Michael is a Research Group Manager at Fisher Investments, and has been with the firm since 2004. He is also the author of the InvestingIQ blog, offering frequent market commentary. He also is a lecturer at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, and is the author of 20/20 Money, and four other books.
Each day is unique and different from that which preceded it. But the only way that’s clear is through understanding the past.
Complex theories often obscure investors’ view of the bigger, simpler forces that move markets most.
Investors focused on political brouhaha miss important fundamental drivers.
Here are 40 interesting stories that flew beneath many folks’ radar screens this week.
Years at Fisher Investments have taught me the absolute best investors are wrong quite a lot (one reason to believe in the amazing and rejuvenating powers of proper diversification), but being wrong often doesn’t mean you can’t beat the markets consistently, or at the very least achieve your investing goals.
|Nouriel Roubini's Crisis Economics delivers more Dr. Doom gloom but is of little use for most investors. |
|How to Lie With Statistics is still the best book for beginners to enter the world of statistical analysis.
|Henry Paulson's On the Brink is disappointing and too long, while Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big to Fail might well end up the definitive text of the era.|
|Investors tend to think like high-flying traders when most ought to be ho-hum.|
|Your brain is making you anxious and that could be weighing down your portfolio.
|Expect investor sentiment and broad economic data to stay dour even as stocks recover.
|Abandoning tried-and-true investing disciplines after bear markets is among the biggest investor mistakes.
|While we fret over taxes, the greatest wealth redistribution of all time is happening under our noses—in the stock market.|
|Amid the market tumult, today represents the simplest investing choice you'll ever have in your lifetime.
|Using neuroscience to analyze markets is all the rage. That could be bad news for investors…
|The once noble field of behavioral finance has taken a dire turn for the worse.|
|Human minds are built to act on beliefs and assumptions—a very dangerous thing for successful investing.|
|The human brain likes to simplify problems and make clear distinctions. That's a problem for investors in a world where many factors matter.|
|Most of the struggle of investing is the struggle to surmount the natural workings of the brain.|
|Does this sentence strike you as odd?: The markets are up today! Probably not.|
An austere president in budget—and persona.
With the election upon us, a measure of sanity and perspective.
There is plenty to learn from the past about today’s so-called unprecedented volatility. And some bonus summer Sci-Fi reading!
Jason Lanier’s argument technology is nothing without the humans who built it has many parallels to investing.
Part two covers David Graeber's Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Different book, yet the takeaway is unchanged: Ideology often blinds investors.
Part one of a two-part review of G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island and David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years, centering on a timely and salient investing lesson.
Three books exploring the intersections of faith, economics and investing.
I’ve reviewed many a doom-and-gloom financial book in this space. Here’s one more for the collection.
Part II of our survey of recent popular psychology literature.
A handful of books on the mind to close out the year.
Bestselling author Sylvia Nasar’s entry on economic history is beautifully written, but too scattered to be a coherent narrative.
One of the titans of 20th century of psychology has passed, but his work will stand for years to come.
Two books kept me company flying across the country last week—one on the world debt crisis, the other on Modernism. Heavy stuff!
John Kenneth Galbraith’s History of Financial Euphoria is a good primer, but don’t buy into his cynicism.
Lest you think it’s for lightweights, two classics remind us sales is survival of the fittest. And even a key life skill.
A summer’s worth of considering Commies and Libertarians.
An unsung classic on free market capitalism from a bygone era that deserves revisiting.
Four books on randomness, uncertainty, probability, and how they work in the stock market.
Two books about how prices work turn out to be better primers in behavioral finance.
Robert Paarlberg’s book on the politics of food is a good primer for investors and those generally interested in the topic.
Two books on the stark realities of what it takes to get rich.
Two essential readings in geopolitics, regardless of your ideology.
Consistent market outperformance is brutally tough, but it’s no Holy Grail.
Three books highlight a few problems with expert investing advice.
