Blogs to watch (part 11): Musings on Markets

Blogs to watch (part 11): Musings on Markets
14 August 2020
Prof. Aswath Damodaran has the most famous yet unheard of blog that you can find online.

Prof. Damodaran is a household name among anyone who has studied finance over the past two decades. He authored THE most definitive textbook on company valuation, and his 16-minute video to explain the basics of company valuation has racked up more than 700,000 views on YouTube!

However, I found that most of the people I spoke to had no idea who I was talking about.

Prof. Damodaran's blog is a treasure trove for anyone looking to improve their understanding of financial markets and investments. It's a serious resource – as you'd expect from a university professor with a lifelong passion for teaching.

Welcome to http://aswathdamodaran.blogspot.com, also known as "Musings on Markets".

The collected writings of a beautiful mind

Whenever I receive an email alert about Prof. Damodaran's latest article, I know that it's time to set aside half an hour (or more) of quiet reading time.

Prof. Damodaran doesn't do short and superficial. Not quite unlike myself, he churns out long, in-depth pieces.

His exceptional talent is to break complex subjects into understandable bits (as one popular YouTube comment aptly put it: "Mr Damodaran explained in 16:14 minutes which my professor could not in an entire semester!").

Some of his writing directly relates to investing. Popular posts from recent times include:

A Do-it-yourself (DIY) Valuation of Tesla: Of Investment Regrets and Disagreements!

Runaway Story or Meltdown in Motion? The Unraveling of the WeWork IPO

Investing for a post-virus Economy 

You can also find more intellectually challenging articles about broader subjects: 

A Do-it-Yourself S&P 500 Valuation

The Resilience of Private Risk Capital 

Value vs Growth, Active vs Passive, Small Cap vs Large 

Before checking any of Prof. Damodaran's writings, do brace yourself for a website with a 1990s look. Despite amassing hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, YouTube and his email list, Prof. Damodaran never invested in professional web design but manages the entire website himself. As he put it, it's more important for him to have full control over his website and be able to rapidly make changes than to win a design contest.

Also, not entirely unlike myself, Prof. Damodaran operates not one but two websites. Besides Musings on Markets, you also don't want to miss www.damodaran.com. It's primarily a (mostly free) resource for anyone interested in Prof. Damodaran's teaching and includes courses specifically designed for a web audience.

His personal website also gives an overview of his books, such as "The Little Book of Valuation: How to Value a Company, Pick a Stock and Profit", a bestseller which has proven popular with both novice investors and more experienced ones. Just as Prof. Damodaran tries to squeeze the essence of some of his 80-minute lessons into 12-15-minute YouTube videos, so does this book distil many crucial lessons into just 256 pages.

It's hard to summarise what Prof. Damodaran offers on his two websites. His body of work is so immense by now (he is 62) that you could spend months reading the existing material.

Multiple ways to follow him

Prof. Damodaran views teaching as a craft, and it shows in his writing. He is deeply passionate about what he does and proud of being a bit of a generalist who incorporates his extremely diverse interests in his teaching and writing. Even more importantly, he is also really good at taking you along a journey of learning.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, delve right in!

Besides his two websites, Prof. Damodaran has a YouTube channel and a Twitter account.

Alternatively, look out for him on popular media when markets go through volatile periods. Whenever weird things happen, such as parabolic rallies or market crashes, Prof. Damodaran gets interviewed because he uses logic and simple theory to explain it all. He is fantastic for cutting through the hysteria.

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