Topley’s Top 10 – October 13, 2021

1. P/E Ratios vs. 5-10 Year Averages.

Today’s P/E Ratio Appears Elevated Compared With Historical Valuations
(S&P 500 Forward 12-Month P/E Ratios)

Source: Bloomberg. Data from 6/30/20116/30/2021. The P/E ratio shows how much investors are paying for a dollar of a company’s earnings. Price-to-sales ratio shows how much investors are paying for a dollar of a company’s sales. Price-to-book ratio measures market value of a fund or index relative to the collective book values of its component stocks. Price-to-cash-flows ratio measures the value of a stock’s price relative to its operating cash flow per share.

(For a larger view, click on the image above)

2. Inflation Surprise and Economic Surprises vs. Historical Returns.

Liz Ann Sonders Schwab


Commodities remain the lone major asset class continuing to extend an already-extreme bullish run. Since the low in March 2020, the Bloomberg Commodity Index is up 70%. This is in keeping with inflation, which continues to run hot; and has been a volatility-driver for the equity market. As shown below, although a bit off the boil, Citi’s Inflation Surprise Index (measuring how inflation data is coming in relative to expectations) remains in the stratosphere. As detailed in the accompanying table, historical returns for the stock market tend to be lower when inflation surprises are higher. Also shown though is the historical tendency for small cap stocks to perform significantly better in those high inflation surprise zones.

Inflation Surprises Easing?

Source: Charles Schwab, Bloomberg, 1/31/1998-9/30/2021. The Citi Inflation Surprise Indices measure price surprises relative to market expectations. A positive reading means that inflation has been higher than expected and a negative reading that inflation has been lower than expected. Indexes are unmanaged, do not incur management fees, costs and expenses and cannot be invested in directly. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

In contrast to inflation having been surprising on the upside, economic data has been surprising on the downside; albeit with a slight uptick recently as shown below. As with the Inflation Surprise Index above, Citi’s Economic Surprise Index is not a measure of the level of economic data readings; but a measure of how the data is coming in relative to expectations. Courtesy of some recent and notable economic data “misses,” including consumer confidence/sentiment and payroll growth, the index remains in negative territory. As detailed in the accompanying table, historical returns for the stock market tended to be lower when economic surprises are lower.

Economic Surprises Bottoming?

Source: Charles Schwab,  Bloomberg, ©Copyright 2021 Ned Davis Research, Inc. Further distribution prohibited without prior permission. All Rights Reserved. See NDR Disclaimer at For data vendor disclaimers refer to, as of 9/30/2021.  Indexes are unmanaged, do not incur management fees, costs and expenses and cannot be invested in directly. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

3. Change in Consumer Prices One Year…Energy Up 25%

Inflation: Persistently Transitoryby Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab

4. Inflation Since 2000

5. Energy Production Fails to Match Demand

Source: TS Lombard

6. Renewed Inflationary Concerns Pushing Global Yields Higher

Posted by lplresearchMarket Blog

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The week of September 20 was notable for monetary policy as there were eleven central bank meetings, including the U.S., E.U., U.K., Turkey, and Norway, to name a few. While many of these countries are in different phases of an economic recovery and some of these central banks are providing different levels of monetary accommodation, a central theme was present throughout: inflation. Inflationary pressures would likely be higher than originally thought and would likely take longer than had been expected to abate. Since those meetings, we’ve seen a general repricing of market-implied inflation expectations and that has pushed global bond yields higher.

“Inflation is the nemesis of bond investors,” noted LPL Financial Fixed Income Strategist Lawrence Gillum. “That we’re seeing signs of stickier inflation in the near term is causing bond prices to fall. We think these inflationary pressures will decline over time though.”

As seen in the LPL Research Chart of the Day, inflation expectations, globally, have increased since central bank week (shaded part). Now, 5-year market-implied inflation expectations are the highest they’ve been in years for some regions. Market participants in the U.S., for now think consumer prices will increase 2.9% each year for the next five years. Moreover, markets are expecting consumer prices in the U.K. to increase by 4.5% annually over the next five years. Even in the European Union, where inflation goals have been tough to meet, inflation expectations continue to rise.

7.  Binance to halt Chinese yuan-crypto trading and restrict mainland China customers to withdrawals only

Shalini Nagarajan

Zhao, CEO of Binance.

REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

  • Binance will discontinue Chinese yuan trading on December 31, it said on Wednesday.
  • The crypto exchange said it would run checks to ensure users in mainland China can only make withdrawals.
  • Binance says it has been blocked in China since 2017, and doesn’t engage in local exchange business.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Binance will end the use of the Chinese yuan on its peer-to-peer platform, in the crypto exchange’s latest move to cooperate with regulators in China.

The company, which is one of the world’s largest exchanges, is set to discontinue support for the Chinese currency on December 31 this year, it said in a statementWednesday.

Binance added that people in mainland China will be allowed to only make withdrawals, redeem, or close positions.

“At the same time, Binance will conduct an inventory of platform users,” the crypto exchange said. “If the platform finds users in mainland China, their corresponding accounts will be switched to the ‘withdrawal only’ mode.”

Relevant users will be notified of the restriction to withdrawals via email seven days before the transition.

In late September, Chinese authorities declared all crypto-related transactions illegal and banned foreign exchanges from providing services to the country’s residents. Almost immediately, Binance said it would no longer accept registrations linked to Chinese mobile phone numbers.

Chinese crypto exchange Huobi said too it would stop new user registrations by mainland customers, and retire existing accounts by the end of this year. Two other Asia-focused crypto exchanges, Matrixport and Mexc, are also following by cutting off existing users.

Beijing’s recent hostile stance against towards crypto didn’t come as a surprise, after authorities imposed their first related “ban” in 2013.

Since then, China has been attempting to choke off the digital asset sector via various restrictions that target a range of market segments. In 2017, local crypto exchanges were ordered to end operations.

A Binance spokesperson told Insider that the crypto exchange has been blocked in China since 2017 and local users haven’t been able to access its website.

“Binance does not currently hold exchange operations in China,” the spokesperson said, and added that the company takes its compliance obligations “very seriously.”

News of crypto-related bans from China has not impacted the adoption rate of cryptocurrencies, according to Freddie Williams, a sales trader at UK-based digital asset broker GlobalBlock.

“It has not prevented adoption of bitcoin and digital assets from continuing their upward trend,” Williams said.

8. U.S. officially the top destination for bitcoin miners, beating out China for the first time




-The U.S. is now the top destination for bitcoin miners, eclipsing China for the first time ever.

-One-third of bitcoin’s hashrate is in the U.S., according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, a 428% increase from September 2020.

The U.S. is now the number one destination for bitcoin miners, eclipsing China for the first time ever. While it was already trending in that direction, new data from Cambridge University released early Wednesday makes it official.

As of July, 35.4% of bitcoin’s hashrate – an industry term used to describe the collective computing power of miners – is in the United States, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. That’s a 428% increase from September 2020.

America partly has China to thank for its newfound dominance in the mining industry.

Twelve months ago, China was the market leader in terms of hashrate – by a long shot. But Beijing’s crypto crackdown in the spring took half the world’s bitcoin miners offline practically overnight.

Miners started fleeing China en masse, heading to the cheapest energy sources on the planet in what was dubbed “the great mining migration.” A whole lot of them ended up in America.

The newly-released Cambridge data zeroes out China’s average monthly share of the global hashrate in July – a major reversal from September 2020, when China captured about 67% of the market.

“The whole narrative of China controls bitcoin is now completely destroyed,” said Boaz Sobrado, a London-based fintech data analyst.

Heading to America

The U.S. ticks a lot of boxes for migrant bitcoin miners searching for a new home.

For one, states like Texas boast some of the world’s lowest energy prices, which is a major incentive to miners who compete in a low-margin industry, where their only variable cost is typically energy.

The U.S. is also flush with renewable power sources.

Washington state is a mecca for hydropowered mining farms. New York produces more hydroelectric power than any other state east of the Rocky Mountains, and it counts its nuclear power plants toward its 100% carbon-free electricity goal. Meanwhile, Texas’ share of renewables is growing over time, with 20% of its power coming from wind as of 2019. The Texas grid also continues to rapidly add more wind and solar power.

