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Ep. 384: Living by Your Own Rules with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Living by Your Own Rules with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio
Living by Your Own Rules with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

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On today’s show, Michael Covel talks about decision-making, and how too often people allow the “rules” of others to dictate the actions they take. This, as Michael explains, is indicative of the politically correct culture that’s taken root in all of society.

What are we to think when wildly successful comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K, and Chris Rock flat-out refuse to play college campuses because of the closed-minded, irrationally sensitive nature of today’s student bodies? How have we arrived at a place where anything less than absolute conformity to preselected attitudes and beliefs means running the risk of being labeled “something”? Racist? Homophobic? Sexist? The list goes on.

What’s worse, as Michael points out, is that this culture of victim-hood has many feeling they’re entitled to certain things simply because they “exist”. These are the people who blindly accept societal rules, rather than analyze and develop proper strategy. Good decision-making, whether in trading or everyday life, means developing a plan and a set of rules and then sticking to them. Because in the end, everyone gets what they want (to paraphrase trader Ed Seykota).

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Good decision-making through clarity
  • Examining identity politics
  • Operating under your own rules
  • Political correctness: it’s about agendas
  • Good trading means using your system and your mind
  • The importance of staying focused

“We’ve been crippled by social security, Medicare, Medicaid, by welfare, by entitlements. And that is the root of the problem. Entitlements. Let me be clear…You are entitled to nothing.” – Frank Underwood

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Ep. 379: John Casti Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

John Casti
John Casti

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Today’s guest is prolific author, mathematician and entrepreneur John Casti. John talks with Michael Covel about social mood, and how ultimately the events that urge populations to move in one direction or another are largely unpredictable.

John discusses the concept of socionomics – the idea that the collective beliefs of a society about its future will influence the kinds of social events to occur in that future. And while these triggers, which John refers to as X-events, can’t be predicted, John explains that they can absolutely be prepared for by understanding the greater social context of the region.

As an example, John cites the so-called Arab Spring. As he points out, no one could have predicted the single event that moved millions in the Arab World to take to the streets in protest. But it wasn’t hard to see that the region had long been primed for something big. Charles Faulkner recommended John as a guest (even though he only knew his work). Good tip from Charles!

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • The fundamentals of socionomics
  • The science of surprise
  • Understanding that social mood is time-dependent
  • How X-events can trigger mood reversals
  • Isolating the collective social belief
  • The mindset of “the crowd”

“So you’re gonna have a lot of small losers. But, hopefully, you have a few homeruns that pay for the losers and leave you something extra for your efforts.” – John Casti

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Ep. 378: Embracing Failure with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Embracing Failure with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio
Embracing Failure with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

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On today’s show Michael Covel vents some of the frustration he’s been feeling over the past few weeks. Central to his discussion is the idea of failure, and how the vast majority of people are unable – or unwilling – to accept how vital it is to overall long-term success.

Michael opens by pointing out that most people today seem to be under the delusion that someone will always be there to take care of them. This, as Michael explains, is by design. Government and the talking heads of the media want the average citizen to be soft, dependent, and unwilling to take risks. Safety and security, according to the official line, should be valued above all else (even if it is all an illusion).

But this line of thinking doesn’t account for the truly successful of the world. Those who’ve risked everything and succeeded – specifically because they failed and learned from their mistakes. Success requires tenacity and dedication, but neither are required if you don’t take a risk in the first place. Because if you never take a shot, you’ll never hit the target.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Understanding that success requires failure
  • Seeing past investment myths
  • Recognizing that no risk means no profits
  • Understanding that there’s no such thing as a perfect strategy
  • Shattering the notion that someone will always take care of you
  • Accepting that there are no guarantees

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

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Ep. 377: Annie Duke Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Annie Duke
Annie Duke

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Today’s guest is author, entrepreneur and professional poker player Annie Duke. Michael Covel and Annie Duke discuss several of the countless ways in which the psychology of gambling overlaps with that of trading, investment and other aspects of business.

Annie explains the importance of thinking probabilistically for decision-makers. Gamblers, like investors, can sometimes become so focused on their losses that it begins to affect their decision-making process in a negative way. Annie calls this “tilt” and says it occurs when players put too much emphasis on outcome. She points out that so long as you are getting an overall return on your investment via a positive expectation, small losses should be both expected and absorbed.

