Investors Need An Anti-Reading List

It’s what you don’t read that matters.

Avoiding newspapers is an addition by subtraction.

Outsourcing your thoughts isn’t a valuable life hack.

Farnam Street concurs.

Not reading news shows you how often what you thought was your thinking belonged to someone else. Thinking is hard. It’s much easier to let someone else think for you. Without news in my life, I find that I say “I don’t know” more often.

Still not convinced?

Nassim Taleb throws down the hammer.

To be completely cured of newspapers, spend a year reading the previous week’s newspapers.”

Acquiring permanent, not temporary, knowledge is indispensable.

Morgan Housel poses this question to himself when reading.

Will I care about this a year from now? Ten years from now? Eighty years from now?

What should fill your reading vacancy?

Start with ancient philosophy.

It’s tough finding reading material more time tested.

Procuring a life philosophy is a world-class weapon for combatting the distractions of our digital age.

William Irvine mourns its absence. “For most everyone, the default philosophy of life is spending one’s days seeking an interesting mix of affluence, social status, and pleasure.” 

Few find fulfilling lives applying this hedonistic concoction.

The problem is getting started.

Universities and organized religions fail miserably in this pursuit.

Schools focus on theory rather than real-life practicality.

Religion offers suggestions rather than directives.

There are innumerable self-determined paths to heaven.

Eastern and Western philosophies offer timeless riches.

Specifically Stoicism and Buddhism.

Seneca’s Dialogues and Essays are a treasure chest of permanent knowledge.

This ancient Stoic philosopher contributes guidelines for modern life though he’s been dead for centuries.

Investors of all shapes and sizes stand to benefit from this unlikely source.

Here are some of his ageless tidbits and how they connect to the modern investor.

Emotional Investing

If you want to determine the nature of anything, entrust it to time: When the sea is stormy, you can see nothing.

Market Volatility

It’s not what you endure that matters but how you endure it.

Lifestyle Creep

Let us not envy those who stand on a higher station: what appeared as heights are precipes.


Make it our aim to seek riches, not from fortune but from ourselves.

Purpose in retirement

Many a time, an older man well advanced in years has no other evidence to prove his length of life than his age.

Risk Management

You are made arrogant by a beautiful house, as though it cannot catch fire or collapse, you are reduced to astonishment by your riches as though they have escaped all danger and have reached such proportions that fortune has all power to destroy them. 

The Hedonic Treadmill

No one looks at another man’s possessions takes pleasure in his own.


The wise man regards wealth as a slave, the fool as a master.

Charitable Giving

Any man who thinks the bestowing of money is an easy matter is making a mistake: it is a most difficult business, provided gifts are made sensibly, not scattered haphazardly and according to one’s whim.

Understanding and applying the distinction between Long-Term vs. Expiring Knowledge sets one apart from the masses.

Who would’ve thought a colossal step toward building wealth ignites by putting down the newspaper?

Listen to Seneca and others like him.

Their knowledge has no expiration date.

Source; Seneca Dialogues and Essays, a new translation by John Davie