Miners across the country have also harnessed nuclear power. Some are latching their rigs to otherwise stranded energy, like natural gas going to waste in oil fields across Texas. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions and generates money for the gas providers and miners.

This shift toward zero-emission, clean energy sources has already begun to recast the narrative among skeptics that bitcoin is bad for the environment.

“Mining is price sensitive, so as to seek out the lowest-cost power and the lowest-cost power tends to be renewable because if you’re burning fossil fuels … it has extraction, refinement and transport costs,” Blockstream CEO Adam Back said.

Besides lower electricity costs, some U.S. states like Texas also have crypto-friendly policymakers and an adequate supply of hosting infrastructure.

The state has a deregulated power grid with real-time spot pricing that lets customers choose between power providers, and crucially, its political leaders are pro-crypto. Those are dream conditions for miners who want a kind welcome and cheap energy sources.

“If you’re looking to relocate hundreds of millions of dollars of miners out of China, you want to make sure you have geographic, political, and jurisdictional stability. You also want to make sure there are private property rights protections for the assets that you are relocating,” said Darin Feinstein, co-founder of Core Scientific.

Luck meets preparation

America’s rise to the top is also a case of luck meeting preparation. The U.S. has been quietly boosting its hosting capacity for years.

Before bitcoin miners started coming to America, companies across the country made a gamble that eventually, if adequate infrastructure were in place, they would set up shop in the U.S.

That gamble is paying off.

When bitcoin crashed in late 2017 and the wider market entered a multi-year crypto winter, there wasn’t much demand for big bitcoin farms. U.S. mining operators saw their opening and jumped at the chance to deploy cheap money to build up the mining ecosystem in the States.

“The large, publicly-traded miners were able to raise capital to go make big purchases,” said Mike Colyer, CEO of digital currency company Foundry, which helped bring over $300 million of mining equipment into North America.

Feinstein says that in the last 18 months, there has been a serious growth of mining infrastructure in America. “We’ve noticed a massive uptick in mining operations looking to relocate to North America, mostly in the U.S.,” continued Feinstein.

Companies like North American crypto mining operator Core Scientific kept building out hosting space all through the crypto winter to ensure the capacity to plug in new gear, according to Colyer. 

“A majority of the new equipment manufactured from May 2020 through December 2020 was shipped to the U.S. and Canada,” he said.

Alex Brammer of Luxor Mining, a cryptocurrency pool built for advanced miners, points out that maturing capital markets and financial instruments around the mining industry also played a big role in the industry’s quick ascent in the U.S. Brammer says many of these American operators were able to start rapidly expanding once they secured financing by leveraging a multi-year track record of profitability and existing capital as collateral.

Covid also played a role.

Though the global pandemic shut down large swaths of the economy, the ensuing stimulus payments proved a boon for U.S. mining companies.

“All the money printing during the pandemic meant that more capital needed to be deployed,” explained bitcoin mining engineer Brandon Arvanaghi.

“People were looking for places to park their cash. The appetite for large-scale investments had never been bigger. A lot of that likely found its way into bitcoin mining operations in places outside of China,” continued Arvanaghi.

9. Tesla vs. All Automakers.

Updated Chart.

Might as well trot out this one today, because who doesn’t love this visual (whether $TSLA or $TSLAQ)? Oh, and the non-Tesla automakers also have about $200 billion in net industrial cash. Truly a sight to behold.

10. How to be remarkable

From this week’s Guardian:


Understand the urgency of the situation. Half-measures simply won’t do. The only way to grow is to abandon your strategy of doing what you did yesterday, but better. Commit.


Remarkable doesn’t mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to make a remark about it? If not, then you’re average, and average is for losers.


Being noticed is not the same as being remarkable. Running down the street naked will get you noticed, but it won’t accomplish much. It’s easy to pull off a stunt, but not useful.


Extremism in the pursuit of remarkability is no sin. In fact, it’s practically a requirement. People in first place, those considered the best in the world, these are the folks that get what they want. Rock stars have groupies because they’re stars, not because they’re good looking.


Remarkability lies in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most difficult. It doesn’t always matter which edge, more that you’re at (or beyond) the edge.


Not everyone appreciates your efforts to be remarkable. In fact, most people don’t. So what? Most people are ostriches, heads in the sand, unable to help you anyway. Your goal isn’t to please everyone. Your goal is to please those that actually speak up, spread the word, buy new things or hire the talented.


If it’s in a manual, if it’s the accepted wisdom, if you can find it in a Dummies book, then guess what? It’s boring, not remarkable. Part of what it takes to do something remarkable is to do something first and best. Roger Bannister was remarkable. The next guy, the guy who broke Bannister’s record wasn’t. He was just faster … but it doesn’t matter.


It’s not really as frightening as it seems. They keep the masses in line by threatening them (us) with all manner of horrible outcomes if we dare to step out of line. But who loses their jobs at the mass layoffs? Who has trouble finding a new gig? Not the remarkable minority, that’s for sure.


If you put it on a T-shirt, would people wear it? No use being remarkable at something that people don’t care about. Not ALL people, mind you, just a few. A few people insanely focused on what you do is far far better than thousands of people who might be mildly interested, right?


What’s fashionable soon becomes unfashionable. While you might be remarkable for a time, if you don’t reinvest and reinvent, you won’t be for long. Instead of resting on your laurels, you must commit to being remarkable again quite soon.

Topley’s Top 10 – October 12, 2021

1. Earnings Season—Big Downshift in Forecasts After Massive Covid Bounce.

Dave Lutz at Jones Trading….Third-quarter earnings season will kick off this week, and investors are awaiting insight into the impact of stickier-than-anticipated inflation, brought on by supply-chain disruptions, labor shortages and surging energy prices. Some are worried that higher costs for products and energy could crimp demand, while winter could lead to a resurgence in Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations. No major earnings are due Monday, WSJ reports.

Analysts see a 29.6% year-over-year increase in earnings for S&P 500 companies in the third quarter, according to IBES data from Refinitiv as of Friday, down from 96.3% growth in the second quarter. The third-quarter forecast is down a touch from several weeks ago, a reversal of the recent trend for estimates.

Reopening demand and marooned containers have caused bottlenecks across supply chains just as the holiday shopping season kicks off in North America, prompting downgrades across analysts estimates for the upcoming earnings season.  Few expect the supply snarls to end this year as an energy crisis stokes inflation fears. Caution abounds in the semiconductor, retail and raw material segments.

2. Coal 5 Year Chart ….$50 to $250 in One Year.

Trading Economics Blog—Coal futures rose slightly on Monday to trade around $240 per metric ton and getting closer to a record of $269.5 hit on October 5th as flooding put in question China’s efforts to address energy shortages. Heavy rains have forced the closures of 60 coal mines in Shanxi province, the largest coal mining hub in China. Last week, the coal prices eased to $230 after Beijing ordered coal miners to boost production in an effort to curb an ongoing energy crisis, while Russian President Vladimir Putin said Gazprom will send more gas to European countries via Ukraine.

3. Historical Profit Margins Chart…..Hit 10 Year High.  Higher taxes, labor costs, materials, and interest rates coming?

Callum Thomas Chart Storm US Profit Margins: following a disastrous global pandemic and widespread supply chain issues, US economy-wide profit margins are… at a 10-year high.

Specifically what the chart shows is US corporate profits before tax (with IVA and CCadj) as a percentage of GDP.

Clearly a lot has gone right for corporates: very easy and cheap financing, wage subsidies and other fiscal economic-life support measures, and a stimulus-fueled (and reopening-driven) economic rebound. Some of these things will be hard (won’t happen) to replicate going forward.

Indeed, most signs point to very tight labor markets and rising wage pressures as global supply chain blockages send prices skyward (and prompt many to rethink how they even arrange their supply chain e.g. reshoring, etc). Shorter-term energy costs are rising as well, and I think it’s likely we’ve already seen the low point in interest rates, and of course global tax rates.

So it seems likely this rebound in profit margins will be short-lived.

Best regards,

Callum Thomas

4. Massive Projected Spending in Clean Energy 2021-2050

Capital Group Blog-Trillions in global investments expected for clean energy

Green infrastructure investment set for big growth

Infrastructure investment (USD billions)

Source: International Energy Agency, Net Zero by 2050 (May 2021).

