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The Investor's Paradox: The Power of Simplicity in a World of Overwhelming Choice

by Brian Portnoy

Published by Palgrave Macmillan

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An investment expert leverages insights from psychology, finance, and history to illuminate a path toward success in today's daunting markets

Investors are in a jam. A troubled global economy, unpredictable markets, and a bewildering number of investment choices create a dangerous landscape for individual and institutional investors alike. To meet this challenge, most of us rely on a portfolio of fund managers to take risk on our behalves. Here, investment expert Brian Portnoy delivers a powerful framework for choosing the right ones -- and avoiding the losers.

Portnoy reveals that the right answers are found by confronting our own subconscious biases and behavioral quirks. A paradox we all face is the natural desire for more choice in our lives, yet the more we have, the less satisfied we become -- whether we're at the grocery store, choosing doctors, or flipping through hundreds of TV channels. So, too, with investing, where there are literally tens of thousands of funds from which to choose. Hence "the investor's paradox": We crave abundant investment choices to conquer volatile markets, yet with greater flexibility, the more overwhelmed and less empowered we become.

Leveraging the fresh insights of behavioral economics, Portnoy demystifies the opaque world of elite hedge funds, addresses the limits of mass market mutual funds, and discards the false dichotomy between "traditional" and "alternative" investments. He also explores why hedge funds have recently become such a controversial and disruptive force. Turns out it's not the splashy headlines -- spectacular trades, newly minted billionaires, aggressive tactics -- but something much more fundamental. The stratospheric rise to prominence and availability of alternative strategies represents a further explosion in the size and complexity of the choice set in a market already saturated with products. It constitutes something we all both crave and detest.

The Investor's Paradox lights a path toward simplicity in a world of dangerous markets and overwhelming choice. Written in accessible, jargon-free language, with a healthy skepticism of today's money management industry, it offers not only practical tools for investment success but also a message of empowerment for investors drowning in possibility.


pub date: 2014-01-07 | Hardcover | 9781137278487