“A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it.” – Machiavelli
Charlie Munger notes that learning from the success and failure of others is the fastest way to get smarter and wiser without a lot of pain. While we’ve had our fair share of pain over the years, we like to think that we’ve also gotten a bit smarter. And we strive to get a bit wiser each day. We’ve learned from many, but no other firm has had as great an influence on our thinking as Baupost. The Collected Wisdom of Seth Klarman, compliments of Santangel’s Review, offers a peek inside of this long-term, value-oriented, culture. The quote below jumped out at me, after having a very similar conversation with friends on a diligence trip this weekend.
“To succeed in today’s overcrowded environment, investors need an edge, an advantage over the competition, to help them allocate their scarce time. Since most everyone has access to complete and accurate databases, powerful computers, and well-trained analytical talent, these resources provide less and less of a competitive edge; they are necessary but not sufficient. You cannot have an edge doing what everyone else is doing; to add value you must stand apart from the crowd. And when you do, you benefit from watching the competition at work.”