Today we have economist Tyler Cowen on the past year with COVID, Mark Yusko on the rise of SPAC’s, and one of the best episodes of the year with Toto Wolff, owner of the Mercedes F1 team.

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Investing

EconTalk: Tyler Cowen on the Pandemic, Revisited. Cowen is one of the most original thinkers and well-respected economists in the world and talks about the world’s response to COVID-19 over the last year. He talks about the fact that countries that didn’t respond quickly early on are actually the ones doing well now rolling out the vaccine and getting back to normal. He looks around the globe at which countries have handled their response in good and bad ways, and then looks at where we all go from here. He touches on lockdowns, issues within the media, global pushback on China, Trump and Biden, and school closures. [April 5, 2021–1 hour, 14 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link

Real Vision: Finance, Business & The Global Economy: Are SPACs in a Bubble? (w/ Mark Yusko). Of all the SPAC episodes there have been in the past year, this may be the best. Yusko goes way back to the early days of SPACs and the purpose they served in helping low quality companies public that couldn’t go the traditional IPO route go public. He says Chamath doing his first SPAC with Virgin Galactic was a seminal moment to change investors’ perspectives of what SPACs can offer. He walks through why SPACs can be an attractive investment opportunity if you sort through the bad ones (former athlete who thinks he can buy a biotech company) and that’s why he’s launching an active SPAC ETF. [April 10, 2021–1 hour, 2 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link

The Ramsey Show: How Do I Live Life After a Terminal Diagnosis? (Hour 3). The first 9 minutes are really moving. Someone asks the hosts how to handle finances as she lives out the last months of her life while in her 30’s. It’s hard not to take a step back and think about what your priorities are and how you want to use money to help meet them. [April 9, 2021–40 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link

The Meb Faber Show

The Meb Faber Show: #299 — Sundeep Ahuja, Climate Capital — Earth Is A Big Ship And It’s Going To Take A While For Us To Turn This Ship Around. Sundeep Ahuja is a three-time founder-turned-investor, who’s currently a General Partner at Duro Ventures, Climate Capital, and DVC. Sundeep starts with some background on his time as an entrepreneur, before deciding dipping his toe in angel investing by making his first investment into Goodreads. He shares the differences of using Angel List syndicates and rolling funds, and the benefits of each and then explains why he decided to devote his investment career to help solve climate change. He touches on what areas are attractive, why he places a lot of emphasis on the founder when making an investment decision, and what he thinks about valuations. He finishes by talking about specific companies he’s invested in, from food delivery to gaming companies. [April 5, 2021–45 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link

The Meb Faber Show: #300 — Geoffrey Batt, Euphrates Advisors — You Get Used To The Terrorism Problem And You Just Start To Focus On The Companies. Geoffrey Batt is the managing partner and founder of the Euphrates Advisors, where he invests in Iraqi equities. Geoffrey begins by sharing how learning about Daniel Cloud’s post-Soviet Union Russia fund led him to look around the world to find somewhere he could earn huge returns, which led him to Iraq. He provides an overview of the market and economy and how it’s rebounded since Saddam Hussein died. Then he walks us through everything he’s had to deal with since he first invested there in 2010 — political instability, a 20% currency devaluation, negative oil prices, and an Iraqi stock market that closed in response to COVID. He talks about the tailwinds for Iraq, including the growth of the banking sector and ESG, which Geoffrey believes is bullish for oil. The episode ends with Geoffrey’s unbelievable story about his first trip to Iraq, when he was driving to visit with a company and was forced to turn around because of a car bomb. [April 7, 2021–87 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link

The Rest

***Must Listen*** The High Performance Podcast: Toto Wolff: Empathy over engineering. Wolff is an investor turned racing driver, who is now a 33% owner and CEO of the Mercedes Formula One Team. He discusses handling trauma, creating an environment of psychological safety for people to perform, and the benefits of studying psychology in his role. Then he talks about creating a culture that enables the personalities of elite performers to thrive and not let egos get in the way of team success. This is as good of a leadership episode as you will come across. [April 4, 2021–1 hour, 10 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link

Life has proven to me that sometimes the things you want to achieve also need patience.

Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris: #336: How Your Emotions Are Made | Lisa Feldman Barrett. Dr. Lisa Feldman-Barrett is a Psychology professor at Northeastern University and author of How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain and Seven and a Half Lessons about the Brain. In this fascinating episode, she shares what’s behind our emotions and feelings, the evolutionary purpose they serve, and how we can try to help stop them from negatively impacting us. [April 5, 2021–1 hour, 15 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link

Scientific Sense: Prof. Howard Fields, Professor Emeritus, Neurology at UCSF. Howard Fields is a Neurology Professor at UCSF and founder of the UCSF pain management center. This is a fascinating episode into the relationship between pain and our brain. He explains pain isn’t just our body’s way of saying we hurt, but also our body predicting we will hurt. On top of that, whether a stimulus is strengthening or weakening impacts the intensity of our pain. In other words, our pain is impacted by both the severity of damage being done, the rate of change of the stimulus, and our anticipation of what will happen. [March 30, 2021–1 hour, 12 minutes] iTunes Podcast | Spotify | Google | Breaker | Website Link

RECOMMENDATIONS

Books

Guillaume Pousaz (Founder, Checkout.com):

  1. Dune by Frank Herbert

John Schlifske (CEO, Northwestern Mutual):

  1. Oliver Wiswell by Kenneth Roberts
  2. Lincoln’s Mentors: The Education of a Leader by Michael Gerhardt

Here to bring you podcast suggestions. Twitter → @colby__donovan