Author Archive | Michael Rosen

Only the Lonely

By

My first impression when flying into Mexico City a few weeks ago was its vastness. From the air, the city seems to stretch forever. The Valley of Mexico has been inhabited for over 12,000 years, and when Hernán Cortés entered it in 1519, its population of 1 million was probably the largest in the world. Today, Mexico City is home to more than 21 million people, twice the size of the second largest Mexican city in the world, Los Angeles. Mexico City is a great destination for tourists, with world-class museums, dining and archeology. Most of my travels are for Read More


Book Wrap

By

Time for my semi-annual book perspective. I read a lot of books, but truthfully, most of them I move through pretty quickly. In the non-fiction world, I find many to be one-dimensional, perhaps an interesting idea appropriate for an essay, but hardly requiring the expansive exposition of a full book. In fiction, I encounter good writing, but rarely transcendent prose. Here are five books that I especially appreciated in the latter half of this year: History On Grand Strategy, John Lewis Gaddis John Lewis Gaddis, the dean of military historians, gives us a glimpse into his course at Yale with Read More


Breathe

By

Twenty-five hundred years, Siddhartha Gautama practiced a form of meditation that involved controlled breathing. Much later, about 700 years ago, this practice, called pranayama, was codified in the most famous of Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita. More recently, Western science has validated the physiological benefits of pranayama. Respiratory functions are improved (increased tidal volume, ventilation efficiency, arterial oxygenation, etc.), cardiovascular system is enhanced (greater cardiac output, synchronization of vasomotion, increases heart rate variability, decreases blood pressure, etc.), and the autonomic nervous system benefits (increases vagal activity, improves phasic modulation of sympathetic activity, etc.). Here’s a simple diagram: Source: G. D. Read More


Talkin’ Turkey

By

The expression comes from Colonial America, but its exact origins are unclear, and its meaning seems to have changed over the years. Originally it was a phrase that denoted pleasant, or even silly, conversation. Today, “talk turkey” means plain, direct speech. Just the facts (ma’am).  So, let’s talk turkey. Turkey is a mess, on many levels, and it’s all self-inflicted. It is classic economic mismanagement for narrow political purposes, a pattern we’ve seen (literally) hundreds of times.  Its symptoms are predictable, its cure is obvious, but the prognosis is bleak. Politics and personality are turning a manageable economic crisis into Read More


Not Beach Reading

By

I love the beach. And I read a lot. I like reading on the beach, but I am not a fan of beach reading. Beach reading is generally defined as light, pleasurable, contemporary fiction, often with some romantic angle. This is a genre I could not imagine more unappealing. So none of these qualify as “beach reading,” but here are a few of the highlights of my reading list since my last update six months ago (https://blog.angelesadvisors.com/2017/12/not-recommended-reading/). Politics/History/Society Enemies and Neighbors, Ian Black. There is no ground-breaking research or insight here, but I found this to be the most balanced Read More


Everybody Out’ta the Pool

By

Markets work through the forces of demand and supply. This axiom applies to all markets, from housing to marriage (as Gary Becker famously noted), and anywhere there is an exchange of goods or services (or mates). In all markets, price is the regulatory mechanism that ensures an equilibrium between the amount demanded and the amount supplied. Adam Smith called this the “Invisible Hand.” You knew all this already, because it is about as fundamental a concept in economics as exists. The price of that house is X, or the price of that automobile is Y, because X and Y are Read More


Updating the Triangle

By

Last year, I introduced my big picture framework of assessing the relative attractiveness of markets Inside the Triangle through the lenses of valuation, momentum and sentiment. To recap, the ideal time to buy a market is when valuation is cheap, momentum is positive and sentiment is poor. It’s best to sell when the opposites prevail: expensive valuation, poor momentum and exuberant sentiment. The 2000 internet bubble is a recent case-in-point for conditions at a market top, and March 2009 a time when the conditions to buy were very favorable. Of course, most investors find it hard to sell at the Read More


(Not) Recommended Reading

By

I don’t like recommended lists. They turn experiences into a contest (and the winner is…), and one reviewer’s preferences may have little to do with mine. That said, since my writing covers a very wide range of topics—history and sociology to science and art and beyond—I do get asked frequently where I come up with my themes. The answer is simply, I read a lot. More than a book a week, for sure, although I don’t really keep count (or rank). I don’t necessarily assume you would enjoy anything that I did, but, to give you a peek at some Read More


Hot As Hell

By

Hell is hot, as everyone knows. Everyone “knows” this, but there really is no conclusive evidence: no eyewitness reports, no scientific instruments to measure the temperature in Hell. So, how do we “know” that Hell is hot? Well, mostly from Dante Alighieri. In the Inferno, part of his opus magnus, La Commedia Divina (The Divine Comedy, subject of our 3Q 2007 letter, https://angeles-srv.s3.amazonaws.com/content./1441740962./2007-3.pdf, there are Nine Circles of Hell, each with eternal punishment of increasing severity, depending on one’s earthly behavior. The Sixth Circle is reserved for heretics, condemned to eternal existence in flaming tombs. The Seventh Circle is for Read More


It’s About Time

By

“Lost Time is never found again,” advised Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanack. And Dante Alighieri observed, “The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time.” I have been thinking about replacing my seven year-old car, which has me reflecting on the notion of Lost Time. Americans average 42 hours per year in rush hour traffic, but of course, in Los Angeles it’s much more. We each sit in rush hour 104 hours per year, the worst in the world (all data here come from the definitive source of global traffic data, INRIX Research). Moscow, New York, San Read More