Grant Williams in Conversation with Ben Hunt

Featuring Dr. Ben Hunt

Grant travels to rural Connecticut to spend a day with Dr. Ben Hunt, author of Epsilon Theory. In a wide-ranging discussion, Ben shares his journey from tenured academic to software entrepreneur and on to his role as Chief Risk Officer at Salient Partners and the birth of Epsilon Theory. The two discuss the importance and power of narratives in financial markets, the ways in which spending time surrounded by nature can help improve investment returns and the reason “why” is the most important question to ask. Filmed on July 12th, 2018.

Published on
27 July, 2018
Financial System, Monetary policy, Career
106 minutes
Asset class
Crypto-currencies, Bonds/Rates/Credit


  • JE

    Johannes E.

    14 11 2018 13:58

    0       0

    Great. Very interesting. How on earth did this get 126 dislikes?

  • sw

    shaun w.

    4 10 2018 05:30

    0       0

    Why did Ben slap Grant on the leg when they were sitting on the chairs?

  • JC

    James C.

    21 9 2018 09:28

    1       0

    Very enjoyable. I have often thought that humans are in some way interconnected at a level that we do not yet understand. I have often observed in nature a flock of birds all turning left at exactly the same time with no obvious form of communication.

    Equally in the markets, greed can turn to fear across the globe in seconds and in history millions of people are able to go to war within days.

    Very thought provoking - a big thanks to Ben and Grant.

  • MS

    Mark S.

    30 8 2018 01:21

    3       0

    From Ben: listen, ask why, think. This is not a trade piece. It's a think piece. To all those looking to make a buck off this one: listen, ask, think. The narrative is at work all day every day.

  • JO

    Joseph O.

    29 8 2018 16:52

    1       0

    As a hyper visual and abstract strategic thinker, I loved this and subscribed to his letter midway through. But:

    Using NLP to take the temperature / measure vector of narratives regarding financial markets, politics, etc? Good idea although not unique.

    "Media" and/or "content" on large platforms is almost completely editorialized or published for an unstated rhetorical / biased motivation? Yes. Definitely.

    So, given the truth of the above, what are you ACTUALLY measuring with the former?

  • TA

    Trevor A.

    28 8 2018 02:07

    1       0

    Commenter Michael H said it best: "Nobody can take a 1,000 word argument and turn it into a 20,000 word essay quite like Dr. Hunt."

  • RD

    Ryan D.

    22 8 2018 04:52

    1       0

    Seems like a really intelligent, nice guy but a bit of a long winded Captain Obvious.

  • JD

    Joe D.

    14 8 2018 19:31

    1       0

    Ben, would you paraphrase the central banks' narratives now? You speak about them alot, but never try to summarize what the narrative is, and why they gain from the narrative. That understanding would be very valuable.

  • FK

    Firoze K.

    13 8 2018 16:51

    1       0

    Great interview in my opinion. Those looking for a specific trade idea in every video should take a step back and look at the larger picture in my opinion.

  • PP

    Phillip P.

    12 8 2018 19:23

    2       1

    The real”story “here is that Grant is lost and is looking for comprehension. I share that thought. Ben Hint is like Bill Gross was...had to have some story to make his point way before you ever found out what he thought about interest rates. Central Bank impact on traditional people. Narrative is a good way to at least start.

  • LJ

    Lewis J.

    8 8 2018 21:24

    14       1

    For the love of God man just make your point!

  • SB

    Scott B.

    8 8 2018 15:06

    5       4

    One of the worst interviews on this median.

  • VS

    Victor S.

    7 8 2018 15:15

    7       5

    With all due respect ,i failed in 105 mins ,to find one solid idea of how to make money from Ben’s talk??? Being a money manager trader for for 50 years i’ve Heard a lot of ideas but none as amorphous as this.

  • JW

    James W.

    5 8 2018 23:34

    4       2

    I find Mr. Hunt's thoughts worthy of consideration. But I'd be a lot more impressed if just every once in a while he would step out and simply make a call on the markets.

  • ml

    michael l.

    5 8 2018 03:27

    4       2

    Great interview. If you value Epsilon Theory, this was time well spent. I have read the comments below, and am surprised at the number of negative comments. To each his own, I guess, but for those looking for more than a 7 minute trade idea, this was thought provoking.

  • JS

    Jason S.

    5 8 2018 01:54

    7       3

    Sigh....Ben Hunt is so overrated....blah...

  • DC

    D C.

