Sunday, August 3, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole

I recently found two articles on, one advocating investing in index funds and the other arguing that the bashing of active fund managers is overblown. Both authors had logical, researched arguments. And I would be comfortable taking advice from either.

This reminds me of a recent interview of Dan Carlin (of the Hardcore History podcast) by Tim Ferris, the author of The 4-Hour Work Week. Carlin described his work routine before and after the internet came to be what it is. He used to identify a current event topic for his radio/podcast show and read the opinions in five American newspapers because those are the publications he could easily access. Now he can instantly get reactions from publications all over the world. And he can dig as deeply as he wants. Keenan Mann and I call this "going down the rabbit hole."

According to Carlin, this especially comes in handy when the topic is based somewhere besides the United States. For example, reading the opposing opinions of various Chinese publications about a Chinese event often gives a more "nuanced" understanding than reading the various reactions from US based writers.

A friend once told me he didn't like keeping up with current events because everything he reads is "just opinion and no facts." But I like that different perspectives are shared and that I am able to decide for myself what to think. And I especially like that I have the ability to go down the rabbit hole as needed. I believe the truth is the "facts," or "right ways" to do things, are often subjective and depend on one's own circumstances and perspective. After all, I happen to actively manage my own retirement funds. But when asked I have sometimes suggested others use index funds.

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