I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill-health.
There is no way to escape having ill-health.

I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.

My actions are the ground on which I stand.

Weekly Words of Wisdom

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized.

~ Goethe

Hugh Hendry

Maverick fund manager shares his contrarian views, obsession with China

The New York Times in London
Jul 25, 2010

Hugh Hendry has a big mouth, as Hugh Hendry will tell you.

With a sharp wit and a sharper tongue, Hendry, a plain-spoken Scot, has positioned himself as the public contrarian thinker of London’s very private hedge fund community.

The euro? It’s finished. China? Headed for a fall. President Barack Obama? “If there was a way to short Obama, I would,” says the man who runs Eclectica Asset Management.

It is an old-school macroeconomic fund company with a think-big, globe-straddling style more akin to the Quantum Fund, of George Soros fame, than to the hi-tech razzle-dazzle of Wall Street’s math-loving quant analysts.

At 41, Hendry is emerging from the normally secretive world of hedge funds to captivate fans and foes with a surprising level of candour.

Last May, on British television, he verbally sparred with Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and perhaps the best-known economist writing on developmental issues.

Before that, he took on Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate, about the future of the euro. “Hello, can I tell you about the real world?” Hendry interjected at one point. It was a huge hit on YouTube.

His verbal pyrotechnics have won Hendry a reputation for challenging the economics establishment. He is regarded and appreciated by many as overly pessimistic about, well, just about everything.

His big worry lately has been China. Like James Chanos, a prominent hedge fund manager in the United States, Hendry says he believes China’s days of heady growth are numbered. A crisis is coming, he insists.

Hendry has made – and sometimes lost – money for his investors. Eclectica’s flagship fund, the Eclectica Fund, is up about 13 per cent this year, besting by far the average 1.3 per cent loss among similar funds.

But returns have been erratic – “too much sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” for some investors, he concedes. In 2008, the Eclectica Fund was up 50 per cent one month and down 15 per cent another. Hendry plans to change that.

The firm bet correctly that the financial troubles plaguing Greece would eventually ripple through to the market for German bonds, considered the European equivalent of ultra-safe US Treasury securities. But the firm lost money betting on European sovereign debt in the first quarter of last year.

Last week, Hendry was musing about the financial world in his office behind a scruffy shopping mall in the Bayswater section of London. No Savile Row here: He was sporting a white oxford shirt, jeans and blue Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers, along with a three-day stubble and hipster horn-rim glasses.

His latest obsession is China. He likens the country to Starbucks: good at growing quickly but not so good at creating wealth. “The idea is that things would happen today that are commonly thought of as impossible, most notably a significant reversal of China,” Hendry said.

Maps cover the walls of his office. On one, blue magnetic pins plot his recent trip through China. He filmed himself there in front of huge, empty office buildings and giant new bridges in the middle of nowhere – signs, he said, of a credit bubble.

Hendry is devising ways to bet on a spectacular deterioration of China’s economy. He declined to divulge any details.

His outspokenness has won him both fans and detractors.

Marc Faber, the money manager known as Doctor Doom for his bearish views, calls Hendry “a deep thinker”. “He has strong views and expresses them, not to get publicity but because he has a great understanding of the markets,” Faber said.

Some London investors are less charitable. Two declined to comment on Hendry, saying they did not want to “get into a fight” with him.

Hendry certainly does not fit the stereotype of a discreet London moneyman.

The son of a truck driver, he was the first in his family to attend a university – Strathclyde, in Glasgow, not Oxbridge. He studied accounting and joined Baillie Gifford, a large Edinburgh money manager.

Frustrated that he could not challenge the investment strategies of his bosses, he jumped to Credit Suisse Asset Management in London. There, a chance meeting with an equally opinionated hedge fund manager, Crispin Odey, led to a job.

Before long, Hendry struck out on his own.

The inspiration for his investment approach comes from an unlikely source: The Gap in the Curtain, a 1932 novel by John Buchan that is borderline science fiction. The plot centres on five people who are chosen by a scientist to take part in an experiment that will let them glimpse one year into the future.

Hendry calls the novel “the best investment book ever written” because it taught him to envision the future without neglecting what happened leading up to it, a mistake many investors make, he said.

Your Enemies

Sensual passions are your first enemy.
Your second is called Discontent.
Your third is Hunger & Thirst.
Your fourth is called Craving.
Fifth is Sloth & Drowsiness.
Sixth is called Terror.
Your seventh is Uncertainty.
Hypocrisy & Stubbornness, your eighth.
Gains, Offerings, Fame, & Status wrongly gained,
and whoever would praise self
& disparage others.
That, Namuci, is your enemy,
the Dark One’s commando force.

A coward can’t defeat it,
but one having defeated it
gains bliss.

