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The Only Three Questions That Still Count: Investing By Knowing What Others Don't Hardcover – April 10, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Q & A with Ken Fisher, author of The Only Three Questions that Still Count

Ken Fisher
The Only Three Questions That Count really resonated with investors when it first published in 2006. What made you decide to update?
As I wrote in my 2011 book, Markets Never Forget, particularly following big bear markets, investors tend think "now" is different somehow. That problems we face are unique and insurmountable somehow. But folks always think that, and they're always wrong--we just forget.

Following the 2008 credit crisis and bear market and the huge 2009-2010 boom off the bottom, I thought I could revisit the questions to show, first, details change, but human behavior doesn't--not fast enough. And second, to show that if you have a good strategy aimed at knowing what others don't, that can work no matter what the market environment, what just happened or how much people think the world has changed. Nothing works 100% of the time, and things that worked once stop working then start working again later. But if you have a good, scientific method aimed at knowing what others don't--that should serve you well, always. And in updating the book, it was amazing how well the questions and all the examples I used held up.

The financial world has changed quite a bit since 2007--new laws and regulations. How do the three questions still matter in the new financial landscape?
I'd argue the financial world is always changing. Sometimes new regulations are big, sometimes small. There are new innovations constantly. The three questions hold up because they aren't static. They don't rely on rules of thumb that maybe worked a long time ago but now are worthless. They are flexible and form a scientific method helping you see the world more clearly, no matter how much regulations change or new innovations are introduced.

Why would someone who bought the original book need this updated edition?
I've updated nearly every chart and table in the book and most all the data. Plus, there's some updated commentary based on the most recent market cycle that obviously wasn't in the first edition. I've edited it to be a tighter read and a better tool, so readers of the first edition might find something more useful or more powerful in this one.

What do you mean when you say that the only way to beat the market is by knowing what others don't know?
I mean exactly what finance theory says is true, and what is taught in every classroom and in every professional internship but most people seem to forget when faced with the real world. The only way to bet and win more often than not is knowing something others don't. If you don't know something others don't and make a market bet, you might be lucky sometimes and right but probably more often unlucky and wrong. That's not a strategy for long-term investing success.

The world is more interconnected now than ever before. How has this changed the way people approach investment decisions?
In my mind, this is part of a long innovation evolution and in many ways is good. It means there's more information moving faster, which can add to transparency.

But for many investors, the non-stop interconnectedness results in nonstop noise--most of it nonsense. But much of the nonsensical noise looks to many like wisdom--it can be hard for folks to weed through the nonsense to find something useful. If you can do that--ignore the noise--there's so much more you can know now that others don't. But ignoring the noise is a hard skill and most don't try developing it.

My sense is if most folks ignored their TVs and computers for a solid year, they'd have much better investing results than they would have otherwise. They'd be less tempted to make investing moves just for the sake of moving, and that alone can improve results.

From the Inside Flap

In his groundbreaking bestseller, The Only Three Questions That Count, investment expert and longtime Forbes columnist Ken Fisher taught investors to question traditional investing wisdom, interrogate long-held market beliefs and, most importantly, to challenge themselves. And now, in The Only Three Questions That Still Count, he's back demonstrating that the path to better investment results remains knowing what others don't.

Most investors know the only way to consistently achieve investing success is by knowing things that others don't. Yet many investors believe they don't or can't know what others don't—so they continue making market bets based on "conventional wisdom." In the updated edition of The Only Three Questions That Count, Fisher debunks the conventional market myths that many investment decisions are based upon. And he reveals a methodology that allows investors to discover unknown or underappreciated information—information that can form the basis of a market bet.

And the methodology is as easy as asking three questions. The first helps you see things as they really are. The second question helps you see things other investors often miss. And the third will help you keep your unruly brain in line. Investing is a non-stop query session—this book hands you tools that should serve you the rest of your investing career.

Thoroughly revised and updated, this new edition features new content and updated graphs and data. Packed with images, practical advice and anecdotes that show Fisher's ideas in action, the book helps you question how you think about the market, its component parts and even individual stocks. Taken together, Fisher's three questions can help you make better investment decisions by identifying what you—and you alone—can know and how you can profit from it.

