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Sonimart Standard Replacement Toothbrush Heads 2-pack, compatible for Philips Sonicare HX7022 E-Series Standard, fits Philips Advance, CleanCare, Elite, Essence, and Xtreme Brush Handles, OEHHA Prop 65 Approved!
Sonimart Standard Replacement Toothbrush Heads 2-pack, compatible for Philips Sonicare HX7022 E-Series Standard, fits Philips Advance, CleanCare, Elite, Essence, and Xtreme Brush Handles, OEHHA Prop 65 Approved!
Offered by Sonimart
Price: $14.95
2 used & new from $14.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended!, October 31, 2014
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As far as I can tell, these Sonimart brushes are exactly the same as the Sonicare brushes at a fraction of the cost. Recommended!

Gray Mountain: A Novel
Gray Mountain: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Grisham's best, October 31, 2014
This is definitely not Grisham's best work but it is a very easy read and there are a few suspenseful moments in the story that were actually quite surprising. Part of the issue is that the main character is not developed very well and comes across in ways that aren't very flattering so the reader may have trouble identifying with the protagonist. I feel like part of this might have been addressed by telling the story in the first person. And despite a few twists and turns, I don't think any reader would be surprised by Samantha's career decision at the end of the book. It is almost as if Grisham wanted to set up a scenario for a future book, and I suspect there will be one. The book is also somewhat political in ways that it didn't need to be in order to get across the main point regarding environmental damage done by big coal companies. That will turn off a good number of readers as well.

I'll be happy to reserve the book at my local library and read it as light entertainment but I wouldn't be willing to pay $17 to purchase a sequel when it comes out.

Superior Justice (Lake Superior Mysteries Book 1)
Superior Justice (Lake Superior Mysteries Book 1)
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, October 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I found this book via Book Bub and was able to download the kindle version for free. I enjoy crime novels and mysteries so this was right up my alley. I did not realize that this was "Christian literature" until getting into the book, and it didn't bother me at all even though I normally don't read books in this category. I found the characters to be believable and the Pastor was portrayed with human flaws and emotions, which was good. There was a bit of preaching at times, but it was actually a refreshing change from the typical crime novel... While the author isn't up to par with writers like Connelly yet, I believe this is his first book and I'm sure future books will be better. Worth reading!

The Education of a Value Investor: My Transformative Quest for Wealth, Wisdom, and Enlightenment
The Education of a Value Investor: My Transformative Quest for Wealth, Wisdom, and Enlightenment
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $12.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed the book!, October 2, 2014
Excerpt from full review available at

The Education of a Value Investor chronicles Guy Spier's evolution from a self described "Gordon Gekko wannabe" to a highly accomplished fund manager who has found success through a constant effort of attaining worldly wisdom and seeking to understand his own personality more fully. The core of the book is a very personal reflection of the author's journey and is unsparing when it comes to self criticism. In this way, the book is more of a memoir than a road map containing specific actionable investment ideas, although several valuable insights are provided which should improve any investor's process. Highly recommended!

Shades of Gray, Splashes of Color: A Thru-hike of The Colorado Trail
Shades of Gray, Splashes of Color: A Thru-hike of The Colorado Trail
by Bill Cooke
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.30
22 used & new from $11.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting account of a CT Thru Hike, September 3, 2014
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I recently completed a thru hike of the Colorado Trail. Although the Colorado Trail Foundation publishes a good trail guide and data book, I was not able to find many other books describing the trail when I initially researched the possibility of a thru hike in 2013, so I was eager to read Bill Cooke's book when I found out about it this spring. Reading the book prior to my hike provided insights regarding the trail and the towns that I have not read elsewhere.

I found the balance between personal anecdotes and the description of the trail to be very good, and there is always a balance to be struck in that regard. Every thru hike is obviously going to be different and it is very interesting to see how others experienced the trail but it is also great to get some information regarding highlights, camp sites, water sources, etc. I frequently found myself referring to my Colorado Trail data book as I read and noting areas where I may want to spend some time or possibly camp.

One feature that could have added a lot to the book would be color photos, and maybe more photos in general, but I'm sure that would be a very expensive proposition and increase the cost of book quite a bit. The author does have a photo gallery on his website ( and my understanding is that the Kindle book provides color photos when viewed on a device supporting color.

amFilm® Motorola Moto G (1st Gen.) Screen Protector Premium HD Clear (3-Pack) [Lifetime Warranty]
amFilm® Motorola Moto G (1st Gen.) Screen Protector Premium HD Clear (3-Pack) [Lifetime Warranty]
Offered by TechMatte
Price: $6.95
4 used & new from $0.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid product at a good price, May 15, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased this screen protector for my new Moto G. The size is perfect with the appropriate cutout for the phone and installation was easier than expected due to the hinge method and the video the company provides. I did get one small bubble due to a tiny piece of dust but it is at the very bottom of the phone and not part of the glass that is illuminated so I'll probably just live with it. But I have two spares in the package if I'm somehow inspired to try again. Recommended.

