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More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places [Hardcover]

Michael J. Mauboussin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, April 21, 2006 --  
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Book Description

April 21, 2006 0231138709 978-0231138703 First Edition

One of Wall Street's most creative and influential minds offers provocative new ways of thinking about the stock market, investing, and how we make decisions.

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 However, it suffers from a common problem among compiled essays: despite the revisions, some material is out of date and other material is repeated.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.


"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 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." --

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: 0.9 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #852,466 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

Photo by Andrew Kist.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its Time to Amend the List June 14, 2006
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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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful new investment framework - buy this book 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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52 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bland Title, Bland Insights June 11, 2006
These thirty short essays offer a view on the financial markets that is informed by a widely read and wide-ranging intellect. At its best this collection will free the reader to view markets differently from ways in which they are accustomed. In particular, general readers not directly involved in the markets may find this book of interest. For others the insights are generally accepted investor truths in no need of further proof.

It is the author's view that the markets are a "complex adaptive system" and an inherently social activity. As such we may better understand their workings by looking at other organized systems in nature. Interconnecting links in nature, patterns of psychological behavior, the imitative activity of ants, the life cycle of the fruit fly, or mathematical "power laws" are viewed for what insights they can provide.

Much of this leads to already accepted ideas. Here are some examples.

A long term perspective is the preferred investment approach. A disciplined strategy ("process") will eventually yield desired results. Too much portfolio turnover is unproductive. Stress is a product of short term thinking. Innovation is a product of information. The rapid flow of information makes it difficult for a company to control its competitive advantage for long. Great growth companies mature through a life cycle and "stall". The pace of company and product life cycles appear to be accelerating. Investors are often their own worst enemies due to built-in biases. The business of investing is often at odds with the interests of the investor. Losses are harder to bear than successes of equal magnitude which tend to be discounted. Crowd behavior, herding, often leads to excesses (Mackay's "the Madness of Crowds").
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Differentiated Perspective June 1, 2006
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An Easy and Worthwhile Read for Investors
If you can only read one book on investing, this probably isn't it. On the other hand, if you can only read one book on investing, you probably shouldn't be investing. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Biz Book Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting read
Mr. Mamboussin uses current theories and behavioral psychology to give insight into how the market responds, it is a view from someone standing back from the market and looking in. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Aaron J Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the library!
Book is made up of short essays, making it an easy reference and short but thoughtful read from chapter to chapter. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jonathan George
5.0 out of 5 stars More Than I Knew About More Than I Imagined
The Santa Fe Institute, founded in 1984 by a group of scientists from the nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory, studies complex self-organizing systems in physics, biology, and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by gary alan chamberlain
4.0 out of 5 stars Need slightly higher than average financial knowledge but a good book...
The book is good if one is interested in finances. It does reiterate many theories that I have heard in the past few years (mainly that finance is run by people who aren't much... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Garrett Butler
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh insights
If you're not familiar with this author, then you are in for some fresh new ideas about the nature of the market and how to play it. A very good read.
Published 12 months ago by polymath
4.0 out of 5 stars Money, Money, Money
In an updated and expanded edition, Professor Michael J. Mauboussin in his book More than You Know has a good collection of articles on financial matters. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dr. Wilson Trivino
5.0 out of 5 stars Odd angels, deep thinking and practical advice
As a leading thinker on investments Michael Mauboussin, strategist at Legg Mason and formerly at Credit Suisse First Boston, has through his widely read writings influenced how... Read more
Published 18 months ago by investingbythebooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent investor framework and good for managers too
Excellent summary of many important investment and management principles.

Book to be read more as a checklist. Read more
Published 20 months ago by JH
5.0 out of 5 stars Game Changer
I work in the investment industry, so I am generally a voracious reader of this sort of stuff. I find most of these types of books fairly obvious, although I will generally get a... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Bubbanomers
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