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More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places Hardcover – April 21, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0231138703 ISBN-10: 0231138709 Edition: First Edition
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mauboussin is not your average Wall Street equity analyst, writing investment recommendations whose topical interest wanes a few days after the report is issued. His strategy reports begin with scientific findings from diverse fields, then show why an investor should care. This book is a collection of 30 short reports, revised and updated, covering animal behavior ("Guppy Love: The Role of Imitation in Markets"), psychology ("Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers"), philosophy of science ("The Janitor's Dream: Why Listening to Individuals Can be Hazardous to Your Wealth") and other fields. Each essay describes a fascinating scientific finding, then develops and applies it to personal investing. "Survival of the Fittest," for example, begins by discussing how Tiger Woods improved his golf swing, introduces the concept of fitness landscapes from evolutionary biology, then explains why investors in commodity-producing companies should like strong centralized management, while technology-stock buyers should prefer flexible organizations with lots of disruptive new ideas. The book is breezy and well written, but not dumbed down, and provides extensive references. It can be read for entertainment as popular science or to broaden your investment thinking. However, it suffers from a common problem among compiled essays: despite the revisions, some material is out of date and other material is repeated. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Mauboussin is not your average Wall Street equity analyst... It can be read for entertainment... or to broaden your investment thinking." -- Publisher's Weekly


"Michael Mauboussin has written the best book ever on how to think about investing...like a Ph.D. in investment wisdom." -- Bill Miller, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Legg Mason Capital Management


"Mauboussin has found great insights about the science of human behavior in unconventional places and has written superbly about it." -- Robert Sapolsky, Professor of neurobiology, Stanford University


"Michael Mauboussin's insights and examples speak volumes to the value of an interdisciplinary approach to understanding how choices are made." -- Geoffrey West, President and distinguished professor, Santa Fe Institute


"Few readers could come away from this book without being stimulated and intrigued." -- Philip Coggan, The Financial Times


"A refreshingly intelligent antidote... The book engagingly shows how a multidisciplinary perspective can deepen your sense of how financial markets work." -- Burton G. Malkiel, Wall Street Journal


"Written with the professional investor in mind but extends far beyond the world of economics and finances." -- Micromotives.com

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; First Edition edition (April 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231138709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231138703
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael J. Mauboussin is head of global financial strategies at Credit Suisse. He is also an adjunct professor of finance at Columbia Business School.

Learn more at www.michaelmauboussin.com.

Photo by Andrew Kist.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Craig L. Howe on June 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while, the Muses conspire to change the things you do.

For years, when asked for a recommendation of an investment book, I responded that "Reminiscences of a Stock Operator" provided insights each time I read it.

The list is now longer. "More than You Know" by Michael J. Mauboussin has been added.

The author, in 50 insightful essays, draws from the latest in behavior economics and cognitive sciences to give the reader invaluable insights into the concepts of risk and choice.

His investment strategies are sound. They draw from creative thinkers as diverse as Warren Buffett and Steven Christ; they borrow from activities and fields as diverse as casino gambling and evolutionary biology.

Mauboussin believes a multidisciplinary approach based on process and psychology offers the best opportunity for long-term investment success. He breaks his book into four sections: Investment Philosophy, Psychology of Investing, Investment and Competitive Strategy and Science and Complexity Theory. Although his essays are insightful, he provides a thorough bibliography to guide future study.

Why the Muses moved to place this book in my hands last week, I do not know. But I am grateful they did. This book is a trove of knowledge and ideas. It is a must-read for anyone who takes their investing seriously.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Kawaja on July 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is rare to find a book that fundamentally changes how you think about investing, and beyond that, learning. This is such a book.

Mauboussin relies on a simple, but fundamentally non-consensus idea - that finding useful links between disparate fields, rather than focusing exclusively on one discipline, can make you a better investor. His sources range from Darwin to Dr. Seuss, his subjects from physics to ant colonies, but all of them are focused on generating conclusions and tips that will help you beat the market.

More Than You Know builds a comprehensive investment framework in four chapters:

1. "Investment Philosophy" tackles how you should make investment decisions. Focus on process not outcomes, understand that the magnitude of gains and losses trumps their frequency, understand the psychological hang-ups that can lead to bad decisions, and realize sometimes we see patterns where they don't exist.

2. "Psychology of Investing" helps investors identify the pitfalls that prevent us from remaining objective such as stress, circumstance, and bias.

3. "Innovation and Competitive Strategy" teaches investors how to think about industry structures and how they are changed by innovation. In a world of accelerating change, Mauboussin demonstrates the folly of using historical P/Es, how you can profit from mean reversion, and how perception gaps are generated at predictable stages in a company's evolution.

4. Why can a group of people get to the right answer when no individual person actually has the answer? Why do seemingly small scale inputs often lead to massive and disproportional outputs in the stock market?
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Alix Pasquet on June 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Before one attempts to review "More Than You Know", it is useful to understand the author's background and context. Michael Mauboussin is Chief Investment Strategist of Legg Mason Capital Management. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) and also teaches Security Analysis at Columbia Business School. Before Legg Mason, Michael was Chief U.S. Investment Strategist at Credit Suisse First Boston. During his career he has studied the objectives, resources and processes of successful investors; He has aggregated best practices of successful companies, competitive strategy, valuation and behavioral finance; He has studied the important principles of the major disciplines: Finance, Psychology, Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy, Biology, Evolution, History, Literature, Social Sciences. Michael has dedicated his career to one objective: The efficient and effective allocation of Financial and Intellectual Capital.

One of Michael's fundamental beliefs, also one of the main themes of "More Than You know", is that to succeed in accomplishing your investment and life objectives, you need to understand the most important principles of the major disciplines: Finance, Psychology, Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy, Biology, Evolution, History, Literature, Social Sciences. This belief is also a driving influence of Legg Mason's investment philosophy, SFI's culture and the Security Analysis class that Michael teaches at Columbia.

One of the barriers to learning the multi disciplinary approach to become a better investor and a better person is knowing how to properly filter the massive amounts of information (good and bad) that is out there.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The author is a strategist at a large active-management mutual fund firm, and it shows in a bizarre intellectual oversight that dominates my impression of the book.

Statistics are cited on p. 16 that 2/3rds of actively-managed mutual funds under-performed their indexes over a recent 5-year period, and 3/4ths over 10 years. The author accurately describes Jack Bogle's and Charles Ellis' cogent critiques of the mutual fund industry. He proceeds in the course of the book to recount many results and observations, both from the investment world and other fields, suggesting that markets are efficient enough that efforts to outwit them are not worth the cost. He notes the correlation between low turnover and high performance, and how psychology and social pressure lead investors astray when they try to beat the market. He presents in fact most of the intellectual background that supports low-cost index investing over active management (the key omission being the tax problems caused by actively-managed mutual funds in taxable accounts).

And yet, the book is an attempt (successful in a way) to describe a body of wide-ranging knowledge for use in trying to select investments to beat the market. This internal conflict reaches its most absurd in Chapter 24, describing the remarkable tendancy of collective information to be more accurate than individual experts, even in predicting the future... but where does this lead the author? Not to index funds, which would be the obvious investment application of this idea. Rather, he suggests that "investors who identify companies intelligently using collectives... may gain an investment edge." In other words, he would buy stock in Vanguard (if that were possible), but he wants you to invest your money with his firm!
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