Michael and Annie also discuss further in depth expectancy and how the top minds in both trading and gambling think about the long-term. When involved with risk, it is always important to think realistically. If there is a 90% chance of success, don’t round it up to 100% simply to boost your confidence. This way, if the venture fails, you won’t feel the need to discard your strategy since there was always that 10% chance of failure. Overall, your odds of success are still very good. This is why Annie’s thinking is so important for all of us.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Focusing on the process instead of the outcome
  • Understanding that it’s about your return, not you winning percentage
  • Recognizing that in investing, consistency is unnatural
  • Thinking probabilistically
  • Maximizing your expectancy
  • Understanding that a loss doesn’t necessarily reflect bad thinking

“When you focus on outcome over process you actually reduce innovation in your company.” – Annie Duke

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“Improve Our Odds While Controlling the Risk”

Feedback in:

Hi Michael,

I have read one of your books, bought your movie, “/broke/”, from Amazon.com, and have been a podcast listener/fan for over 2 years now. I am a William O’Neill-style, long [term] stock trader, but as a computer programmer and system architect by trade, I am refining my own trading style on more of a trend following rooted philosophy. That is why I cannot stop listening to your podcast. It is great from your insight/commentary to the top-notch and interesting guests that you showcase! I would say it rivals the quality of TED Talks for me.

Anyway, I appreciate you making this information available so those traders like me can continue to learn and improve our odds while controlling the risk. Take care!

Sincerely,
[Name]

Thanks for the nice words.

Ep. 370: Instruments vs. Strategy with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Instruments vs. Strategy with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio
Instruments vs. Strategy with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

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“Should I invest in X?” is a question often heard in the investment world. Coming from the general public it is an especially strong cry out. The answer to that question is simple, although not obvious to many.

What you invest in doesn’t matter; it’s the strategy that matters. Markets are instruments: you can choose the best market and instrument for your purpose, but ultimately it is your strategy for using that market/instrument that determines the outcome.

In this commentary Michael Covel curates several excerpts from Richard Feynman to Paul Samuelson and creates a narrative to illustrate the contrast between fundamental and technical traders. Covel also makes a case study of Commodities Corporation – the hedge fund/incubator that was founded and run by some of the biggest trend following heavyweights of our time.

One of the most notable aspects of Commodities Corporation’s success is their pivot from their original fundamental strategy to a trend following strategy. Though the company is not talked about much today (bought by Goldman Sachs years back), their trend following legacy still permeates the investing world.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Defining the exact risks involved in a trading strategy
  • The importance of liquidity: entering and exiting markets with ease
  • What we can learn from the history of Commodities Corporation
  • How the scientific method applies to trading logic
  • How Fundamental Analysis differs from Technical Analysis
  • The origins and basic principles of Trend Following Trading
  • The importance of accepting the risks and committing to your strategy

“Never mind the cheese, let me out of the trap” – Amos Hostetter

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Ep. 368: Taylor Pearson Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Taylor Pearson
Taylor Pearson

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The popular life scripts that were a surefire path to success in the 20th century no longer work today. “Go to college and get a steady job until you retire” is no longer the optimal choice. Yet many people still believe that if they push harder or work more within these old scripts, they will succeed. But much like in trend following, continuing to be mentally attached to a trend that is on the decline will only result in further losses.

In today’s world, the opportunities and rewards associated with entrepreneurship are many. As college tuition rises, the value of a degree decreases, and with many jobs going dinosaur, entrepreneurship is becoming a smarter choice for many – and a less risky choice than standard issue job thinking.

Today’s podcast guest Taylor Pearson is the 26-year old author of the #1 Amazon best selling book The End of Jobs. Pearson has spent the last several years researching and traveling the world and talking to successful entrepreneurs, which inspired him to write the book.

In this episode, Pearson and Covel talk about automation taking away jobs, how globalization and travel are making entrepreneurship more accessible, the difference in mindset between entrepreneurs and employees, and the search for meaning in life and work.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • How entrepreneurship is becoming safer than jobs
  • Why college degrees are getting more expensive and less valuable
  • The importance of relationships and your network in business
  • Why the occupy movement was flawed from the start
  • Not seeking permission to do something you want to do
  • How the perceptions of risk in our society are wrong
  • Choosing a path in life that has meaning to you

“Resources or opportunities are illegible or not clearly defined at the same time that they are most profitable” – Taylor Pearson

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