The A.T. Guide Northbound 2014
The A.T. Guide Northbound 2014
by David Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.77
6 used & new from $11.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide, April 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I just finished a two week section hike on the Appalachian Trail covering 260 miles. The AT Guide was my constant reference during the hike and made it very easy to understand exactly where I was on the trail at a number of key milestones. The elevation profiles were very accurate and helped to anticipate what was coming down the trail. I suggest also carrying good maps since the AT Guide doesn't provide topographical maps, just a linear list of way points and elevation profiles. However, there are town maps which were very useful to have. I cut out the pages I needed for my section and this turned out to be a very lightweight solution and almost everything needed to understand what awaited down the trail!

The Manual of Ideas: The Proven Framework for Finding the Best Value Investments
The Manual of Ideas: The Proven Framework for Finding the Best Value Investments
by John Mihaljevic
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.20
61 used & new from $18.32

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many Ways to Win, September 27, 2013
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(This book review was published on The Rational Walk website on 9/27/13 at [...])

It's not given to human beings to have such talent that they can just know everything about everything all the time. But it is given to human beings who work hard at it - who look and sift the world for a mispriced bet - that they can occasionally find one.

-- Charlie Munger

During a visit to Columbia Business School many years ago, a student asked Warren Buffett how one could best prepare for an investing career. Mr. Buffett picked up a stack of financial reports he had brought with him and advised the students to read "500 pages like this every day". One of the students in the class happened to be Todd Combs. Mr. Combs took the advice quite literally and eventually got into a habit of reading far more than 500 pages per day. This work ethic contributed to a successful career running a hedge fund and a position at Berkshire Hathaway allocating several billion dollars of capital.

The truth is that few individual or professional investors come close to reading as much as Mr. Buffett recommends. But even if one is willing to dedicate the time and effort required, surely the areas one looks at are just as important as the sheer volume of reading. Before allocating a dollar of capital, it is necessary to wisely allocate time to examine ideas in areas most likely to be fruitful.

One of the indispensable sources of actionable investment ideas for value investors is The Manual of Ideas which has been published as a monthly periodical for several years. Each issue presents profiles of twenty value investment ideas along with other features such as interviews with prominent investors and proprietary rankings and analysis of superinvestor portfolios. John Mihaljevic, Managing Editor of The Manual of Ideas, recently published a book also named The Manual of Ideas. As opposed to being a manual of potential investment ideas, the book provides insight into the process Mr. Mihaljevic uses to identify compelling opportunities.

As Mr. Mihaljevic acknowledges in the first chapter, investing is a very personal endeavor even though nearly all active investors have the same ultimate goal of making money and outperforming passive strategies. An approach that works very well for one individual may completely fail for someone else who brings to the table a different temperament, set of skills, interests, and innate analytical capabilities. Blindly copying the advice of an investment publication or the actions of well known investors usually fails to produce the desired results because an investor will lack the conviction required to manage through adverse times. One must know their own circle of competence along with the rationale for each investment in the portfolio in order to have the fortitude to persist when Mr. Market marks down a typical portfolio by 50 percent or more, as was the case during the 2008-2009 bear market.

Different strategies will appeal to different investors depending on their temperament, circle of competence, and views on topics such as how much risk of permanent loss of capital is acceptable. The book truly is a "manual" in the sense that Mr. Mihaljevic presents nine chapters that each address how one might go about sourcing investment ideas within a broad "theme". Most investors will have pre-existing biases for certain strategies that have worked well in the past and perhaps a distaste for strategies that have resulted in less satisfactory outcomes. However, nearly all investors will find valuable ideas for sourcing ideas within at least several of the chapters covering the following areas:

Deep Value: Ben Graham-Style Bargains
Sum-of-the-Parts Value
Greenblatt's "Magic Formula"
Jockey Stocks
Finding Opportunities in Superinvestor Portfolios
Small and Micro Cap stocks
Special situations and event driven investments
Equity stubs
International Value investments

The Maddening Magic Formula

One of the investment approaches that we have found particularly compelling is Joel Greenblatt's "Magic Formula". Those who are not familiar with the magic formula often instinctively recoil at the idea that one can apply any formula, let alone a "magic" one in the field of investing. Indeed, the name of the strategy may be unfortunate because the idea is simply to look for investment opportunities in fundamentally sound businesses (ranked by return on capital) selling at cheap prices (ranked by EV/EBIT). There is no "magic" involved.

Of course, no formula in the hyper-competitive field of investing could last for long if it could be applied easily and ensure superior short term results. Quick adoption of the formula would erase this opportunity and it would cease to work. However, the magic formula continues to work because although it produces superior long term results, short term results can often underperform benchmark indices. This eliminates the formula from the toolkit of the vast majority of investors who care about beating the market this week, month, or year. In addition, the type of companies that come up in magic formula searches are typically ones that have problems that are perceived as very serious and could impair the underlying economics of the business making historical return on capital a thing of the past.