5. Chinese Military Spending Doubles in 10 Years

6. Office Buildings Conversion to Apartments

Wolf Street Blog–For 2021, a total of 20,122 apartments are expected to be completed, in 151 buildings of all types, with a surging share of office buildings, according to Yardi Matrix data cited by sister company RENTCafé. But it’s not huge: By comparison, new construction starts of multi-family buildings with five or more units averaged around 370,000 units per year over the past five years. The number of completed buildings in 2021, at 151, are over double the number in the prior two years.

Office conversions have been the leader since 2013, and they shot higher in 2020 and 2021 and have far outdistanced factory and hotel conversions. Hotel conversions are easier to accomplish because the existing floorplans, utilities, and other aspects are less costly to adapt for residential use. But the real volume going forward is in office buildings, given the vast amount of space available, though they’re more costly to convert than hotels:

Apartment Conversions from Old Office Buildings, Hotels, Factories: The Numbersby Wolf Richter • Oct 11, 2021

7. Private Jet Sales and Bookings at Record Levels.

Private jet rage grows as a record number of fliers strain the system, causing plane shortages
Robert Frank@ROBTFRANK

  • The flood of new private jet customers — driven by health concerns during the pandemic and the rapid creation of wealth — is now taxing an industry geared for slower growth.
  • The problem has been made worse by a shortage of new and used planes, delays getting aircraft parts and crew and pilot shortages.
  • NetJets has halted sales of jet cards, fractional shares and leases for light cabin aircraft amid the challenges.

Record number of travelers are now flying on private jets

Private jet fliers are facing increasing delays, cancellations and lack of available flights as the industry struggles to serve a record number of new fliers, while facing supply chain troubles.

July was the busiest month ever for private jet flights, with more than 300,000 flights, according to Argus International. While business usually cools in the fall, September saw nearly 300,000 flights and Argus projects October’s pace will break the July record.

The flood of new private jet customers — driven by health concerns during the coronavirus pandemic and the rapid creation of wealth — is now taxing an industry geared for slower growth. A shortage of new and used planes, delays getting aircraft parts, crew and pilot shortages, catering snafus, and air traffic problems are combining to create a growing number of delays and cancellations, according to industry executives.

Customers who paid five or six figures for their dream flights are now learning that even private jets encounter delays and logistics problems.

“These are people who spent $200,000 and they want perfection,” said Doug Gollan, founder of Private Jet Card Comparisons, a website that reviews jet card programs.

A Private Jet Card Comparisons survey of private jet fliers found that more than 20% had experienced a service issue in recent months.

Industry executives say the main issue is a lack of aircraft. People who own private jets and usually hire them out for charter are using the planes more often themselves, leaving fewer available for the charter market.

Fractional owners are also using their planes more. The supply shortage is feeding through the entire private aviation system, from charter companies and jet management companies to brokers and operators. The inventory of used planes is at all-time lows, and private jet makers BombardierTextron and General Dynamics’ Gulfstream have all raised production to meet demand.

Pilots are in short supply as well. Many retired or dialed back during the Covid-19 pandemic, and with the commercial airlines aggressively hiring, private jet companies and owners are scrambling to find pilots. Finding cabin crew is also becoming difficult and costly.

Shortages and delays are also hurting the availability of aircraft parts, which means that repairs that should take a day or two are now stretching for a week or more, taking more planes out of circulation.

Wheels Up, which started trading as a public company this summer, just launched a new Pilot Employee Equity Grant to try to lure and retain more pilots. The program provides equity to full-time and part-time pilots on its seniority list as of Aug. 31, and new pilots hired after Sept. 1 will be eligible.

Even catering has become a source of customer complaints. Private jet customers typically call in their catering order a day or two before the flight. But many of the new fliers are calling it in the night before, which has created a mad scramble for the caterers trying to source and make the meals — and line up the right wine or spirits — that clients are requesting.

“Say you’ve got a client who ordered Belvedere vodka and the caterer couldn’t only get Grey Goose,” Gollan said. “So the customer gets on the plane and he’s ticked off that he’s paying all this money and saying “why didn’t I get my Belvedere vodka?’”

Turning away new business

The cascade of problems has led some companies to halt sales and new customers. Sentient Jet just stopped sales of jet cards as of midnight on Sept. 30, saying it wants to focus on its existing customers.

NetJets has halted sales of jet cards, fractional shares and leases for light cabin aircraft — like the Citation XLS and Phenom 300. The company said flight demand is the highest in its 57-year history, averaging 500 flights a day compared with under 400 in 2019.

“The vast number of flights is taxing the air travel infrastructure in ways we haven’t seen in years,” the company said. Pausing light jet sales, along with other restrictions on card buyers, “allows the company to continue prioritizing what is most important — delivering the best possible experience to all owners.”

Concerns about rising costs and lower margins are squeezing some private jet operators and companies. Wheels Up’s share price has fallen by more than 40% since its peak in July, in part because of analyst concerns over margins.

Wheels Up said it “is uniquely positioned to service our members and customers in the current environment with our fleet of owned, operated, managed and third-party partner aircraft.”

The big question is whether the more than 10,000 customers who started flying private for the first time during the pandemic will stick around if the problems continue to mount. Gollan said that while customers may complain about service issues, none of the 300 it surveyed said they planned to go back to commercial airlines.

8. SpaceX $100 Billion Valuation

9. Israel a step closer to commercial drones with latest tests


TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Dozens of drones floated through the skies of Tel Aviv on Monday, ferrying cartons of ice cream and sushi across the city in an experiment that officials hope provided a glimpse of the not-too-distant future.

Israel’s National Drone Initiative, a government program, carried out the drill to prepare for a world in which large quantities of commercial deliveries will be made by drones to take pressure off highly congested urban roads. The two-year program aims to apply the capabilities of Israeli drone companies to establish a nationwide network where customers can order goods and have them delivered to pick up spots.

The project, now in the third of eight stages, is still in its infancy and faces many questions about security and logistics.

“We had 700 test flights at the start of this year and now we are close to 9,000 flights,” said Daniella Partem, from Israel Innovation Authority, a partner in the drone initiative.

Israel is a global leader in drone technology, with much of its expertise rooted in the highly technologized military. Many of the 16 companies participating in the drone initiative have links to the military.

According to Partem, the initiative was inspired by the halting effect that COVID-19 had on the transportation of medical supplies in early 2020.

An early stage tested the transport of medicines and blood plasma by drones. The initiative has since carried out wider tests in three different urban districts in Israel and hopes to promote legislation that would allow drones to be widely used through an app that customers and clients can use.

Israel’s population of 9.3 million people is largely packed in in urban centers, with major cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem suffering from high levels of road congestion. Access to Israel airspace is highly regulated by security officials, and flying a drone requires a permit from the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority.

The initiative faces many obstacles. Officials will have to ensure that drones can handle flights through turbulent weather conditions and that the skies can be quickly cleared in case of war or emergency. There are also issues of privacy.

“Once you have a drone that actually takes photos or videos you create a totally new dimension of privacy invasion,” said Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, digital technology expert and fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, a think tank in Jerusalem. 

The drone initiative has already tried to address such concerns by using cameras that can help the machine land, but don’t have the resolution to take detailed photos.

The drone initiative has worked in cooperation with the aviation authority since its first flight tests in January. Five more tests are planned over the next 14 months. 

“One day, we will have drone-powered taxis in the sky,” said Yoely Or, co-founder of Cando Drones, one of the companies that participated in Monday’s experiment.

10. 7 Ways to Retain More of Every Book You Read

written by JAMES CLEAR


There are many benefits to reading more books, but perhaps my favorite is this: A good book can give you a new way to interpret your past experiences.

Whenever you learn a new mental model or idea, it’s like the “software” in your brain gets updated. Suddenly, you can run all of your old data points through a new program. You can learn new lessons from old moments. As Patrick O’Shaughnessy says, “Reading changes the past.”

Of course, this is only true if you internalize and remember insights from the books you read. Knowledge will only compound if it is retained. In other words, what matters is not simply reading more books, but getting more out of each book you read.

