Investing Wisdom from Vitaliy Katsenelson — Soul In The Game

In the last few years, I’ve grown increasingly fond of reading books that contain investors’ life lessons, from William Green‘s Richer, Wiser, Happier to Gautam Baid‘s The Joys of Compounding. I’m so glad I grabbed the opportunity to buy fund manager Vitaliy Katsenelson’s newest book, Soul in the Game, while in Omaha.

Although the book hasn’t delved much into investing yet (I’m only a third of the way through), I’m thoroughly enjoying the life lessons within. Vitaliy Katsenelson’s candid sharing about his experiences with his children, wife, and parents has taught me valuable lessons about becoming a better person.

Within the book, Vitaliy quotes Stoic philosopher Epictetus: “You become what you give your attention to.” This single focus, combined with a drive for constant improvement and a lifelong learning mindset, adds up to an incredibly powerful force.

And if we combine these attributes with kindness and a genuine belief in ourselves and our loved ones, we can achieve anything in life that we set our minds to.

Vitaliy Katsenelson lesson

What I Learnt From Vitaliy Katsenelson’s Book

One of the chapters about his San Francisco trip with his daughter Hannah particularly resonated with me a lot.

Back then, Vitaliy Katsenelson’s daughter, Hannah, was only 13 years old, and it was her first trip to San Francisco. Being a young kid exploring this new city for the first time, she was full of curiosity. She was running around and taking pictures, even asking her dad: “Why is it called the Golden Gate Bridge? It’s red!”

Her question struck me as both funny and profound. Kids’ curiosity is a true earth treasure. They’re these relentless question machines, happily surprised by their own discoveries. They’re fearless learners, never shying away from asking “obvious” questions that challenge the way we see things.

But as we grow up, somewhere along the way, that spark dims. We take things for granted, missing the joy of new experiences. It’s the folks who hold onto that curiosity, that childlike wonder, who often seem to lead the most fulfilling lives. Just look at Buffett, still rocking a kid’s diet at 93!

Charlie Munger said it perfectly: “People calculate too much and think too little. Develop into a lifelong learner through relentless reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day.”

Thanks for reminding me to stay curious Hannah and Vitaliy Katsenelson. I wish to speak to Hannah in person next year during the Berkshire Hathaway AGM!

Meanwhile, if you wish to learn more from Vitaliy Katsenelson, you can get his book Soul In The Game and subscribe to his newsletter!

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