Thursday, November 22, 2007

Our brains lead us to self-deception

Your Mind's Effect on your Money, November 14, 2007 By Craig L. Howe " - Home of th... (Darien, CT United States) - See all my reviews
Controlling one's emotions is a major key to successful money management. No one who has withered under the emotional pressure of making split second investment decision will argue that it is not.
Financial writer Jason Zweig combining concepts in neuroscience, economics and psychology to explain how our biology drives us toward good or bad investment decisions. He argues our brains lead us to self-deception. We are loath to admit our lack of financial knowledge. We overestimate our ability to perform. We believe we're smart enough to forecast the future even when we have been explicitly told that it is unpredictable. Our impetuousness leads to mistakes of action rather than inaction. In short, although we see ourselves as rational beings; we make irrational investment decisions.
His book blends tales from his visits to neuroscience labs with stories of investing mistakes. From them he pulls lessons and counsel on how investors can make more profitable investment decisions. They are: 1. Take a global view. 2. Hope for the best: expect the worst. 3. Investigate; then invest. 4. Never say always. 5. Know what you do not know. 6. Past is not prologue. 7. Weigh what they say. 8. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 9. Costs are killer. 10. Eggs go splat.
Another that should be added to the list is The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. More general in its approach, it cites many of the same studies. Schwartz, a Swarthmore College professor, cited research from psychologists, economists, market researchers and decision scientists to make five counter-intuitive arguments: We would be better off if we: 1. Voluntarily constrained our freedom of choice. 2. Sought "good enough" instead of "the best." 3. Lowered our expectations about decision's results. 4. Made nonreversible decisions. 5. Paid less attention to what others around us do.
Thoroughly researched, Your Money and Your Brain needs to be studied by anyone seeking to make wiser and more profitable investment decisions.

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