Gaining knowledge is not the only reason to read, of course. Reading for pleasure or entertainment can be a wonderful use of time, but this article is about reading to learn. With that in mind, I’d like to share some of the best reading comprehension strategies I’ve found.

1. Quit More Books

It doesn’t take long to figure out if something is worth reading. Skilled writing and high-quality ideas stick out.

As a result, most people should probably start more books than they do. This doesn’t mean you need to read each book page-by-page. You can skim the table of contents, chapter titles, and subheadings. Pick an interesting section and dive in for a few pages. Maybe flip through the book and glance at any bolded points or tables. In ten minutes, you’ll have a reasonable idea of how good it is.

Then comes the crucial step: Quit books quickly and without guilt or shame.

Life is too short to waste it on average books. The opportunity cost is too high. There are so many amazing things to read. I think Patrick Collison, the founder of Stripe, put it nicely when he said, “Life is too short to not read the very best book you know of right now.”

Here’s my recommendation:

Start more books. Quit most of them. Read the great ones twice.

2. Choose Books You Can Use Instantly

One way to improve reading comprehension is to choose books you can immediately apply. Putting the ideas you read into action is one of the best ways to secure them in your mind. Practice is a very effective form of learning.

Choosing a book that you can use also provides a strong incentive to pay attention and remember the material. That’s particularly true when something important hangs in the balance. If you’re starting a business, for example, then you have a lot of motivation to get everything you can out of the sales book you’re reading. Similarly, someone who works in biology might read The Origin of Species more carefully than a random reader because it connects directly to their daily work. 

Of course, not every book is a practical, how-to guide that you can apply immediately, and that’s fine. You can find wisdom in many different books. But I do find that I’m more likely to remember books that are relevant to my daily life.

3. Create Searchable Notes

Keep notes on what you read. You can do this however you like. It doesn’t need to be a big production or a complicated system. Just do something to emphasize the important points and passages.

I do this in different ways depending on the format I’m consuming. I highlight passages when reading on Kindle. I type out interesting quotes as I listen to audiobooks. I dog-ear pages and transcribe notes when reading a print book.

But here’s the real key: store your notes in a searchable format.

There is no need to leave the task of reading comprehension solely up to your memory. I keep my notes in Evernote. I prefer Evernote over other options because 1) it is instantly searchable, 2) it is easy to use across multiple devices, and 3) you can create and save notes even when you’re not connected to the internet.

I get my notes into Evernote in three ways:

I. Audiobook: I create a new Evernote file for each book and then type my notes directly into that file as I listen.

II. Ebook: I highlight passages on my Kindle Paperwhite and use a program called Clippings to export all of my Kindle highlights directly into Evernote. Then, I add a summary of the book and any additional thoughts before posting it to my book summaries page.

III. Print: Similar to my audiobook strategy, I type my notes as I read. If I come across a longer passage I want to transcribe, I place the book on a book stand as I type. (Typing notes while reading a print book can be annoying because you are always putting the book down and picking it back up, but this is the best solution I’ve found.)

Of course, your notes don’t have to be digital to be “searchable.” For example, you can use Post-It Notes to tag certain pages for future reference. As another option, Ryan Holiday suggests storing each note on an index card and categorizing them by the topic or book.

The core idea is the same: Keeping searchable notes is essential for returning to ideas easily. An idea is only useful if you can find it when you need it.

4. Combine Knowledge Trees

One way to imagine a book is like a knowledge tree with a few fundamental concepts forming the trunk and the details forming the branches. You can learn more and improve reading comprehension by “linking branches” and integrating your current book with other knowledge trees.

For example:

  • While reading The Tell-Tale Brain by neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, I discovered that one of his key points connected to a previous idea I learned from social work researcher Brené Brown.
  • In my notes for The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, I noted how Mark Manson’s idea of “killing yourself” overlaps with Paul Graham’s essay on keeping your identity small.
  • As I read Mastery by George Leonard, I realized that while this book was about the process of improvement, it also shed some light on the connection between genetics and performance.

I added each insight to my notes for that particular book.

Connections like these help you remember what you read by “hooking” new information onto concepts and ideas you already understand. As Charlie Munger says, “If you get into the mental habit of relating what you’re reading to the basic structure of the underlying ideas being demonstrated, you gradually accumulate some wisdom.”

When you read something that reminds you of another topic or immediately sparks a connection or idea, don’t allow that thought to come and go without notice. Write about what you’ve learned and how it connects to other ideas.

5. Write a Short Summary

As soon as I finish a book, I challenge myself to summarize the entire text in just three sentences. This constraint is just a game, of course, but it forces me to consider what was really important about the book.

Some questions I consider when summarizing a book include:

  • What are the main ideas?
  • If I implemented one idea from this book right now, which one would it be?
  • How would I describe the book to a friend?

In many cases, I find that I can usually get just as much useful information from reading my one-paragraph summary and reviewing my notes as I would if I read the entire book again. 

If you feel like you can’t squeeze the whole book into three sentences, consider using the Feynman Technique.

The Feynman Technique is a note-taking strategy named after the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. It’s pretty simple: Write the name of the book at the top of a blank sheet of paper, then write down how you’d explain the book to someone who had never heard of it.

If you find yourself stuck or if you see that there are holes in your understanding, review your notes or go back to the text and try again. Keep writing it out until you have a good handle on the main ideas and feel confident in your explanation.

I’ve found that almost nothing reveals gaps in my thinking better than writing about an idea as if I am explaining it to a beginner. Ben Carlson, a financial analyst, says something similar, “I find the best way to figure out what I’ve learned from a book is to write something about it.” 

6. Surround the Topic

I often think of the quote by Thomas Aquinas, “Beware the man of a single book.”

If you only read one book on a topic and use that as the basis for your beliefs for an entire category of life, well, how sound are those beliefs? How accurate and complete is your knowledge?

Reading a book takes effort, but too often, people use one book or one article as the basis for an entire belief system. This is even more true (and more difficult to overcome) when it comes to using our one, individual experience as the basis for our beliefs. As Morgan Housel noted, “Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works. We’re all biased to our own personal history.” 

One way to attack this problem is to read a variety of books on the same topic. Dig in from different angles, look at the same problem through the eyes of various authors, and try to transcend the boundary of your own experience.

7. Read It Twice

I’d like to finish by returning to an idea I mentioned near the beginning of this article: read the great books twice. The philosopher Karl Popper explained the benefits nicely, “Anything worth reading is not only worth reading twice, but worth reading again and again. If a book is worthwhile, then you will always be able to make new discoveries in it and find things in it that you didn’t notice before, even though you have read it many times.”

Additionally, revisiting great books is helpful because the problems you deal with change over time. Sure, when you read a book twice maybe you’ll catch some stuff you missed the first time around, but it’s more likely that new passages and ideas will be relevant to you. It’s only natural for different sentences to leap out at you depending on the point you are at in life.

You read the same book, but you never read it the same way. As Charles Chu noted, “I always return home to the same few authors. And, no matter how many times I return, I always find they have something new to say.” 

Of course, even if you didn’t get something new out of each reading, it would still be worthwhile to revisit great books because ideas need to be repeated to be remembered. The writer David Cain says, “When we only learn something once, we don’t really learn it—at least not well enough for it to change us much. It may inspire momentarily, but then becomes quickly overrun by the decades of habits and conditioning that preceded it.” Returning to great ideas cements them in your mind.

Nassim Taleb sums things up with a rule for all readers: “A good book gets better at the second reading. A great book at the third. Any book not worth rereading isn’t worth reading.”

Where to Go From Here

Knowledge compounds over time.

In Chapter 1 of Atomic Habits, I wrote: “Learning one new idea won’t make you a genius, but a commitment to lifelong learning can be transformative.”

One book will rarely change your life, even if it does deliver a lightbulb moment of insight. The key is to get a little wiser each day.

Now that you know how to get more out of each book you read, you might be looking for some reading recommendations. Feel free to check out my book summaries or my public reading list.