    3 8 2018 18:32

    2       1

    In terms of MBTI, he personifies the ENTP type. Amazing lateral thinker and superb communicator. Wow.

  • PB

    Pieter B.

    1 8 2018 00:39

    1       1

    Grant & Ben: fantastic conversation! Thank you very much!

  • MA

    Mark A.

    31 7 2018 17:47

    0       1

    Very interesting perspective on things

  • PJ

    Peter J.

    31 7 2018 09:40

    4       1

    I love Grant's interviews, but thought this one was a bit over long. However, for those discouraged re watching it due to the length factor, it is a 'Must' watch IMO just for the Epsilon section. Overall a good interview.

  • TM

    Todd M.

    31 7 2018 04:00

    3       4

    Ben Hunt for Fed Chair!

  • JA

    John A.

    31 7 2018 03:55

    2       0

    Grant asked a great question 2/3 the way through the interview:”How do we avoid the ‘narrative, even those of us who know we should?” I saw a quote not long ago. “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do know their history are doomed to watch it happen again.”

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    30 7 2018 23:36

    1       1

    ...metagame as stated before. When you’re dealing with this topic, because it is so nuanced / subtle, it is going to require a more philosophical and longer analysis. Very good interview. Thanks guys!

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    30 7 2018 23:33

    0       1

    ...philosophical / abstract nature of it. Do empathise with the viewer who noted that Dr. Hunt can be long-winded, but we need to put this interview in context. The context in my mind was the “metagam

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    30 7 2018 23:30

    1       1

    Definite food for thought and reflection on the “metagame” of investing and life. Agree with many viewers who gave this interview a Thumbs Down, though I personally chose to enjoy the philosophical /

  • AR

    Alex R.

    30 7 2018 18:58

    13       3

    Reading through the comments makes me laugh. A lot of the guys who say this interview was too abstract and didn't give much are like the fish at the poker table who read a book about what hands to play and give you a blank stare when you tell them the cards don't matter once you learn how to play the players.

  • JC

    John C.

    30 7 2018 17:58

    5       0

    There maybe more truth seekers out there than we realize. If we take the number of eligible voters that don't vote and add the number of voters who vote for the purpose of voting against someone rather than for someone, then we have a vast majority disapproving of the missionaries.
    Secondly, story telling by the media has actually reached a point where they brag about it. Canada's public broadcaster has run ads stating that they get the story (not the news, not the facts, not the truth but the story).

  • V!

    Volatimothy !.

    30 7 2018 16:59

    2       1

    Excellent, one of my favorites. Dr. Hunt says you have to ask yourself why am I being shown this. I think back to the Bernanke interview on 60 minutes (I think) where he says the Fed wants to be more transparent. Fast forward and it seems to me like they were looking to inject sentiment into markets more than liquidity. They were forced to the later.

  • FA

    Frank A.

    30 7 2018 14:33

    2       0

    I'd say the Central Banks and especially the FED has been using "words" to try and influence market behavior long before the GFC. In the past one thought there were self imposed, prudent, rational limits to what a CB would do. What has changed is we've found out there is no "rational" behavior of a CB so you have no parameters. It's not a matter of will there behavior work, it's never worked in the long run, but how long the drug lasts before we are right back to where we were or worse.

  • LN

    Lucy N.

    30 7 2018 12:23

    2       0

    Were is Chris Cole

  • TH

    Timo H.

    30 7 2018 06:40

    7       15

    i just spent two hours watching a video, that did not feed me a single trade idea or investment framework. I spent it not only once but twice!

  • CA

    Craig A.

    30 7 2018 05:00

    7       20

    Real vision has fallen alot from the old days. Pieces were consistent, informative and concise. Feel like I have to watch many minutes of fluff that doesnt contribute to the piece. Please get back on pace and just do easy quick concise content.//

  • JL

    John L.

    30 7 2018 04:53

    9       0

    I truly appreciate the quality of this splendid interview; its content, candour and colourful Connecticut countryside.
    Unfortunately, from a perusal of other RV subscriber comments below, it seems that many are not so convinced.

    Thats fine, but ask you want to learn or do you just want the next market call?

  • DS

    David S.

    30 7 2018 01:32

    2       2

    After the second listening, this is an important interview for me. As I mentioned before using AI can give you an edge if you realize that it is just the current "news" narrative and that it can be interpreted in multiple ways with different trade points of view. It cannot help with how the narrative will change, but at least it will give you information that the narrative may be changing. Skepticism, as developed in philosophy from the early Greeks, is the main antidote to false, or partly false narratives. Thanks again to Mr. Hunt and our friend Grant. Loved the socks. Like a tattoo on the shoulder. DLS

  • LT

    Lucas T.

