain plasticity
  • What are superforecasters?
  • Probabilistic thinking
  • Looking at data
  • The basis of decision making
Dec 23, 2016

Phil Donahue and Ayn Rand are on the podcast today, but one of them is of course dead. Rand is best known for her two best selling novels, “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged.” Michael plays two clips of Donahue interviewing Rand. Rand is controversial, but her thinking is accurate and clear. She breaks down altruism, government regulation, free market, monopoly, God, feminism, terrorism, and many more topics. You may not agree with her on all points, but there is inspiration to be taken away from her passion and to-the-point thinking.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Altruism
  • Government regulation
  • Acting on faith
  • Living by emotion, not reason
  • Women’s rights
  • Religion
  • Monopoly
  • Spending money on the un-gifted minds rather than the gifted
  • A “me” society
  • Definition of a dictator
Dec 19, 2016

Tim Price has worked in capital markets for over 25 years across three management firms. His book is “Investing Through the Looking Glass.”

Tim thought Brexit would be the biggest thing in politics during his lifetime, until Trump. People love a narrative and those behind Brexit and Trump produced a great one. People were so fed up with the establishment that even though they may not have agreed with the idea of Brexit or the agenda of Trump, they wanted a vote against the establishment.

“What was the driving force behind wanting to write your first book?” The seminal event for him was the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which led him to think: “How on earth did we end up in this mess?” Interest rates are still at zero eight years post crisis and central banks are still printing money out of nowhere. He has spent the years since 2008 researching what the causes were and essentially the “Who done it” in the bailouts. Michael and Tim talk about the economy and the avalanche that is building on the horizon. Michael asks, “How did we get to the point where so many of us have just accepted that there are these show figures making decisions for us that we have no choice in?”

In Tim’s work he takes people on a detailed journey through the banking system, bailouts, bond market, stock market and the solutions. “What other options in trading exist after you have value, momentum and gold?” Michael and Tim discuss why there aren’t really any other options beyond those.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Trusting central planners
  • Going against the establishment
  • Banking system
  • Owning gold
  • Lehman Brothers collapse
  • 2008 bubble
  • The Brexit and Trump narrative
Dec 16, 2016

Building off of last weeks podcast Michael brings another dead guest on his show, Alan Watts. Watts is responsible for introducing eastern traditions to the West, i.e. Buddhism. He has been featured many times on the podcast. Is money the root of all evil? Is money the goal? Why are making mistakes so crucial to your life? Does money equal wealth? These are all topics that are discussed and answered on the podcast.

Before Michael plays a clip from Watts, he shares a story from his recent trip to California. Michael had lunch next to a table that was the quintessential example of money, wealth, and the stereotypes that live in Los Angeles. His opening story is food for thought as you listen to Watts and his wisdom.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Liberty
  • Relationship between guilt and gold
  • You don’t learn if you don’t make mistakes
  • Psychological attitude toward money
  • Money is just bookkeeping
  • National debt
  • Money as the circulation of information
  • Changing the psychological attitude toward money
  • The cost of paying income tax
  • Psychologically poor
Dec 12, 2016

Milton Friedman is one of Michael’s favorite dead guests to bring on the podcast. He takes complicated subjects and breaks them down clearly. Today, Michael curates two interviews between Phil Donahue and Milton Friedman. These interviews were recorded back in the 1980’s, but many of the points made are more relevant today than ever. Milton foreshadows Uber, talks about the deep state (without mentioning the deep state), brings up airline service and monopoly. His solutions to problems in government 35 years ago were to cut government spending, hold monetary growth back and cut regulations. The same solutions to government are at the forefront of American politics today.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Government spending
  • Liberty in trading
  • Government regulation
  • Unknowingly supporting private interests
  • How to prevent monopoly
  • Legalizing drugs
  • Prohibition
Dec 9, 2016

Van Tharp is on today’s podcast. It is his third appearance on the show. Van runs the Van Tharp Institute and is the author of four acclaimed books published by McGraw Hill: Super Trader, Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom, Safe Strategies for Financial Freedom, and Financial Freedom Through Electronic Day Trading. His new book is called Trading Beyond the Matrix. He was also featured in Jack Schwager’s Market Wizard’s: Interviews with Great Traders. Van Tharp received his Ph.D. in psychology, is a certified Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a Certified Master Time Line Therapist, a certified Modeler of NLP, and an Assistant Trainer of NLP.

Michael starts the podcast asking Van how he felt the year Eugene Fama and Robert Shiller won the Nobel Prize. Van has a long standing theory that those who win the Nobel Prize are just supporting the ideas of the status quo. It is meant to propel the majority into believing they are in the right. Trend following does nothing to support the status quo, therefore Van says that Michael and himself will not be winning the Nobel Prize anytime soon.