Topley’s Top 10 – October 11, 2021

1. Record Stock and Bond Flows…Mass Liquidity.

Wealth of Common Sense Blog For example, Bloomberg’s Eric Balchunas noted this week Vanguard’s S&P 500 ETF (VOO) just broke the all-time record for inflows in a single year:

Data from Yardeni Research shows inflows into bond mutual funds and ETFs are as high as they’ve been going back to 2003 by a wide margin:


Despite generationally low interest rates, investors continue plowing money into bond funds. According to Yardeni, there was a record $1.01 trillion of inflows into bond funds for the trailing 12 months through April. The 12 month numbers through July and August were close to that record as well.

A Wealth of Common Sense Blog

2.Best and Worst Performing S&P 500 Stocks in 2021-Bespoke

The fourth quarter is now off to the races and we thought it worthwhile to check in on the best and worst-performing S&P 500 stocks on a year-to-date basis.  As shown below, there are currently six members of the index that have rallied over 100% this year.  Apt for the year that its vaccine has rolled out, the biggest gainer of these has been Moderna (MRNA) with a 196.12% rally.  It now has a market cap of $124.87 billion versus a market cap of only $41 billion at the start of the year. Of the 20 best performers, MRNA is also the only one with a market cap above $100 billion. The next largest is ConocoPhillips (COP) with a $95.76 billion market cap.  COP is one of multiple Energy stocks on this list as well. Of the top 20 performers, Energy sector names dominate the list with 8 members.


Pivoting to the other end of the spectrum, Las Vegas Sands (LVS) is down the most this year having been cut by 36.18%.  IPG Photonics (IPGP), Lamb Weston Holdings (LW), Viatris (VTRS), MarketAxess (MKTX), and Global Payments (GPN) also have fallen by at least 25%.  Once again, there is only one member of this list with a market cap above $100 billion: Qualcomm (QCOM).  One other interesting factor to note of the worst performers is there are several stocks that were at some point plays on pandemic trends, whether those be reopening or stay at home. For example, in addition to LVS, another gaming/reopening name, Wynn Resorts (WYNN), ranks as the eighth-worst performer YTD.  Additionally, strong performers during the onset of the pandemic like Clorox (CLX), Activision Blizzard (ATVI), and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) are all down double digits this year.

3.Bank Stocks Kick Off Earnings Season This Week

Banks Outperforming this Year but Still Cheap vs. S&P

4. Emerging Market Energy Sector Cheap vs. Broad Market.

Another Sector with good run but still fundamentally cheap

5. Bitcoin +14% for the Week….Mystery Whale Buys $1.6B Wed. Trade.

Bitcoin One Month Chart

Who Bought $1.6B in Bitcoin Wednesday, and Why? Coindesk


Where? Trying to pin down the exchange that took on this trade offers some hints about the buyer’s motivation.

The price of bitcoin on Coinbase relative to other exchanges rose sharply as the trade was underway, leading some to speculate that the regulated U.S. exchange was the platform where the transaction happened. However, a little more digging into the data places the trade in Asia.

Three exchanges saw particularly large volumes in their perpetual futures contracts, according to Ki Young Ju, CEO of data provider CryptoQuant. Those three – Binance, Huobi and ByBit – while not technically based in China, have long had ties to the country, where yet another crackdown on crypto was recently announced.

Bitcoin perpetual futures trading volume, Oct. 6, 2021 (CryptoQuant)

“Whales bought up $BTC in the perpetual futures markets yesterday mostly at @binance, @HuobiGlobal and @Bybit_Official. Basis ratio says it was futures-driven, and they punted long positions as open interest skyrocketed at that time. These guys know something,” Ki tweeted Thursday.

Ki hypothesized that one possible explanation could be traders taking on huge positions ahead of a rumored approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of a futures-based bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). The buzz hit the market after the regulator’s chairman, Gary Gensler, merely reiterated his previously stated preference for a futures-based ETF should one ever get launched.

“If this move was the ETF front-running from US whales, they are likely to use non-US exchanges to avoid blame for insider trading IMO,” Ki tweeted, shooting down the idea that the trade came from an order on Coinbase. “Spot trading volume dominance for Coinbase is increasing lately, but not that high compared to early this year.”

Again, that doesn’t explain the trader’s willingness to accept slippage. After all, front-running a regulatory action a full week after speculation began by piling all in with one big order wouldn’t be prudent or rational. That doesn’t mean irrational exuberance doesn’t exist in crypto markets; for many participants it’s a feature, not a bug. But that’s not something usually characteristic of an entity with the resources to take on a billion-dollar trade.

Rather, the fact these three perpetual futures exchanges originated in China (though no longer based there) may be more significant than just their relative liquidity.

6. Dividend Growers Vs. High Yield Bonds

Equities: Dividend growers tend to outperform high-yield bonds during times of stress.

The Daily Shot Blog

7. NYC-Apartment Rents and Home Prices Booming but Retail 30% Occupancy ….Office Buildings Only Back to 29% Capacity.

Zerohedge–Some of the busiest streets in midtown Manhattan are plagued with vacant storefronts as a drop in tourism and office workers have severely punished the retail industry during the pandemic.

A new report released Thursday from the Real Estate Board of New York outlines how 30% of 311 storefronts in retail areas around Midtown East and Grand Central are vacant, which is more than double the historical rate. The report also said Madison Avenue had a retail vacancy rate of 28% among 289 stores.

Kastle Systems, whose electronic access systems secure thousands of office buildings across NYC, showed that only 29% of workers were back at their desks in late September.


8. The New Buzzword “Stagflation”

More than 4,000 stories mentioned the word “#stagflation” in September, 2X as many as in August, itself a record high going back to 2012

Barry Ritholtz The Big Picture

9. A Harvard nutritionist and brain expert shares the 5 foods she eats every day to sharpen her memory and focus

Published Fri, Oct 8 202112:07 PM EDTUpdated Fri, Oct 8 202112:30 PM EDT

Lauren Armstrong, Contributor

As a dietitian, I always tell people to think of the brain as the mastermind behind almost everything — our thoughts, memory, focus, movements, breathing, heartbeat — and that certain foods can help make it stronger, sharper and smarter.

Our brain and diet also play a key role in longevity. According to the National Institute on Aging, what we eat can directly impact inflammation and oxidative stress in our bodies — both of which can affect our risk of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

I spoke with Dr. Uma Naidoo, a nutritional psychiatrist, faculty member at Harvard Medical School and author of “This Is Your Brain on Food,” about what she eats to sharpen her memory, focus and overall brain health:

1. Extra dark chocolate

Chopped dark chocolate

Julia Malynovska | Twenty20

“Extra dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and cacao flavanols that help preserve the health of brain cells,” Naidoo tells CNBC Make It. “It also contains fiber to help reduce brain inflammation and prevent cognitive decline.

A 2020 study looked at how dark chocolate and white chocolate can affect the memory of healthy young adults. Participants who were given dark chocolate had better verbal memory performances two hours after consuming the chocolate, compared to the group that received white chocolate.

Researchers suggested this was due to the higher flavonoid content of the dark chocolate, “which can acutely improve cognitive function in humans.”

Extra dark chocolate should be at least 70% cacao or greater, according to Naidoo.

Just don’t go overboard with the serving sizes, she says: “One meta-analysis suggests that the optimal amount of dark chocolate consumption for the health of our blood vessels — including the ones that supply blood to the brain — is about 45 grams per week.”

2. Berries

Fresh berries

Viktoryia Vinnikava | Twenty20

“Berries are packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals,” says Naidoo. “These nutrients help retain memory, and the fiber content helps feed microbes in the gut to reduce brain inflammation.”

She suggests choosing from an assortment of red, blue and black-colored berries. Strawberries, for example, are rich in flavonoids and may help slow down cognitive decline; blueberries contain different types of flavonoids linked with preventing oxidative stress; and blackberries are great sources of antioxidants, which help brain cell health.

“Eating a variety of colorful berries can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and help fend off neurodegenerative diseases like dementia,” says Naidoo.

She typically goes for a half or single cup in her daily serving.

3. Turmeric (with black pepper)

One of the major ingredients in curry powder, turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is the secret behind its brain-boosting benefits.

“Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory substance,” says Naidoo. “Consuming it, studies have found, can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and lower cognitive decline with age.”

Turmeric is good solo, but the benefits can be stronger when combined with black pepper. Naidoo always adds “a pinch of black pepper in turmeric because piperine — the compound in black pepper — activates the curcumin and increases the bioavailability to the brain and the body.”

