Michael K. Farr’s The Arrogance Cycle is not just a valuable story about investing today, but also lessons and principles rooted in human history that portend to how we live and life’s outcome. Indeed, if our generation leaves our kids with this country’s deficit, we will justifiably be judged history’s most arrogant.
—Michael Armstrong, former Chairman and CEO AT&T
Michael Farr is one of the smartest people I know, and in The Arrogance Cycle
he’s put forward a terrifying thesis: Markets aren’t always as rational as we assume. What can you do to protect yourself? Read it. This is a genuinely deep book.
“The Arrogance Cycle is a must read cautionary tale. The book provides important insights into not just how to be a better investor but, more importantly, the value of humility as a human virtue.”
—Robert S. Silberman, Chairman and CEO, Strayer University
From the Inside Flap
What is the arrogance cycle? We've just lived through it. As market bubbles build, our confidence level rises (dis)proportionately. Everyone wants in on the action. We want to believe Wall Street, and once we do, the inevitable happens. Like Dr. Frankenstein breathing life into inanimate flesh, investment professionals sought ever more novel ways to create wealth. The only problem was that it was all artificial. In The Arrogance Cycle, Farr examines the forces at work on individuals and markets and explains in clear, concise layman terms how we got to where we are. He focuses on individual factors such as rampant consumerism, a sense of entitlement, narcissism, resentment toward the upper class and more that combined to create the perfect economic storm. By consulting with leading psychologists and relaying first hand experience with investment clients, Farr provides a case study of the arrogant investor. Throughout the book, he sifts through the wreckage of previous crashes and downturns and finds us the proverbial black box of evidence to support his contention that collectively we are the ones responsible. Farr examines the influence of popular culture; the expansion of consumer credit, and the government’s ill timed and poorly executed encouragement of home ownership, outrageous increases in executive compensation, immunity from accountability, and so on. In reviewing failed enterprises like WorldCom, Adelphia, Enron, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Sterns and the illegal activities of Bernie Madoff and others through the lens of arrogance, the book sheds light on those disasters and offers a means to detect the insidious presence of arrogance so that in the future we can contain the damage before it spreads.