Robert Hagstrom, the chief investment strategist and managing director of Legg Mason Investment Counsel, recently wrote an article about the value of a multi-disciplinary approach to business and investing. The author of several excellent investing books - including The Warren Buffett Way and Investing: The Last Liberal Art - Hagstrom discusses Charlie Munger's "latticework" of mental models that he faithfully uses to solve problems, investing and otherwise.
Hagstrom not only convincingly makes the case that business schools are too isolated from the valuable concepts and ideas from other disciplines, he offers some evidence that things may be starting to improve. One example is a consortium put on by the Aspen Institute entitled, "Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession." It's surely not a coincidence that the CEO of the Aspen Institute is Walter Isaacson, the highly-regarded author of Steve Jobs' biography. After all, one of the enduring themes of Isaacson's book is that Jobs' resounding success was made possible by borrowing and employing ideas from a range of fields.
Despite the fact that investors needn't become an expert in every topic, the ideal of the renaissance man/investor exists more in theory than in practice. Articles like Hagstrom's may help to change that.
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