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What Investors Really Want: Know What Drives Investor Behavior and Make Smarter Financial Decisions [Hardcover]

Meir Statman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 16 2010


Praise for What Investors Really Want

"We all share behavioral traits that are major roadblocks to intelligent financial decisions. Bottom line: if you really want to achieve investment success, understand yourself and eliminate or minimize these traits. This book will help you do exactly that."
-- John C. Bogle, Founder, Vanguard Funds

"What Investors Really Want enables us to "post mortem" the financial decisions of ourselves and others. The book is extremely valuable for theory, as a survey of how the human animal makes financial decisions, and for the practice of making smarter financial decisions."
--Harry M. Markowitz, Rady School of Management, University of California, San Diego; winner, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

"In investing, we are often our own worst enemies. Meir Statman, an expert in behavioral finance, explains the common errors to which we are prone and helps us make smarter decisions about our investments."
--Burton Malkiel, bestelling author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street

"A masterly review of the many pitfalls and challenges facing market participants today, written by one of the founders of the field of behavioral finance. This volume should be required reading for all investors and their financial advisors!"
--Andrew W. Lo, Harris & Harris Group Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management

"What a gem! Meir Statman is a wise and engaging teacher, and after reading his book, I will be a wiser, better, less anxious investor."
--Don Ezra, co-chair, global consulting, Russell Investments, and co-author of Pension Fund Excellence and The Retirement Plan Solution

"The first step to good investing is always the same, 'know thyself'. If you read this book and don't recognize a lot of yourself in it, you're just not paying attention!"
--Cliff Asness, founding and managing principal, AQR Capital Management LLC

"Meir Statman, a leading light of behavioral finance, shines the bright light of modern neuropsychology on all the mental demons that conspire to make you poor. He'll make you laugh, he'll make you cry and, best of all, he'll improve your bottom line."
--William Bernstein, bestselling author of The Intelligent Asset Allocator

Combining the new field of behavioral finance with the real world of investing, this engaging new book explores the mind-sets and motivations behind the major money decisions--and most common mistakes—that investors make every day. With insider's insight, and a storyteller's voice, behavioral finance expert Meir Statman reveals What Investors Really Want . . .

  • Investors want bigger profits with lower risks. How our desire for free investment lunches can leave us with no lunches
  • Investors want to play and win. How our desire to win the investment game can turn us into losers
  • Investors want to save money for tomorrow and spend it today. How we struggle between spending too much and spending too little
  • Investors want status, respect, and social responsibility. How to know what's really important in life
  • Investors do not want to face financial losses. How to recognize and confront the regret that accompanies losses

You'll also learn how age, gender, genetics, and personality affect your investment decisions and how people of different countries and cultures think about risks and returns, poverty, and wealth. You'll discover how behavioral finance provides key insights into the behavior that has rocked investment markets in recent years. And, most important, you'll learn to recognize the desires, thoughts, and emotions that drive your own investment decisions--so you can drive better on your road to investment success.

Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Meir Statman is the Glenn Klimek Professor of Finance at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, and Visiting Professor at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. His research on behavioral finance has been supported by the National Science Foundation, CFA Institute, and Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA) and has been published in the Journal of Finance, Financial Analysts Journal, Journal of Portfolio Management, and many other publications. A recipient of two IMCA Journal Awards, the Moskowitz Prize for Best Paper on Socially Responsible Investing, and three Graham and Dodd Awards, Statman consults with many investment companies and presents his work to academics and professionals in the U.S. and abroad.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
I have always been told by those more imminently qualified in the financial world that one should never invest if one cannot take the losses with the gains. Good advice for the likes of me who has had the occasional tendency to panic when handling market reverses. Professor Statman addresses that point and numerous others as he examines the opaque world of personal investments from psychological and practical vantages. For starters, Statman looks into the world of emotions that play an enormous role in deciding when to sink our money in a venture. Because the typical investor will bring his feelings to the table as to market timing, Statman makes his reader fully aware of what can go wrong if they forget to think. Failure to know what they are investing in or what can happen to their investment in the course of a business cycle may spell disaster. The little investors are also prone to being exploited by traders and companies who want to naturally take advantage of their naive optimism. It has often been said that when brokers start talking up a stock or a bond, the profit has already been taken, and all that remains is a sucker to buy it at an unsupportable price. Statman delves into many other investor traps and mindsets that both complicate and clarify its outcomes. The investor wants increased fairness, more regulation, easy deals, and little risk in all his financial dealings but is often not prepared to understand the intricacies of what he or she is actually involved in. The fallacy is one of treating personal investments, at worst, as a break-even gamble that gets better over time. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Know your own Financial Behaviours - Great Read! Dec 26 2010
By Charles Dimov TOP 500 REVIEWER
Meir Statman's work reviews many different social, psychological and personal aspects of the desires, fears and motivators of investors. It is an important book that helps investors understand what drives their own behaviour. Knowing your own investment psyche is important to avoid common pitfalls, avoid likely knee-jerk reactions to market activities, and how to use tactics to encourage your own desired actions.

What Investors Really addresses exactly what the title says it will address. The book is an extremely thorough, and very well researched - as it covers many different types of investment personalities, fears and desires. It covers many aspects of emotions that investors experience, as they want safety, well fed pride, a sense of social exclusivity, and exceptional returns. Statman covers aspects of investor philanthropy, tax evasion, and will & estate planning to investing as a player wanting to win, gaining social status, and the tendency not to want to own up to losses. With a great sense of humour, Statman identifies and pokes fun at one tendency or another - found in all of us.