Did Rupert Murdoch's purchase of the Wall Street Journal improve the paper, or lower its bar further toward the lowest common denominator?
A political manifesto? Yes, but Ron Paul's book deriding the Fed is also one of the best layperson's primers on central banking in years.
An accessible history of the bull markets spanning the '80s and '90s, but skip the analysis.
Who knew the keys to consumerism lay in Keith Richards' six string?
John Bogle and William Bernstein re-make their case for passive investing.
A smattering of post-election politics reading.
Steven Rattner's Overhaul is a fine enough account of the US auto bailout as a financial and political event, but Paul Ingrassia's Crash Course provides the necessary context to see why it happened.
After a long business trip, a few reading suggestions.
How We Decide proves Jonah Lehrer ranks among the best active science writers, while Sheena Iyengar's The Art of Choosing is a sometimes cluttered but broader meditation on the act of choice in our lives.
Lee Eisenberg's The Number is a surprisingly fresh take on the issues of savings and retirement.
Nicholas Carr's The Shallows is spotty, but ultimately an important read for today's investor. Clay Shirky's Cognitive Surplus often makes the right points, but in tedious fashion.
|Though sometimes clumsy, Benoit Mandelbrot's Misbehavior of Markets is one of the original popular works on market randomness.
|Teaser: Think Twice firmly establishes Michael J. Mauboussin's status among the best behavioral finance writers.
|Niall Ferguson's biography of Siegmund Warburg is often good literature, but a lesser achievement in biography and financial history. |
|William M. Isaac's Senseless Panic is a sensible voice of reason and experience on the 2008 panic, while the ballyhooed Squam Lake Report is just more claptrap.|
Anatole Kaletsky's Capitalism 4.0 is deft, erudite, and essential reading for those looking to better understand the global macroeconomic future ahead.
David H. Freedman's book about why and how experts are often wrong lacks depth and is probably not worth your time.
Jonathan Fox's Myth of the Rational Market is a great primer into the history of efficient market theory, but doesn't do what the title promises.
|While its emphasis on the history of concentrated corporate power and the nature of regulation makes it stand out from the pack, 13 Bankers turns out to be just another book about the crisis that misses the mark.|
|Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist is timely and, bar none, the best book of the last several years for investors. Too bad most will only see it as a history book.|
|Gregory Zuckerman's The Greatest Trade Ever not only beat Michael Lewis to the punch, but is a better book about those who profited from the bear market.
|John Taylor's short but pungent book on the financial crisis is the closest yet to articulating the truth of 2008's panic...but still doesn't quite get there.
|Now in its third version, Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat has proven itself the keystone popular analysis on modern globalization.
The Richest Man in Babylon is a great book for your graduating grandchildren, but probably too hammy for the rest of us.
|Joshua Cooper Ramo's The Age of the Unthinkable, ends up missing the mark, but for the right reasons.|
With his newest bestseller, The Big Short, Michael Lewis proves he's still the most entertaining financial journalist around. But his cynicism betrays him too often.
Brian S. Wesbury's It's Not as Bad as You Think: Why Capitalism Trumps Fear and the Economy Will Thrive picks up where Milton Friedman left off.
Capitalism and Freedom is the best entry point into the world of Milton Friedman.
The Wiedemer brothers' Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown is sure to go down in infamy as a landmark of today's pessimism.
|Books about "quants” are popping up everywhere, but Emmanuel Derman's My Life as a Quant is best for neophytes.|
|Reading Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff's It's Different This Time is one heck of a frustrating experience, and nearly split my mind in two.|
|Sean D. Carr's The Panic of 1907 illustrates just how familiar—and also different—the events of 2008 really were. A truly mind-bending trip, man.
|George Friedman's The Next 100 Years is an ambitious and fascinating glimpse into the future of geopolitics.|
|GC Selden's Psychology of the Stock Market is full of wit and wisdom…and still relevant today.||
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