Many people know how I make my living. Every day I go to the office, sit behind six flat screens spewing economic and corporate data, and meticulously scan lists upon lists of publicly traded companies in search of winning stocks. On the face of it, you’d think I was a numbers guy. OK, OK, I admit it. I am a numbers guy. But a good numbers guy knows the limits of numbers, and numbers do have limits. The trouble with the stock picking industry is that it believes too much in the numbers. Numbers only tell a (small) part of the story. The bulk of the story is told by behavior – human behavior. That’s what I really do every day. Sure, I look at the numbers, but I’m really looking for clues in behavior. When I started my own firm, people – both professionals and academics – laughed at behavioral finance. Today, everyone is trying to work (the now Nobel prize winning) concept of “behavioral economics” into their marketing spiel. Ironically, even that becomes a factor in the behavioral analysis of stocks, markets, and the broader economy itself.
Perhaps I’ll explain how this works at a future date. For now, I think there’s greater interest (aside from greater timeliness) to explain how the psychology of behavior works in Continue Reading “Behind the Curtain: How Media Influences You”