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Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them: Lessons from the Life-Changing Science of Behavioral Economics Paperback – January 12, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439163367
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439163368
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A terrific introduction to the emerging science of behavioral finance." -- Money magazine

"Great stuff. Fresh and helpful." -- BusinessWeek

"This very helpful book is aimed at the novice and the expert, and you come away from it somewhat chastened by your own financial mistakes, but hopeful that you might learn a thing or two about holding onto your hard-earned cash. The authors don't offer simplistic solutions, but hard facts and sound advice."

--Robert J. Hughes, SmartMoney

About the Author

Gary Belsky is editor in chief of ESPN The Magazine, where he has worked since 1998. The author of several books, he lectures frequently on the psychology of decision-making to business and consumer groups around the world. From 1994 through 1998, Belsky was a regular commentator on CNN’s Your Money and a frequent contributor to Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Crossfire and Oprah; he continues to appear on local and national radio and TV, commenting on sports, economics, business and personal finance. A St. Louis native, Belsky graduated from the University of Missouri in that city in 1983 with a BA in speech communication and political science. Before joining ESPN he was a writer at Money magazine and a reporter for Crain’s New York Business and the St. Louis Business Journal. In 1990, Belsky won the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, administered by The Anderson School at UCLA. Belsky, who lives in Manhattan, serves on the board of directors of Urban Pathways, one of New York City’s largest providers of services to the homeless and mentally ill; as well as the New York Neo-Futurists, an East Village theater company.

Thomas Gilovich is a professor of psychology at Cornell University and author of How We Know What Isn't So. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

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Customer Reviews

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Oh yeah, I was one smart cookie with money!
Marcianne Miller
It's a good book, but I feel like they elaborated on many of their philosophies a bit too long.
Vince
It well written, entertaining and highly informative.
GeoUtah

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Larry on March 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich's book, Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes was first published in 1999. Their book had an enormous impact on me. It was extremely well written and provided fascinating insights into the newly emerging field of behavioral finance. The authors explained why even the smartest people make foolish mistakes. I am certain that every reader experienced what I did, see themselves in the examples and stories provided.

Among the many mistakes the book covers are playing with the house's money, mental accounting (treating the same situation in different ways), confusing something that is familiar with something that is safe, believing in hot hands, herding, the endowment effect, loss aversion, and, of course, overconfidence.

The book triggered a desire to learn everything I could about the field. Eventually I wrote my own book on investor behavior, Rational Investing In Irrational Times: How to Avoid the Costly Mistakes Even Smart People Make (2002).

Fortunately, Belsky and Gilovich have revised and updated their book. Like its predecessor it's a great introduction to the field of behavioral finance. It's both highly readable and entertaining. The book is filled with fresh insights and each chapter contains practical advice on how to avoid the serious errors that most of us make simply because we are human beings. I view it as a must read for not only investors, but also those interested in human behavior.

For those interested in this fascinating field I would also recommend Jason Zweig's Your Money and Your Brain, Daniel Ariely's Predictably Irrational, and Hersh Shefrin's Beyond Greed and Fear.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By B. Sprague on June 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Belsky and Gilovich give a great summary of the short history of the field of behavioral finance. More importantly, they present straightforward, thought-provoking suggestions about how to avoid making common financial mistakes. Much of economic theory is built upon the assumption that human beings are fundamentally rational actors, but this book shows that the idea that we act rationally and consistently in our best interest is just not true. I saw how contradictory and incongruous my own actions are in many areas of my financial life, especially with regard to investments, and I know that reading this book will make me more aware of preventing emotions like anxiety, pride, greed, and fear get in the way of making good decisions. This book is a must read not just for anyone who is an investor, but for everyone who takes part in our economic society (i.e. everyone). Read this book!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By GeoUtah on February 25, 2011
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You'll never spend money the same after reading this book. It well written, entertaining and highly informative. I've bought a copy for family. Checked this out from the library and liked it so much I bought a copy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is geared to the casual investor, like me, and those who consider themselves savvy investors, though the latter will either disagree with the authors, or learn something about themselves. The advice isn't x's and o's of investing, no dry formulas or tips on research. Quite the opposite, the advice is simple and repeated throughout the book. The writing style is breezy, you feel like you're sitting in the author's living room chatting about finance. It's an intellectual look into why you part with money too easily, ignoring common sense, and making wrong assumptions. An excellent mix of psychology and finance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By steshe865 on December 21, 2011
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What a book! Now, if you have an overly sensitive ego, this book may make you a little uneasy. However, if you truely want some honest insights into why very intelligent people can make some huge mistakes, then read this book. In some places the reading is a little tedious. However, the examples given and the corrective measures talked about to avoid mistakes have a lot of merit. I'm very thankful that I took a chance on this book. Personally, I think it is a very good and very insightful book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zach on August 7, 2013
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We believe that everyday acts are easy to make due to habit. We make them over and over again without taking the time to think. This book exposes the financial, everyday acts we involve ourselves in so that we open our eyes to what we are really doing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Tuschel on February 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the book to be very thought provoking about how I view money. I have always lived with (and within) a budget. But the examples and description of how we error enlightened me to have a higher respect for what money is and how I can better use my limited funds. The greatest point was grasping that $1=$1, regardless of whether it was earned through labor, found, won or given to me. Money, budgeting and financial planning don’t have to be dry subjects. This is a fun book to read.
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Belsky and Gilovich wrote a nice, well-structured and entertaining survey of the "new" science of behavioral economics and finance.

This small book should be more particularly of interest for beginners in this field who are looking for something easy to grasp without too much scientific jargon. Short stories and anecdotes nicely complement the more academic parts.

Major studies / papers are explained and mentioned, so even more advanced researchers should also benefit from this reading.

Overall, I give it a four star rating. Books by James Montier on this topic would be my first recommendation.
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