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Mean Markets and Lizard Brains: How to Profit from the New Science of Irrationality Paperback – September 29, 2008
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From the Back Cover
Praise for Mean Markets and Lizard Brains
"You can win the battle with your own brain."
—Investor's Business Daily
"A useful guide to avoiding poverty."
"Most investors lose money time and again, and they never understand why. They think the market makes no sense, and—guess what—it doesn't, at least to most humans. But to the great lizard brain, all is clear. Successful traders and investors know what the lizard knows. They understand and exploit the very things that Terry Burnham teaches you in this book. Now it's your turn to 'get it.' When you finally do, mean markets will turn into friendly ones."
—Robert R. Prechter, author of Socionomics: The Science of History and Social Prediction
"Mean Markets and Lizard Brains translates neuroeconomics and cutting-edge theories of human behavior into practical advice. While the causes of costly decisions often lie outside our conscious awareness, they need not remain a mystery. The writing is provocative and insightful."
—Professor Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Prize winner in Economics
"A lively and entertaining account of the emerging field of neuroeconomics, where Fear and Greed meet Nature, red in tooth and claw, with some surprisingly practical implications for individual investors, portfolio managers, and other market prognosticators."
—Andrew W. Lo, Harris & Harris Group Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, and Director of MIT's Laboratory for Financial Engineering
About the Author
Terry Burnham is a leader in the application of biology to economics and finance. He is the Director of Economics at Acadian Asset Management LLC, and a research scientist at Harvard University. He was an economics professor at Harvard for many years, and has been an active and extremely successful participant in the financial markets for over twenty years. Dr. Burnham has a PhD in business economics from Harvard University, a master's in finance from MIT, an MS in computer science from San Diego State University, and a BS in biophysics from the University of Michigan. He is also a coauthor of the international bestseller Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food, Taming Our Primal Instincts.
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Top customer reviews
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I found his advice at the end however strange and incorrect. He argues against adding to a position when it goes down in price. I have added to positions and this I have found to be very effective. For similar reasons, he argues against dollar cost averaging, which I have also found to be profitable. The reasons both of these strategies can be useful are that they are counter intuitive, so his opposition to these strategies seems out of place with the rest of the book. Also, in both these instances, I find his justification not to be persuasive.
The author is clearly a smart guy who writes well. I would have given the book 5 stars if it were not for those 2 issues. I purchased the book on Amazon.com and would recommend that every investor read this book.
1. An investigation of irrational economic decisions by investors with roots in our evolutionary history.
2. A reasoned (but somewhat superficial) analysis of current macroeconomic situation (US debt, current account deficit, stock valuations).
And there are numerous references to modern studies that help debunk some of the myths of investing and finance. I particularly enjoyed learning about 'survivorship-bias'. And finally, loved the sense of humor! Memorable quotes from popular works of arts kept me laughing and makes this a page-turner from the start.
On the downside, by the time I got to the end, I was more than a little tiresome of the repeated references to 'lizard-brain'. That point is made pretty well early on. And while Terry makes a convincing case that the bull market run in U.S. Real Estate, Bonds and Stocks is short on breath - this does not (IMHO) come close to justifying his 10% stock allocation advice. In this respect - not incorporating international stocks into a recommended financial strategy seems particularly glaring. Like never before, investors today have the ability to invest in overseas markets. By Terry's own theories, Japan (and perhaps emerging markets) would seem to be primed for a long bull market (coming off a long period of low growth and adverse investor sentiment). Keeping savings in declining US dollars while overseas currencies and markets appreciate seems ostrich like (if not lizard brained). Material, perhaps, for a second edition ?