The key to better investment returns is daring to challenge yourself and what you believe to be true, and in The Only Three Questions That Still Count, Ken Fisher explains how, in his own inimitable style—giving you the tools you need to outthink the market.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118115082
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118115084
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an updated version of a book that was published about 6 years ago before the 2008 market crash. I bought the original version back in 2009 and liked it so much that I wanted this update as well. Mainly this book is on how to make intelligent investments in the stock market and put a portfolio together that has a reasonable shot at beating market benchmarks. This is of course harder than it sounds for most people. The book starts from the premise that especially in these days of 24 hour news cycles and the internet any information about the market and individual stocks is baked into stock prices before you can react. What really moves the market is changes in the supply and demand for stocks when either things most people believe are true turn out to be false or when things most people don't believe turn out to be true. For example most people believe that this country is head over heals in debt and that this is a huge drag on the economy. Fisher and Hoffmans show 7 ways from Sunday that this just isn't true and that there is money to be made from betting against this proposition. He gives instructions that are easy enough to follow for using very basic statistical procedures with a spreadsheet like Excel for correlation analysis to ferret out cause and effect relationships to test your investing ideas. There are many other examples too numerous to mention here. So, this book is not for day traders or people who want to take profitable short term positions in individual stocks. It is for those of us with the patience to look beyond the talking heads on CNBC and do a bit of work on our own to understand what makes the market move over the course of a year or more and build portfolios that leverage the author's insights to beat market averages. Based on my experience these ideas do work. My only regret is that I didn't know these principals and strategies 20 years ago!
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Format: Hardcover
Ken Fisher will spend most of this book describing his unique scientific methods for investing, describing how he is miles ahead of everyone else in the investing world and how he knows secrets that no one else knows. He produces lots of fancy graphs and charts to convince you that he is a scientist of the highest order. If he doesn't directly say that he is the greatest investor of all time, he surely wants you to believe it.

It is difficult to separate Ken Fisher, the author of numerous books on investing, from Ken Fisher, the CEO of Fisher Investments because all of his writings and the ubiquitous advertising are designed to hook you into his world, to convince you to let the Great Ken Fisher manage your money.

He has hundreds of sales people and financial counselors who sound like clones of Ken Fisher. Their cult-like worship of Mr. Fisher is a bit chilling. They will beat down your door to get at your money. If you respond to one of their ads, you will receive an incessant stream of phone calls, e-mails and home invasions.

Is he really that good? Not even close. In 2008 he lost 42.6% of his clients' funds. He explained in his book, "Seeing bear markets correctly is very tough . . . . Being fully exposed to a bear market feels bad but shouldn't derail you from achieving long-term objectives." Achieving long-term goals can be very difficult indeed when Ken Fisher makes a sizable portion of your portfolio vanish.

Others saw the bear market coming and warned investors to get out. Jim Cramer was one. Interestingly, Fisher's salespeople spare no words in telling you that Jim Cramer's advice will lose you money, that he is a clown, that his performance when he managed a hedge fund was a fluke.
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By pbk63 on September 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I have followed Ken Fisher since around 1980 when my boss, general counsel of a top Fortune 500 company, and a very smart individual investor decided to use him for the bulk of his investment funds when he retired. At the time I was surprised. A childless couple, I know part of his reasoning was to have someone in place for his widow to ease life for her after his passing. In fact he was one of the few men I know (I have followed his example) that prepared a survivor's manual for his wife with all the things she needed to know and do on his passing. After his death his widow told me how valuable this was to her. Later, she consulted me after the 2007-8 market decline whether she should continue to use the Fisher organization and I looked into his performance and told her I thought he had done as well as any and she should stick with him. She seems to have been happy she did. So when I saw an offer from him for the book for free I decided to order it from him. Came in hardback form and when I flipped through it I thought it was not really going to be all that helpful to someone who has done his own investing for over 50 years. In part as I am getting older I am considering putting part of my assets with a manager on behalf of my children now that my wife has predeceased me. They are busy with careers and family and less interested in investments generally than am I. I am not convinced yet as the one fund he manages PURIX has not had significant out performance, but am holding my judgement on that.

This is by way of introduction to my review of the book. The book obviously addresses three questions (and this is not a novel so not giving away the ending by noting these!). 1) What do you think you know that is wrong? He uses many examples e.g.
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