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Chou-Eveillard-Miller in Barrons


MrB
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What happened to Bill Miller to me really makes Peter Lynch's decision to quit while he was ahead more brilliant. It's easy to say money isn't that important after you've lost it, as Miller said. Much harder to forego more money when you are the top of your game.

 

How do you know when you're at the top?

 

Miller was at the top for 15 years. Should've he retired 3 years into the streak? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? ;)

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I saw Miller  speak about a year ago and he said he was the happiest he's ever been.

He's extremely bright but his weakness has always been he's always bullish and aggressive.

He always keeps the pedal to the floor.

Obviously that will at some point almost destroy you over a long enough time frame.

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What happened to Bill Miller to me really makes Peter Lynch's decision to quit while he was ahead more brilliant. It's easy to say money isn't that important after you've lost it, as Miller said. Much harder to forego more money when you are the top of your game.

 

How do you know when you're at the top?

 

Miller was at the top for 15 years. Should've he retired 3 years into the streak? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? ;)

 

Of course you could even say that Peter Lynch retired too late. One of the biggest lessons of The Snowball to me, after all, was that Buffett's success and endurance came at great personal cost.

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Buffett neglected his children when they were young, then tried to buy their affection later. His relationship with Susie also deteriorated due to his lack of attention to her, which he only seemed to really notice when she was on her deathbed in the hospital. He was always focused on accumulating wealth rather than on his family life.

 

After all, he could have retired in the 1950's if he had wanted, and he actually planned on doing that early on, at first.

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1. "“and because I’m always on margin, I lost 80 percent of that half in the collapse.”

 

That's why he lost money, nothing to do with going out at the top. Everything to do with getting margin calls.

 

2. " As the market imploded, he didn’t hide in a corner, nursing his wounds. He gathered all of the cash he could muster—not least, by selling his yacht—and invested it in cheap stocks that have since surged, enriching him and a loyal minority of shareholders who stuck by him."

 

This. He kept his conviction and made more money.

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Buffett neglected his children when they were young, then tried to buy their affection later. His relationship with Susie also deteriorated due to his lack of attention to her, which he only seemed to really notice when she was on her deathbed in the hospital. He was always focused on accumulating wealth rather than on his family life.

 

After all, he could have retired in the 1950's if he had wanted, and he actually planned on doing that early on, at first.

 

Thanks.

 

I would not evaluate the situation the way you did, but you might be right.

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Guest Dazel

 

first of all Bill Miller is Buffett disciple which a lot of people do not know...he followed Buffett's model by managing money at home and spending time with his family...

 

Miller is highly highly under rated he is the first to discover the moats that Microsoft, Amazon, Google (he bought this before the IPO), Ebay would hold over their sectors for long periods of time...his insight made him a legend and in one year he was gone.

i feel it is important to know how intellectually above most managers he was and is...

 

Long ago when considering his tech strategy  he quoted Warren Buffett's words when asked about "how technology  would effect the news paper business"...Mr. Buffett's answer...imagine that instead of getting your morning paper delivered to your home or office that you could  download it at anytime anywhere....would you bet on newspapers being delivered to homes being a good business to compete with the digital alternative?

 

The obvious answer which Bill surmised in the 90's and early 2000's is that smart Tech will destroy these businesses and their moats will grow...

sounds easy but he did it when no other value investor did...Fairfax should have listened closer..as should I have....

 

in 2003 when i was looking at the oil boom Bill Miller recommended a book from Thomas Gold that basically laughed at peak oil as he opined that the was oil and gas everywhere below us...the shale revolution before there was shale!!! with this Bill predicted that oil could not stay high for long...he was wrong as in 2008 we hit $130 a barrel....or was he wrong? as we hit $40 this year....

 

The point is that Bill is one of the smartest most research driven investors i have ever seen...you all would be missing out one of the greatest investment minds of all time if you dismiss him because of the 2008 crash.

 

Dazel.

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Buffett neglected his children when they were young, then tried to buy their affection later. His relationship with Susie also deteriorated due to his lack of attention to her, which he only seemed to really notice when she was on her deathbed in the hospital. He was always focused on accumulating wealth rather than on his family life.

 

After all, he could have retired in the 1950's if he had wanted, and he actually planned on doing that early on, at first.

 

Thanks.

 

I would not evaluate the situation the way you did, but you might be right.

 

While I think this is accurate, one has to put it in the proper context of the time. Men weren't supposed to spend a lot of time with their kids. Being completely a man of leisure was and is weird.  And he definitely felt the pain of Susie leaving, long before her death, just because this was patched over a bit doesn't make it less so.

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Buffett neglected his children when they were young, then tried to buy their affection later. His relationship with Susie also deteriorated due to his lack of attention to her, which he only seemed to really notice when she was on her deathbed in the hospital. He was always focused on accumulating wealth rather than on his family life.

 

After all, he could have retired in the 1950's if he had wanted, and he actually planned on doing that early on, at first.

 

Thanks.

 

I would not evaluate the situation the way you did, but you might be right.

 

While I think this is accurate, one has to put it in the proper context of the time. Men weren't supposed to spend a lot of time with their kids. Being completely a man of leisure was and is weird.  And he definitely felt the pain of Susie leaving, long before her death, just because this was patched over a bit doesn't make it less so.

 

You assume that they both would have found common interests and happiness if Warren edit: retired worked less and/or changed his habits. Maybe, maybe not. My reading of Snowball is that the situation was more complicated than just Warren working too much. But I only read the book, I did not know them in depth personally, so I can't know.

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first of all Bill Miller is Buffett disciple which a lot of people do not know...he followed Buffett's model by managing money at home and spending time with his family...

 

Miller is highly highly under rated he is the first to discover the moats that Microsoft, Amazon, Google (he bought this before the IPO), Ebay would hold over their sectors for long periods of time...his insight made him a legend and in one year he was gone.

i feel it is important to know how intellectually above most managers he was and is...

 

Long ago when considering his tech strategy  he quoted Warren Buffett's words when asked about "how technology  would effect the news paper business"...Mr. Buffett's answer...imagine that instead of getting your morning paper delivered to your home or office that you could  download it at anytime anywhere....would you bet on newspapers being delivered to homes being a good business to compete with the digital alternative?

 

The obvious answer which Bill surmised in the 90's and early 2000's is that smart Tech will destroy these businesses and their moats will grow...

sounds easy but he did it when no other value investor did...Fairfax should have listened closer..as should I have....

 

in 2003 when i was looking at the oil boom Bill Miller recommended a book from Thomas Gold that basically laughed at peak oil as he opined that the was oil and gas everywhere below us...the shale revolution before there was shale!!! with this Bill predicted that oil could not stay high for long...he was wrong as in 2008 we hit $130 a barrel....or was he wrong? as we hit $40 this year....

 

The point is that Bill is one of the smartest most research driven investors i have ever seen...you all would be missing out one of the greatest investment minds of all time if you dismiss him because of the 2008 crash.

 

Dazel.

 

You may be right about Miller's analytical acumen, but I think risk control and avoiding blowups is an integral part of being a great or even good investor. If someone literally blew up, it rightfully should cause a re-evaluation of someone's entire record, as it means their returns were built on hidden risk in the first place.

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