Investment Principles: Strategies for an Irrational World proposes a context for understanding – a broader, methodical, and disciplined way to think about investing. Investment success requires understanding many elements ranging from global economics, competitive and microlevel analysis, game theory to human behavior and emotions.
This integrated approach develops a more informed and distinctive way to think about the future. Investment success combines predicting the future, the confidence to make bold choices, and the fortitude to stay with those choices. I assert that wisdom, which I define as combining a broad range of observations into a new set of knowledge to predict the future more effectively, is the essential component of successful investing. The foundation of knowledge, assembling relevant facts from many sources, produces better decisions and superior returns.
There is no simple formula. Thoughtful observation of complex factors, understanding their interrelation, and predicting the outcome of their interaction is challenging. In Daniel Kahneman’s words, it requires “slow thinking” and demanding work. Breathless and urgent recommendations from social media quips are usually misguided. Superficial ideas and quick thinking are even worse.
One thing this book does not contain is a series of numerical models and algorithms. Those kinds of tools are a simplified sideshow intended to turn numerous and dynamic factors into a simple and, typically, misleading analysis. This approach is nonsense.
This book discusses topics ranging from disruptive innovation and technologies, globalization, leadership, fiscal and monetary policy, and other topics usually relegated to economics or behavioral textbooks. But inferior performance comes from not understanding all the elements, both macro and micro, that influence investment choice, the policies impacting those decisions, the competitive environment, and the leadership qualities essential to succeed within this context.
General statements are a waste of time, profoundly inefficient and misleading, and designed simply to make the reader feel good without giving him or her any useful way to think more deeply about analysis and conclusions that matter.
This is not a “how to pick stocks” book. Along with platitudes, there are no simple formulae, heuristics, or any other effortless way to outperform the market. Deep thinking about the factors that matter is complex, challenging, unique to each situation, and escapes simple formulae.
This book is not organized as a straightforward narrative, but in sections addressing different topics. The foundation comes from my articles and lectures and may seem disjointed, but each topic and subtopic is meant to stand on its own. The book can be just as effectively read in discrete sections and not necessarily in any narrative series. This can be a reference book, as well as a descriptive analysis.