Art, stocks: finding the numbers

What makes a piece of art worth $30 million as opposed $1 million? According to the New York Times (free registration required), University of Chicago economist David W. Galenson has developed metrics to gage the value of art for sale. Galenson believes he has found a link between an artist's age and the selling price for her paintings.

Related, Bill Miller at Legg Mason Fund has beat Wall Street for 15 straight years finding unity in disunity. Miller, chairman of the Santa Fe Institute, uses complexity theory and group behavior to make winning picks, what CNNMoney.com calls a "dogs breakfast" of stocks that his peers wouldn't touch, but which have routinely outperformed the market.

His due diligence runs far afield:

Miller's group is just as likely to be discussing the functionality of ant colonies or river systems as P/E ratios. The man runs a required book club for his investment team, for which he assigns works like "Deep Survival," by Laurence Gonzales, and "The Landscape of History," by John Lewis Gaddis....

His success depends on generating insight, no matter the source. Michael Mauboussin, who serves as Miller's "intellectual search engine," puts it this way:

Whether it's psychology or science or literature, it's a never-ending search. Bill's currency is ideas. You want to turn him on, give him a good idea. He doesn't care where it comes from. If a Nobel Prize winner gives him a dumb idea, he'll flag it Dumb Idea. And if a junior person gives him a good idea, he flags it Good Idea."

If you visit CNNMoney.com check out the right side column, "Bill's Braniacs," for a list of people that offer Miller counsel.   

Wayne

Wikipedia: complexity science