Friday's Fast Five: Week of 11.10
How Does the World’s Largest Hedge Fund Really Make Its Money? (The New York Times): Since founding Bridgewater in his Manhattan apartment in 1975, Mr. Dalio has been said to have developed prodigious skill at spotting, and making money from, big-picture global economic or political changes, such as when a country raises its interest rates or cuts taxes. That made both a lot of sense and none at all; what was it about Bridgewater that made it so much better at predictions than any other investor in the world trying to do the exact same thing?
Knight, Barkley, Stockton and the bus of shame: Tales from the 1984 Olympic trials (The Athletic): The biggest controversy surrounding the selection of the team centered on Knight’s decision to cut Charles Barkley. Over time, the omissions of Karl Malone, John Stockton and others would join that conversation. Many thought Knight could have picked two teams strong enough to win Olympic gold. As it was, the 43-year-old Knight had a team more than capable. Already veteran writers were claiming that this might be the best Olympic men’s basketball team ever.
The US Housing Market Has Become an Impossible Mess (Bloomberg): It sometimes feels as if the US housing market is in a never-ending affordability crisis, with prices continually rising and inventory shrinking. The reasons have ranged from anemic construction to student loan debt to investors buying up starter homes. But even as the pandemic pushed values up faster than ever, cheap mortgages kept buyers in the game. Now a whole new affordability crisis is beginning. And this time, there’s no obvious way out.
Jury Finds Realtors Conspired to Keep Commissions High (The Wall Street Journal): The verdict could lead to industrywide upheaval by changing decades-old rules that have helped lock in commission rates even as home prices have skyrocketed—which has allowed real-estate agents to collect ever-larger sums. It comes in the first of two antitrust lawsuits arguing that unlawful industry practices have left consumers unable to lower their costs even though internet-era innovations have allowed many buyers to find homes themselves online.
Who Killed the Innkeeper With a Sword in 1315? (The New York Times): These homicide cases, discovered by historians in centuries-old records, may be long closed. But fans of true crime and history can now peruse them in an interactive medieval murder map released in September by University of Cambridge researchers. Users can click through the back stories of more than 300 murders in the English cities of London, York and Oxford. Entries are searchable by gender, day of the week and even weapon (pole-axe or crossbow?).