C&B Notes

Investing is a discipline built on cumulative knowledge, and it requires a continuous evaluation and assessment of new information. The purpose of C&B Notes is to pass along the ideas, concepts, stories, and information that are informing, influencing, and updating our worldview. We use them to build on our “latticework of mental models” that help us make better decisions.

9 articles in list

Origins of Quarantine

Quarantine was first widely used in Venice in the 1300’s as the city-state grappled with the Black Death.  The term itself is derived from quaranta, the Italian word for 40.  General policy of Venice was to keep visiting sailors and…

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da Vinci’s Revolutionary Bridge

Leonardo da Vinci responded to a Middle Ages RFP (request for proposal) from the Ottoman Empire for a bridge design.  Alas, the Sultan turned him down.  However, a team of MIT researchers recently demonstrated that da Vinci’s radical design was…

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Harper Lee, Crimson Tide Enthusiast

Harper Lee may not have written another book after To Kill a Mockingbird, but she did write lots of letters.  One of her favorite topics evidently was Alabama football.  Who knew that we could like her even more – Roll…

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The Wisdom of Dickens

As Charles Dickens expresses so eloquently in this excerpt from David Copperfield, first published in 1850, self-awareness, humility, punctuality, order, focus, and hard work are timeless elements to success. “I feel as if it were not for me to record,…

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30 Years since Tiananmen Square

In the thirty years since the Communist Party’s brutal crackdown in Tiananmen Square, China has experienced an economic miracle that has made the country a global superpower.  Despite a somewhat freer society, the democratic ideals that the protesters pushed for…

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Where the People Are

This fascinating animation, originally from John Burn-Murdoch at the Financial Times, shows where and when populations have grown and shrunk over the last 500 years through the lens of the world’s most populous cities.  This chart pairs nicely with another…

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A Brief History of Steel

Birmingham, our hometown and the largest metro area in Alabama, was founded in the 1870’s and grew rapidly thanks primarily to a burgeoning iron and steel industry (a suburb of Birmingham is named after the Bessemer process).  Iron ore, coal,…

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The History of Incino

We are impressed with Walter Zancanaro’s astoundingly detailed history of Incino,  a small, little known agrarian town in Italy. Translated by Benno Kling, the chronology benefits from a digital format as foreign concepts, locations in and around the town, and…

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Was Tulip Fever Just A Cold?

Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is on our bookshelf, and it includes a chapter on the Netherland tulip bubble in the 1600’s.  A new book challenges just how manic the infamous tulip fever was. When tulips came to the…

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