    30 7 2018 01:01

    2       0

    In these interviews, if you drink everytime Grant says "fascinating," you won't get hammered, but you'll get a nice buzz going.

    Great interview.

  • DS

    David S.

    29 7 2018 23:51

    2       0

    Models - 100% determined or 100% random (stochastic): From a distance, it seems to me that successful trading has more to with reasoned multiple probabilities, timing and sizing. If I buy a soybean contracts today what is the probability that a tariff will be enacted, a drought will occur in the Mid-West and/or Brazil, the US dollar will be sold off, no shipping is available, etc. None of these probabilities are stochastic or determined. Maybe determined or stochastic models can help give some traders an edge, but I will leave these models to physics. DLS

  • BL

    Bruce L.

    29 7 2018 21:51

    7       1

    I have been a reader of epsilon theory for a good while and what I love about listening to or reading Ben Hunt is how often he takes an idea I have already been considering but restates it so clearly that my own understanding is vastly improved. Many people may think this all to abstract but as someone who has been an individual trader for decades as my only source of income I assure you these ideas are important and relevant.

  • AI

    Ataraxy I.

    29 7 2018 20:58

    8       8

    I don’t get what makes this interview so good. It was like eating dry toast.

  • JB

    Jamie B.

    29 7 2018 20:53

    6       8

    Guys who cant trade / invest talk in abstractions like this. Give me a market call (like Peter Brandt) and lets see what you've got. This is all hot air.

  • FC

    Fractal C.

    29 7 2018 19:52

    8       8

    As I watch further and further, I feel you need to bring Raoul back to the act of interviewing. This is a lot of abstract stuff - we need data, we need investment framework. We do not need trade ideas but we need real stuff. NLP and AI to read articles to figure out inflation sentiment - come on guys. Seriously? Central bank buying - everyone knows that, that is a rear view story fellas. Where do we go from here and what is a framework for variant perception?

  • DS

    David S.

    29 7 2018 19:20

    1       1

    For those who wish the interview were much shorter, you could download the transcript and speed read. I will listen to interview again today. If I wanted to do it faster, I could read the transcript. In this video, however, I like Grant's informal style of talking to a person about how his life unfolded. DLS

  • HJ

    Harry J.

    29 7 2018 16:32

    2       0

    There’s always some content that’s useful in RVTV interviews.
    No exceptions here.
    Thanks Grant for your efforts.

  • FG

    Fred G.

    29 7 2018 11:32

    11       0

    Interesting to see a lot of comments about Martin Armstrong given his attempting to quantifiably analyse complex and large data ecosystems, as Ben discussed. Would really like to see him on.

    Would also really like to see/hear Nicolas Taleb's opinion on narrative and complex systems as they relate to finance.

  • FG

    Fred G.

    29 7 2018 11:12

    1       0

    This may seem absurd, but I couldn't help but think the end of the video was a Mazda advertisement. Just the way my mind was working after thinking about narratives, nudging and negging... Extremely thought provoking interview and excellent production quality, thank you RV.

  • SN

    Sean N.

    29 7 2018 04:09

    5       1

    Some good insights scattered throughout , but as usual with Ben, you have to wade through longer stretches of less illuminating commentary.

  • YB

    Yuriy B.

    29 7 2018 02:28

    18       0

    On the one hand, Grant Williams mocks the perceived need in our society for everyone to have polar opinions on every topic ("Bitcoin: you either like it or you hate it!"). On the other hand, RealVision's own platform cajoles users into ranking each video with either a Thumbs up! (Yay) or a Thumbs Down! (Boo!). Sometimes, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

  • DT

    Douglas T.

    28 7 2018 23:56

    6       1

    Martin Armstrong analyzes over 500 data streams in a fractal way, that at different duration scales: daily, weekly monthly quarterly and yearly. Since he's been doing this for years, he's somewhat ahead of Ben. Also Ben doesn't talk about True narratives vs Undecidable narratives vs False narratives. Each will have different effects, especially longer term. Bernanke can say "the housing market is contained" which is influential but patently false. Or you could have looked at other narratives (e.g., The Implodometer) for the truth. The impldometer would only have become an influential missionary well after the time where you really needed to know.

  • SS

    Steven S.