Mr. Greenblatt has provided a free screening tool at his Magic Formula website which we can use to illustrate the difficulty facing an institutional investor actually attempting to adopt the strategy. We ran a search to find the top thirty companies with market capitalization of $1 billion or greater that qualify for the magic formula strategy. Included in the list are companies that may have been "good" businesses in the past in terms of return of capital but are now selling at "cheap" prices due to predominant pessimism in the investing community. A few that immediately jump off the page are tobacco companies Altria Group and Lorillard, technology companies facing potentially moat-destroying fundamental changes such as Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Oracle, and Seagate, and a company such as Herbalife which has been accused of being a pyramid scheme by well respected value investors.

There is less "career risk" involved in posting mediocre returns on par with one's peers than with seriously underperforming a benchmark for several years while being invested in controversial companies that most investors dislike. These factors ensure that the magic formula will have a good chance of continuing to produce compelling undervalued investment ideas in the future but even investors who do not face "career risk" must acknowledge that the stomach churning reaction to many of the magic formula candidates might make this approach less than compelling if the result is that investments are sold in response to Mr. Market further marking down the shares.

Improving the Magic Formula

The Manual of Ideas presents a number of important insights related to the uses and misuses of the magic formula as well as pitfalls that may await investors who are not fully committed to taking a formulaic approach. It is very tempting for knowledgeable investors to attempt to "improve" the magic formula by taking the results and adding additional objective and subjective criteria. However, this is fraught with risks as the book points out:

If we wish to use the magic formula as an idea generation tool, we may want to restrain ourselves from subjecting the list of investment candidates to our standard idea evaluation process, as we may end up excluding ideas with the highest prospective returns (they usually make our stomachs churn the most). To improve the performance of Greenblatt's quantitative method, we need to employ tweaks that help the magic formula work better, not tweaks that add entirely new hurdles. (Page 97)

So here again we have another psychological hurdle to overcome in order to successfully deploy the magic formula. Few enterprising investors will believe that laying their own well thought out criteria over a list produced by the magic formula will hurt results but chances are that this is exactly what will happen if one adds additional tests such as insider buying and selling, insider ownership, and other factors that normally represent constructive factors in the analytical process.

Fortunately, Mr. Mihaljevic directs the investor's enthusiasm for layering additional analysis on top of the magic formula toward areas of inquiry that may help improve the overall results and, perhaps as importantly, result in a level of conviction for the ideas that will allow an investor to see the idea through a period of adverse stock price movements. Mr. Mihaljevic recommends that we attempt to understand whether magic formula selections "exhibit above average returns on capital for transitory reasons or for reasons that have some permanence." In addition, it is important to understand whether a company reporting high returns on capital has reinvestment opportunities also promising high returns on reinvested capital and, if not, whether management has demonstrated intelligent capital allocation practices in the past.

Many Ways to Win

Although the magic formula chapter is more than worth the price of the book, similarly valuable insights are provided for the eight other chapters mentioned above. Not all investors will be interested in every strategy but that is perfectly fine since there is usually more than enough to do in areas that are appealing. Also, it never hurts to broaden one's thinking when it comes to different approaches. This is all part of attempting to expand the circle of competence over time.

It is rare in today's hyper-competitive investing world to come across publications that add value when it comes to presenting either specific investment ideas or an investing framework that could result in more competitors. The Manual of Ideas periodical has for many years provided actionable investment ideas and now the book has revealed important timeless insights that should improve any investor's framework.

Backfire (An FBI Thriller)
Backfire (An FBI Thriller)
by Catherine Coulter
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $9.31
397 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK ..., September 18, 2013
I picked up this book in paperback in a small town drug store where I was stuck for a day and had no internet access. It seemed like the best option in a very limited selection and I've been a fan of police/investigation novels in the past (Connelly's Harry Bosch series in particular).

Although the book did keep me entertained for a number of hours, I found the plot unbelievable particularly as the storyline developed. The ending is completely unbelievable and borderline ludicrous. I also found most of the characters to be fairly one dimensional and, given the number of characters, none were very well developed. The author also made personnel from different agencies (FBI, U.S. Marshall, SFPD) work together unrealistically well ... no real turf battles or other conflict that could have made the book more interesting. There were some annoying aspects of the book particularly related to Eve's appearance and the "conversations" between the adults and young children that seem totally unrealistic.

Bottom line is that the book did the job I purchased it for ... to keep me from being totally bored for a day. However, given a wider array of choices, I doubt I would pick up another novel by this author.

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack (Blue, 20-Liter)
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack (Blue, 20-Liter)
Offered by MadAthlete
Price: $32.95
4 used & new from $32.95

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stuff pocket tears, July 7, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The pack is OK in terms of carrying a small amount of weight. I use it as a stuff sack for my sleeping bag and for day hikes away from a base camp. My main complaint is that the construction of the product is quite flimsy and it shows: The stuff sack pocket tore after just a few uses. It makes me wonder about the overall quality of this product and reluctant to rely on it for a longer trip. As things stand right now I will probably look at other options for an extended backpacking trip next month.

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