You can incorporate turmeric and black pepper into your diet by adding it to a hearty rice disha side of potatoes,golden milk latte or some oatmeal.

4. Leafy Greens

Plate of spinach

Ekaterina Budinovskya | Twenty20

“Leafy greens are a staple in brain-healthy diets because they contain folate, which is a B vitamin that supports neurodevelopment and neurotransmitter function,” explains Naidoo. “Folate deficiency has been tied to increased symptoms of depression as well as cognitive aging.”

Naidoo says her favorite leafy greens include:

  • Arugula
  • Dandelion greens
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Watercress

Not a salad fan? You can also enjoy them as creative ingredients in your favorite dishes, like pastaburritos or as a pizza topping.

5. Fermented foods

Yogurt bowl

David Tanke | Twenty20

Fermentation involves adding foods to a culture of microorganisms that then feed on the sugars in the food. This creates other products, such as lactic acid, that can generate gut-friendly bacteria.

“We have what’s called a gut-brain connection,” says Naidoo. “So when we eat fermented foods and boost our gut health, we may also improve our cognitive function.”

She likes to eat homemade kimchi as a snack with celery sticks, or combine it with salads for extra texture and flavor. Some other fermented foods Naidoo recommends:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt

However, large amounts of fermented foods can make you bloated. “If you feel uncomfortable, cut back on your intake until your gut and body adjust,” Naidoo advises.

You’ll also want to double-check the food labels to ensure that what you’re buying is actually fermented. Typically, you’ll see a label that mentions “live active cultures.”

Lauren Armstrong is a dietitian and nutrition coach. She was also a nutritionist for The Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program. Lauren received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Western Michigan University and has written for several publications, including Livestrong and HealthDay.

10. Nothing Get in the Way of Success Like Avoidance

Tiny Thought

There is nothing that gets in the way of success more than avoidance. We avoid hard conversations. We avoid certain people. We avoid hard decisions. We avoid evidence that contradicts what we think. We avoid starting a project until we’re certain of the outcome.

To justify our avoidance, we lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves that we’re noble — we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. We tell ourselves we don’t want to offend others. We tell ourselves that things will get better. We tell ourselves that things will get easier. We tell ourselves that we can avoid the real issue without any impact. We tell ourselves we’ll start when the time is right.

Sometimes we muster up half the courage. We have half the conversation we wanted to have. We do half the hard thing. We acknowledge the evidence but convince ourselves this time is different. We see the person we’re avoiding but don’t really talk to them. We start but don’t commit to the project.

And here’s the interesting thing. Half-efforts tend to make things worse, not better. When things don’t get better, it only reinforces that we shouldn’t have said anything in the first place. Avoiding isn’t better, it’s just easier.

Not only does avoiding today make the future harder, but it also almost always makes the present harder. Avoiding puts you on a hair-trigger, anything will set you off. We all do this. Who hasn’t entirely avoided a hard conversation with their partner about something only to find themselves in an insignificant argument over something trivial? Of course, the petty fight isn’t about the trivial thing, it’s about avoidance of the hard thing.

Everything becomes harder until we stop avoiding what’s getting in the way. The longer you wait the higher the cost.

Farnum Street

Topley’s Top 10 – October 08, 2021

1.Quarterly and Year to Date ETF Winners and Losers.

2.10 Year Treasury Yield Still Below 2021 Highs.

U.S. Dollar Hits High for 2021….approaching late 2020 levels.

3.Stats for Q4 Based on 2021 So Far……….

LPL Research

4. U.S. Cash Deposits Have Greatly Outstripped Loan Growth

Blackrock—Rick Reider Yet even with new liquidity injections becoming greatly diminished, the existing stock of liquidity, both domestically and globally, is historic, with investors who are sitting on cash salivating over any yield, or return potential, of reasonable quality that looks to be available. In fact, growth in cash has far outpaced growth in loan demand since the onset of the pandemic, leaving banks flush with deposits and starved for yield (see Figure 2). As a result, trillions of dollars in bank deposits continue to compete with traditional fixed income investors for relatively scarce high-quality assets.

Figure 2: U.S. Cash Deposits Have Greatly Outstripped Loan Growth

Sources: Federal Reserve and Bloomberg, data as of August 31, 2021

Indeed, there is so much cash (liquidity) in the world and such low yields that one might even forget that in an equilibrium state the “beach ball” floats on the surface of the water. Having posted roughly a 12% total return year-to-date, through September 14, the 60/40 balanced portfolio (60% S&P 500, 40% U.S. Aggregate Bond) is on pace to beat 2020’s handsome return of 14%. But unlike in 2019 and 2020, in which both the equity and fixed income sides of the portfolio contributed to total returns, in 2021 so far only the equity portion has made a positive contribution. The fact is that from these levels of yield, it is extremely difficult to preserve purchasing power in fixed income, revealing the difficulty in getting the “40%” of the balanced portfolio to contribute to price returns.

Follow Rick Rieder on Twitter

5.Technology Stocks and Energy Stocks Performance Around Interest Rates….

Rising Rates Tech Underperforms 44% of Time.

Energy Rising Rates Outperforms 53% of Time

6.Bitcoin/Crypto ETFs Still Not Imminent….Invesco Rolls Out Two Funds….Crypto Flows $90m Last Week

Invesco ETFs Offer 2 Angles On Crypto

Heather Bell

While the U.S. still awaits the arrival of the first bitcoin ETF, Invesco has rolled out two funds that cover the cryptocurrency industry, but with one crucial difference. While the Invesco Alerian Galaxy Blockchain Users and Decentralized Commerce ETF (BLKC) takes a broader view and includes the category identified as blockchain users, the Invesco Alerian Galaxy Crypto Economy ETF (SATO), purely focuses on the cryptocurrency industry itself.

The indexes underlying the new ETFs were developed by cryptocurrency giant Galaxy Digital in partnership with Alerian.

Both funds come with expense ratios of 0.60% and list on Cboe Global Markets.

“Today’s launch opens up a new way for investors to access this fast-growing asset class, combining exposure to key companies in the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem with an allocation to an  investment vehicle that directly holds digital assets, all within the ETF wrapper,” said John Hoffman, head of Americas, ETFs and indexed strategies at Invesco.

BLKC tracks the Alerian Galaxy Global Blockchain Equity, Trusts and ETPs Index, which includes cryptocurrency miners, providers of supporting technologies, crypto buyers and blockchain users that are researching and developing blockchain technologies for uses other than cryptocurrencies. That last category opens the fund up to a range of other types of companies like Accenture, Facebook, Citigroup and Walmart, according to Hoffman.

He notes that the fund offers broad exposure to blockchain as a technology.

SATO, on the other hand, covers all of those categories except for the blockchain users, offering a “more precise solution,” Hoffman says, describing the fund as more of a pure play around the miners, the technologies and the buyers of cryptocurrencies than its counterpart. It tracks the Alerian Galaxy Global Cryptocurrency-Focused Blockchain Equity, Trusts and ETPs Index.

SATO has 39 components in its underlying index compared to the 60 in BLKC’s index, a fairly material difference that results in very dissimilar returns when viewing the benchmarks’ performance histories. However, both funds’ indexes include a 15% weighting to the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), so there is some direct exposure to bitcoin in both portfolios.

Contact Heather Bell at



By James Butterfill

  • Digital asset investment products saw inflows of US$90m last week, marking the 7th consecutive week of inflows, totalling US$411m.
  • Bitcoin saw inflows of US$69m last week. We believe this decisive turnaround in sentiment is due to growing confidence in the asset class amongst investors.
  • Ethereum saw another week of inflows, totalling US$20m, although it has conceded market share to Bitcoin in recent weeks, having fallen from a peak of 28% to 25%.
  • Despite improving inflows across investment products, volumes remain low, at US$2.4bn last week, compared to US$8.4bn in May 2021.

Digital asset investment products saw inflows of US$70m last week, marking the 7th consecutive week of inflows, totalling US$390m.

7. 4 Surprising Things That May Increase How Much Your Home Is Worth


Does your home offer any of the perks some buyers will pay more for?

