Graham Duncan is the co-founder of East Rock Capital, an investment firm that manages $2 billion in long-duration investment pools on behalf of a small number of families and their charitable foundations.
Systems and Sapiens — a monthly newsletter
I compulsively seek new ways of seeing reality, particularly the reality of what makes people tick. Sometimes I imagine I’m a blind man in a pool trying to sense the way particular people and memes are moving through the water. Semi-regularly I send out a short list of ideas and people I think are worth sharing – highlights from good books, podcasts, poems, good questions, basically any interesting new sapiens or systems I’ve come across and found particularly credible or thought provoking.
Over the last decade, I’ve interviewed and assessed more than 5,000 investment managers. One of the most important things I’ve learned in that process is what separates the great investors from the rest. The great ones view investing as a game, and they know exactly what game they’re playing. It brings to mind an observation from the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah: “In life the challenge is not so much to figure out how best to play the game; the challenge is to figure out what game you’re playing.” One great portfolio manager I know told the story of being driven somewhere by an analyst on a rainy night when a