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Beyond Greed and Fear:
Psychology rules the stock market, according to Hersh Shefrin. In Beyond Greed and Fear, Shefrin shows how bias, perception, and other aspects of psychology often rattle investors and move stocks. From the individual who keeps losers too long to overconfident money managers who mistakenly think they can predict financial trends, human nature foils investment returns. "Behavioral finance is everywhere that people make financial decisions. Psychology is hard to escape; it touches every corner of the financial landscape, and it's important. Financial practitioners need to understand the impact that psychology has on them and those around them. Practitioners ignore psychology at their peril," writes Shefrin, a finance professor at Santa Clara University. An academic volume geared toward financial professionals, the book details an emerging field known as behavioral finance, in which psychology is believed to be at least as important as market fundamentals, such as earnings and balance sheets. Shefrin describes how investors are motivated by fear, hope, overconfidence, and the need for short-term gratification. The book gives plenty of examples of investment mistakes, and analyzes them from a behavioral-finance perspective. While Beyond Greed and Fear targets professionals, individual investors will benefit from this look at an important mover of markets. --Dan Ring [via]