The Psychology of Money, by Morgan Housel (2020)

I didn’t get much from this book—it felt like internet content.

It talks through the roles that luck, risk, and compounding interest play in personal finance. There are plenty of stories of successful people and how they got there, and equally people who have blown the lot by being silly.

In its defence, it has come at the wrong time. I’m disillusioned with the idea of building wealth and I was hoping for something to help me better understand that. I am not the target audience for the fairly generic wealth building advice in this book.

I had expected The Psychology of Money to be a scientific examination of our relationship with money rather than a collection of observations and anecdotes with some investing advice sprinkled on top.

Highlights

013

The challenge for us is that no amount of studying or open-mindedness can genuinely recreate the power of fear and uncertainty.

018

Forty percent of Americans cannot come up with $400 in an emergency.

075

Stock goes to zero, have a nice day.

080

“It’s not whether you’re right or wrong that’s important,” George Soros once said, “but how much money you make when you’re right and how you lose when you’re wrong.” You can be wrong half the time and still make a fortune.

098

When most people say they want to be a millionaire, what they might actually mean is “I’d like to spend a million dollars.” And that is literally the opposite of being a millionaire.

171

Bubbles do their damage when long-term investors playing one game starting taking their cues from those short-term traders playing another.

186

Growth is driven by compounding, which always takes time. Destruction is driven by single points of failure, which can happen in seconds, and loss of confidence, which can happen in an instant.

216

Nassim Taleb explained: “True success is exiting some rat race to modulate one’s activities for peace of mind.”