Great read for any investor, or investor you know.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Big disappointment! Nov. 4 2011
I was looking forward to reading this book. I thought it would talk about investor psychology, and help me gain insights into my own financial behaviours. Instead, I found the book meandering, and often could not tell what point the author was trying to make in each chapter. It seemed like a bunch of interesting points all mushed together, like a trivia book. It is definitely a well researched book, and the author is definitely knowledgable. Unfortunately, after reading the book, I cannot say I learned one thing about the investment world that I already did not know about or learn anything new about myself.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read Nov. 13 2010
By Sanjiv Das - Published on Amazon.com
A terrific book by one of the founders of the field of behavioral finance! I have read many of Meir's research articles, and I thought that "What Investors Really Want" (WIRW) would be a presentation for the masses of the ideas and history of behavioral finance. But it is much more. There is a perspective here that transcends the academic research in the area, and provides a fresh, humorous, and engaging view of how our portfolios are more than just utilitarian objects, but that they have vast expressive and emotional roles in our lives. So this book is not just about investing and behavior, but about how the biases we portray in investing also pervade many other aspects of our lives. We may be better at managing biases in other areas of life, and may be worse at it with our portfolios. Or vice-versa, and Meir's research-driven portrayal of how our portfolios satisfy our many needs is a splendid primer on life! Far from being only a book for the masses, WIRW is thoroughly referenced, and I am sure that PhD students looking for a comprehensive reading on Behavioral Finance will get a deeply informed perspective. I found the bibliography in the book to be the most detailed one for the field---it is an added bonus. Most of all, I could not stop smiling as Meir poked fun at me (and all of us of the homo-miseconomicus tribe) as he explains what we really want as opposed to what we think we want.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book and Fantastic Investment Dec 31 2010
By An Educated Investor - Published on Amazon.com
Prof. Statman's book seamlessly combines investing, finance, behavioral and real life lessons, and the book is both educational and entertaining to read. It reminds us that investing is more than money and we should expect the benefits to be more than financial (utilitarian). It dispels some old illusions such as "we should use reason, not emotions, when we make investment decisions." He indicates that even though emotions complement reason more often than they interfere with it, the interaction between emotions and reason is mostly beneficial.

It is also sobering to know that being a retail trader is like playing tennis against an unknown professional player who holds both superior knowledge and better equipment/techniques.

Prof. Statman's research on the key role of financial advisors is very enlightening. Financial advisors main job is to manage investors financial well-being rather than manage just their investments.

Prof. Statman's research also shows why so many retail and institutional investors share the same cognitive errors that cause them to make poor investment decisions. His research strongly encourages investors to invest in well diversified portfolios and keep emotions at bay by not hanging onto losers due to emotional attachment. He says that wanting to get even (get our money back) has probably caused more destruction on investment portfolios than anything else. Reluctance to realize losses is also great news for managers of terrible mutual funds.

And he tells us about cognitive impairments among older people and the problems associated with such mental decline. This is very important to be aware of and be prepared for regardless of your age.

In summary, this book is multi-dimensional and extremely well researched and well written. Investing your money and your time in this book should pay handsome dividends in your life.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dont invest in stocks before reading this book Nov. 27 2010
By Anirban - Published on Amazon.com
I could not stop until I had finished this book cover to cover.
This is a must read for any newbie planning to invest some hard earned cash into stocks. In fact, I would go so far as to say that a lay person should NOT play in stocks without understanding some of the `behavioral' aspects of investing that the author talks about.
My only regret..why didn't I come across this book in 2007, before the markets tanked!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Heart to the Head Dec 4 2010
By Cheree Ray Clark - Published on Amazon.com
I love Meir's work in the area of Behavioral Finance.
As an advisor of over 25 years, I cringe when I hear the question, "do you have any hot tips about where to put my money?" His title "What Investors Really Want" says it all. It is my job to help them explore what it is they really want, and Meir's book will greatly add to the strong foundation that has already been laid by his teaching.
As Meir shows, there is academic proof that there is a better way, and that it is our emotional investing that gets us in trouble.
As Meir states often, "investors are not rational, they are normal."
For a deeper understanding of the behavior and the science and how they can work together for successful investing, read Meir's book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irrational Investors Nov. 26 2010
By Allan S. Roth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Meir Statman's book, What Investors Really Want, does a great job of describing what motivates us in investing. Sure we are motivated by financial gain but, because we want more, we act in ways that reduce these gains.

Investors want to feel good and safe to maximize their emotional well being. Our desire for that feel good feeling drives us to buy stocks in up markets, only to panic in down markets and sell in an effort to feel safe. We also feel good thinking we are smarter than the person on the other side of any trade.

Beyond emotional well being, investors want to express their values, tastes and status. Hedge funds, for example, signify that one is a sophisticated investor and member of an exclusive club.

This is truly one of the great books on behavioral finance. If you want to learn more about your behavioral traits, this is a must read. It had me thinking the whole way through, and I could identify in many of the irrational ways I want to react. It was also a very entertaining read and one of the few books I just couldn't put down.

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