Disproving Your Thesis | Adam Robinson and Bill Brewster on Infinite Loops with Jim O’Shaughnessy

Check out the Infinite Loops episode page

Key Takeaways

  • “What do I need to see to change my view? I’m always actively looking to disprove everything that I know, I’m dogmatically flexible” – Adam Robinson
    • Continually correct your errors, don’t let beliefs overpower reason in your theses
    • Embrace the possibility that you’re wrong, this leads to an ever-improving thesis
  • “Take a simple idea and take it seriously” – Adam Robinson quoting Charlie Munger
    • The best learning happens organically, immerse yourself in ideas and mental models to improve the projects you’re working on. If you try to learn a little bit of everything, you learn nothing.
  • The Shannon Limit – the amount of information our brains can take in (error-free) before tilting
    • Being conscious of the word/information capacity your brain can intake is very valuable for productive learning – everyone is different
  • Remember, Twitter language is incredibly nuanced with unsaid context
    • You and all the users share different and often hidden contexts, filter information in a valuable way for you

Intro

  • Adam Robinson (@IAmAdamRobinson) is the co-founder of the Princeton Review and is a global financial advisor to some of the world’s largest hedge funds. Bill Brewster (@BillBrewsterTBB) is an investor and host of The Business Brew podcast. In this episode, Jim, Adam, and Bill discuss the importance of consistently reevaluating your theses and the incredible power of how we interpret nuanced language (and more).
  • Host: Jim O’Shaughnessy (@jposhaughnessy)

The Learning Process

  • Adam taught his students at Princeton how to be resourceful with what they already knew
    • “Mental Jiu Jitsu, teaching students how to use their strengths in novel ways” – Adam Robinson
    • Learning how to think > collecting facts
  • Adam’s filter on what he wants to learn is organic. He consumes ideas and mental models to improve the projects that he’s working on, rather than being curious about everything
    • Build on the successful previous chapters of your life
    • Beliefs are formed on lack of information, models are designed to be challenged
    • “Take a simple idea and take it seriously” – Adam Robinson quoting Charlie Munger
  • “What do I need to see to change my view? I’m always actively looking to disprove everything that I know, I’m dogmatically flexible” – Adam Robinson
    • Avoid confirmation bias – beliefs are formed when you’re no longer willing to accept new possibilities
    • Continually correct your errors – mainstream news media has an issue with this
  • Never aspire to be exactly like your role model
    • While they can provide great wisdom and motivation, don’t let the inspiration take away from what makes you, you (like family, hobbies, interests)
  • Possible and probable are two very different things – if we live in a world of possible, we would never leave our houses…
    • It’s possible to get in a car accident but not probable

The Power of Words & Information

  • Words used on Twitter often have powerful unsaid nuance to them
    • Bill uses the investing community (FinTwit) on Twitter as an example, where somebody will suggest an investment without giving an context to their sizing or financial risk tolerance
      • That being said, experiencing the range of nuance in a community helps you understand your own contextual identity in the group, but this can come from constant trial and error
  • The Shannon Limit – the amount of information our brains can take in (error-free) before tilting
    • Being conscious of the word/information capacity your brain can intake is very valuable for productive learning
    • Learning capabilities are variable and contextual, nobody’s Shannon limit is the same – find what works for you!
      • These are the 4 things millionaires do every morning!‘ – Well… you’re not a millionaire (unless you are), understand how information is valuable to your own context
    • We often have so much new information in our brains that we forget about the historical relationships that two data points can have – do your homework

Navigating FinTwit

  • “Confident FinTwit is one of my favorite contra indicators” – Bill Brewster
    • Bill loves to fade when everyone seems certain of an outcome – when the room gets loud, he gets nervous
    • Twitter stock positive sentiment tends to disappear in a downturn but is excessive in an upturn
  • Being good at Twitter is hard, especially FinTwit
    • Understand the nuance mentioned earlier, never assume someone’s advice is good for you

Mental Models in Chess

  • “Your rationality can only take you so far” – Bill Brewster
    • After establishing rational possibilities, intuition comes in to leverage previously known and established strategies
  • Google through DeepMind taught a computer the rules of the game, but no strategy
    • In 4 hours, it accumulated more knowledge about the game than even existed
      • Most of what we knew about chess was correct but some strategies were revealed to be flawed
Infinite Loops : , , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

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