    28 7 2018 22:30

    7       1

    Martin Armstrong -
    "Apparently, when the film first appeared, there were only 46 views. After our post, it exceeded 20,000. It was then pulled, of course. Here is the new link. Let’s see how long this one will last."

    "Categories: Corruption"

  • DS

    David S.

    28 7 2018 21:18

    2       0

    Is the recurring bailouts of Wall Street, banks and pension funds socialization for the wealthy? It seems that Wall Street, banks and pension funds expect governments all over the world to save them when they get themselves in trouble - a social net for the wealth? DLS

  • MB

    Michael B.

    28 7 2018 20:38

    4       26

    Was he stoned? Complete waste of time listening to all that.

  • CG

    Christine G.

    28 7 2018 15:49

    10       7

    In this interview and others, there are frequent references to the nudging, controlling state. While I have sympathy for this concern, it appears to be discussed in black/white terms with few references to specifics. A different but related topic, that is remarkably not discussed head-on by most investors, is climate change, which has huge economic and world implications. Bringing these issues together, how is climate change shaping our world and what is the role of the state, given that private business will never police itself in a significant way?

  • MD

    Mike D.

    28 7 2018 14:30

    9       2

    Ben Hunt is one of the most thoughtful people when it comes to investing and Game Theory. Could listen to him all day. Great interview.

  • FC

    Fractal C.

    28 7 2018 13:22

    7       14

    Way too abstract for me. Not looking for trade ideas but I was at the very least looking for an investment framework which I did not find.

  • SH

    Steve H.

    28 7 2018 12:10

    2       2

    Well worth listening to. Great interview.

    Anybody who doesn't read Epsilon Theory is missing a trick - and given that it's free, it's an exception to 'you get what you pay for'. It's not full of hot tips, but it it does make readers question their thought processes.

  • SB

    Stewart B.

    28 7 2018 11:56

    1       2

    Not only relevant to today's times but also a charming backdrop. one of the best Real Vision interviews so far.

  • kg

    karen g.

    28 7 2018 11:17

    2       1


  • ii

    ida i.

    28 7 2018 09:55

    4       0

    could the people who put thumbs down explain why? I would like to know really.. 24 are lots of thumbs down

  • SF

    Simon F.

    28 7 2018 08:25

    24       0

    The RV subscription may only be about the same price as Netflicks, but you also need to afford a deep armchair, a good foot stool and most importantly the time to really reflect on what has been said. The Italians invented Slow Food, and RV have understood our need for slow intellectual nourishment.

  • JG

    Jay G.

    28 7 2018 04:08

    3       0

    Brilliant. The best of 2018. Well done RV👌

  • AD

    A D.

    27 7 2018 23:26

    4       25

    Excellent! Small request to RV star interviewers- your legs, shoes and fancy socks in the foreground are distracting. May be it's just me, but I found it difficult to focus on the excellent content and not think about Grant's stripy socks or has product placement finally caught up with RV? Will start calling you Real Fashion TV soon if you don't stop.

  • DS

    David S.

    27 7 2018 21:57

    2       1

    Bees, termites and ants can rely on each other's signals. They can, however, be trapped by other species laying down false signals. Humans are not so lucky as we cannot trust the signals and/or intentions of other at face value. We use narratives to systematize information to work toward a belief and/or action. Visual metaphors are useful but can be just as wrong. One additional piece of information - true or false - can change the entire narrative. Using AI to develop the common narrative can be helpful, but interpretation can still be wrong. It is, however, an additional point of view. DLS

  • DS

    David S.

    27 7 2018 21:38

    3       1

    Excellent interview. Mr. Hunt is still that wondering boy which is refreshing. DLS

  • tW

    tgwtom W.

    27 7 2018 20:30

    1       1

    Beautiful piece, in EVERY way.

  • RE

    Richard E.

    27 7 2018 19:00

    5       1

    This is epic! Thank you

  • SS

    Steven S.

    27 7 2018 18:28

    13       12

    Martin Armstrong on Bill Browder don't miss this:

    I'll just leave this hear since RealVision gave him such a prominent interview & idea promotion opportunity.
    I have no personal opinion on the matter - posting FYI. ;)

  • KJ

    Kulbir J.

    27 7 2018 12:24

    47       0

    Grant has a god given gift. He is such a great interviewer.

    I just selfishly wish that we would see him more often on Real Vision. His appearances are becoming less and less frequent.

  • JS

    John S.

    27 7 2018 11:26

    21       1