Quarterly Articles

  • Stay to Play


    I just celebrated my 30th year with CWS and I have been so fortunate to have worked in one place with such great people for all of these years. It has... Read More

  • The Next 30+ Years


    This is my 30th year at CWS so I thought this would be an appropriate time to look back on some important trends during my three decades at CWS and to... Read More

  • CWS - My Family Office


    2017 should be quite an interesting year. We have a new President for which there is very little historical parallel. Donald Trump has clearly shown he... Read More

  • CWS and the Success of Founder-Led Firms


    “To live in a great idea means to treat the impossible as though it were possible. It is just the same with a strong character; and when an idea and a... Read More

  • $50 Million and Counting


    Since late 2011 I have been tracking how the cost of our variable rate loans have compared to the fixed-rate options we could have chosen at the time of... Read More

  • Better Than We Thought


    Over the years I have found that it is good discipline to take the time to articulate in writing the hypotheses that are the basis of making an investment.... Read More

  • Weathering the Storm


    2015 was a pretty interesting year and so is the beginning of 2016. 2015 was so challenging from an investment perspective that, according to a report... Read More

  • Lessons From Andrew Carnegie


    Over the years I have written about individuals who have had a great influence on my thinking in business and life. Examples include Shakespeare, Charlie... Read More

  • From Fare Thee Well to Keep on Truckin'


    In a recent blog post, I wrote about my trip to Santa Clara, CA to see one of the final "Fare Thee Well" shows for the Grateful Dead, commemorating their... Read More

  • Positive Optionality


    One of the most important pieces of advice that I could give for not only positioning oneself for success in the world of investing, but probably in life... Read More

  • Houston, Do We Have a Problem?


    It would be naïve and utterly foolish to believe that Houston won’t be negatively impacted by the significant drop in oil prices in such a short period... Read More

  • Cleaning the Fish


    It’s important to me that our investors, current and prospective, have an understanding of how CWS operates. A lot goes into making investment decisions... Read More

  • The CWS Circle of Life


    The focus of this article is to illuminate two important ways CWS generates long-term return for our investors. The first way is providing investors with... Read More

  • Looking Back and Looking Ahead


    I have heard someone ask the question, “How do you avoid an avalanche?...Don’t be on the mountain when one occurs.” If an investment drops by 50%, then... Read More

  • Is CWS Right for You?


    A few years ago I came across letters written by Warren Buffet to his investors prior to Berkshire Hathaway being his sole investment vehicle. Between... Read More

  • Let the Numbers Do the Talking


    This article will be shorter than others as I would like the numbers to do the talking as well as Bill Gross from PIMCO. For those of you who have paid... Read More

  • Shoot First, Ask Questions Later or Read My Lips: Stay the Course


    We had people over recently and I was distressed to pull a bottle of wine out of the wine cooler to find that it was not very cool. I impatiently tried... Read More

  • How Did We Do?


    There is a line from a Talking Heads song that says, “Say something once, why say it again?”. I am usually a firm believer in this “less is more” communication... Read More

  • Silver Linings Playbook


    I really enjoyed the movie Silver Linings Playbook. In fact, I saw it twice I liked it so much. Rather than discuss what the movie is about, I thought... Read More

  • Heraclitus, Jung, and the Road to Damascus


    The graph at the top of page 2 speaks volumes about the collapse in the lending market for owner-occupied home purchases in the United States. This picture... Read More

  • A Labour of Love 25 Years and Still Learning


    This July I will have completed my 25th year at CWS. Having just returned from a great trip to England that ended with a couple of days in Stratford-upon-Avon,... Read More

  • The Renter Generation


    The following article is a summary of the key points and charts I presented at our annual investor meeting that took place on April 2, 2012 Read More

  • A Political Calculation


    The economic system had pulled out of its sinking spell of 1929-33 only to become a chronic invalid, whose temperature was lower now in the mornings but... Read More

  • Collapse Into Now


    For many people in my world, the most shocking event of last quarter was the collapse of Treasury yields which led to the 10-year Treasury note yield dropping... Read More

  • Enhancing Lives the CWS Way


    For a long time I have felt that to be successful in business, and in life for that matter, one of the necessary traits is to be an effective hypothesis... Read More

  • Tectonic Shift


    Note: If you attended our Annual Investor Meeting then this article may be repetitive since it was the basis of my presentation.​ Read More

  • A Picture Worth 1,000 Words


    Sometimes there is a picture that really is worth 1,000 words, or in my case, closer to 1,400. CWS has owned apartments on an uninterrupted basis since... Read More

  • A Paper Blog


    I’ve been thinking about starting a blog. Blogging is pretty much a 24/7 endeavor for it to be relevant and fresh. So rather than doing that right now,... Read More

  • Falling into Place in a Keynesian Way


    “The importance of money flows from it being a link between the present and the future.” John Maynard Keynes Read More

  • Thank You Benjamin Roth


    This quarter was particularly challenging to find a relevant and interesting topic for my article. I feel like I have said what needs to be said over and... Read More

  • A Year of Hope and Transition


    “Well now, everything dies, baby, that’s a fact But maybe everything that dies someday comes back” Bruce Springsteen, “Atlantic City” Read More

  • Doing More with Less


    National job losses have been massive over the last year. We have now returned to a level of employment that we had in 2005. The following chart shows... Read More

  • Finding Wisdom


    “The wonder on this side of the Atlantic deepens, in view of these circumstances, that Chamberlain remains in office. In the five years previous to the... Read More

  • Is it 1932 or 1942, 1958, 1962, 1970, 1975, 1978, 1982, 2002?


    Two caveats: If you dislike a lot of numbers, then this article is not for you. In addition, if you’re hoping to get the answer to the question posed... Read More

  • The Road to 125 (or 130?)


    At the peak of home lending insanity, lenders aggressively sought borrowers to provide them financing of up to 125% of the (inflated) value of their homes. Read More