Bill Nygren On Sports And Investment Process


“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself”

-Zen Proverb quoted by Phil Jackson in Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success

It’s no surprise to our regular readers that I enjoy the overlap of sports with investing. Moneyball by Michael Lewis was a great example of how a baseball team could be successfully constructed using principles that were very similar to those used by value investors.  Jonah Keri’s The Extra 2% examined how the rigorous use of data to analyze the success or failure of decisions helped turn around the Tampa Bay Rays.  I wrote shareholder letters using those books as examples to discuss the Oakmark approach to managing our portfolios and our people.  My vacation reading this year included Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson.  Phil, for those of you who don’t follow the NBA, was one of the league’s most successful coaches, winning a record 11 titles in just 20 seasons.  And the first six of those titles were with the Chicago Bulls, which is why he is revered in my hometown.  Like the other books, Eleven Ringsstories about motivating a highly talented group of individuals to achieve success as a team seem very similar to the challenge of running a successful investment firm.

Bonhoeffer Fund July 2022 Performance Update

Screenshot 27Bonhoeffer Fund's performance update for the month ended July 31, 2022. Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The Bonhoeffer Fund returned 3.5% net of fees in July, for a year-to-date return of -15.8%.   Bonhoeffer Fund, LP, is a value-oriented private investment partnership for . . . SORRY! This content is exclusively for Read More

If you watched any March Madness, you no doubt saw the NCAA public service messages stating that most of the 450,000 collegiate student athletes end up going pro at something other than sports.  At the bottom of the athletic pyramid are 35 million kids, about two-thirds of the under-18 population, playing youth sports.  Over half of high school students, 7.7 million, play for at least one school team.  Less than 6% of high school athletes will play on a college team (all colleges, not just D1).  And just over one-in-one-thousand college athletes will make their living from a professional sports career.  Yet most of us who played youth sports had high aspirations.  A study done by Georgia State found that 59% of high school football and basketball players believed they would get a college scholarship1.  The real math is daunting: 17,856 high school basketball teams, only 351 D1 college teams.  Thought of another way, if D1 colleges selected their teams from a pool that only