The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

I really enjoyed Morgan Housel’s new book The Psychology of Money. I’ve read his articles and blog posts for several years and the book is a rounded summary of his approach.

His starting point is that money is a very odd thing. While we try to make it ‘scientific’ in the investment world and in mainstream economics, it’s really much more complex than any one theory or model can cope with. There’s a lot of Daniel Kahneman’s influence in the book as well as nuggets from the most prominent proponents of value investing.

For me the best chapter is “When You’ll Believe Anything” about the hold that stories have on the way we think about economic decisions.

“When we think about the growth of economies, businesses, investments and careers, we tend to think about tangible things – how much stuff do we have and what are we capable of? But stories are, by far, the most powerful force in the economy. They are the fuel that can let the tangible parts of the economy work and the brake that holds our capabilities back.”

I’d like to see him go more into the psychology of impact investing – how does the social or environmental impact of the money you invest make a difference to decision making. He’s very well positioned to do that as his day job these days is with Collaborative Fund.

I think it does make a difference. My experience is that impact investors tend to be more long term and less shaken by short term shocks. There’s less gambling in the impact investment world and I think that’s partly to do with the aims of the investors.

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