To understand how much your home is worth, you have to know what affects its value. The Zestimate home value is Zillow’s tool for extrapolating the real market value of your home, based on existing home-related data and actual sales prices in your area.

Thousands of data points correlate with home values and sale prices — some of which are obvious (like the condition of the home) and some that aren’t.

Here are several surprising things that can affect either the existing value of your home or the price someone is willing to pay for it, all based on data.

1. Proximity to a Starbucks

How far do you have to drive to get a Frappuccino? If the answer is “not that far,” you’re in luck.

A 2015 Zillow report found that, between 1997 and 2014, homes within a quarter-mile of a Starbucks increased in value by 96 percent, on average, compared to 65 percent for all U.S. homes, based on a comparison of Zillow Home Value Index data with a database of Starbucks locations.

To evaluate if this effect is isolated to Starbucks, the research team looked at another coffee hot spot (one with particular pull on the East Coast): Dunkin’ Donuts.

The data showed that homes near Dunkin’ Donuts locations appreciated 80 percent, on average, during the same 17-year period — not quite as high as homes near a Starbucks, but still significantly above the 65 percent increase in value for all U.S. homes.

2. Blue kitchens and blue bathrooms

Beyond America’s obsession with curb appeal, what’s inside your house counts a lot too — especially the colors you paint the rooms (particularly the kitchen).

According to Zillow’s 2017 Paint Color Analysis, which examined more than 32,000 photos from sold homes around the country, homes with blue kitchens sold for a $1,809 premium, compared to similar homes with white kitchens.

Blue is also a popular bathroom shade. The same analysis found that homes with pale blue to soft periwinkle-blue bathrooms sold for $5,440 more.

Walls painted in cool neutrals, like blue or gray, can signal that the home is well cared for or has other desirable features.

3. Trendy features

Joanna Gaines’ aesthetic is permeating more than just your YouTube search history. Zillow listings mentioning the shiplap queen’s favorite features — like barn doors and farmhouse sinks — sell faster and for a premium, according to a 2016 Zillow analysis of descriptions of more than 2 million homes sold nationwide.

Listings with “barn door” in the description sold for 13.4 percent more than expected — and 57 days faster than comparable homes without the keyword. Meanwhile, listings touting “farmhouse sink” led to a nearly 8 percent sales premium.

Sellers can use the listing descriptions to highlight trendy details and features that might not be noticeable in the photos.

4. How close you are to a city

If you own a home in a major American metropolitan area, you’re most likely sitting on a significant (and rapidly appreciating) financial asset. Case in point: Home values in the New York, NY, metro area are worth $2.6 trillion, per a recent Zillow analysis.

The average urban home is now worth 35 percent more than the average suburban home. Since 2012, the median home value in urban areas has increased by 54 percent, while the median home value in suburban areas is up just 38 percent.

8.Trust in Media Second Lowest Ever

  • 36% in U.S. have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in mass media
  • 68% of Democrats, 31% of independents and 11% of Republicans trust media
  • Democrats’ and independents’ trust is down five points since 2020, GOP’s flat


9.Chicago Council Public Opinion Survey…..Strengthening Public Education #1


Emphasis on Domestic Renewal

A key feature of the  Foreign Policy for the Middle Class is the link between domestic investments and international influence. The factors seen by most Americans as very important for maintaining US international influence are domestically focused.

Majorities of Americans consider improving public education (73%), strengthening democracy at home (70%), and reducing both racial (53%) and economic (50%) inequality as very important to maintaining America’s global influence. Similarly, Americans are more concerned about threats within the United States (81%) than threats outside the country (19%).


10.The Secret Formula for Real Financial Success


Alex King

What do you see?

That Money = Cost x Time ?

Or, that Time = Money/Cost ?

Most of us routinely push through the weekdays while we wait for the next weekend to roll around, giving us a moment to choose how we spend and enjoy our time. For those who are merely working to pay the bills, 71% of every week is a total write-off. It’s a sad statistic. What keeps us spending an entire life stuck in this funk?

Naturally, we approach life with the view that money comes first, and at a direct personal trade off, according to this standard work-life formula:

Money = Cost x Time

Whether it’s working extra weekend shifts or moving your way up the company ladder, with more money comes greater personal cost: more energy being drained, more opportunity costs being lost, more obligations to fulfill — in addition to more quality time being given up. Overall, a piece of our life must be sacrificed. But that’s the price we must pay for money, right?

We believe that to be “richer” we need more money. And if we need more money, we must expect to pay a higher cost and trade more of our precious time! What we often seek is a job promotion to raise our income by a few extra dollars a week. Oh… and let’s also raise those overtime hours, weekend call-ins, daily responsibilities, pressures and stresses along with it! More money? Yes. A richer life? Hardly.

Unfortunately, most of us never see otherwise. From our grandparents to our parents to us, this is all we have ever known about the experience of life. Could there be any other way to approach The Money Game?

Money vs Real Financial Success

There is clearly a connection between having more money and potentially gaining more value out of life. But as we all know, a richer life is never defined by money alone. Because what about the cost of money?

All money comes in context, and for every dollar of potential value that we gain there must be some personal cost involved. Obviously, not all money comes at an equal cost. Therefore, real financial success cannot simply be based on being a millionaire or a billionaire.

The millionaire who is stuck working a job he hates for 10 hours a day is clearly less successful that the millionaire who could stop working the job he hated 10 years ago. And, of course, the millionaire who made his fortune doing what he loves really hit life’s jackpot! Same money but all different levels of personal success.

Even if you manage to amass a BILLION dollars to your name, this money has little value if you must spend your entire life trapped in some airtight, corporate box. This big pile of money is little more than a big pile of stress and sacrifices! So, what is financial success, really? It is not defined by the number in your bank account or the car you drive, but ultimately by the effect that money has on the quality of your life.

Forget about the “big bucks” because real wealth and success are simply about experiencing a life with greater positives and fewer negatives. Therefore, money should have one purpose: to add positive value to our lives. So how can we start to view our finances in a way that reflects what we really want in life?

One Formula to Rule Them All

To experience real financial success, our aim for the future is not to simply focus on money, but to instead focus on time. Of course, when it comes to the value of our time, money plays a crucial role. So, what is the connection between money, time and real financial success?

Real financial success is having the money and lifestyle to spend more time doing what you truly want, while spending less time having to fuss and fight over money and be paying all the personal costs that often come with it. Yet, why do so many of us chase money without ever experiencing any greater sense of freedom and satisfaction? Because real financial success is only possible for those with a totally different perspective on life! What is this perspective?

To change our future finances and lifestyle for the better, it starts with taking life’s standard formula: Money = Cost x Time and flipping our natural view. It’s now time to see that: Time = Money/Cost

As you can see, the value of your time is equal to your money divided by your life costs – simply, all the negatives that revolve around getting money. With little money the value of your time clearly suffers. And when earning more money at a much higher personal cost, unfortunately life doesn’t get much better! However, when we approach life with the aim to increase our money AND decrease our cost, what do you get? More valuable time!

Forget about money alone, because the richer you really are, the greater the value of your time. This imbalance between money and cost is the key to experiencing real financial success.

“The rich invest in time. The poor invest in money” – Warren Buffet

Saving Yourself

The “Average Joe” may believe that frugal investors are boring cheapskates who don’t know how to enjoy their money. But what do they often fail to see? As Henry David Thoreau once said: “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it”. The true cost of every purchase is not a number

on a price tag, but rather, a period of time spent working. Some might even say a period of time wasted.

Yes, time is money and money is time. Every expense equals an amount of our life being exchanged…or lost! After considering our endless living costs, taxes and even our unpaid overtime and daily commute, what remains is the real, take-home profit that we can freely use. We call this our “real pay rate”, which for the average earner may only equal a few measly dollars for each hour given up on the job. So what is that lazy, Friday night food delivery really costing you?

The Price of Life

In the wise and misquoted words of Benjamin Franklin: “a dollar saved is a dollar earned”. Every time you save a dollar you earn yourself a dollar (at your real pay rate), literally for doing nothing. And for the smart investor, this saved dollar is just the beginning! Through the nature of passive income and the power of compound growth, every dollar that is saved and invested has the potential to make more money across the future at a low personal cost. Thus, the imbalance of real wealth for the smart investor continues to shift as their money grows.

