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The Market Value of Contrarianism: Free Speech, Free Thought, and the Stock Market, A Discussion with Jim O’Shaugnessy
February 24, 2021 at 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm SAST
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“Time spent arguing is, oddly enough, almost never wasted.”
~Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian
From Socraties to Galileo to Hitchens, contrarians have always made life more, well, interesting (for themselves as well as everyone else).But in a noisy combative world of hot-takes and meme-stocks where every second Silicon Valley talking-head is a self-described “contrarian” what does being a contrarian even mean anymore?
What makes one a contrarian?
Why are so many famous contrarians also well-known investors?
Why are so many famous investors also well-known contrarians?
Is there a difference between being a free thinker and being a “Contrarian” with a Capital “C”?
Does being a contrarian make you better at betting on the future – or just better at getting noticed?
At this salon, we’ve invited the occasional contrarian and best-selling author of What Works on Wall Street, Jim O’Shaughnessy, of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, to explore these questions and unpack why freedom of speech, independent thought, and otherwise otherwise individuals are key components of success and progress in life, business and the stock market.
The salon will straddle the divide between contrarian thought and contartainism in practice. After all, there is a difference between being contrary for contrary’s sake and being truly independently minded. We will debate the social and financial costs (and rewards) of speaking your mind against popular opinion and publically betting on your own ideas with your own time and money.
We will also cover the value of independent thought to wider society and general human progress and flourishing; and the price we have to pay to allow space for the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently.
- On thinking like a contrarian https://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/nov/10/books.guardianreview6
- On going alone https://srconstantin.github.io/2019/09/16/against-multilateralism.html
- On conformism and progress http://www.paulgraham.com/conformism.html
- On the merits of arguing https://www.forbes.com/sites/helenleebouygues/2020/08/14/red-teams-and-devils-advocates-how-to-make-use-of-contrarian-thinking/?sh=3c7f71c51bae
- On rules vs process https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2017/05/16/arguing-about-how-the-world-should-burn/
- On taking big swings https://fs.blog/2015/10/zero-to-one/
- On big bets gone bad https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/11/fashion/peter-thiel-donald-trump-silicon-valley-technology-gawker.html
- On being contrary to contrarians (aka the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent) https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/john-maynard-keynes-was-the-warren-buffett-of-his-day/255356/
Image source: https://www.saatchiart.com/print/Painting-Bear-vs-Bull/413988/2328235/view