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Your Money and Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich

4.2 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0743276689
ISBN-10: 074327668X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It's tempting to blame your upbringing or your stingy boss, but the real culprit in your flawed relationship with money is your very own brain, argues finance writer Zweig. Combining concepts in neuroscience, economics and psychology, he explains how our biology drives us toward good or bad investment decision. Our brains are pretty self-deceptive, it turns out: we have difficulty admitting our lack of knowledge about finances; we overestimate our own wisdom and performance; and our preference for mistakes of action rather than inaction often leads us to irrational investment decisions. Most tellingly, humans believe we're smart enough to forecast the future even when we have been explicitly told that it is unpredictable. Among the book's fun facts: the MRI brain scan of a cocaine addict is virtually identical to that of someone who thinks he is about to make money. Backed by stellar research and written in an entertaining, informal style that makes a complex subject accessible to the layperson, Zweig makes clear how we can understand what our brains are doing and how to use that knowledge to get out of our own way and invest wisely. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Do you fret over the value of your investments on a daily basis? Do you buy stocks based on a "hunch" or a gut feeling? According to Zweig, the latest scientific evidence shows that this common behavior usually results in financial loss and is caused by the way our brain reacts when we think about money. According to recent research in the emerging science of "neuroeconomics," the pleasure center in the brain that is stimulated in anticipation of "the big payout" is the same area that is affected during sex or drug use and is responsible for the addiction to gambling. Our brains, which evolved more than 200,000 years ago to react quickly to patterns and minute changes in our environment, are not equipped to handle the randomness of the stock market; but nevertheless we attempt to create meaningful patterns where there are none and base our investment decisions on erroneous assumptions. The good news is that awareness of this phenomenon can make us better investors, and Zweig offers some simple tips to avoid the pitfalls, such as taking the long view and avoiding overtrading. Siegfried, David

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074327668X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743276689
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Artephius (. VINE VOICE on December 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The last 5 years I have read many research papers on behavioral finance, so I have a fair amount of knowledge about its findings.

I first read Pompian's book Behavioral Finance and Wealth Management, and then a few weeks later read Jason Zweig's Your Money and Your Brain.

Pompian's book wins hands down from a practical viewpoint......how you can use behavioral finance findings as an investor or investment advisor. Pompian lists all 20 common biases, and then gives examples of how to deal with them. I also enjoyed his section on using Briggs Myers test results coupled with behavioral finance principles.....to develop better financial plans which fit people better.

Zweig's book is a fascinating read.......but when I got done......my question was.....How do I apply these behavioral finance findings to my investments or my client's financial plans? I would have to re-read Zweig's book......and develop the practical uses myself from his book. Pompian has already put this together for you in his book.

If you have never been exposed to behavioral finance, then maybe reading both books is a good idea. You can get a general over-view by reading Zweig's book first......then get practical advice on how to apply the findings from Pompian's book.

It is interesting that Zweig's book at $17 has an Amazon sales rank of 2,075......and Pompian's book at $38 is only ranked 38,940. I have always enjoyed reading Zweig's columns in Money magazine. It is interesting to see where future research in behavioral finance is headed in Zweig's book.......but in my opinion; you get more practical advice (or value) for the dollar from Pompian's book than Zweig's book.

To compliment this book.....
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Format: Hardcover
The above is the premise of Jason Zweig's Your Money & Your Brain. As the research continues to mount that we are indeed more hardwired like our animal ancestors than we care to admit, it helps to know these hardwired systems in ourselves to more understand our response mechanisms that can and do trigger our emotions and ultimately our actions. To assist in this effort, the book highlights and goes into some detail of the more recognized emotions like Greed, Fear, Regret, and Confidence of which all play on our performance in life, as well, and even more so in optimizing our wealth in the investing process. Since the investment world and markets themselves are full of triggers that fool our brains into taking actions that in the end are not good for wealth optimization, this book will help you understand some of these triggers and hopefully avoid some of the actions they promote.

It was a treat to read this very well written (read as not too technical) on the pitfalls of our decision making and how we sometimes unknowingly do things that are against our own best interests. To illustrate with one of the topics of Confidence, we are hardwired to be confident because if we weren't we would more often then not be paralyzed to never be able to make a decision. However; when it comes to investments, we are mostly too confident in our own abilities which itself leads to overconfidence. For example, we believe that our own selected lottery ticket has a better chance of winning than someone else's selected ticket even though all of us know that the odds are the same for everyone. But when asked to give your ticket up for someone else's, the response is usually -- no way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the title reveals, this book is about the inner workings of the investing brain. It not only explains the mistakes we all make, it takes the next step by telling us what we can do to become better investors.

First of all, this book will dispel any notion that our brains are predisposed to act only in ways that are about increasing wealth. As it happens, our financial decision-making is more about intangibles, such as avoiding regret and achieving pride. Never underestimate the value that comes with bragging about some brilliant investment to anybody who will listen.

Mr. Zweig explains that we really have two brains. Our reflexive brain gets the first crack at decision making, and is essentially based on intuition or how we feel. Our reflective brain, on the other hand, is more logical. The problem is that we usually don't know which part of the brain is at the switch when we make any decision. One key to maximizing wealth is to give the reflective brain some time to respond, and not to react immediately to our gut instinct.

Just when I thought the book couldn't get any better, I read the last chapter on "happiness." It explored the relationship between money and happiness. In spite of the lip service that is paid to believing that money doesn't buy happiness, we all seem to be on the treadmill of acquiring as much of it as we can. The disappointment sets in when we find that raise we got, or that windfall profit, doesn't actually make us happier for long periods.

In summary, content is fascinating but it is Mr. Zweig's writing style that kept me reading when I could barely keep my eyes open. It is a rare gem in its genre, a book that will change your way of investing and your life, and be fun to read.
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