Consequently, by spending half of your disposable income this week, what you are really spending is half a week of time today and potentially MONTHS of your time in the future! Even small improvements in your daily routine can have a massive impact on your future money and life. By avoiding unnecessary spending you give yourself the opportunity to build more future wealth, and therefore, reduce the amount of your valuable life time that is lost on a routine basis.

Time is Of the Essence

Money is clearly what fuels the journey of life. But is your plan to spend the entire journey stuck at the gas station, refilling your tank? If you’re truly ambitious, life can often feel like a race against the clock. Like you, most frugal investors have a million and one things to tick off their bucket list. And of course, doing paperwork in an office cubicle is not one of them!

Our true aim for the future can only be to maximize the amount of our “life time” that we spend in a way that we consider most personally valuable. So why not fight for your financial freedom? Remember, Time = Money/Cost. The aim of real financial success is to boost the value of your time in life by carefully maximizing your money whilst minimizing your costs. And it takes a natural focus in life towards:

1.         Making money doing what you truly enjoy

2.         Creating passive income

Think about the lifestyle of someone who is truly financially successful. They are paid from their passions while their money is making money at little personal cost: thereby giving them much greater satisfaction, freedom and opportunity to gain more value out of life — the total sum of their time! All money has lifelong potential, and those who are on the path to real financial success recognize the value of every dollar…and every day.

This is the secret to real financial success!

Topley’s Top 10 – October 07, 2021

1.Gallon of Regular Gas Hits 2014 Levels

Bespoke Blog-Regardless of seasonal patterns, the recent increases leave the national average for a gallon of regular at the highest level since October 2014 which hurts consumers where it matters most- the wallet

2.The Drop in Energy Capex as ESG Took Center Stage.

Energy Is Breaking Out: Is It For Real?by Chris Yates of Archeron, 10/6/21

3.New Vehicle Sales Drop for 5th Month in a Row

Wolf Street -The industry-standard Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of sales – which adjusts for the number of selling days per month and for seasonal factors, and converts the monthly sales into what sales would be for an entire year – plunged for the fifth month in a row, by 29% year-over-year, to 12.2 million units SAAR, the lowest, outside of the two lockdown months, since June 2011 ,according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

4.FANG+ stocks are not all that expensive relative to the rest of the market.

Food for Thought: States with the highest and lowest business cost affordability:

5.Facebook -15% Correction

Holding 200 day but 50 day rolling over pointing downward

6.China Sumary-What are these Developments About?

What are these developments about?

Access to data and monopolistic practices: Data is the new gold. This year we have seen more regulations on anti-monopoly practices and data protection which are all meant to protect internet users and “national interests”. Action in these areas is common and largely in line with the global trend that governments around the world are trying to achieve particularly in North America and Europe. Implementation is easier said than done and the West has struggled. For example, we have seen Facebook, Google, Amazon being called to answer to the Congress or Parliaments in the US and Europe, many times, with limited change in the aftermath. This is not the case in China. It can be perceived as forceful to us in the West, when the Chinese Government makes a new regulation (as they have done in relation to data for example) and the rule is effectively implemented the next day. No consultations, no grace periods, just compliance.  Time will tell if they are effective.

Rise of the superstar entrepreneurs: While it was accepted that some will get richer before others, no one expected the super stars of the tech industry (which the government in some ways helped to create by restricting foreign competition) would gain such wealth and prominence. This “power” seemed to have been tolerated for several years but it is now clear that the Government is putting them back in check and should anyone fall out of line (Jack Ma), there will be repercussions.

The Government now wants more children but not its citizens: While the one child policy was removed, we have not seen a jump in the Chinese birth rate which indicates that citizens no longer want large families largely because of the high costs of housing, education and so on. This is the direct linkage to the reforms in the education and the real estate sector which were getting unaffordable for the common man.

Dual Circulation Strategy: This is China’s masterplan to become self-reliant in terms of resources and technology through its huge market as well as through third markets available through the Belt Road Initiative. This means the Government taking back control on how capital and resources are getting allocated as it was unhappy with excessive greed and money sloshing around in few sectors (technology) while the capital could be better allocated to infrastructure, semi-conductors, clean energy, healthcare services and its Belt and Road Initiative.

President Xi Jinping must project strength: While there are of course no actual elections in China, as President’s second term approaches its end, he would like to establish himself as the strong man to lead China further. This perhaps explains the coinage of “Common Prosperity”, to be perceived as someone who is working for everyone, especially the underprivileged. It is also the likely explanation for hardening of the foreign policy with territorial disputes with several of its neighbours and the use of strong-arm tactics in Hong Kong and then of course dialling up “One China Principle” rhetoric with Taiwan.

“Common prosperity” as the national goal. In the past few months, there has been a new buzz term coming out of China – “Common Prosperity,”. The market has been nervous about what it means, in simple terms, its about reducing income inequality and redistributing wealth. In the past 30 years China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, however, the economic growth has also caused increasing inequality. Of course a wealth cap is not unique to China, but it has a much wider gap than many other places in the world. Like many other countries, the Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation even more acute. Income inequality or wealth gap is one of the key risks that could destabilise economies and challenge social stability, something the President and Government are keenly aware and simply cannot tolerate – they are determined to tackle the problem. Common Prosperity is about taking care of many rather than few (not surprising in a communist regime). For example, giving a fair share to the low-income worker and those in the supply chain, especially in the agricultural sector and other stakeholders in the community affected by the business development. This has the potential to be one of the largest redistributions of wealth ever seen and is ultimately key to social cohesion that the going forward. This does not mean an attack on profits or growth but a more equitable distribution across a larger portion of society.

7.Migration South Driven by Business Friendly Environment

8.Netflix Squid Game a Massive Hit.

South Korean show Squid Game has officially gone viral, as millions around the world have tuned in to watch the hunger-games-style drama, which sees hundreds of contestants battle it out in life-or-death games.

Google searches for the show, which was originally released on September 17th, have eclipsed relative search volume for other viral shows like The CrownThe WitcherTiger King and The Mandalorian. Netflix’s co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, even confirmed that it was on track to become Netflix’s most-watched show in any language in the company’s history.

South Korea has had a stunning influence on global pop culture in the last decade, starting with Psy’s Gangnam Style in 2012. Since then K-pop sensations BTS and Blackpink have become two of the biggest bands in the world, thriller Parasite won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2019, and now Squid Game is breaking records in the age of streaming.

9.Rising Share of U.S. Adults Are Living Without a Spouse or Partner…4 in 10

Pew Research On key economic outcomes, single adults at prime working age increasingly lag behind those who are married or cohabiting


As relationshipsliving arrangements and family life continue to evolve for American adults, a rising share are not living with a romantic partner. A new Pew Research Center analysis of census data finds that in 2019, roughly four-in-ten adults ages 25 to 54 (38%) were unpartnered – that is, neither married nor living with a partner.1 This share is up sharply from 29% in 1990.2 Men are now more likely than women to be unpartnered, which wasn’t the case 30 years ago.

10.A Few(er) Good Me

Each of the following trends, in isolation, is perplexing. In concert, they are disturbing:

I’ve mentioned this topic before, highlighting an emerging crisis among young men, and it elicits a range of emotions and responses — especially in the reductionist world of social media.


Thanks, Roxane.

Neither the sex lives of young American men nor their relative rate of college attendance is that striking by itself. Except to the men involved. What should trouble all of us is what these statistics portend.

Family Matters

Families are the foundational element of society, and most successful families are the product of an intimate relationship between two adults. The most important decision most of us make in life is whether and whom to marry, and the most important person in our adult lives is our mate. Married people are 77% wealthier than single people, and their net worth typically increases 16% each year they’re together. Married people live longer and are happier than single people. Higher marriage rates are correlated with greater GDP per capita, greater economic mobility, and a reduction in child poverty of as much as 80%.

The path to forging these relationships typically involves sex. If a young adult hasn’t had sex in the past year, it’s unlikely that person is on the path toward a long-term bond with someone. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that it is any one group’s responsibility to sexually “service” another. What we need to be thoughtful about is how our policies and attitudes ensure that the most people have the opportunity and motivation to pursue long-term, productive relationships.