People looking for help constantly approach Van. Michael asks, “What is it like to observe the learning of people who come into your world?” Van goes into the steps he takes new students through when teaching them how to trade. He shares some typical biases that new traders have when starting their training. He first teaches people to understand that they need to take total responsibility for what happens to them while trading. If was easy to make money in the markets then big money would make it hard to participate in the game, but since it is not easy to make money in the markets, they make it easy to join.

Michael switches gears and asks, “When were you first exposed to the ‘how much’ question?” Van says that it was at a workshop with Ed Seykota. Seykota asked, “What is the most important factor in your trading?” Van responded, “Well, It’s you.” And Seykota said, “No, it’s how much.” It all starts with how much you are willing to lose and how much you can afford to lose. Michael moves on to ask “Are there anymore interesting things that you learned from working with Ed Seykota?” Van shares a story about Seykota and the psychology behind what makes him such a legendary trader. He moves on to share some stories about another legendary trend following trader, Tom Basso. Van shares personal stories about how he conducted his business and trading.

Discretionary trading is the next topic. Van says, “If you are a pure discretionary trader, it seems to me that it would be very difficult to implement some of the position sizing methodologies that are in your work.” A trader needs to know when something is not working anymore. You need to be aware of market changes, and subtle changes in that market that no longer works.

Michael ends the podcast asking, “Who changed your thinking in your life? Who helped to send you down this path?” Van started his business around 1982, which coincidentally was probably the low point in his life. He went to a life science church that helped him work on himself. He can’t pinpoint a specific event or person that has molded him into who he is right now, it was a collaboration of events and people.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Systems theory
  • Money management vs. Position sizing
  • Ed Seykota’s trading and psychology strategies
  • Tom Basso’s trading and psychology strategies
  • Yoga
  • Training your brain how to think
Dec 5, 2016

“If you are in a dead end existence and feel like you need something else, get on a plane.” Fly to a foreign country, go alone, and do not have a plan. The influx of adrenaline from getting away and exploring can break anyone out of their day to day hypnosis.

Michael plays a series of news clips starting from the beginning of the Presidential race. The various clips start off profiling Donald Trump’s campaign as a joke, and then slowly morphing into him inching his way up in the polls and taking the Presidency. Michael then reads an excerpt from “Follow Me and Die” by Cecil Curry.

Michael ends the podcast with a quote from a recent Financial Times article featuring David Harding. The excerpt explains how Harding exploits the failures in the efficient market theory. He says that the markets are a psychological game and should not based off of fundamentals. Bet your money on the price, not what is happening in politics.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Trump as President-elect
  • Trading off of price, not politics
  • Nazi’s in America
  • David Harding
  • Efficient market theory
Dec 2, 2016

Olympic gold medalist Lanny Bassham is on today’s podcast. After falling short in the 1972 Olympics winning the silver medal rather than gold, Lanny went home and re-applied himself. He returned to the 1976 Olympics and won the gold medal in rifle shooting.

Lanny was the kid in school that nobody wanted on their team. He was slow, short and uncoordinated. He worked hard, but he was never going to be able to compete against others that were taller, faster and more coordinated. He shares a story about being in school and one of his classmates saying that he would be the least likely person to become an Olympic gold medalist. This prompted him to go home and learn all he could about the Olympics. This began his journey in finding his place in Olympic history.

Lanny moves on to share how much practice and work he had to put in to become an elite performer. He never felt like practice was something he had to do, it was something he got to do. He loved rifle shooting not just because of the action of it, but because he was good at it. He took obstacles and turned them into opportunities.

Next, Lanny says there is a big difference between winning silver and winning gold. When you go back home and everyone asks how you did, they always ask who won the gold, not who won the silver. Lanny relates winning silver saying, “It is like going to the super bowl and losing.” Doesn’t matter that you made it there if you don’t win. He quickly realized the reason he won silver wasn’t because of his shooting capabilities, it was his mental game. He teaches people how to have a mental process and tap into it when they need it the most.

Lanny breaks performance down as a function of three mental processes: the conscious mind, subconscious, and self image. He goes into depth explaining the balance between all of these psychological functions. He says that you need to focus on your process rather than outcome. When you are 100% in control, then you will be much more mentally consistent. Outcome will always follow process. Lanny finishes up the podcast asking the question, “Do you really want it to be easy?”

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Creating a mental process
  • Changing your self image
  • How the top 5% think
  • Hard work in practice vs. Hard work in tournaments
  • Thinking of process not outcome
  • Valuing performance not just participation
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