~ Gautama Buddha, translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Matt Hardwick vs Gulf – Impossible (JOC remix)

I’ll keep my distance while we fall apart again
Your too suspicious and I haven’t got the heart
To keep you waiting

We’re getting older but we’re too afraid to speak
It’s nearly closing time and we still got a seat
To play to no one

The only time we met
I loved u
But never told you why
I don’t expect
Much of you should come as no surprise
But it’s impossible

Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren – Beggin' You (Armin Van Buuren Remix Edit)

Once upon a time you were my friend
Recent, though I know it feels like ages
Said we’d be together, ’til the end
Well come on back babe this is just a phase

Funny how the time, it ticks on by
Seconds I been losing when we use to fool away
I hope you feel the same when you’re just waiting
For me to beg you to stay, to stay, to stay, to stay

Take a look inside I’m begging you
Daring you to change your mind
I know you say you’d try
But again I’m begging you
Baby change your mind
I’m begging you

zen habits: How to Simplify When You Love Your Stuff

Here are some thoughts that might be useful.

1. Look around your house now.

Walk from room to room. Do you see things that you never use and don’t really care about? Why not give them away or sell them? Clear physical and psychic space by removing the “dead wood” in your environment. Someone else might really need these things.

2. Examine why you are hanging on to something.

Is it truly useful or meaningful, or does it feed your ego in some way? Are you holding on to it just to impress others or to make yourself feel better or more important?

3. Look at how you spend your time.

Do you have things you own for hobbies that you never pursue? Do you have a kitchen full of gadgets but you rarely cook? If you truly think you will come back to a hobby or activity, box things up and put them out of sight until you do. Be realistic about how much time you have to use your extraneous stuff.

4. Are you in a career that is thing-focused?

Decorators, car dealers, retailers and others involved in creating, buying, selling and marketing merchandise, can have a hard time detaching from material things because they are always surrounded by the newest and best. There is beauty and art in many things, but consider this: you don’t have to own them all to appreciate them. Eckhart Tolle once suggested to Oprah Winfrey that she not buy everything she likes or wants — just savor it for the moment in the store.

5. Consider experiences rather than things.

On the whole, experiential purchases provide far more pleasure than material purchases. The memory of experiences improves with time, but material purchases are harder to think about abstractly. Experiences also encourage social relationships which provide long-lasting happiness. If you are itching to spend, spend on a great experience with someone you enjoy.

6. When you think about your things or want to purchase something new, consider these parameters:

* It brings beauty into your life and stirs your soul.
* It supports a passion or hobby.
* It helps bring family and friends together in a creative, meaningful way.
* It educates and enlightens.
* It makes life profoundly simpler so that you can pursue more meaningful things.
* It helps someone who is sick or incapacitated.
* It is useful and necessary for day-to-day life.
* It’s part of a meaningful tradition or a reminder of a special event.

7. You will know you are buying mindlessly if you:

* Buy on a whim.
* Buy to impress others.
* Buy because you feel you deserve it.
* Buy when you can’t afford it.
* Buy just to update something that still works or looks fine.
* Buy because someone else has it and you want it too.
* Buy because the advertisement seduced you.
* Buy because you are bored.
* It’s purchased because buying soothes you.


Get the basics right – it makes a big difference

You don’t have to buy bespoke shoes or bespoke suits to look great. And the improvements you make on basic off-the-peg will make the biggest change to how you look.

So here are my tips for the man that wants to take it up a notch:

– Switch to made-to-measure suits. Save bespoke for when you make partner. Just find a great made-to-measure suit maker. The improvement on ready-to-wear is marked.

– Look after that suit. Hang it up at the end of the day, wear it no more than twice a week, brush it down occasionally and only dry clean it twice a year. Steam press it in between if it gets wrinkled.

– Buy benchmade shoes. As much as they may be disparaged on this and other style sites, good benchmade shoes from Loake, Cheaney or Grenson are a big jump up from the basic, glued, curly-toed, slip-on ones you bought in Shelly’s.

– Look after those shoes. Put shoe trees in after you’ve worn them, brush them down at the end of every day and don’t wear them two days in a row. They’ll look good and last three times as long.

– Buy expensive ties in conservative patterns and colours. In my opinion, expense shows off best in ties and in shoes. So spend more than you think you should on ties from the great tie makers. Not Armani, not Prada; but Hermes, Charvet, Bulgari. Wait until the end of the Ralph Lauren sale, when all the ties are reduced to £25, and pick on a Purple Label one reduced from £95. They just hang better.

– If you wear a pocket handkerchief, don’t scrimp there either. Wearing one is a signal that you think about your clothes and are willing to be noticed for it. Buy good quality white linen to start with. Then some dark colours – burgundy, forest green – and a pale blue, all in conservative patterns.

– Finally, match your socks to your trousers. Buy grey socks and blue socks. Not black. And make sure they are full-calf length.

Follow all of these rules and you will not extend your budget or your wardrobe dramatically. But you will be a hell of a lot better dressed.