I love this time of year. I seldom make New Year’s resolutions per se but I do make some “to do” lists for things I would like to accomplish, places I would like to visit, and people I would love to meet. Rarely do things happen by accident. They happen by design. Serendipity is where the right planning and optimism intersect and you are surprised by the result of your hard work.
That is what 2016 was to me…a serendipitous year.
Next year will be a time to ponder what the future of appraising should look like. Big changes happen after crisis. The political climate has been such that we were never able to emerge with a plan for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Regardless of their fate, it is clear to me that they should not “own” the appraisal process. They simply haven’t been the best custodians.
I am spending the last ten days of this year on vacation. Reading is my idea of rest and relaxation. And I am the biggest nerd of them all. My recent obsession has been the study of behavioral economics. While on vacation I finished Michael Lewis’ new book “The Undoing Project”. I was surprised to learn he didn’t connect the dots between “Money Ball” and behavioral economics. I guess that means he still hasn’t made the connection between “The Big Short” and misaligned incentives a major consideration of why people behave badly.
Another recent read was “Weapons of Math Destruction”. I just love the title. It confirmed what I believed for some time but could never articulate well– algorithms are invented by people and are opinions cloaked in mathematical formulas. Because math is involved people tend to trust them. If you go back and read “The Quants” you will understand how in our world a “ WMD” can take down the world economy.
Other books on my iPod are “Algorithms to Live By”, “A Field Guide to Lies” and “Misbehaving”. Trust me, they are all related to the appraisal profession. In order to rebuild our profession we need to dissect theory before we can build sound practices and processes. These are all good books and are a lot of fun to read. If you are interested in more just email me and I will give you the full library. Appraisers spend a lot of time in their car. I highly recommend you download a few on your iPhone and listen in your car.
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